Your RV contains a lot of valuable items, so you want to keep it as secure as possible whether at home, in storage or on the road. Keeping your RV entry door lock and baggage door locks in good operating condition is essential to this.
If you have experienced a break-in where the lock was damaged, you should replace it as soon as possible to secure the RV and its contents. Likewise, if your look is old and not working correctly, you could be more vulnerable to loss through theft.
Motorhome and Trailer Door Locks
Most travel trailer and motorhome door locks are very similar. In fact, there are only about 10 or so trailer and motorhome entry door locks on the market and another four or five baggage door locks. One of those 15 locks will fit almost all locks on all late model RVs.
Some older RVs, truck campers and park models will have entrance door locks that look like common residential door locks.
A standard RV lock has a door latch with a paddle handle on both sides. Some come with a deadbolt feature for increased security. Those can be identified easily because they will have two key slots: one for the main latch and the other to lock the deadbolt.
While you're looking at a lock replacement, take the opportunity to look at the door itself. A poorly fitted or damaged door can be more easily breached by a thief. If your door is in poor shape, consider the investment in replacement door. Not only will you be safer, but you may be warmer in the fall and winter and cooler in the summer.
Identifying your Lock
Since the start of the RV era, the bulk of the installed door locks (as well as the related RV Keys and RV Key cylinders) have been supplied by one of four manufacturers:
Bauer Locks are now widely supplied to the RV industry by one distributor. AP Products RV door locks are used on most new RVs. Fastec locks are supplied by Wesco and Trimark locks, considered to be an upgrade, are used on some high-end fifth wheels and motorhomes, as well as travel trailers.
Global Locks are not currently offered in the market. However, you can obtain replacement key blanks for them if your RV has one installed.
The first thing in determining the lock you need is the vehicle you have. Generally, RV entry door lock are designed for either motorhomes or travel trailer.
Next, determine if you have a dead bolt or not. This can be done in two ways. If you have two key holes on the lock mechanism and/or have two metal protrusions that can go from the door locking mechanism into the frame, you have a lock with a deadbolt.
Now, the next step in identifying your lock gets a little tricky. While the other three brands have similar sizes and configurations, there can be a lot of differences with Trimark locks in terms of the size/configuration of the latching mechanism. This is important because you want the door to be held properly by the latch.
To fully determine what kind of lock you have, you'll have to remove the inside paddle and plate, and see if there are any numbers, letters or brand stamped into the back of the exterior portion of the lock. Especially if it is a Trimark lock, you will need those numbers and letters to get the correct replacement RV lock.
Finally, determine the size of the raw opening in the door that the lock fits into.
If your lock is a residential style door lock, you'll see them offered with strange numbers associated with them, like 3.75 x 2.75 or 2.75 x 1.5. What the first number means is the distance in inches that the center of the mounting hole is from the edge of the door, also called the backset. The second number refers to the thickness of the door, again in inches. For this type of lock, that's about all you need to know, other than choosing the style and finish.
Once you are armed with all that information, contact one of our RV parts specialists and we can assist you in getting the correct lock for your RV.
RV Baggage Door Locks
The baggage door locks that look like entry door locks form a third group of lock designs. Again, depending on the door design, they can have very different latch lengths and mounting hole configurations.
By the way, we're not talking here about baggage door locks that look like just a small silver circle with a keyhole in the center. Those are called cam locks and are very common in travel trailers and fifth wheels. The only thing you need to know when replacing those is the length of the threaded shaft.
Installing an RV Door Lock
RV Entry Door locks are easy to install. Start by removing the back plate on the trailer door locking mechanism where the inside paddle is attached. Then, remove the screws on the edge of the door around the door latch and you should be able to remove the outside panel. You may have to carefully loosen any sealant or old rubber with a plastic putty knife to get it to break free.
If you have the exact same replacement lock as the one you are removing, it's an option to replace the strike plate on the door frame. If the replacement lock is different, it is highly recommended to do so.
Once you've done that, repeat the process in reverse, inserting the outer plate, screwing the latch plate to the edge of the door, and re-installing the inside paddle and plate.
Your new lock will come with instructions that are more detailed and specific to your new lock. However, all installations will be much the same as described above. Be sure and consult those instructions for any details you need to know.
Keyless RV Door Locks
Some RV owners choose to upgrade their locks with a keyless door lock with a touch pad that can be programmed with a custom combination. There are only so many different key codes (patterns) with RV locks. A keyless lock can give you an additional level of security by making the access more random.
RV digital door locks are powered by aa batteries that operate the lock or unlock functions, and light up the keypad when you start to interact with it. This makes it easier to unlock the trailer or motorhome when you are in a dark campground late at night.
An example of a quality keyless door lock for RVs is AP Products 013-509. This is designed to fit in the same hole as a standard manually operated RV door lock. The keypad section just sits entirely on the outside of the door while the paddle and manual lock section sits inside the hole in the door.
RV Interior Door Locks
Make sure that any Interior RV locks on doors and cabinets are in good working order as well. You can secure valuables behind those locks where a thief can't get to them, even if they gain access to the RV's interior.
Some RVs have safes installed for valuables. They generally have keypads like a keyless entry lock will and can be programmed with different codes for entry
Buying an RV Door Lock
When you're ready to purchase a door lock, consult one of RV Part Shop's customer service professionals for assistance in selecting the correct product for your application.
If you have a Trimark door lock you are replacing, you will have to do some work to identify the correct replacement, they have a lot of variations. Consult this article on Trimark Locks for more information.