When I brought my first fifth wheel, we were planning to park it by my mother’s house. We had to have it delivered by a service since we did not have a truck. When we finally got it parked, we realized that the dealership had forgotten to give us the key. The kind man who delivered our rig told us that most RVs have the same lock, any RV key will likely work. He used his personal key and it worked!
I was horrified.
Rekeying an RV or trailer means replacing the whole locking mechanism. The exact lock must be ordered to match your make and model, but once the correct lock is available the installation is simple and can be done quickly without power tools.
Since most RVs and trailers come with a standard lock that can be opened by virtually any other RV or trailer owner, you should always lock the deadbolt which has a key unique to your unit.
How To Rekey RV Locks?
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If you run into trouble, ask around your next RV park, many RV owners are quite helpful.
I called and talked to two Camping World locations and only one offered the rekeying. If you would like to have the job done for you, you will have to visit a special locksmith.
Can I get a copy of my RV key?
If you have simply lost your key you have three options, visit a locksmith and have it remade from pieces or a spare, order one from the manufacturer or rekey the entire door.
Start with a locksmith. Call ahead and see if they have experience with RV doors, my local Camping World was able to give me the number of a local shop that they worked with often.
If you are unable to get a key made, and you are not in a hurry, ordering one from the manufacturer might be your best bet. They will want the VIN number, so have it ready when you call. In the mean time you may be able to still use the top lock if you have access to a master key.
Rekeying the door may be the easiest and cheapest way to get your family rolling again. The process is simple and can be done without special tools.
Are all RV keys the same?
Dealers have master keys to RVs, they open the top lock on most RVs. RVs have two keys, one top key that can be opened by anyone with a master key. The bottom, deadbolt key is unique to your rig.
If you lock yourself out of your RV, anyone with a master can open that top lock, but the bottom one will need your key.
What can I do to secure my RV or trailer door?
When considering safety in your RV, rekeying is an option if you do not have the deadbolt key. This will ensure that your have one layer of security on your rig. If you want to make your rig more secure, consider adding a door alarm. This will alert you if the door has been opened, but not present a hurtle to escape in case of a fire.
When I surveyed a group of Full Time RV Families, most of them sited some type of camera with motion sensing alerts.
Companies like Ring have made is very easy for anyone to add this layer of security to their rig.
Many families also sited feeling more secure because of their dogs, who alert them if something strange is happening. This might help you feel more secure away from home.
Is there anything else I can do to secure my RV?
There are a lot of ways for someone to steal things from your campsite, and none of them can be completely prevented.
If you treat your campsite like your home you can do some simple things to boost the security:
Choose a well lit camp site, might not be as romantic and idyllic, but it is sure to be safer.
Keep lights on in your rig if you will be away, and run that porch light at night. There is nothing that deters crime like bright lights.
You might even want to add a few solar charged garden lights around your site.
We discussed the pros and cons of changing your door lock, but you can also change locks on your cargo areas, tires and the hitch. These locks add another layer of security.
By having visible security measures like padlocks and custom keys, anyone who is curious will know you have things locked down.
Just like at home you should check the windows when you will be sleeping or away. Make sure all windows are securely locked.
Know Your Neighbors
Another great way to keep an eye on things when you are away is to get to know your neighbors! If you have friendly neighbors you can create an atmosphere of Neighborhood Watch and help keep the area safe by increasing awareness. Commit to reporting any suspicious behavior and locking up valuables.
Finally, here are some security ideas I got from my RV groups:
- Traditional Security Cameras
- Ring Doorbell
- Pepper Spray
- Posting Local Police Numbers
- Blink Camera
- Choosing to Boondock
- National Parks where security patrols
- Knowing the area before you visit