By on February 11, 2014

 

 

Demontrond+Thefts+003

In an era where even mundane family cars are shod with 18-inch-plus rims direct from the factory, dealers are prime targets for mass thefts. One Texas Chevy dealer took a big hit on Sunday, when 22 new cars were shorn of their wheels and tires by a gang of thieves.

Houston CBS affiliate KHOU reports that DeMontrond Chevrolet in Texas City suffered the loss sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. 88 tires and wheels went missing, as thieves pulled all the rims off the vehicles they hit. Photos from the scene show cars held up by bricks, jack stands, and other assorted junk. Unfortunately for the dealer, some of these cars fell off their precarious foundations. The resulting frame and body damage will add tens of thousands of dollars to the already steep replacement cost of the wheels. Insurance will probably pick up the tab for the direct financial losses, but the indirect costs of time and storage are likely to be significant.

From the pictures, it appears that new Camaros, Impalas, and a few trucks were targeted by the thieves. It’s easy to see why: a brand new set of Camaro takeoff wheels sells for around two grand  online. Neither the Camaro nor the Impala have wheel locks as standard equipment. GM does offer a set of locking lug nuts for both models as a $90 accessory. Such locks won’t foil the most determined thieves, who can pick or drill out the nuts. Even so, they may deter the street-level thief looking for an easy opportunity, if not the sophisticated dealership bandit.

This wasn’t the first time a Texas dealership targeted for a mass wheel theft. Back in May of last year, Mac Haik Ford in Georgetown lost nearly 200 wheels off of 48 vehicles in another overnight theft. Row after row of shiny new cars and trucks with wheels worth several hundred dollars apiece are an irresistible plum to thieves. Given the trend towards larger, more expensive rims on mass-market vehicles, OEMs owe it to their dealers and their customers to start taking wheel thefts seriously. Standard locking lug nuts will help, but it may be time to start exploring alternative technologies.

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101 Comments on “Dealership Wheel Thefts Spotlight Security Risks...”


  • avatar
    mikeg216

    I live in one of the most crime ridden cities in the country and, fudge that! You ever tried to get a locking lug nut off after it sits in frozen water and salt and subzero temperatures? Hell no! Usually happens in the middle of the night too, that’s what insurance coverage is for

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    Wouldn’t the easier solution be to move back to more sensible wheel/tire sizes? Other than looking cool, there’s really no reason why most cars should have anything larger than 15-inch wheels.

    Not to mention being less expensive, more durable, better ride, easier to replace tires, etc…

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Yes.

      It would also be easier if the damn kids would stop trying to play on other people’s lawns.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Yes.

        It would also be easier if the damn kids would stop trying to play on other people’s lawns.”

        THIS ! especially _MY_ lawn , grumble……..

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          You too? I tried rigging a sensor that turned the sprinklers on, but all I got was the mailman, and had to go to the post office for my mail for a month before they agreed to deliver to my house again.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Wow you really are a curmudgeon aren’t you?!?

      15″ rims would look ridiculous on a modern car with how big they have become. Performance cars need bigger rims to clear bigger brakes too. But mostly the bigger rims just look better, the market has spoken loud and clear. Even my 60yo mother in law when we were car shopping preferred the models with the bigger wheels over the base model and she knows nothing about cars.

      On the plus side, apparently there are 20 or so cars available right now in Texas where the dealers would probably be more than happy to give you a deal and bolt on some 15′s for you.

      • 0 avatar
        eCurmudgeon

        “15″ rims would look ridiculous on a modern car with how big they have become.”

        And that’s a good part of the problem too. Not nearly enough lightness is being added to cars these days…

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Not enough lightness?.. They’re making progress. A couple of hundred pounds taken out of the Mustang, the aluminum F150, BMWs Carbon tech, and others as well. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the manufacturers are starting to deal with the weight issues while making progress toward the inevitable IIHS locomotive side collision 5 star rating.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “But mostly the bigger rims just look better, the market has spoken loud and clear.”

        That’s just because the vehicles were styled that way. A Dodge Intrepid or Grand Wagoneer would look ridiculous with 20 inch wheels, but they work for the current Charger and Grand Cherokee.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Agreed. But 15′s would look dumb on an Intrepid too, and the only reason they work on a Wagoneer is that off road tires are so huge. 15′s haven’t worked on most cars since the 80s.

