Deterring Vehicle Theft

There are several things that you can do to deter automobile theft.  The key concept is to make your vehicle undesirable to a thief.  This is the idea of target hardening.  Thieves look for vehicles that can easily blend in to the traffic and popular models with a large used parts market.  Here are some things you can do to deter thieves, particularly if you have a common model.

  • Always lock your doors
  • Keep your windows up
  • Install a car alarm
  • Install a gear shift lock (in the picture) or steering wheel lock
  • Etch your registration number on the glass/paint your registration number on the vehicle
  • Paint your vehicle so that it is unique and easy to spot (see picture)
  • Uglify your mirrors and lights to avoid theft with stickers, etching, or breaking
  • Hide valuables out of site
  • Keep a dog in your car
  • Park in lots with guards/attendants
  • Park in lighted areas
  • Disconnect distributor cap or battery if leaving for a long period of time

Renting a Vehicle in the US

Are you looking for a vehicle for your upcoming furlough in the US?  There are some organizations who specialize in providing vehicles to missionaries.  These organizations also sell vehicles to missionaries at special prices as well.  If you plan to be in the US for a year or longer, you should consider purchasing a vehicle.

MATS International 888-776-7211

  • Monthly rental rate ($490 compact car, $640 sedan, $790 mini-van)
  • No mileage rate (unlimited mileage)
  • Purchase your own insurance
  • Mechanical repairs paid by MATS
  • Accidents, flat tires, windshields, etc… paid by renter
  • Delivery available for $0.65 per mile to any airport (Indianapolis, IN and Dayton, OH are free)
  • Vehicles from sales lot
  • Richmond, IN

CMTS Ministries 610-488-6975

  • No monthly rental rate
  • Mileage rate ($0.15 per mile)
  • Insurance $175 per month (must be 25 years old; includes foreign drivers)
  • Repairs over $100 paid by CMTS with advance approval
  • Maintenance under $100 and insurance $250 deductible paid by renter
  • Vehicles may only be driven east of the Mississippi River
  • Donated older vehicles
  • Bernville, PA

Missionary Tech Team 903-757-4530

  • Monthly rental rate ($120 car, $170 mini-van)
  • Mileage rate ($0.08 car, $0.10 mini-van)
  • Purchase your own insurance
  • Repairs over $100 paid by Missionary Tech Team with advance approval
  • Routine maintenance paid by renter
  • Donated older vehicles
  • Longview, TX


How to use a High Lift Jack

High-Lift-JackA high lift jack is a valuable tool when off-road driving.  Primarily used to quickly change tires, the high lift jack has many other uses, such as a winch, jaws of life, and other tasks that involve lifting heavy loads.  For about $100, this piece of equipment can be used to perform a variety of tasks.  It is important to understand how the jack works before using it to avoid personal injury or property damage.

Draw a Floor Plan or Vehicle Accident Online

Here are two tools to help you draw things online. helps you draw furniture layouts, office renovations, new construction, and shipping container layouts.  Just measure the room and then drag and drop walls, doors, furniture, plants, and more to see 2D and 3D views of your project. helps you draw a nice picture of your vehicle mishap.  This can also be used in accident reports and driver’s training.  Both tools are free, fun, and easy.

Toyota Land Cruiser Hardtops


The Toyota Landcruiser 70 series, called the “Hardtops,” are a standard fleet vehicles for missionaries and humanitarian workers in remote areas.  These are heavy duty four wheel drive vehicles that are designed for off-road terrain and rough use.  Here is an overview of the current models.  The models listed are the ones stocked by Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS), who provide vehicles for the UN and other humanitarian organizations.

Common Features:

  • 1KZ 4.2liter Diesel engine; 6 cylinders
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • 4 Wheel Drive
  • Available in both left-hand and right-hand drive models
  • Suspension: Front – coil; Rear – leaf
  • Brakes: Front – disc; Rear – drum
  • 90 liter fuel tank
  • Tires: 7.50R16-8

The Land Cruiser 76 Series Hardtop

Hardtop 76

  • Doors: 5
  • Seats: 10
  • Wheelbase: 2,730mm
  • Clearance: 230mm
  • Weight: 3,000kg
  • Payload: 820kg
  • TGS Website

    Hardtop 76

The Land Cruiser 78 Series Hardtop

Hardtop 78

  • Doors: 3
  • Seats: 6 (forward facing with cargo space) or
  • Seats: 13 (inward facing rear bench seats)
  • Extra 90-liter fuel tank
  • Wheelbase: 2,980mm
  • Clearance: 230mm
  • Weight: 3,200kg
  • Payload: 1,015kg
  • TGS Website: 6-seater 13-seater

78 6-seater 78 13-seater

The Land Cruiser 79 Series PickupHardtop 79

  • 2 doors
  • 3 seater
  • Extra 90-liter fuel tank
  • Wheelbase: 3,180mm
  • Clearance: 235mm
  • Weight: 3,200kg
  • Payload: 1,105kg
  • TGS Website

Additional Resources:

Carrying a Spare Tire

Do you drive a vehicle with a spare tire on the back door?  If you regularly drive on rough roads you will notice that it will often begin to damage the back door.  Cracks will develop, the back door will become loose, and make a lot of noise.  The rear door is simply not equipped for this weight on this terrain.  The solution is to put the tire on the roof rack.  Here is a way to mount it on top.  This will require some welding.  You will need a large bolt and nut, some rod, a steel sheet, and some small nuts and bolts.

  1. Start with a 3mm piece of steel, about 1 foot x 1 foot.
  2. Drill a hole in the middle, the size of the bolt – 1 inch.
  3. Weld nut on the bottom of the piece of steel.
  4. Drill small holes around the perimeter of the steel place.
  5. Use small nuts and bolts to fasten the newly fashioned base plate to your existing roof rack.
  6. Drill a 1 inch hole in another piece of 3mm steel, about 4 inches x 8 inches.
  7. Weld a piece of a bolt or 3/8 rod to the bottom of this piece (1/2 inch long).  It will go in one of the small holes of the wheel to help secure the tire in place.
  8. Weld a handle fashioned from rod to the top of the bolt, for easy removal.
  9. Weld a link of a chain or a circle of a rod to the top of the plate about an inch from the hole.  This is to use a padlock to lock the tire in place.



Vehicle Maintenance

The best way to maintain your vehicle is through preventive maintenance at regular scheduled intervals.  If your vehicle use includes rough roads, dusty conditions, or other such extreme conditions, you will want to be proactive and perform more than what you might if these conditions did not exist.  Here is a sample vehicle service checklist, adapted from  Download specific service schedules for the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Landcrusier, and Toyota Landcrusier HZJ75, 78, or 79.  It is important to find a good mechanic who is diligent and will go to great lengths to prevent problems.  It is equally as important to budget sufficient funds for regular vehicle maintenance, repairs, accidents, and replacement.