It's pretty easy to remove the tailgate from most trucks. All you have to do is pull the handle, flip the gate halfway down, and pull it off the tabs. Theives have picked up on that, and according to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, tailgate theft is up 18 percent this year. Since 2006, 1,345 tailgate thefts have been reported.
As you can imagine, certain models are more popular than others. Thieves seem to see gold when they behold Ford truck tailgates — F-250s and F-150s were the highest number missing their tailgates to larceny. California, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada top the list for stolen tailgate claims. That probably has something to do with the fact that Ford trucks are bestsellers and people in those states buy a lot of trucks, but still...
Losing your tailgate can be a pain in the tail, especially because it can cost more than $1,000 to replace one (although most Parking Lot Mechanic types would go the used parts route and slap a wrong-color $50 junkyard tailgate on the gaping theft hole).
We don't mean to create widespread panic by suggesting that tailgate thievery is some sort of pandemic, but it doesn't hurt to point out that putting some sort of lock on your tailgate could ensure that you don't become part of the growing number of suckers roaming the highways tailgateless.
Photo credit: Benjamin Preston