One thing most RVers can all agree on is camper doors don’t seem like they are very secure. They are made of lightweight materials for the sake of keeping the overall weight to a minimum. This contributes to the “unsecured” feel.
This is all well and good, but does it compromise safety? In addition to lightweight materials, RV camper door locks also seem pretty basic, don’t they? This raises as few questions…
Are they dependable and will they keep the door secured when it matters?
How hard are the locks to change when you want or need to?
How much will it cost you to replace them and will you need to have a locksmith do the job?
If you are new to RVing, this can seem daunting and confusing. You may even be concerned you aren’t safe in your camper. Perhaps you do have reasons to be concerned about the security of your keys and locks.
Let’s talk about it.
Are RV doors secure?
There’s a common saying in the camping world, “Door locks are to keep the honest people out.” What that basically means is if someone wants to break into your camper, despite your best efforts, they likely can.
RV doors are primarily made of fiberglass, so prying the top of the door out with a crowbar makes it easy to defeat by a semi-determined criminal.
That said, it rarely happens. Most campers out there are really honest and great people.
In the cases where thieves are out looking to get into a camper, most are looking for an easy target. Do all you can to not be an easy target.
Let’s discuss this in more detail.
One thing you can do is camp in places where there are bright night lights and other campers around you. The majority of crimes are committed when there are no witnesses and no light to let the world see what they are up to.
Take these things into consideration when you are parking for the night. When you park in a rest area, for example, park near other campers and near lights.
Try to choose places that are staffed with overnight security who regularly patrol. Many states now offer this at some rest areas along interstates.
Make sure you always lock your doors when you are inside or gone. You’d be shocked how many campers don’t even bother to lock their doors because they have an inflated sense of safety in campgrounds.
And, for the most part, you should feel safe. Incidents rarely occur. However, you should always be on the alert and ready for bad things to happen. Why? Because when you are prepared, they are simply less likely to occur.
Most thieves aren’t looking for a confrontation, nor are they wanting a job that takes more than a few minutes. They want to grab what they can as quickly as they can. Your job is to make that more difficult so they don’t view you as a target.
How to secure a camper trailer
The best thing to do is to minimize any “eye candy” a thief may be looking for. Generally speaking, a thief is looking for something they can grab quickly so they can get away fast.
If you leave that nice YETI cooler sitting outside by your campfire ring and take off for a hike, there’s a pretty good chance your YETI will be gone when you get back. Put it away or at least hide it out of sight.
When it comes to your camper itself, the same rules apply. Lock it up. Make sure your rig is locked, and if you have a deadbolt, that it is engaged.
When you set your trailer up, have a tongue lock on it. Proven Industries makes a coupler lock that goes over your tongue so your camper can’t be towed away when you’re not there. When these devices repel a theft, they are worth every penny you spend upfront.
When it comes to locking your door, ensure you have a dependable lock on your door. The best RV door locks come with two key locks, one that engages the king-pin door lock and one that engages the deadbolt.
You may find that the key that unlocks your door is the same key to unlock all of your storage bins. This is usually the case, so understand that if you change your lock on the door, or lose that key, you may have to rekey every single lock on your camper.
On the other hand, if you simply change the lock on your RV door, you’ll likely still need your old key to access all your storage bins.
Are travel trailer door locks universal?
This is a fact that may make you uncomfortable about securing your RV. Most manufacturers only make about three different key codes for their locks. That means they are ‘mostly’ universal.
In fact, you can actually buy keys on eBay to fit your camper if you lose your key. All you need to do is know the code that was on the key, but if you don’t know that, as long as you know the year and model of your camper, you can easily get a replacement key from the manufacturer.
A lot of RVs are keyed exactly the same, this is a fact and it doesn’t bode well for your security! You may not be comfortable knowing that people can buy a key to open your door as easy as going to eBay and ordering one up.
If you have a key that says CH751, it’s a universal key that fits nearly every other camper manufactured, including most entry doors! This is a universal key and anyone who has one can gain access to your camper.
Can you rekey an RV lock?
Yes, you can definitely have your locks rekeyed. You may need to take them off yourself and go directly to a locksmith who is capable of removing the barrel lock mechanism and completely replacing it with a unique key.