          Proportionally the wheels need to fit the car, so until they make cars much smaller we need the bigger wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Regarding the market’s speaking loudly and clearly, the market never has been noted for its intellect or good taste.

            Witness the overly large eyeglasses (not sunglasses, regular eyeglasses) that otherwise attractive young people wear nowadays. My inference is that this trend started with hipsters’ wearing ugly frames ironically. But we’re clearly at a point where people believe these frames look good.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Good design is not fashion. Fashion trends are just that, trends, and they come and go. The increase in wheel size was largely technological, as tire manufacturers were able to offer larger diameter, lower profile tires for reasonable prices then the manufacturers started to use them. Sure some of them have gotten silly large but so have some cars. But we are not going to smaller rims, its been like 20+ yrs now it isn’t going back.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “15′s haven’t worked on most cars since the 80s.”

            Well, except almost every compact car, where the 15 is ubiquitous.

            It has not “been 20 years now” – they’re still commonplace on new cars.

            (Hell, even midsizes often just have 16s, which barely look different from 15s. See the Fusion and Corolla, for instance.)

            (What *is* purely trend and marketing and fashion is the idea that “bigger wheels are just plain better”, in the sense of “higher trim levels have bigger wheels, always”, which is also super-common these days.

            There’s no brake-upgrade excuse on a family sedan, either.

            There is plenty of “big wheels make it go fast” ala “the spoiler makes it zoom!” aesthetic salesmanship there…)

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            @sigivald – that’s true 15s are still common on smaller cars, like my own. Mostly on the base models, which everyone wants to upgrade to get the nicer looking wheels. But still, I figured this discussion was directed at the large scale cars and wheels used on them… 17-20, so I wasn’t referring to ALL cars. And it’s my opinion that those mid size cars with even 16s look kind of low rent… The 17s look much better.

            But like you said on another post, you realize you are in the minority and you prefer smaller steel wheels. I like I guess the middle size. I agree that the dubs look silly on most cars except the huge ones.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            You can’t compare 15″ cast and 17″ forged. Apples to apples, to 15″ is going to be significantly lighter. Also, the larger you go, you also usually have to go wider. A base Mercedes GL has 19″s these days with 275/55R19 tires. If you compare that to the 21″s with 295/40R21 tires there is a world of difference. They are about at the limit that I can safely lift them by myself to get them on the car. I have not weighed them, but the difference is significant.

            Also, if you live in an area similar to metro Detroit, the potholes eat the new more expensive low profile tires like crazy. It’s a good time to be in the tire business.

            As a side note, it’s funny that Formula 1 uses 13″ wheels. They want the sidewall.

          • 0 avatar
            kadajawi

            The advantage of big sunglasses though is that they actually WORK. A small strip won’t block out any sunlight…

            On the other hand, there are few advantages to big rims.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “15″ rims would look ridiculous on a modern car with how big they have become.”

        Simple solution – go back to true whitewall tires. They expand the visual presence of the wheel to create the same effect as the larger wheel without any of the downsides.

        That said, design for function, not form. It doesn’t matter if smaller wheels look out of place. They perform better in nearly all measurable ways; don’t sacrifice all of that at the alter of fashion.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Whitewalls might look the same as larger wheels… if your 80. Otherwise they just look dated.

          And how exactly do smaller wheels outperform larger ones in “all measurable ways”? They ride better. Oh and they are lighter. Other than that there is no other measure they perform better. And if anyone wants smaller wheels its easily available as a cheap or free option.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            “They ride better. Oh and they are lighter. Other than that there is no other measure they perform better”?

            http://www.caranddriver.com/features/effects-of-upsized-wheels-and-tires-tested

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            @Featherston – Did you read the article you linked or just assume it supports your assertion?

            Basically it says that 17 and 18 is the best compromise. The only benefit to the 15 and even the 16 was the supple ride, quieter tread, and slightly better fuel economy. Completely gives up grip in all conditions. I imagine we can assume they are cheaper too.

