You’ve invested a lot of your hard-earned cash into purchasing that travel trailer. But have you put any thought into a good trailer hitch lock to keep it safe and secure?
Pull-behinds of any kind are susceptible to theft because of their design. The very reason they’re so attractive is the same reason they’re easy targets for thieves–you like the ability to park your RV, easily unhitch it, then use your tow vehicle to travel to and from the campsite. And while you’re gone or your trailer is in storage, any unscrupulous individual with a truck can back up to it, hitch up, and take it down the road before you discover their crime.
Why not protect your investment by making the trailer hitch “unhitchable?” That’s the job of a good trailer hitch lock. Let’s look at how they work and discover which ones are best for your needs.
What Is a Trailer Hitch Lock?
A trailer hitch lock should make your tow vehicle’s receiver and trailer’s coupler unusable. Typically, you’ll use one of two lock options: locking the trailer to the tow vehicle or locking the trailer coupler itself.
The first remedy doesn’t allow thieves to unhitch the trailer at all. It’s a safety solution when you hook up your tow vehicle and trailer, but it’s left sitting unsupervised for long periods. For instance, many parking areas at trailheads are in rural locations where you can unload horses for trail rides. To prevent trailer theft, owners use trailer hitch locks while they’re out on the trail.
Locking the coupler itself gives the owner some security in knowing the trailer is safe on its own so that they can use their tow vehicle elsewhere. It inhibits the coupler, so a vehicle can’t connect to it without the right combination or key.
How Trailer Hitch Locks Work
Traditional trailer hitch locks secure the trailer to the tow vehicle. They fit crosswise into a hole on the tow vehicle’s receiver, then lock in place, usually with a combination or a key lock.
With a coupler lock, a lock contraption fits into a ball coupler on a trailer, and the bar ratchets tight over the coupler, securing the ball inside. Other coupler hitches cover the coupler completely, making it unusable to prospective thieves.
Why You Need a Trailer Hitch Lock
Whether you have a utility trailer, car hauler, or a 42-foot luxurious travel trailer, a trailer hitch lock should give you some reassurance as to your investment’s safety.
No one wants to leave in their tow vehicle to explore the surrounding countryside, only to discover their RV has disappeared when they return. Many use hitch locks as added security when storing their trailers in their yard or a storage facility.
An unsecured hitch or coupler can be a temptation, so placing a trailer hitch lock on it can (1) discourage thieves on sight and (2) make theft a more time-consuming and challenging activity. It can call attention to the action and stop it before a thief can complete his or her crime. Therefore, many thieves don’t even bother if there’s a lock.
Are Hitch Locks Universal?
Most trail hitch locks will fit several ball sizes and hitch receivers, making them universal. However, several brands have specific locks that fit only certain types of trailer hitches and couplers. Some fit designated ball sizes on couplers, and others work on different size trailer hitches and extenders.
When shopping, select a lock that will work well with your setup.
What to Look for When Buying a Trailer Hitch Lock
If you’ve narrowed down the type of coupler or trailer hitch lock you want, find a brand that issues keys specific to that lock only. Some models use generic keys, meaning a thief could purchase the same product and use the included keys to unlock the same model.
Pick a lock (pun intended) that will work in any situation. Weather and road grime may affect how easily the lock can be secured or unlocked, so stick with trailer hitch locks with waterproof covers over their keyed entries.
Additionally, look at the design of each lock from the vantage point of a potential thief. Would it be easy to disengage? Can you beat it with a hammer or use bolt cutters to break it?
Reading reviews can be extremely useful as well. Pay attention to negative notes as well as positive ones. Negative experiences might sway your selection, or they could give you an idea about the challenges or benefits of using that particular lock.
Best Trailer Hitch Locks
We’ve found three of the best trailer hitch locks and listed them below. Find the one that best suits your needs.
1. Reese Towpower Tow and Stow Lock Kit
- Designed to provide excellent towing
- Lockable offering extra safety
Reese is the largest maker of trailer hitch equipment and accessories, and this coupler lock has proven to be a dependable and inexpensive option to keep your trailer safe and secure. The lock is aluminum with a heavy steel bar.
Because it ratchets into place, it can fit eleven different coupler sizes. It’s theft-resistant, with a pick-proof lock and sturdy design, all for $25.
2. Andersen Stainless Steel Lock Set
- Includes: 1 adjustment pin and 1 receiver pin for 2-1/2 inches receivers
- Adjustment pin: 4-3/8 inches by 5/8 inches inside shank; receiver pin: 3-1/3 inches by 5/8 inches inside shank
Designed to lock your trailer to your hitch, the Anderson stainless steel lock can handle up to 30,000 lbs. Its sleek profile is deceptive, leading thieves to assume it’s an easy mark. But with rust-free construction materials and heavy-duty keys, this lock is top on the list of security measures for your trailer.
However, it’s not entirely universal as the Anderson lock will only fit 2” and 2.5” hitches. It’s a reasonable $50.
3. Proven Locks All-Steel Heavy Duty Lock
- ✔️CHECK PHOTO INDEX for coupler FITTING! WE HAVE NUMEROUS LOCKS TO ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT COUPLERS
- ✔️ Ultimate protection against theft - Bolt Cutter Proof
Proven Locks has created another coupler lock they claim to be bolt cutter-proof. With an innovative design that fits the entire end of a trailer coupler, each lock will fit a specific trailer model. Its solid steel design has proven highly effective, even without universal coverage.
You’ll likely find the perfect model for your trailer here because RVers can’t say enough good things about it. The lock price varies by model from $250 to $285.
To fully enjoy the RV life, you must know your investment is safe, whether at a campsite or while in storage. A trailer hitch lock can give you that assurance so that you can reap the benefits of your recreational vehicle or use your utility trailer without fear that it might disappear at the most inopportune time!
Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API