Wheel clamps: Sixty years on, the Denver boot stamps down on theft

The first wheel clamp was used 60 years ago this month in Denver Colorado as a means to crack down on illegal parking. Today it is invaluable in preventing theft. Fire and Safety Centre helps you choose the right wheel clamp for any kind of vehicle.

Rogue wheel clamping drove thousands of motorists so wild that the law was changed in 2012 to ban the fitting of wheel clamps to vehicles on private land in England and Wales.

Whilst the legislation arguably liberated motorists from fear of being ‘grounded’ in many instances, today it serves as a security lesson for everyone – quite simply, wheel clamps work.

We need only look at the reason for the anger of clamped motorists to see why: the clamp completely prevented their vehicle from being moved. Stand that on its head by fitting the clamp to your own vehicle, and you’ve instantly made certain that it can’t be moved, so thieves will look elsewhere for something to steal.

And the applications have broadened. Wheel clamps for caravans, for instance, can provide peace of mind and protect a valuable asset for a relatively small cost.

The value of wheel clamps is two-fold. Firstly, they’re a highly-visible deterrent, and secondly, they’re an extremely effective immobiliser which can be fitted in as little as 15 seconds.

What to look for in a wheel clamp

  • Suitability for your vehicle: A wide variety of wheel and tyre sizes is in use today. Look at the product description pages on each of our wheel clamps to make sure they’ll fit around your intended application. Don’t forget you may need to measure the area covered by the wheel nuts too. The same rules apply to wheel clamps for trailers and wheel clamps for motorhomes.
  • Durability: Check the materials used and the methods of construction. This has often been done for you. Look for a Sold Secure wheel clamp, which is a guarantee of independent testing.
  • Ease of use: If a vehicle is to be put into store and left for some time, you probably won’t mind using a chain and padlock version e.g. a triangular wheel clamp , but that could be a nuisance during a touring holiday. In that case pick a model that’s quick and easy to fit such as the Bulldog Autoclamp.

When to use a wheel clamp

  • When leaving a vehicle in store. This applies particularly to caravans and trailers, which can be left unused for weeks or even months at a time.
  • When using a caravan or trailer. Where better to steal a caravan or trailer than from behind a car, especially in a motorway service area car park? Add the caravan wheel clamp for peace of mind whilst you break your journey
  • When storing your classic car. Out of sight can mean out of mind, but fitting a car wheel clamp means you’re never off guard.
  • And finally, these winter wheels are not strictly a wheel clamp, but serve a dual security purpose. They make the caravan or trailer impossible to tow, because you’ve taken the wheels off, and they also protect the tyres, which can deteriorate if they’re stored under load.

Facts you didn’t know about the wheel clamp story

  • The idea for a car wheel clamp was conceived by Denver policeman Dan Stills
  • It was used for the first time on January 5th, 1955
  • Patternmaker Frank Marugg created the prototype, and took out a patent in 1958
  • The name Denver Boot was coined because the city pioneered use of the device
  • Early models were of cast steel; later ones of aluminium
  • A UK version was patented in 1991 by Trevor Whitehouse
  • Marugg was a violinist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra

Now that you know more about the wheel clamp and its appropriate uses, why not view our range of wheel clamps for yourself? Start keeping your vehicle safe and secure today.