            The fuel economy difference is due to weight. Careful shopping on wheel/tire choices can net you almost identical weights from a 16 to a 17 wheel/tire combo. In some cases you can find 17s that are nearly the same weight as 15s too. 18s and 19s are heavier, though once again, not by much. They noted a 10% decrease in mileage from a 15 to a 19 but that’s a huge size jump. It is my assertion that the difference between a heavy 15 and a light 17 is negligible. One more jump to 18 isn’t going to matter much either. The 19 and 20 inch rims on many larger cars are going to see bigger differences but then again those larger cars will simply get worse economy anyway. So where is the proof that a 15″ rim is better in ALL ways than a 17-18″ rim?

            To be clear, I don’t like huge oversized rims either. I downgraded my GTI from 18″ to 17″ because the ride/handling tradeoff was better and I thought it looked better too. Our MR2 has 15″/16″ staggered rims, upgraded from the stock 15″ all around. My CRV has 15″ rims, as does our 2013 Civic LX, though on that car the 16″ or 17″ rims would look better, it doesn’t need it. But I can admit that not every car would look good or perform as well with 15″ rims, and I would chose my rim size based on each car. For example my possible future 2015 Mustang will definitely have the 19″ optional rims, and if my wife gets the Mazda6 we just looked at recently it will definitely have the 18″ rims that come with the Touring manual model, they look perfect on that car.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ mnm4ever – Of course I read the article [eyes rolling]. I merely was pointing out the improved acceleration and economy of the smaller-wheeled set-up vs the notion that ONLY ride is improved.

            And yes, there are a lot of factors at play. If you’re willing to spend money on a good, forged alloy you can
            - add or increase durability
            - maintain or shed weight overall weight
            - while improving stopping and grip.

            But if you’re just going with a larger cast alloy, which many people seem to be doing, you’re just changing aesthetics while worsening durability, ride comfort, economy, and acceleration. (You may be improving or worsening steering feel, corning grip, and braking. As you note, it depends.)

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “The only benefit to the 15 and even the 16 was the supple ride, quieter tread, and slightly better fuel economy.”

            So, you agree the smaller wheels perform better on ride, noise, and mpg?

            “The fuel economy difference is due to weight.”

            Not quite, but close enough. The difference is due more to moment of inertia. For two rims of equal mass, the larger one will nearly always have a higher moment of inertia. Low weight & moment of inertia = good. It improves mpg (as noted), improves acceleration, and reduces unsprung mass, which then can improve suspension performance.

            “Careful shopping on wheel/tire choices can net you almost identical weights”

            Irrelevant & pointless. Yes, you can change a design and save weight, but then if you keep that design, smaller = lighter.

            More complex molds are needed for low profile tires for large wheels, so they cost more. Also, there are generally more tire options for smaller wheels. After I swapped out my 16s for 15s, the amount I saved on tires has already paid for the rims.

            The 18″ wheels on the Focus increase the car’s turning radius compared to the smaller wheel sizes.

            I don’t even buy the whole “completely gives up grip in all conditions” either. As sidewall shrinks, tire stiffness goes up, which may mean the tire tracks better, but it also means it can’t flex to accommodate a changing contact patch. There is a limit where too small of sidewall can yield worse traction.

            To summarize, smaller wheels:
            - offer a better ride
            - make less noise
            - weigh less
            - accelerate faster
            - yield better mpg
            - can improve suspension performance
            - cost less
            - mating tires cost less, and there is a greater variety to choose from
            - offer fewer interface/clearance problems
            - won’t help you on total traction

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            OK OK I give I give. But the 15′s still look dumb on most cars these days except the smallest ones. :)

            @deadweight’s comments below are pretty much dead on. I am not even arguing the point, as I said earlier all my cars have relatively small wheels for various reasons. And I agree with everyone that the #1 reason for the larger wheels is for looks. But you know the more we discussed this back and forth, the more I realized just how many cars today have 15 or 16 inch rims. It really isn’t even uncommon. You guys are mostly just arguing about the top level trims for most cars.