You can also do the storage bin locks yourself. It isn’t difficult. All you need is a screwdriver and a socket wrench that fits the nut that holds the backside of the cam in place. You can purchase uniquely keyed locks or a combination lock to replace them.
For the door, you can replace that entirely with a keyless entry that has a pad that can be set to a number you’ll remember and is powered by two AA batteries, so don’t worry about running the chassis battery down on a lock. It will operate for quite a long time on the two AA batteries.
If you want all your locks rekeyed but to match, you’ll need to remove them altogether and take them to a locksmith. This is the only way to ensure that you have one key for them all. The second choice will cost you more but may prove to be the most convenient for you?
Why do RVs have two locks?
Many RV doors have two key locks on them. One is for the passkey lock, which is the same for all RVs. This makes it easier for salespeople and for those who transport the RVs who would otherwise need to have hundreds of keys on hand.
The second key lock is for a deadbolt installed in the door also. This is often a different key. That’s great because it gives you some sense of security, in as much as a fiberglass door is possible to secure.
The main part of the lock is a king-pin style lock while the deadbolt is more like a traditional deadbolt that you’ve got on a door at home. The main difference is that the door frame of your RV is made differently.
The frame of your RV and the door are most likely made from high-quality aluminum. This keeps the rig weight down while not giving anything away structurally.
Aluminum is very sturdy, despite being lightweight. The door is then covered with fiberglass. The aluminum frame is what your deadbolt secures into.
How do you fix the lock on a camper door?
The most common problem is an auto-locking door that has a bent lever inside. You need to have the door open while you work on the lock.
- Take out the screws from the inside of the door lock. You will possibly need a star-shaped screwdriver bit.
- The interior lock assembly will swing open and you can move it out of your way easily.
- You’ll need a pair of pliers to move the bent lever. It should be pushed up to be the correct placement.
- Simply replace the inner lock assembly to the original position, put your screws back in, and your door should be fixed.
If you find that you take the lock apart and you cannot see what the issue is and continue to have problems getting back inside your door, it may be easier to replace it.
How do you change a camper door lock?
It’s easiest and best to simply replace the lock. It’s easy and virtually anyone can do this. Your access door is held in place by four screws that separate the inner lock from the outer lock. Once the screws are out, it’s easy to remove the lock mechanism.
You’ll need to have the door open while you do this, so it’s best to do it somewhere that you won’t take on a lot of flies in your rig. You should be able to remove your lock, replace it, and set your keyless entry (if that’s the way you go — and we highly recommend that is how you go) in about 20 – 30 minutes.
What is the best keyless entry door lock for an RV?
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Power Source: 4 AAA batteries
- Customizable keyless entry
- Wireless lock with a key fob
- 10-minute install
- Fits most RVs
- Weight: 3 lbs
- Power Source: 4 AAA batteries
- Keyless entry that includes a deadbolt mechanism
- Comes with two keys but no fob/wireless.
- Weight: 4.2 lbs.
- Power Source: 4 AA batteries
- Customizable keyless entry
- Wireless lock with a key fob
- 5-10 minute install
- Fits most common size openings found RVs
No matter who you are, or what type of RV you have, you may need to replace your locks to feel completely secure in your RV. Many campers have been known to catch a night of sleep in a parking lot overnight.
Sometimes you get up and shop for supplies the next morning. Your camper is sitting there shining like a diamond to a would-be thief. Don’t let yourself be a victim.
It takes less than $150, in most cases, to replace your door lock with one that is keyless and customizable. It will give you the peace of mind to leave your camper at the campground and take your vehicle to sight-see.
If you’ve got a rig that you tow, for a minimal amount of money you can get a bumper lock that prevents anyone from hooking up to your camper and driving away with it. If you store your camper when not in use, this is a valuable tool that you can use as well.
Taking a few very simple steps that only take you a few minutes to change or put in place when you leave, your RV is so much more secure. The idea, again, is that yours will look too hard and the criminal minds will go find easier targets.
Don’t let yourself be easy and it’s far more likely that you won’t be.