Truck Tailgate Theft Prevention: 4 Most Effective Locks & Solutions!

Many pickup trucks are vulnerable to tailgate theft.

But why would anyone steal a tailgate? Mainly as a replacement part, and you can probably find some being sold on your local Craigslist and other classified ad websites at this very moment.

The best way to protect a tailgate is to get a tailgate lock. Many of them are shaped like stainless steel hose clamps.

You can also try to install an actual stainless steel hose clamp on the bottom open slot round hinge and coat the screw of the clamp with super glue.

Writing or engraving the VIN number of the truck on the bottom of the tailgate is also helpful. Because it will deter some criminals and will help you identify the tailgate in case it gets stolen . 

Best tailgate locks on the market:

McGard Tailgate Lock

This is a universal lock that can be fit on many trucks. It’s very secure, affordable and quite popular,with over 500 positive costumer reviews on Amazon.

It’s designed for people who use their truck bed often. So it doesn’t need to be removed to open or close the tailgate at all. It comes with a simple key that’s very similar to those used for wheel locks.

This lock is constructed from strong but lightweight stainless steel and polycarbonate, fully weatherproof.

If you’re not sure if it will fit on your truck don’t worry. There’s a menu on the upper left corner on the product page where you can select your vehicle specifications to see if its the right fit or not.

Master Lock Tailgate Lock

This Master lock is very similar to the previous one and the same in price (under $20).

It’s designed for pick up trucks and works best with these models: most late-model Ford, GM, Dodge and Toyota trucks (doesn’t fit Toyota Tacoma)

Installing it is pretty simple and only  takes a few minutes.

It’s made from stainless steel and there’s a keyway cover that protects the lock mechanism from corrosion. Velcro pads are also included to prevent any rattling noise.

Pop & Lock PL9900 Black Tailgate Collar Lock

This is another universal tailgate lock with a very simple installation that requires no special tools. As the name says, just pop & lock it into place and you’re done.

Without the key it will take some time to cut through it, so it can work as a good deterrent.

Just like with the McGard lock, there’s a menu on the upper left corner on the product page where you can insert your vehicle information to be sure if it fits or not.

Gate Keeper Tailgate Security for Ford Trucks

This USA-made tailgate lock is specifically designed for Ford trucks.

It requires easy bolt-on installation, no cutting or drilling.

There are also no keys or adjustments necessary. It’s also covered with anti-corrosion nickel plating.

It’s also pretty convenient because it works regardless of whether the tailgate is up or down.

If you’re interested, check out the current price and reviews on Amazon.

Truck-specific tailgate locks

There are many tailgate locks for specific truck brands like Chevy, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma. So if the above mentioned locks can’t fit on your truck or you want a truck-specific lock for a different reason, here’s a full list of tailgate locks on Amazon.

Other tailgate theft prevention tips:

Park in safe areas

Keep your vehicle safer by parking behind closed garage doors rather then the driveway. Also try to park in areas with more traffic instead of dark, isolated corners where a thief can hardly be noticed by anyone.

If you’re parking on the driveway, get an outdoor security camera and/or motion sensor floodlights. Both can serve as great deterrents.

A camera that can send alerts when it detects movement can be really helpful at catching the thief before anything happens. And if you’re unable to prevent the crime, at least you’ll have the footage to show to the cops or your insurer if you have one.

Use a dash camera with motion detection

Dash cameras are super helpful for recording accidents, but also as theft deterrents and to record crimes. Install one and point it at the back to monitor your truck bed contents and tailgate.

This dash camera is the most popular on the market for several reasons:

  • 1080 P full HD image quality
  • 170 degree super wide angle
  • built in G-sensor so it can automatically detect a sudden shake/collision and lock the footage
  • superior night vision provides color-accurate images
  • motion detection
  • easy to set up; just mount it using the suction or adhesive mount on any location in your vehicle

If it detects any motion, it will turn on and record the activity. Most criminals avoid cameras like the plague so it’s a great addition for general vehicle security as well.

What if your tailgate gets stolen?

If the tailgate gets stolen, your best bet is to look on online forums for a tailgate that has your specifications over the next few weeks.

If you happen to find it, you’ll still need to prove that its yours for the police to do anything about it. Otherwise it’s your word against the word of the criminal.

Which is why engraving or using a paint market to write the VIN number on the tailgate can be very helpful in this scenario.


Tailgates can cost up to a few thousand dollars. If it’s a lockable tailgate you probably don’t have to worry too much about it getting stolen. But many trucks still have the basic tailgate that can be easily removed in a manner of seconds. To secure your tailgate from theft these are the best methods to use:

  • use a tailgate lock
  • write the VIN number or other identification to serve as a deterrent and a way to identify the tailgate
  • park in safer areas and use a dash cam as a deterrent and to record any crime in case it happens

By combining these 3 methods you can make your vehicle in general much safer.

Tailgate is not the only part of your vehicle vulnerable to theft. What about the catalytic converterwheels, car battery… the entire vehicle? Check out the linked articles to learn more how to secure them properly as well.

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