            One small point. I do not think you have more tire choices for a 15″ rim. You have cheaper choices for sure, but there is far more variety in the 17″ size than anything else I have had to shop for, especially for performance tires. I think the selection for 19′s is the worst, as there is not a lot of choices and none of them are cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        My ’62 Buick LeSabre, ’63 Chrysler Newport, and ’65 Impala all had 14 inch wheels. Those cars didn’t start looking odd until the late ’70s, and I don’t think it was the wheels that done it.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      I’ll pass, your never going to get the steering response out of a tire designed for a 15″ wheel on a car that takes a 27 or 28 inch tall tire with all the sidewall real estate needed to connect the tread to the rim bead.

      Not to mention the hit on brakes you’d have to take on going to such a small rim. 11 and 12 inch rotors might have been good back when a heavy car weighed 3500 pounds but with today’s cars weighing in at 3600+ pounds due to safety and NVH requirements and having in some cases upwards of almost 700 horsepower In both cases I’ll opt for the larger diameter wheel with lower profile tire.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That’s not going to stop ripoffs like this one.

  • avatar
    amca

    Somebody did this to me on the street in Chicago in the ’90s. They left my car on milk crates.

    Then, while I was out buying new wheels (which doubtless were stolen in their own right), the City towed my car. Then set it on the ground and messed up the brakes and the exhaust.

    And I take the Fifth regarding the gratuity I paid the guy at the tow yard to release my car.

    • 0 avatar
      Battles

      No effing way!
      So they didn’t so much tow your car as DRAG your car?

      • 0 avatar
        amca

        They didn’t drag it to the yard. But where they set it down the yard covered with large, sharp rocks.

        I’ll never forget being told I had to pay a tow truck driver to get it out of there and having to hire the guy who was hanging around there and watching him go back behind the counter with my cash in hand to hand out gratuities to the City workers who pointed me to him.

  • avatar
    Garak

    I remember owning old alloy rims with some sort of plate hiding the lug nuts. Add a proper locking mechanism to that, and thieves will think twice before trying to pull the wheels.

    Of course, the lock would get frozen and jammed, the key lost or bent and so forth.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The trend towards massive tires and wheels is one of the worst developments in the automotive world in the past decade+ for a wide array of reasons, including the following:

    1) Larger wheels/tires typically significantly degrade the ride quality of a given vehicle, all things else being equal, and in many instances, the difference in ride quality between the same vehicle riding on 16″ or 17″ wheels and 18″ or 20″ wheels can literally make the one riding on smaller wheels/tires feel like a different (much better riding) vehicle altogether.

    2) The difference in price between the aforementioned sized wheels/tires in VAST. Going from a 16″ tire to a 18″ one can literally add 35% or more to the price of the otherwise same branded/spec’d tire, and the same is true if not more so, for alloy wheels (don’t even look at prices for 20″ wheels/tires if you’re used to 17″ or 18″ ones; you’ll suffer a heart attack.

    3) In almost all cases, the increasingly larger wheels & tires are being adopted as OEM for one, specific & quite superficial reason, especially given the degraded ride quality and massivelynhigher replacement costs – cosmetic bling.

    4) Narrower rubber actually does a better job, all things (i.e. Tread pattern) being equal, as there is a higher psi exerted on the road surface, ne it covered with snow, ice, sand or what have you, with the narrower rubber.

    In general, unless a somewhat specialized vehicle (i.e. Off road or over-performance vehicle) truly obtains a specific benefit that complements its core reason for being, the trend towards shodding most new vehicles with ridiculously large wheels and tires only degrades the driving experience and adds significant cost to the acquisition of new vehicles and the replacement of tires and wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      eCurmudgeon

      Let’s not forget durability either – Especially as roads in America continue to get worse.

      How many more cases of bent/cracked wheels are happening compared to, say, back in the days of 15-16″ wheels?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Yep, the taller alloy wheels are more prone to actually breaking under intense shock/pressure at high speed when traversing significant pot holes and other sharp road defects.

        This is especially true of aftermarket wheels (depending on brand), which don’t always meet the quality specifications of true OEM wheels.

        I have a friend who had a left front aftermarket alloy wheel break into three pieces when hitting an especially large pothole at 45 mph in his Honda Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I wholeheartedly agree, I don’t mind big wheels as an option, but its a bit irritating when your brand new car looks off with the cheaper smaller steels.

