During the summer, many social media posts appeared about Freelander 2 tail lights being stolen in the night. Typically these were reported as being the later LED-based light units. However, through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, I’ve only actually seen a single picture of a Freelander 2 missing its rear lights. I’m sure there is some false news about the topic, but I figured it was about time I got some tail light security.
The case of missing Freelander 2 tail lights.
While it is often reported on English speaking Land Rover and Freelander 2 websites that tail lights go missing, it’s hard to find any proof. I know of only one UK incident reported in May 2021 on the FL2OG pages. However, I also found another incident in Russia on the LR Club website back in 2013 (when the cars were new). So I’m pretty sure these Freelander 2 stolen tail light incidents are nothing more than mistaken identity.
Cases of Discovery 4 tail lights being stolen are well documented. They have even made the headlines in several UK media publications, including Kent Online and the Daily Mail. Motivation is reportedly for the growing of cannabis, but I think there is a more straightforward explanation. The wrong people are acting on misleading sensationalist journalism. Interestingly a new set of Valeo clusters for a Discovery 4 are around £300, similar to the Freelander 2. Both the Discovery 4 and Freelander 2 have a common design trait that aids the theft of the light units.
How un-secure are the Freelander 2 tail lights?
While much of the light cluster is illuminated by LED, a single filament bulb can fail and need replacing. Because of this, the light clusters way need roadside removal for blown bulbs to be replaced. Unfortunately, both Discovery 4 and Freelander 2 tail lights are remarkably easy to remove for maintenance and bulb changing. Two regular screws are all that is required to separate the tail light cluster from the car.
While the tailgate does a reasonable job of obscuring the screw heads, they are still accessible. With a strong, thin screwdriver, such as those used in electronics, determined thieves can undo the screws. The clusters can then be pulled out and disconnected. There is no other security to protect them or identify the units once taken from the car. All in all, it seems like quite the design oversight!
Improving the Freelander 2 tail light security
There are a few different solutions for securing the taillights, from the 90’s method of etching a registration onto the cluster to glueing them in place with Sikaflex. But my prefered method of improving tail light security is to change the screws.
In this case, I am simply using T15 Torx head security screws. These are the sort that is typically supplied for securing registration plates. However, they are not infallible and can still be undone from outside of the vehicle, with a bit of determination. So I’m also using the basic black screw head caps to help drag out how long it might take to steal the lights.
The screws I’ve used aren’t the best match to the original. They have a smaller head and a thinner shaft. The thread pitch is also different. However, as they are screwed into a simple plastic insert in the body, they still hold the tail lights firmly in place. The differing thread probably helps here.
In total, securing both tail lights took me less than 10 minutes. That’s how easy it is to save yourself £300. And if the installation doesn’t sound simple enough, then the Bevis Pits YouTube channel has a very detailed video on the topic. The video shows how easy the lights are to remove and how security screws and caps can be installed.
And the final result of tail light security screws?
Although the security screw and black cap are a simple solution, it seems to work well to avoid a problem that may not exist. It’s surprisingly hard to photograph with a phone, but hopefully, the effect is clear enough in the picture below.
The caps not only conceal the screw head but should act to block a screwdriver from getting into the security Torx head. Of course, this won’t stop a determined thief, but that’s not the intention. Here, the point is to make it hard enough that there are easier pickings. Although if my theory is correct, Freelander 2 tail lights are being stolen due to miss-identity, so maybe this will make no difference at all? Either way, it’s a quick, cheap and straightforward way to take my mind off the topic.