Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Ao asks: I have been thinking of getting an SUV and putting a rooftop cargo carrier on it. I want a secure way to lock any valuables up (on a par with a car trunk), but I can’t find any reliable information on whether or not these carriers are secure – and, if so, which one(s) is most secure. I read online they aren’t hard to break into, but I don’t know if that’s correct. I would appreciate your expertise on whether to trust one or not. Thank you.
My reply: Depending on the vehicle (make/model) you may be able to get a factory accessory cargo carrier; if a factory model isn’t available, you will probably be able to find an aftermarket model.
In general, the factory units are preferable because they tend to fit better/are more integrated with the rest of the vehicle. Motorcycle bags (hard especially) are a good analogy. The factory hard bags – in my experience – usually fit and look better, are less prone to problems deriving from not-great fit.
On the other hand, there are also good aftermarket alternatives.
You didn’t mention which vehicle (make/model) you are considering, so I can’t be more specific with recommendations – but assuming you are looking at a popular model, you will probably find you’ve got both factory and aftermarket options available.
On security: In my opinion, so long as the thing you’re locking up – whether it’s a cargo carrier or the car itself – is secure enough to deter the casual/amateur thief, then it is secure enough. A keyed or combination locking mechanism should be sufficient. A professional thief will not be deterred by anything commonly available – and that goes for the car (or SUV) too. The most elaborate anti-theft systems are as nothing to them.
But the good news is there aren’t that many of them.
It’s analogous to the locks on your front door. A professional won’t be stopped. But 95 percent of thieves aren’t pros.
My own policy is to be careful about where I go – and where I park. I think that’s at least as important as whether the door (or cargo carrier) is locked or not!
. . .
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