      If you ask me modern car stylists get way too alienated from the real world when they design the junk they do. Yea that Mazinger 7 figures neat, wait, you’re designing a CAR using a robot as inspiration?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The flared wheel wells and other design cues only make things worse, to your point, since on even some compact vehicles a more sensibly sized wheels/tire combination will leave the wheel well look half empty.

        It’s truly a case of form over function; or worse yet, form murdering function.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ DeadWeight – Agree on all your points.

      I’ve found the Chevy Cruze to be an interesting test case, because it has four different wheel options: 16″ steelies on the LS, 17″ lightweight (presumably forged) alloys on the Eco, 16″ alloys on the 1LT, 17″ alloys on the 2LT, and 18″ alloys on the LTZ.

      I’ve had the 1LT and 2LT as rentals. While I prefer the slightly stiffer springs and dampers of the 2LT’s “sport” suspension, the lower-spec 1LT definitely rode better and was quieter. Were I buying a Cruze, I’d probably go with a 2LT or LTZ while trying to extract a credit from the dealer to swap out the wheels for the 16-inchers from a 1LT. I’d get a better ride, better mileage, better acceleration while being less likely to crack a rim in a pothole and being able to buy less expensive replacement tires.

      I also don’t perceive this massive aesthetic upgrade that other people seem to recognize. Confining myself to the example of the Cruze, I like the alloys better than the steelies, but the three sizes of painted alloy all seem comparable to me. (I’m not a fan of the polished finish on the Eco’s alloys.) Maybe I’d feel differently if I hadn’t grown up in a pre-donking world.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        My sister just leased a top trim 1LT instead of a 2LT for that reason. I told her not to get anything larger than the 16″s. I already sourced a set of stock forged 15″ sonic wheels that I’m going to put winter tires on in the fall. With 205/70R15 tires, that thing will be ready for the post-apocalyptic hellscape that are today’s Detroit area roads.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Featherston, MBella, the Cruze is a great example of a case where the smaller diameter wheel & tire package pays dividends in ride quality, cost savings and even resistance to blow outs and wheel damage.

          MBella, you have particularly good advice to your sister. In fact, I would personally stick with a 16″ wheel/tire combo, at the largest, and I’d bet that the 15″s will be even better able to deal with nasty road surfaces.

          I think the Cruze is the best compact car available in terms of ride quality, solidity and overall NVH at the 20k or under price point, btw. That if one haggles hard enough, they can be had for around 15 1/2 thousand is icing I’m the cake.

          I look forward to winter in some ways just because going from 18″ wheels and summer rubber to 17″ wheels and winter rubber gives my car a positively luxurious ride quality in a relative basis.

          When test driving a

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I plainly don’t fit the target market for such things, as I prefer plain, small steel wheels.

      And I take off stupid plastic hubcaps and throw them away.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      And don’t forget that the added weight is all unsprung weight which has much more of a deleterious effect than sprung weight. After 17 inches or so, the rims are just too damn big and blingy.

  • avatar
    James2

    Most dealerships sit on wide open lots. While possibly ugly and would hide/obscure the shiny new cars from customers, a tall, strong fence would be a first level of protection against thieves. It wouldn’t be so easy to transport all those wheels (or other car parts) to the waiting truck.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      Hey, your post is actually on topic! How could you?

      But you’re right. In my experience, the remote lot where the bulk of the inventory is kept is in an obscure, not well travelled, location (has to be cheap), is unlit, and is enclosed (if at all) by the cheapest variety of chain link fence, the gate to which is secured by a single padlock of unimpressive dimensions. No security, human or electronic.

      Which means that at night, organized thieves can count on several hours of uninterrupted play time to pull off something like this.

      I’m not sure which surprises me more – that a business holding millions of dollars of inventory would safeguard it so shabbily, or that there isn’t much more of this type of crime

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The dealership I work at get’s hit constantly. My two favorite examples are of an E-Class and an Escalade at the sister Cadillac store. On the E-Class they put it on blocks of ice in the summer. By the morning the they melted and it was sitting on the rotors. Normally we put a set of wheels we have sitting around to get it in the shop, but in this case we had to call a wrecker to use airbags to lift the car enough to get a jack under it. On the Escalade, (which was parked on the inside of the fence, poorly lit though) they stole the HID headlights by cutting them out with a sawzall. They cut right through the grill, hood, fenders, bumper, etc. After all this, the cheep owner still has no cameras, and keeps the lights in the back off. I’m surprised the insurance company is still ok with it. I would have revoked his policy by now.

