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Do You Need An RV Hitch Lock?

rv trailer hitch ball
An RV hitch lock can prevent your RV from being stolen. Photo from Shutterstock

Prevent RV Theft With An RV Hitch Lock

Whether it’s a travel trailer or a fifth wheel, your RV is probably worth a lot to you. Aside from the money you paid for it, it’s your home away from home and your sanctuary. 

These days, there is a booming market in stolen RV trailers nearly everywhere in the US and Canada. This is at least partially due to the fact that many states and provinces have lax requirements for the transfer of ownership of trailers than for other types of vehicles. 

While thieves mainly target trailers parked at businesses (like hotels or storage facilities) and driveways, they can strike anywhere. The easier your trailer is to steal, the more likely it is to get stolen. Making your travel trailer harder to steal by using an RV hitch lock and other security devices is always a good idea.    

There are a few different styles of RV hitch locks. While no RV hitch lock will prevent a determined thief from taking your trailer, some will provide better protection from theft than others. With that being said, any hitch lock will have at least some deterrent value when it comes to preventing theft. Let’s have a look at some of the different styles of hitch locks on the market.

Styles of Hitch Locks For Travel Trailers

There are two basic styles of hitch locks. Both locking hitch pins and coupler locks have features that can make them a good choice for your particular needs. However, while each style of trailer lock can be a good choice for the right situation, they can fail miserably in the wrong one. 

Usually, having multiple security devices on your trailer can be enough of a deterrent that without having the cover of darkness and a lot of undisturbed time, most thieves will likely head to an easier trailer and leave yours alone.  

Locking Pins

A locking pin goes on the receiver of the trailer hitch ball assembly in place of the pin. Having a locking pin on your hitch ball assembly will prevent a thief from walking away with your hitch ball. It could also prevent a thief from stealing your hitch pin while you are taking a break on a road trip.     

A locking pin can also be used on the trailer hitch coupler. It could be used alone or in conjunction with a ring-and-ball lock or encasement-style RV hitch lock. However, locking pin locks provide minimal security because they are easily broken off or picked by professional thieves with the know-how. This makes them a very poor choice as a standalone hitch lock. But when they are used in conjunction with another hitch lock, locking pins could make a thief think twice about stealing your rig.

Not all locking pins are created equal. Some are really easy to cut through with the right tool. Others are constructed to resist the efforts of all but the most determined thief. Here are our top picks for locking hitch pins.

Bullet Proof Locking Pin

The Bullet Proof Locking Pin is made with heavy-duty stainless steel. The manufacturers claim that it’s rust resistant and provides maximum protection against theft. Reviewers liked it and said the Bullet Proof Locking Hitch Pin definitely sends a signal to thieves that your trailer will be hard to steal. 

At $49.95 on Amazon.com, the Bullet Proof locking hitch pin is certainly not cheap. But its robust, durable design gets the job of securely locking your trailer hitch done. 

hitch pin lock

Proven Industries Hitch Pin Lock

The Proven Industries locking pin is made from high-strength steel to resist all attempts to cut through it. This is a really tough locking pin. The lock itself is a unique design that requires a specially designed key to unlock. This gives better resistance to lock-picking attempts by would-be thieves. 

Multiple reviewers have raved about the American-made Proven Industries Hitch Pin Lock. They said its sturdy design made it the best lock they had ever tried. With a $56.99 price tag on Amazon.com, you are paying for a lock that is hard to pick, and difficult to cut or break, to really keep the thieves at bay.  

hitch pin lock

Coupler Locks

Ball And Ring Hitch Locks

A ball and ring hitch lock has two components. It has a hitch ball that fits into the coupler. This ball is locked into place with a metal bar that goes over the top of the coupler. A ball and ring hitch lock helps prevent a thief from hooking up your trailer so they can tow it away. 

However, ball and ring-type locks can be pried off of the coupler using a tool, or just plain ingenuity, using your tow chains to pop it off. 

Still, if a ball and ring hitch lock is used in conjunction with a locking pin, it will weed out most opportunistic thieves, especially if other security measures are taken, such as having a locking pin on the coupler, wheel locks, or an alarm system.   

A ball and ring style coupler lock is inexpensive compared to an encasement-style lock. For instance, the Trimax UMAX25D ball and ring hitch lock is $30.00 on Amazon.com. It’s a substantial lock for its category, and its red color really helps it stand out and be noticed. Hopefully, this encourages most thieves to bypass it.

Encasement Locks

Encasement locks completely surround/encase the trailer coupler. It’s almost impossible to access the coupler without having specific tools that most thieves won’t be carrying. 

These hitch locks utilize puck locks in their security features. Puck locks are very difficult to break using a hammer or any regular tool, and almost all of them have nearly pickproof lock cylinders. An encasement lock screams, “We take our trailer security seriously and may have some security surprises for thieves.” 

Very few thieves will want to mess around trying to steal a trailer with an encasement lock on it. This is particularly true when you use other security devices like motion-detecting lights and wheel chock locks. Encasement locks are expensive, but for many RV owners, the cost of an encasement lock is offset by the amount they paid for their trailer. It’s insurance that you won’t have to deal with having your trailer stolen. 

Here are our top picks for encasement-style RV locks:

Proven Industries Model 2178 Trailer Hitch Lock 

Proven Industries makes this trailer coupler lock from hardened steel. And that’s not all that makes this lock great. You can secure your safety chains inside it so they can’t be used to steal your RV. Its puck-style lock uses unique key technology to make it impossible to pick. This lock is $275.00 on Amazon.com.  

Fort Knox Trailer Hitch Lock

Fort Knox makes locks for all sorts of RV hitches on travel trailers and fifth wheels. This design incorporates a puck-style lock for maximum security. 

Made of hardened steel, Fort Knox locks are impervious to removal by thieves. They are bolt cutter-proof. This coupler encasement lock is made to house the RV towing chains. That way, thieves can’t use your chains in creative ways to make off with your trailer. The Fort Knox Trailer Lock for bumper pull trailers is $176.00 on the Fort Knox Locks website.

Find more RV accessories

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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