If you have a trailer, you want to do everything possible to protect it from theft. Unfortunately, trailer theft is a fairly common occurrence so we want to cover how you can lock and secure your trailer so it can’t be stolen. We also have a bunch of great trailer anti theft tips that you need to know!
Some of the best ways to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen include using hoop locks, hitch pin locks, latch pin locks, trailer door locks, and trailer wheel locks.
There are also quite a few other things that you can do to secure your trailer against theft. Here is everything you need to know.
How Common Is Trailer Theft?
If we are talking about tow along trailers, such as trailers you might use to transport recreational vehicles, as well as fifth wheel campers, or pop-up campers, they are targets for thieves.
In fact, in 2017, in the USA, recreational vehicles and similar trailers were the fourth most common vehicle type to beat stolen. In fact, trailers and similar vehicles accounted for roughly 6% of stolen vehicles in the USA.
Now, 6% is not a huge number, although considering how many trailers and RV’s there are compared to the far greater amount of cars, pickup trucks, and vans, it does make for a substantial figure.
Just a little tidbit of information, Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia are the three states in which RV’s and trailers are the most likely to be either stolen or broken into.
If you drive around in the USA with a trailer for several years, chances are you are likely to experience some kind of theft or trailer break in. Therefore, it is essential that you secure your trailer against theft and breaking.
How To Secure A Trailer From Theft: 10 Prevention Devices
As mentioned in our opening paragraph, there are a number of trailer theft prevention devices out there.
Simply put, these are all different kinds of locks that you can use to make sure that nobody can drive away with your trailer.
Let’s take a closer look at the best way to secure a trailer from theft.
1. Wheel Locks
One of the best ways to prevent a trailer from being stolen is by using a wheel chock lock. Now, there are actually a few different kinds of wheel locks for trailers, but they all work in more or less the same principle.
Simply put, you lock it onto your wheel, and this then prevents the wheel from being able to turn. Wheel locks, in one way or another, lock into both the wheel and the tire, and prevent it from turning. It is possible to use a wheel lock as your sole method of theft prevention, although you do need to purchase a high quality product.
Depending on the type of wheel lock, pulling on them very hard with extreme pressure, deflating the tire, and even removing the wheel itself can all be possible weaknesses.
Therefore, if you are just going to use a wheel lock, it needs to be a really high quality one. No, this type of lock will not prevent somebody from breaking into your RV, but it will prevent them from driving away with it.
2. Hoop Locks AKA Coupler Hitch Locks
If you don’t have your trailer connected to the towing vehicle, then the hoop lock, also known as the coupler hitch lock, is a great way to go.
Here, you will see a ball, just like the ball on your towing vehicle, that fits into the tongue of the hitch. There is then a large U shaped bar that goes over top. This bar, otherwise known as the shackle, can be adjusted for size.
The ball goes into the trailer hitch, and the adjustable shackle fits overtop. This therefore means that the lock cannot be taken off, and no one can hook up their towing vehicle to your trailer.
This is one of the most popular and cost effective types of trailer theft prevention devices out there. One of the reasons why they are so popular is exactly for that reason, because they’re cheap.
However, if we are being honest, this is one of the least secure types of trailer theft prevention devices out there. If you do use a hoop or coupler hitch lock, you will want to combine this with the following trailer theft prevention device, and hitch pin lock.
3. Hitch Pin Locks
Another great trailer anti theft device is the hitch pin lock. This is a type of lock that slides into the fastener hole where your hitch meets the frame of the vehicle.
These may use combination locks, although they generally are keyed locks. This is a specific type of lock that will prevent thieves from disconnecting the hitch from your vehicle. It also prevents thieves from connecting their vehicle to your trailer.
If you buy a high quality model, it can be quite secure. Although that said, a whole lot of pressure may break these locks. They are also somewhat susceptible to being picked.
4. A Tongue Lock
A tongue lock is another specific type of coupler hitch lock. It’s also features a ball or a certain shape that fits right into the coupler of your trailer hitch. It then uses a special mechanism to lock into place.
This is a great way to go if your trailer is currently not connected to your towing vehicle. This will prevent other vehicles from being able to insert the towing ball into the trailer hitch mount.
5. A Latch Pin Lock
A latch pin lock is designed to slide through the hole in the trailer hitch latch and to lock it in place. When the latch is locked, a coupling cannot open up. This means that a would be thief cannot separate your vehicle from the trailer.
