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If you own your caravan for long enough, you’ll discover that parts will break down or fail here and there and need replacing. That has you thinking about the integrity of your front door. You don’t want any weak points in your RV, as that makes you an easy target for criminals. When should you beef up your motorhome door locks?
It is advisable to replace your RV door locks when:
- Losing the mechanical key
- When upgrading your security system
- If your vehicle is several years old
- When you buy a used RV
This guide will further explore when you should consider new RV door locks, what your options are, and how to change your current locks, so don’t miss it!
4 Signs You Need New RV Door Locks
|Scenario||Do I Need a New RV Door Lock?||When Do I Need a New RV Door Lock?|
|You lost your key||Yes||Immediately|
|You’re adding security to your motorhome||Yes||As you wrap up installation|
|Your RV door lock is old||Yes||Immediately|
|You bought a used RV||Yes||Before you start using it|
1. You Lost the Key
Mechanical keys are fine until you lose them. It can happen easier than you think in an RV, even if your key is on a ring.
Let’s say you go climbing. You didn’t realize your keys were dangling out of your back pocket on a lanyard, but indeed, they were. Then they fall out of your pocket, plummeting hundreds of feet down. The drop is too perilous, so you have to leave them.
Maybe you go swimming, and the rushing waters carry them away, or you drop your key deep between the seats or under a fridge in your motorhome and can’t get to it. Perhaps you don’t even know what happened, just that the key is gone.
Yes, that’s right, any motorhome. Not only yours but your neighbor’s or any other motorhome you see at the campsite.
That’s not all. A CH751 key can also access storage lockers (or RV storage), boats, pop-ups, campers, and some Ford cargo vans. All this with an OEM key that’s widely available.
So if you lose your key, and you’re certain that Mother Nature didn’t eat it or that it’s not trapped somewhere in your vehicle, you have to worry about more than someone randomly picking it up, inserting it into the lock, and getting into your motorhome.
You have to stress about CH751 keys.
2. You’re Upgrading Your Security System
If the paragraphs above don’t convince you to prioritize RV security, I don’t know what will. I’ve written extensively about security and alarm systems for motorhomes, so I recommend you check out those posts before proceeding.
Security and alarm systems feature cameras, motion detectors, entry sensors, and high-decibel alarms. They’re fantastic at preventing RV thefts, which fortunately don’t happen that often anyway.
If you’re proactively fortifying your motorhome, whether out of fear of theft or due to a recent incident, why not go the whole way and replace your RV door locks too?
After all, it’s hard to have peace of mind when you’re painfully aware there’s one chink in the armor, so to speak. No matter how well protected the rest of your vehicle is, if a burglar finds that weak spot, they can easily gain access.
Replacing your caravan’s door locks and adding a security system will instill confidence that you’ve done all you can to make your vehicle as safe as possible.
3. Your Vehicle Is Older
The years go fast in a motorhome – I know from experience! It can seem like just yesterday when you first drove your new RV off the lot, and now three or five years have passed in a blink.
This goes back to my point from the intro. Parts wear down and don’t work as well over time. Even though your door lock might seem in okay condition, if you put it to the test, would it still hold up?
You don’t want to find out the answer to that question the hard way. Criminals won’t hesitate to use crowbars, wrenches, or whatever they have handiest to pry open your RV door. Even stronger door locks can buckle under that sort of thing, so yours might not stand a chance.
4. You Just Bought a Used RV
I also recommend switching out your motorhome door locks after you purchase a used RV.
I love getting a great deal on a used vehicle, and if the previous owner took care of it, a used motorhome could be a great inexpensive entry into this lifestyle. However, some components could be in better shape than others.
You can ask the original seller about the age of the door lock, but they might not always know. In that case, it’s best to assume the lock is the OEM part that came with the RV, so it’s however old the motorhome is.
Erring on the side of caution and buying a new lock is a good best practice.
The Types of RV Door Locks – An Overview of Your Options
Now that you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your RV door locks, you must select the right kind of lock for the job. Let’s review your options with the pros and cons.
Mechanical Key Lock
The first is the most traditional type of door lock, one that opens with a mechanical key. You’ve used mechanical keys your whole life, or at least part of your life, depending on how much technology you were brought up on.
A mechanical key is easy to use. It’s foolproof, really. Slide the key into the lock facing the right direction, turn the door, and it’s home sweet home; you’re safely back in your RV.
- Simple enough that even the kids can get into the motorhome on their own if they had to.
- You don’t need electricity to use a mechanical key.
- You can attach your key to a chain or ring and always have it accessible.
- It takes seconds to get into your caravan.
- Anyone can access your motorhome if using a CH751 key.
- Mechanical key locks offer the least protection from burglars.
- It’s too easy to lose the key, and even if you make copies, knowing the original is still out there causes an uneasy feeling.
You might also consider a key fob for your next RV door lock.
A key fob is the next step up from a mechanical key. It’s a key with a small remote control that uses radio frequency identification or RFID technology to communicate with a nearby device, such as your door lock.
You can press a button on the fob to open access to your motorhome, no manual unlocking required.
Of course, if you wish to use your key fob like a mechanical key, you can with most fobs. This can come in handy during instances of electrical failures, such as when the power goes out to your motorhome or if you’re caught in a bad storm and don’t want to risk using electronic devices.
- Smarter than your average mechanical key, and it’s a lot harder to access a door that uses a fob.
- Still works like a mechanical key during electrical failure.
- Lets you open your RV from further away so you can be discrete.
- If you lose it, you now give thieves two ways to get into your motorhome, via the key fob and mechanical key.
Keypad Door Lock
I most recommend a keypad for your RV door. The keypad features a sizable interface with buttons you press to input a code. The code can be a string of four to eight digits. When you type in the correct code, the keypad allows entry.
However, if you mistype or don’t know the code, you can spend all day trying to guess it, but you won’t get in.
Some keypads have backlighting, making them convenient to use after dark.
- The smartest RV door lock technology on this list since it’s keyless.
- It’s very hard for criminals to crack the passcode, especially if you change it often.
- Backlighting and large buttons make RV door keypads easy to use.
- Your keypad might not work without electricity unless it’s battery-powered.
How to Install a New RV Door Lock
You’ve proceeded with a motorhome door lock and feel good about the security of your vehicle moving forward. How do you get your new purchase set up and ready to use?
The steps vary by manufacturer and type of door lock, so these are generalized instructions.
Step 1 – Remove Your RV Door Lock
You can’t put the new lock on with the old one still there. Most RV door locks attach via a series of screws, so a simple screwdriver should suffice for removal.
Step 2 – Measure Your RV Door Opening
With the door lock off, you can now measure the available space for a new lock. The replacement lock must be the same size for a good fit. If your lock doesn’t fit, you’ll have to contact a specialist about modifying your door.
Step 3 – Place the Front and Back Assembly
Slide the lock’s front assembly into place, adjusting the lever and deadbolt positioning. When you’re pleased with that, screw the back assembly into place.
Step 4 – Program the Lock (As Needed)
If yours is a key fob or keypad, you must next program it. Connect the key fob to the lock and set the code for the keypad.
Step 5 – Test the Lock
You’re all done, so now all there’s left to do is test to see whether the lock works.
Many scenarios require replacing your motorhome door lock, including buying a used RV and losing your key. While you can always replace your current lock with a mechanical key, remember that anyone who has a CH751 key can access your vehicle.
You’re much better off with a key fob or, better still, a keypad for keyless entry into your caravan.