trucks in a logistic yard

Truck Tyre Theft: How A Mobile Tyre Serial Number Scanner Can Help

Truck tyres represent one of the main costs for fleet owners: the typical semi-truck, counting its trailers, comes with up to 18 wheels, and each tyre usually costs around 300€ – but that can go up to 1000€ per tyre for specific uses. On average, that’s a total of 5300€ in tyres per truck.

This high value makes truck tyres a target for thieves. What’s more, the difficulty of tracking them makes commercial tyres easy to sell on the black market.

In this blog, we will explain how new technologies like OCR and mobile tyre serial number scanning can help fleet owners to prevent truck tyre theft. When it does occur, the same technology can also help to retrieve them.


1. Why your truck tyres might not be secured

One of the main issues with this growing problem is that it’s fairly easy for experienced thieves to steal truck tyres. In less than 30 minutes, a coordinated small group can strip a truck off its tyres and be on the run. So increasing your yard security might be the first step to prevent theft. One way to do that is to monitor entrances of your premises with ID and license plate checking.

A security staff member can visually inspect IDs of the people coming in and out or the vehicles’ license plates. However, this method lacks efficiency:

  • It’s time-consuming to do a thorough inspection. One must take the person’s ID, type his/her name or information on a computer or a device to check if the person has access credentials.
  • It leaves room for mistakes. When entering or registering yard entrants’ IDs, a security guard can make mistakes like typos or mistranscription.
  • If entrants are only registered on a paper-based document, the data needs to be entered in a digitized system later on, which is once again time-consuming and generates additional mistakes. Also, such documents can be damaged (by manipulations or by the weather) or be lost.

3. Transportation companies are also witnessing a new form of theft

In addition to “traditional” tyre theft, where drivers or owners find their truck laying on cinder blocks, another kind of theft is becoming more common these days and concerns mostly trailers. With many trucking companies only owning tractors and renting trailers, some trailer leasing businesses have found out that their new, high-end tyres have been swapped to worn out cheap tyres without their knowledge.

What usually happens is that a client takes a trailer for a job out of the country, swaps good tyres for bad ones, and sells the stolen tyres for profit. Upon the trailer being returned, it can be tricky to notice that tyres have been swapped, and to prove that the tyres equipped are not the ones originally installed.

Obviously, this kind of theft isn’t limited to rental trailers. Transportation companies owning their trailers have seen a similar scenario: after a journey abroad, the trailer comes back with low-quality tyres equipped instead of the original. The only difference is that, for those cases, the driver can be an accomplice to the theft.

5. Why it’s difficult to recover stolen truck tyres

One of the reasons thieves are now targeting truck tyres is because they are generally hard to identify. This means that even if the police suspect that someone is selling stolen tyres, it is hard for them to prove that these tyres are in fact stolen.

A step that fleet owners can take to help the recovery of stolen tyre is to record and register their tyre serial number. Available on the sidewall of each tyre, this information, if not unique to each tyre, can help identify each tyre.

Recording tyre serial numbers manually comes with the same problems as checking IDs or license plates: it takes time (especially when you have to record 18 tyre serial numbers per truck!) and it leaves room for errors, which dramatically reduces the chances to recover stolen tyres.

7. How to integrate a mobile tyre serial number reader

Anyline’s mobile data capture solutions offer an effective and efficient way to scan tyre identification numbers from any camera-enabled mobile device. They can be used in all types of adverse conditions, including bad weather, low light levels, and locations without an internet connection.

It is possible to integrate a tyre serial number reader to your preferred tyre management systems or inspection system, so there is no need to change your processes and to train employees on new tools and software.

Companies that need to monitor their truck tyres can implement Anyline’s tyre serial number scanning SDK into their existing processes, so anyone can be equipped with a powerful identification solution. A single mobile device could greatly help you prevent tyre theft, and it case theft happens, help you recover more efficiently.