If a latch pin lock is inserted when a vehicle is not hooked up to the trailer, it will prevent another vehicle from hooking up to it.
6. A GPS Alert System
Although a GPS alert system in itself will not prevent your trailer from being stolen in the moment, it will inform you as soon as your trailer is on the move.
If a thief does manage to make off with your trailer, a GPS alert system will automatically inform you if your trailer is moving, and of course where it is currently at.
7. Steering Wheel Locks
Although it’s not really what we are talking about here, if you have a travel trailer or RV that is its own vehicle, or in other words has a steering wheel, then a good steering wheel lock can always help too.
If the thief cannot move the steering wheel, then they can’t drive away with the RV.
Tips To Secure The Interior Of Your Trailer
OK, so we have covered a number of ways to prevent your trailer from being stolen. However, none of these items will prevent thieves from breaking into your trailer.
Here we have a list of tips to help secure the interior of your trailer so people cannot break in.
1. Replace Locks
One of the best things you can do to secure the interior of your trailer is to replace the locks. This goes for all locks, whether on the hatches or the doors.
The reason for this is that hatches and doors often feature fairly suboptimal locks. Sure, it does depend on the brand name and quality of your trailer, but nonetheless, some just aren’t that good.
There is also another issue which is that multiple trailers of the same make and model may actually use the exact same keys.
Therefore, if somebody has one of these keys, they can break in. Therefore, you want to replace those locks with brand new locks.
2. Get an Alarm System
A great way to prevent people from breaking into your trailer is to simply get an alarm system. This could be exactly like an alarm system for your home. You have to enter a pin code in a certain amount of time or else the alarm will sound.
This very loud alarm should deter most thieves. Moreover, there are also some models that are directly connected to emergency dispatch centers.
In other words, when your alarm goes off, the police will be automatically and instantly notified. Thieves never want to deal with the law.
3. Use Electronic Door Locks
Something else you can try doing is using electronic door locks. This is of course an alternative to simply replacing the locks with other locks.
Electronic locks are convenient because they don’t require any keys. Therefore, if you happen to lose a key, as long as you know the passcode, you can still get in.
There are also more advanced models that use both electronic keypads as well as actual keys.
4. Get an Interior Safe for Valuables
Something that you definitely want to do for your trailer is to get an interior safe for all of your valuables.
You obviously can’t always carry all of your valuables with you, and sometimes have to leave them in the trailer. For this reason, getting an interior safe is definitely recommended.
Now, a small safe that isn’t connected to anything is not going to do you any good. Thieves can simply steal the safe and then open it on their own time.
Therefore, you do want to get a safe that is very securely bolted to the frame or walls of the interior of your trailer. That safe needs to be bolted down or else somebody else can just walk away with it.
5. A Special Trailer Door Lock
Just like there are locks for your trailer hitch and for the coupling, there are also special trailer door locks. These trailer door locks are designed to fit over the regular lock of your trailer.
In other words, it’s just a second lock that fits over the first lock. It’s more or less doubles the level of security that your trailer has.
6. Use Motion Sensors & Other Security Devices
If you have an expensive trailer and you want to get high-tech about it, a good thing to do is to get motion sensors and other security devices.
If you have an expensive trailer, or even an RV, getting motion sensors with a sounding alarm and motion activated lights can be extremely helpful. Burglars never want to deal with bright lights and loud alarms.
7. Replace Windows & Window Locks
If your trailer has windows, these tend to be weak points. Therefore, if you are really serious about securing your trailer, you might want to consider either reinforcing or completely replacing the windows.
Also, if the window locks are subpar, you may want to consider replacing those as well.
Tips To Lock Your Expensive Travel Trailer Accessories
Your trailer is going to come with a variety of accessories. Things like propane tanks, surge protectors, generators, and more, are all susceptible to theft as well. Many trailers also come with batteries.
Below we have a quick list of tips to help prevent your expensive travel trailer accessories from being stolen.
- One of the most expensive things in your travel trailer that is susceptible to theft are the batteries. Thankfully, you can get some pretty high quality battery shackles that are designed for this exact purpose, to prevent your travel trailer batteries from being stolen. They more or less just bolt everything in place and make it impossible to remove the battery.
- Many travel trailers also have generators, or at least many people bring their generators along. Generators can be fairly small and lightweight, but also quite expensive. It is recommended that you get a high quality lock and fasten it to anything possible. This could be the hitch, the stairs, the frame, the ladder or anything else. As long as the object in question is solid, you can lock your generator to it.
