How to Choose the Best Trailer Hitch Lock for Your RV
What is a Trailer Hitch Lock
A trailer hitch connects a trailer to its tow vehicle. It bolts the trailer onto the tow vehicle as a coupling. Many people make the mistake of referring to a ball mount as a trailer hitch when the ball mount is an accompaniment for a trailer hitch.
The hitch pin is the slender metal rod that prevents a ball mount shank from dropping out of a receiver hitch tube. It is inserted crossways into a hitch receiver so that it goes through the ball mount shank and out the other side. There is also a spring stainless steel clip that goes into a hole on the end to make sure that the pin doesn’t fall out.
A receiver hitch is such a common type of trailer hitch that people often call a receiver hitch a “trailer hitch.” A receiver hitch bolts onto the rear underside of a vehicle and is essentially a tube that’s ready for a ball mount or another accessory. Hitches vary from tow vehicle to tow vehicle, though the tube size is standardized and categorized into hitch classes.
Hitch classes are based on the weight that a trailer hitch can safely tow. For example, class one goes up to about 2,000 lbs. and is suitable for even small cars. Class three are common on CUVs, SUVs, and vans. Class 5 hitches are rated for over 20,000 lbs. of gross trailer weight and so can only be used with substantial pickup trucks.
Why do You need a Trailer Lock?
While trailer insurance is also a good idea for several reasons, a trailer hitch lock is a great way to secure your trailer so that it stays right where you leave it. Trailer hitch locks are made of sturdy materials so that no one can gain access to your trailer without the code or key.
Since a trailer is an accessible and desirable piece of equipment to steal, your hitch lock is a defense against theft. The first layer of hitch lock defense is as a visual deterrent: a would-be thief might reconsider when faced with a lock since it’s a formidable obstacle.
Knowing that your trailer and goods are locked reassures you and lets you release your mind from worry about being robbed. In addition to saving you losses from a successful theft, a lock that keeps thieves from messing around with your trailer hitch can save you money you might otherwise spend fixing the damage done to your hitch during an attempted theft.
Features to Look for in Trailer Locks
As stated above, a visual deterrent is one of the benefits of trailer hitch locks, so shopping for a high visibility lock is one way to maximize this advantage. A decent-sized lock that is brightly colorful will be easily noticed from a way off and will let thieves know to steer clear. Red and yellow are standard trailer hitch lock colors.
Ease of Use
You don’t want your lock down routine to be arduous. For one thing, if it’s a pain, you may not bother to lock your trailer hitch every time, leaving yourself vulnerable to theft even though you own a lock. Most locks are built for convenience and functionality so that you can hook them up quickly and so that no one without the correct key or code can hook your trailer up at all. Make sure you like the locking style of the trailer hitch lock you choose.
You will need to know the size of your hitch receiver and your hitch pin to shop for a trailer hitch lock. Generally, trailer hitch receivers come in four sizes: 1-1/4″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and less commonly 3″; 1/2″ and 5/8″ pins are the most common. Class two receiver hitches use 1/2″ pins, and the larger classes use 5/8″ pins.
The best trailer hitch locks offer some degree of size versatility. You want to find a lock in a size that matches your towing habits, so consult your manufacturer’s guide, which is an excellent resource for dimensions and capacities.
Unfortunately, some hitch locks on the market use keys that are mass-produced to save the manufacturer money, yet this poses an inconvenient risk for the consumer. Without unique keys, if someone has a key from the same manufacturer that works with your lock design, they can gain access to your trailer without having your key. Good trailer hitch locks have distinctively designed keys, and that’s what you want for ultimate security. After all, the objective of your lock purchase is security.
Alternatively, a resettable combination lock is a feature of some trailer hitch locks. This allows you to never worry about losing or forgetting your key. Once the lock portion is removed, you rotate the rings to set or reset your personal combination code.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAILER HITCH LOCK FOR YOUR APPLICATION
How do you keep your trailer secure when it’s not locked to your vehicle? For that application, you would need a coupler lock to prevent another person from coupling their vehicle with your trailer. Coupler hitch locks are common and keep your stand-alone trailer safe from an unauthorized driver hitching up to your trailer and driving off with it.
Coupler hitch locks are U-shaped locks that fit over the coupler on the trailer’s tongue. Often these have a ball-shaped element that fits into the space where the ball unit on your vehicle would couple so that another hitch ball can’t be inserted there.
The three basic types of trailer hitch lock are coupler locks, receiver locks, and pin locks. A pin hitch lock blocks the fastener hole where the hitch meets the vehicle frame so that another vehicle can’t attach. Some pin locks are bent at the tip to make them harder to force.
Receiver hitch locks are usually metal pins with two lockable ends, or with one locking end and one that is bent or curved so that it can’t be pulled through. The pin fits across a hole on the receiver, where it links to your towing vehicle. Receiver hitch locks secure your trailer into the hitch on your vehicle, so that the two can’t be taken apart without the correct number combination or key.
Lock size is dependent on the type of lock that you get. For a receiver trailer hitch lock, you need to know the size of the hitch pin hole and the size of the receiver. Class one or two hitches typically lock with a 1/2″ pin and 1 1/4″ receiver. Class three to five hitches require a 5/8″ inch pin and a 2″ receiver.
When shopping for a coupler trailer hitch lock, you need to know the size of the ball. A 2″ coupler ball requires a 2″ coupler trailer hitch lock.
