Since RVs are often in motion, things tend to wear out faster than on a regular house. So if you find you want to replace your door lock or upgrade to a better one, are RV door locks universal?
Here’s what I have learned:
Most RV door locks are universal. So, unless the lock was obviously changed and customized, it will be a standard lock. But, of course, the door lock for a trailer may be different than one for a motorhome. So look for locks for your specific type of RV.
Being universal is convenient for the manufacturers as it makes it easy for their salespeople to show and sell the same locks to almost any RV owner.
But it’s critical for the security of your stuff to get a good quality lock!
This is why some people change their door locks after buying a new or used RV, just like you might rekey the doors to a house you just bought.
Read on to discover a lot more as we find out whether you can change your RV door locks and how to measure a camper door lock. We will also learn how RV door locks work.
Let’s get started.
RV door lock pic.twitter.com/u15AxLKT0f
— Nest-Outdoor (@NestOutdoor) January 11, 2021
Can you change RV door locks?
RV door locks are designed to be replaced, and while they are a little more intricate, they are not unlike door locks on a home. The process required to change them is simple and can be completed in about 20 minutes or less.
RV door locks look slightly different from your regular home door locks but essentially work on a similar mechanism.
So, you don’t need to read any complicated manual or watch long videos to figure out how to remove and replace them.
A hammer, pliers, flat-blade screwdriver, and a wrench are the tools you need, and you’ve probably got them in your toolbox already.
It’s simply a question of carefully removing the screws that secure the lock to the door, replacing it with the new lock, and screwing that on.
It’s not hard to replace RV door locks, but it requires focus and precision.
Made keys for a Bargman camper door lock from the eighties pic.twitter.com/YdGTaUXKHn
— Jim Johnson (@johnsonslockkey) January 14, 2020
How do you measure a camper door lock?
The existing camper door lock needs to be removed before it can be measured. Measure both the depth of the lock (the thickness of the door) as well as the diameter (size of the hole).
The depth of the door is critical so that the new lock doesn’t stick out on either side of the door and so that the lock lines up with the bolt that extends into the wall of the door frame.
And then the size of the hole is critical too.
As we’ve discussed, most RV door locks are universal. But that doesn’t mean you can just blindly buy any lock you find.
Measure the exact size of the hole the lock fits into.
Then look for a replacement lock that is the same diameter and the same depth as the one you are replacing. Then the process is just about as easy as it is to replace a lock on your house.
Thinking of living in an RV full time?
Before you sell the house and say goodbye to civilization, you’ll enjoy checking out a recent article of mine. In it, I offer the honest truth about living full-time in an RV. You’ll find the crucial pros and cons, including the 1 reason I could never do it full-time.
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Who the heck designs RV locks? My son decided it would be a “good idea” to prank me tonight & messed with the bathroom door lock. Been trying for the past hour to get in. Joke is on him as guess who has to really poop real badly right now? 😂#RVLife #prankfail #teenager pic.twitter.com/Juz6IGTweU
— SeeJaneTravel.tv (@SeeJaneTravelTV) September 14, 2021
How do RV door locks work?
Most RV doors use a paddle entry in place of a doorknob. This sits flush against the RV door. In addition, there is generally a standard deadbolt too, and usually, 2 separate keys will be required.
The paddle handle, once unlocked with a key, simply pulls out by cupping the hand inside and under the paddle.
And then the deadbolt simply opens from the outside with a key. Inside the RV, both the paddle and deadbolt can be locked by turning 1 knob for each one.
Another type of lock uses a keypad that you can program with a passcode.
They are also sold with keys. You can give the passcode to those you want to have access to your RV. Some come with fobs that you can use to open the door remotely, at least within a reasonable distance from the door.
The beauty of this type of lock is that most would work even without a key. So, you’d be spared that anxiety that haunts us when we’re not sure where our keys are.
Two brains are often better than one. One thing our #Locksmith techs commonly run into are RV locks, both in the field and in the #GuardianSafeAndLock shop. We stock keys for many kinds of RV locks and we are even able to gain entry to the RV if needed!#GSL #Security pic.twitter.com/ga0wPUKu4F
— Guardian Safe & Lock (@GuardianLock) October 18, 2020
Why do RVs have two locks?
RVs have two locks for enhanced security: one controls the handle while the other controls the deadbolt. Just as with home locks, the addition of the deadbolt helps reduce the chance of a break-in.
The deadbolt prevents access.
But if you don’t also lock the paddle, sometimes the door does not close fully, and that can leave a small gap through where a burglar could easily slip a crowbar or other implement and then force the door open.
So make sure to lock both all the time.
The lock that controls the handle is universal: It’s the same in most RVs, while the one that locks the deadbolt is unique. Now, there are door styles with single locks, and they are no less secure. It’s simply a different system.
Have you ever wondered whether living in an RV is cheaper than a home?
I’ve got you covered because this is the theme of a recent article of mine. In it, I explained whether living in an RV saves money and how expensive RV living is. But I also revealed when it makes sense to sell everything and live in an RV.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
if you’re inevitably gonna end up adding a deadbolt anyway, why bother installing a normal lock? pic.twitter.com/1OEJFrxH8E
— tay cray (@tayreyk) November 6, 2021
Can you put a deadbolt on an RV door?
While many RVs come with a deadbolt, it is possible to add one to an RV that did not have one originally. It can be installed by a technician, but with the right tools, it is possible to install a deadbolt on your RV door yourself.
Deadbolts make you and your loved ones safer because they’re stronger.
They deter burglars because it takes a lot of effort to be able to compromise a strong deadbolt. In fact, it is ideal that you put a deadbolt on your RV door.
Most RV doors already come with two locks; one locks the handle, while the other is the deadbolt. But truth be told, these locks are not very strong. This is why some RVers go on to put an additional deadbolt on their door.
Or some older or cheaper RVs don’t come with them, so RVers often add them.
It’s not a complicated process. In fact, it can be wrapped up in less than 30 minutes. And, some keys come with diagrams that provide help as to what to do. And, of course, with any DIY project, YouTube is your friend.
But here are the basic steps to install a deadbolt in an RV:
- Use the paper layout that comes with the door, and tape it to the door where you want the lock to go.
- Depending on the door/RV and lock, you will likely need 2 hole saw bits, a 2 1/8” one and a 1”.
- With a small drill bit, drill the center on the flat and side of the door where the hole saws will be drilling. This will prevent the hole saws from slipping or bouncing.
- Drill the big hole first and remove and discard the piece that was cut out.
- Then drill the hole on the side of the door, and again discard the piece that was cut out.
- Install the deadbolt just as you would any home deadbolt.
- Mark with a pencil where the deadbolt hits the door frame when closed.
- Use the same 1” hole saw to drill a hole in the door frame for the deadbolt to slide into.
- If the door frame is metal, likely no reinforcement is needed.
- If the door frame is wood, get a strike plate (if the lock did not come with one) and screw it into the door frame.
Say you’re thinking of buying an RV for a full-time living, which one’s the best?
In a recent article, I shared the best type of RV to live in year-round and why Class A motorhomes are the best class of RVs to live in. But I also shared why fifth-wheels are the best non-motorized RVs to live in.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
In the article, we found out whether you can change your RV door locks and how to measure a camper door lock. But, we learned how RV door locks work.
Then, we looked at why RVs have two locks. Lastly, we wrapped things up by finding out if you can put a deadbolt on an RV.
Photo which requires attribution:
Still image taken from video RV Lock | Installing The RV Lock V4.0 and Free Monthly Drawing – by RangerRob Country Living is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.