- You definitely want to lock up your surge protector as well. More or less the same as with the generator, you want to lock this to a secure surface.
- You then also want to make sure that your propane tank is locked up. Thieves will often steal propane tanks as they’re actually quite valuable, especially when they are pulled. There are special types of propane tank locks that lock the valve to the receiver tube.
- If something cannot be locked up to where it is originally attached, we recommend removing it and placing it on the inside of your trailer. Of course, this means that your trailer itself must be secured from theft.
- Something to keep in mind here is out of mind out of sight. If a thief cannot see any of those expensive items, then they won’t be tempted to try to steal them. It’s much more tempting to steal something when it is visible out in the open. If a thief can’t see it, they don’t know that you have it.
Tips To Secure Your Trailer In A Driveway
Many thieves can be quite audacious and will attempt to steal a trailer right in your driveway. So how do you secure a trailer in your driveway?
- To secure a trailer in your driveway, especially against someone driving off with it, an easy thing to do is to park your car behind it. Nobody can to your trailer away if they can’t get their car to the trailer.
- Another great tip here, even if you don’t have another car to block the trailer, is to have the trailer in your driveway backwards. Yes, this is a bit of a pain to do, but it will ensure that nobody can steal it. In order to hook up to your trailer, somebody would first have to turn the trailer around.
- We also recommend getting motion detectors along with motion sensor lights. This way, if somebody ventures into your driveway and goes near the trailer, the lights will automatically turn on. Motion sensor activated lights are proven theft deterrents.
- Of course, using any one of the trailer wheel locks or trailer hitch locks that we have discussed above will help secure your trailer in your driveway.
- If at all possible, another good thing to do is to simply park your trailer in your garage and then lock the garage.
Can You Get Theft Proof Trailer Locks?
We do find this to be quite a funny question because when it comes down to it nothing is theft proof, at least not 100%. Sure, there are some locks and deterrent devices out there that are almost 100% theft proof.
However, thieves are often quite smart and will find ingenious methods to get around these deterrents and theft prevention devices.
Yes, there are some very secure things out there, but you really never know. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to use multiple theft deterrent devices and lock types.
Although nothing might be 100% foolproof, if a thief has to work his or her way through two or three locks, chances are they probably won’t even try to begin with.
What Do Thieves Do With Stolen Trailers?
Thieves do with stolen trailers what they do with everything else they steal, they sell it. The whole point of stealing something is to make money by any means possible.
Keep in mind that selling a stolen trailer is actually not all that difficult, at least not nearly as hard as selling a stolen car.
Even if the people don’t sell the trailer itself, they may very well steal all of the contents and then sell those. Of course, there’s always a chance that if thief could actually just use your trailer too.
What Is The Most Secure Trailer Lock?
The best way to lock a trailer is with a high-quality locking device. A good quality trailer lock should provide effective security against theft and tampering.
There are many types of locks available, each designed for different applications. A few of the most common options include padlocks, cable locks, U-bolt locks, and hitch locks.
It is best to choose the best trailer lock for your specific application, as some locks may not be suitable for certain trailers.
Padlocks are a great choice for general security, since they can withstand weathering and tampering. Cable locks are also good options, providing high levels of security with their flexible cables that can be looped around objects or even through themselves.
U-bolt locks are best for heavier trailers, as they provide an extra level of security due to their size. Finally, hitch locks are best for locking the trailer’s hitch itself, ensuring that no one can tow it away without unlocking it first.
No matter which type of lock you choose, make sure to use a good quality lock for the best security.
How To Lock Your Trailer To Your Truck
If you want extra security, you can lock your trailer to your truck. It is best to use a heavy-duty chain or cable that will resist cutting and tampering.
The chain or cable should be connected to both the hitch of the trailer and the frame of the truck. There are a couple of different ways to secure the connection.
You can use a specialized lock such as a U-lock or padlock, or even a specialty hitch pin. Make sure that whatever type of lock you are using is strong enough to withstand attempts at tampering and cutting.
Additionally, it is best to cover the entire chain/cable with a protective sleeve or sheet metal to further deter theft.
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about how to secure your trailer so it doesn’t get stolen, as well as how to keep the interior of the trailer safe as well.
Remember, thieves might steal the whole trailer or try to break into it and steal the contents. Therefore, you need to secure against both.