  • avatar

    Why don’t we talk about the thefts of tailgates from the trucks since we’re at it?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, these days, all the big trucks have locking tailgates, don’t they?

      Thus nobody’s stealing them all from dealers, ’cause they lock them.

      (Also why I keep the gate on my F-250 locked, religiously, even when the bed’s empty under the canopy.)

  • avatar
    raph

    Man I thought these days were over, funny saying how it used to ” air bags and catalytic converters ” were the items of choice when it came to auto theft.

    Sadly if this becomes a thing again there will be resurgence in crappy cheap wheel locks. Anybody who has ever been in the tire biz knows exactly what I’m talking about!.

    I’ve got a short list of human beings I’d gladly douse in gasoline and force feed hydrogen filled balloons and the person responsible for those crappy cheap wheel locks is right near the top.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      There was a police station parking lot in Michigan (IIRC) that had dozens upon dozens of catalytic converters stolen from police cruisers, in order to sell for around $50 each on the black market, for the roughly $150 to $200 worth of platinum contained in each – if my numbers are off, someone please correct my math.

      I believe the replacement cost for these were $1,200per vehicle.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d integrate the tire pressure monitoring system into the alarm system and OnStar to set off an alarm when the wheel is removed from the car while the alarm system is active. A whole parking lot full of honking cars might stop dealership wheel thefts and OnStar could call the police.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @George, that’s an excellent idea, I wonder why they haven’t done something like that already.

      • 0 avatar
        bills79jeep

        The TPMS has to turn off when the tires stop rotating for a set amount of time. Otherwise, their battery life would be significantly less.

        Maybe if the TPMS had serviceable batteries that could be changed when a new set of tires was put on instead of requiring the replacement of the whole unit. I like the idea.

  • avatar
    Rombit

    Two examples of current offerings with “larger” stock wheels:

    Camaro ZL1 has I think 20 inch wheels (285 front and whopping 305 in back) and it totally looks the part.

    Toyota Vezna has to me always seemed silly looking with those larger 19′s or whatever it has. Just too big for that mundane wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @Rombit – you don’t even need to go to the ZL1, the regular Camaro gets 20′s for the SS or the LS2 trim. And the base car with 18′s looks OK but still not really in proportion with such a large car. 20′s look right. Agreed on the Venza, silly look. But for example the FRS and BRZ come with 17′s and those are perfectly sized for that small of a car. They haven’t all gone to huge rims.

      As a side note, does anyone else think the tiny diameter drag wheels on the COPO Camaro look silly? I realize why they have them, clearly there is a performance reason, but the proportions don’t work on the stock body. Funny car Camaros don’t have that problem because they shorten the body height.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …the problem is that the new camaro is styled around cartoonishly oversized proportions to begin with: it dearly needs a svelte makeover for its next generation, then ridonkulous wheels won’t be so essential to complete the package…

  • avatar
    alsorl

    I’m pretty sure those wheels and tires will be sold in my crime ridden state of Florida. A friend of mine purchased a brand new set of Dodge Durango OEM wheels and tires last year. They only speak Spanish. But it was a damn good deal.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    Can’t go back to smaller wheels until car designs go back to lower slung smaller sized cars so they don’t look ridiculously ugly.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, at least my AM/FM single-disc player in my car appears to be safe! ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Heh. Not as safe as the 8-track I had in an Oldsmobile. A neighbor told me to take it out or it would be stolen and I scoffed. Then I left the door unlocked, and the next morning I found… somebody left me a couple tapes: Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album, and Pat Boone’s greatest hits.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Wheel locks aren’t the answer. One issue is that you need to keep the key in the car lest you would prefer a tow come flat tire time. This invites smashed windows.