No matter what style trailer hitch lock you decide on, it makes sense to pay for quality and make sure that your purchase is a durable locking hitch system that can tolerate forceful hammer blows and cannot be frozen or otherwise damaged nor easily picked. Look for solid hardened steel alloys and stay away from materials like zinc or aluminum. The top five list below should set you on the right path to finding an excellent trailer hitch lock for your rig.
The Best Trailer Hitch Locks Reviewed
Master Lock Receiver Trailer Hitch Lock
This list is noticeably Master Lock heavy, and for a good reason: the company has a well-earned terrific reputation. This coupler lock has a reliable heavy duty all solid hardened steel structure, so you know it’s a product that can live up to the company’s limited lifetime warranty with its ability to withstand both weather and abuse.
Another noteworthy feature is its snap-on rainproof rubber cap that helps keep grime and moisture out of the keyhole, to minimize wear on this excellently thought-out hitch lock further. This model, 2866DAT, also has a locking head that rotates 360 degrees so that the keyhole can face forward for ease of accessibility. The anti-lockpicking four-pin cylinder is another excellent feature.
The Master Lock Receiver Coupler Lock has a very convenient push to lock mechanism that makes installation and removal easy. To lock, press the head decisively into the pin and remove the key.
This versatile trailer hitch lock is suitable for hitches from class one to class five, with a locking hitch that fits 1/2″ and 5/8″ receivers. One drawback is the keys themselves. Some consumers have complained about the integrity of the keys, stating that they are prone to breaking if you don’t treat them with some delicacy.
- Easy to use
- Universal trailer hitch size
- Solid hardened steel construction
- Key lack durability
Reese Towpower Tow ‘N Store Lock Kit
The Reese Towpower Tow ‘N Store Lock kit is an affordable option that is easy to install and remove. It’s a universal fit coupler lock that offers you anti-theft security. Its lock bar is made of durable steel, though its main body is made of aluminum.
At 9″x9″x3″ with a bright yellow finish, the Reese Towpower Tow ‘N Store Lock kit is an excellent visual deterrent. The lock is made of quality materials to withstand drill-outs or other attempts at lock picking, and there are eleven locking positions for the ratchet to create a truly universal fit. It can be used with 1 7/8″, 2″, and 2 5/16 inch couplers.
Being a kit, the Reese Towpower Tow ‘N Store Lock Kit includes three locks, keyed alike for your convenience. In addition to the bright yellow coupler, there is a brass coupler lock that provides added security (padlock style), and a dual bent pin receiver lock adjustable between 5/8″ and 1/2 inch receivers. The latter locks your trailer tongue in place with twin bent pins, permitting the ball mount to be positioned onto the hitch securely.
Unfortunately, some consumers have reported that the key set is a little fragile and prone to breaking. This lock kit comes with two keys, as insurance against key loss (or, perhaps, breakage).
- Universal fit
- High visibility
- Aluminum body
- Keys lack durability
Master 389DAT Lock Couplers Trailer Lock
The Master Lock Couplers Trailer Lock features universal fit so it can pair with couplers varying from 1 7/8″ to 2 5/16″. It’s reasonably priced, and it’s built to last with robust, corrosion resistant hardened steel to prevent corrosion and rust. Of course, this toughness also helps against tampering.
This is a standout lock as a visual deterrent because it comes in a dazzling red color. It’s 6.5″ x 4″ x 7.5″ and weighs two pounds. It has a sophisticated locking mechanism that provides a meaningful safeguard against prybars and lock picking.
Removal and installation are both notably simple. Unfortunately, the Master Lock Couplers Trailer Lock doesn’t have a unique key design, which puts some limits on its ultimate security. It does come with two keys to give you a leg up on key misplacement.
- Universal fit
- Easy to use
- High visibility
- Key design is not unique
Proven Locks 2516 AS Trailer Coupler Lock
The Proven Locks Trailer Couple Lock has been called “bolt cutter proof “due to its 1/4” impenetrable heavy duty steel structure. It’s USA made, comes with a lifetime warranty, and it’s received rave reviews for ease of use: installation and removal.
It has a high-end price tag that reflects its superior quality. The black powder coat finish doesn’t fall into the high visibility visual deterrent category, and yet, since this steel lock is virtually indestructible, that may not matter. The Proven Locks Trailer Couple Lock 2516 AS model is specifically designed to fit airstream trailers.
In most cases, this coupler lock can be secured by 5/16 inches safety chains (though not all chains are uniform). It has two holes low on the outer shield to allow you to padlock your safety chains and your coupler lock together. This steel lock could also be used for other accessories.
- Easy to use
- Heavy duty steel construction
Master Lock 377KA Trailer Coupler Lock
With the Master Lock 377KA Trailer Coupler Lock, Master Lock offers another excellent trailer hitch lock. It gets high marks for versatility since it’s designed to fit 1 7/8″, 2″, and most 2-5/16 inches trailer couplers. With the company’s limited lifetime warranty and advanced locking mechanism to protect you against picking and prying, this model can also be keyed alike for your convenience if you have multiple trailers. On the downside, the key designs are not unique.
This all-steel lock fits inside your hitch. It’s simple, affordable, and easy to use with dimensions of 5.6″ x 4.3″ x 2.8″. It weighs just over two pounds (steel is a bit heavy but worth it for durability’s sake). The heavy duty solid hardened steel locking mechanism is also corrosion resistant, so it’s suitable for even harsh weather conditions.
- Universal fit
- Easy to use
- Solid steel durable design
- Key design is not unique
Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API