    Another issue is buying a used car from a private party. A few years back I bought a car and never even gave the hidden lug nuts a second thought. Then I needed to buy a new set of tires and found that the key was nowhere to be found. That was expensive and time consuming to remedy.

    Coming back to the news story, wasn’t there video surveillance? I can’t believe that the insurance company wouldn’t require it of a big dealership.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Wheels shouldn’t be able to be stolen in this day and age. Quite frankly, I’m surprised thieves didn’t catch on sooner by stealing wheels since they’re so easy to take off without wheel locks.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This sounds like a pretty well organized deal. Unfortunate for the dealership, that’s for sure.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    When I purchased a new car in 1989 it had its factory alloy wheels stolen while it sat on the lot. The fog lights as well.

    On a side note, of the four cars we have the two sports cars and truck have 15″ wheels and our sedan has 16″. We are really behind the times.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Insurance will probably”

    No, insurance will. That’s what it’s for. The dealer is inconvenienced, but the free PR they receive from news sources will more than cover it.

  • avatar
    skor

    Jay Leno told an interesting story about his days working at a Massachusetts Ford dealer as a lot boy. According to Leno, one of his daily duties was to remover all the hubcaps from the cars before closing and lock the caps in the trunks of their respective cars. In the morning he’d reverse the process. Starts at 0:20

    youtube.com/watch?v=SYhTQx-NxAU

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    There is something so infuriatingly arrogant about theft in general, but especially car theft.

    “I want something, so I’m just going to take it.”

    Now these essentially brand-new cars have been seriously devalued, especially the ones that slipped off their temporary supports and were damaged. And the fact that the insurance company will pay for it is most definitely not the point. They can’t be sold as new anymore.

    Of the various forms of crime, theft is particularly offensive to me because I’m an honest, peaceable man who would never dream of just TAKING something I wanted. I work for what I want, sometimes for years, because I will have what I want honestly, or not at all.

    That some people would just sneak about in the night and steal what they want corrupts the whole process of honest acquisition. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, it’s a shot at society’s foundations.

    I mean, why bother to work when you can steal?

    This theft business parallels the whole immigration debate.

    Full disclosure – I’m not Hispanic. But I’ve thought for years that if I were, I’d be offended as hell that leftists were running around saying that to be against illegal immigration – let’s call this what it really is, Criminal Trespassing – is to be against Hispanic people.

    The vast majority of Hispanics who come to the US are honest and slog through the immigration process as the law says they have to.

    Then, they get to watch criminal scum sneak over the border in the middle of the night and have the government let them get away with it, slapping their honesty in the face and invalidating all their work.

    Same thing as if I saved for years to buy that car I wanted, only to see some rat-faced piece of shit get his through a smash-and-grab.

    Now, I’m not gonna go steal anything out of frustration, but I’d sure like to see a little righteous indignation on society’s part directed at said self-propelled garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      While we’re talking about “Hispanics” it’s probably worth remembering that a significant part of the current United States is territory captured from Mexico in 1848. Presumably, there were people who lived in that territory at that time; and, it being Mexico, presumably many of them spoke Spanish and had Spanish lineage.

      So, not every “Hispanic” in the United States came on a boat from Cuba or waded across the Rio Grande. In some cases, the “United States” came to them (or, properly speaking, to their ancestors).

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        If I recall correctly, this came up on PBS’s Faces of America when they profiled Eva Longoria. Spain’s Felipe II awarded lands in present-day Texas to her family in the 16th century. When she was growing up, her father told her, “We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us.”

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Don’t kid yourself….those cars can and will be sold as new. Hell, the Buick my mom bought had the hood replaced and painted before she purchased it as a new car. There is nothing at all illegal about that.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        They sure will. Buyer beware.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Indeed.

          This case, which is on point, made it to the SCOTUS.

          Physician bought new BMW that, unbeknownst to him, suffered body/paint damage in transit. Dealership repaired it, sold it, he discovered this 9 months later and filed suit.

          BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996)

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-896.ZO.html

  • avatar
    skor

    I gotta wonder where the thieves got the jack stands. I’ll bet they’re those $20 specials sold by Harbor Freight. Since the thieves are likely getting a lot of money for the wheels/tires, it’s probably not worth stealing the jack stands. If the cops stop by the local Harbor Freight, and ask to see the credit card receipts for people buying jack stands, I’ll bet they’ll find the guys who took the wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I don’t think a gang of thieves is paying for their tools with credit cards. They would spread out and each person buy a minimal number of jack stands, with cash, at separate retail locations. Maybe a few craigslist acquisitions, and supplement with the cinder blocks and bricks mentioned, but not pictured.

      Then again, some criminals are pretty stupid. It would be pretty funny if one of them dropped a car on their foot while trying to steal wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        “I don’t think a gang of thieves is paying for their tools with credit cards.”

        Oh no? That’s exactly how police found one gang of ATM thieves.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Because you have to use a CARD to use an ATM. In other news, police found American Express Card thieves when they later used the CARD.

          You can’t see the hole in your logic here? They’d of paid cash for the jack stands.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            Pay attention, CorkyDL. A gang of ATM thieves left behind a 20 pound hammer at one of the ATMs they robbed. The police determined that this particular brand of hammer was sold at Home Depot. Next the police went around to local Home Depot stores and inquired about recent 20 pound hammer purchases. HD provided a list of hammers that were purchased with credit cards. The police ran down the list and guess what they found?

    • 0 avatar
      OldWingGuy

      I was wondering about the jack stands also. Kinda odd I think. Why not wood blocks, etc ?

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      You’re kidding, right? The two cars in the pic were put on jack stands by the dealership, not the thieves.

  • avatar
    ChiefPontiaxe

    With all this talk about returning to more sane tire sizes, back in 2010 Car and Driver tested wheel/tire combos ranging from 15″ to 19″ and concluded that 17″-18″ were the best, taking into account ride, handling, fuel economy and acceleration.
    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/effects-of-upsized-wheels-and-tires-tested

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Theft of 88 mounted wheels and tires?
    Took several hours.
    No security.
    No monitored cameras.
    No police presence.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    When did the Camaro get a decent-looking butt?

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/special-reports/scion-fr-s-tire-transformation

    Sometimes (often times), less is more.
    Bigger wheels tend to mean more weight as well as taller gearing.
    For most cars, there simply is no functional reason to go beyond 17-18 inches (i.e. the Venza has 20-inch wheels).

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Guess GM finally got some advertising right. The Camaro can blow the wheels off vehicles!

  • avatar
    catachanninja

    I work in the heavy duty trucking industry at a multi brand dealer. This is an issue we have had happen at multiple locations, it is a total PitA, worse when it’s a customers vehicle in for service that it happens too. Not much stops em, heck we took out fence down so we didn’t have to repair it after being hit

  • avatar
    qest

    Why are wheel locks so expensive? Seemed like the the dealers just fleecing their customers considering how easy they are to bypass.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Most dealer add-ons are overpriced as it is just being worked into a financing plan. Decent titanium wheel locks are 20-30$ at most automotive stores and some are actually pretty hard to defeat — though only if you have wheels where the lug nut is deeply recessed with only really room for it and socket to fit in the recess.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        While marketing departments would have you believe that “titanium” is an adjective synonymous with “amazing”, “fantastic”, or “marvelous”, it’s actually a metal, and they don’t make consumer wheel locks out of it.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    My view is that jackstands = inside job.

    I am actually a fan of the fact that the base Camaro used to come with steelies, and would leave the steelies on if I got one, but that is probably part of what is creating demand for Camaro bolt-pattern and offset rims.

  • avatar
    mwerre

    I assume the jack stands are from the dealer… at least it sounds like they held up most of them one way or another. Had a buddy in HS with a 1982 pace car Camaro… It got stolen and jacked with multiple times.

    Last time they took the wheels by just removing the lug nuts and prying the wheels off with a 2×4, did quite the number to the fenders.

  • avatar
    izzy

    Agree with most of B&B’s sentiments here.
    Another reason, under inflation = big problem.

    I pity people who unknowingly drive around in under-inflated 45 section tires.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “Standard locking lug nuts will help, but it may be time to start exploring alternative technologies.”

    How about the electric chair? Why do we go through so much effort to accommodate the existence of those who can’t control their urges to harm others?


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