Wednesday, November 29, 2023


I broke into my own RV in minutes! Stop burglars with this easy fix

By Tony Barthel
Despite seeming impossible, we lost all the keys to our RV. All of them. Including my dealership master key that I kept juuuuust in case. In other words, there was no getting into our RV. So now we were locked out of the trailer and locked out of the baggage compartments. And even locked out of the outdoor shower, for that matter. Now what? 

Inside the door, the RVLock looks similar to what came from the factory except for the reset button and the on-off for the remote

If you’re unaware, many of the locks on RVs can be opened by a single universal key. Baggage compartments on travel trailers and many motorhomes use the “751” key so you could go to your neighbor at a campground and ask them to unlock your baggage compartments. That part’s easy. 

RV dealerships also have a master key that unlocks a lot of the deadbolt locks on RVs including the ones on most, but not all, travel trailers. But the lock that works on the door latch is unique and dealerships do not have a master key for this. 

Fortunately, this happened when we were at home, aka Camp Boredom, so it was easy enough for me to get my electric drill and drill out the locks on the door of our travel trailer. In fact, it was shockingly easy – after just a few moments I had managed to break into the trailer and it wasn’t even as noisy as I thought it would be. Fort Knox an RV isn’t. 

My job was going to be to replace my door handle and the locks that went with it with a new handle from RVLock. After figuring out which lock models would directly replace the handle and lock on my travel trailer, I placed an order online and was ready to spend an afternoon swapping my original lock and door handle for this new one. 

After drilling out the old locks it was easy enough to open the door of the trailer where I could get to the three screws that held the door handle in. RVLock provided all the necessary screws and fittings to directly replace the door handle on my travel trailer and its associated locks. 

While I had budgeted an afternoon for this, the entire process really took about 15 minutes including drilling out the old locks. It was an all-too-easy replacement and the new lock fit right in where the old lock was. 

Now I have a keyless entry to my travel trailer so I no longer have to worry about losing keys since there really aren’t any. Well, that’s not true. The new lock did come with two sets of keys for me to lose and also a nifty remote so I could sit by the campfire and lock and unlock my RV’s door to my heart’s content. 

I like that the keypad lights up when you start depressing the keys and you can easily set your own lock code. The wireless remote functionality can also be turned on and off with a switch inside the trailer to save the batteries of the receiver inside the lock. This is really an easy direct replacement for the lock on my door and I like that I now no longer have to worry about having keys to the door – as long as I can remember my code I’m in!

While I was at it I did some hunting around in Jeff Bezos’ neighborhood and bought some combination lock replacements for my baggage compartments. In the case of my trailer there are three baggage compartments and, bada boom, bada bing, there is a set of three replacement baggage compartment locks from the world-famous company, Xuanfeng. 

Okay, seriously, I don’t know who they are either. 

The combination baggage door lock on my trailer.

But I do know that the locks were also easy to replace on the baggage doors once a friend from the dealership came by with a new key to the old locks and I could unlock them and remove the old lock mechanisms. 

Again, this is a simple procedure with just a couple of tools. The new baggage door combination locks are actually of higher quality than I expected. Sorry, Xuanfeng, I don’t mean to cast aspersions on your fine name. 

The combination locks have three tumblers so you can program them easily with any three-number combination you choose. I chose to program all three with the same combination. Duh. 

What I like about these is that there’s a nice mechanical “snap” when the lock is opened or closed and they actually really do feel like a quality part. Once again I am saved from having to have keys in my pocket, which I hate, and I can open the baggage doors willy nilly by just remembering three digits. Furthermore, every Tom, Dick and Harry at the campground doesn’t have a key to my baggage compartments and the valuable rags and sewer tools therein. 

I’ve had all these locks for over a year and the RVLock for the door of the trailer is performing as well as it did from day one. I have no regrets. But the combination locks have gotten a bit “fiddly” and sometimes the combination tumblers stick a bit. I might shoot a bit of graphite lube into the tumblers and see if that helps because sometimes they’re pretty fidgety. 

How did we lose our keys?

I’m sure you’re curious about how we lost our keys so I’ll share. The first set was purely a mystery. They just disappeared. Into thin air, no less. 

The second was not my doing (and I will not implicate anyone whom I live with as I enjoy sleeping INside the house). But let’s just say that a certain member of the family (hint: it wasn’t the dog) left the keys for the trailer on the bumper of the truck and then took said truck to the grocery store. All the keys for the trailer including the keys for the bicycle lock and the lock we use for our surge suppressor were on that keyring. 

Once I had replaced all the locks on the trailer with these new ones I happened to be doing some maintenance on our front-loader washing machine and was cleaning out the gasket area for the door. Guess what I found in there? It turns out that I had left my keys in my pocket and then washed my pants and the washing machine wanted to remind me that I should check my pockets. 

It had probably been a year since it ate my keys as they were a bit rusty which also means I should check that gasket more often. 

But that shows that, after a year, our RVLock is still going strong and the batteries that make it work show no signs of needing replacement thus far. 

Overall if I were to get a new trailer, the first thing I’d do might be to replace the lock and baggage door locks with these units. The fact that I don’t have to wander around like the school janitor with a ring of keys announcing my presence is convenient. 

Camping should be about relaxing and enjoying the experience, not about being keyed up. 

Again, those combination lock replacements can be found here.


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.



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Jim Johnson (@guest_203130)
1 year ago

Regardless of whose lock you purchase (I don’t think there are more than a couple manufacturers, if that many), I am a strong advocate of changing ALL the locks on your new RV (whatever class, type). For better or worse, those master keys are far too easily obtained. If somebody has to break in, I have a better shot at both quickly noticing, and having a smooth insurance claim. I like having ONE key – in fact we have a big trailer and a little weekender trailer and one key fits everything. With one key it has permanent space on my keyring rather than stuck on auxiliary keyrings that get misplaced. The key number is also stored outside my RVs, like on my phone, not a sticker on the RV. Of course nobody but my wife and I know that one key fits everything.

Luis Beal (@guest_201432)
1 year ago

We bought the RVlock locks 3 years ago. My review on them is that they are a great idea but cheaply made.
It started dying 10 months after buying it. We change the batteries but that didn’t help. We were in TX where it had rained a bit, and it had been cold so I mentioned that to the RVLock lady on the phone when she asked, her answer was that these locks were not made to be in rain or cold weather.
Excuse me????? Can you say that again about an exterior lock???
She sent me a new lock anyway, because the 1 year warranty had not expired, so we just switched out the electronic board inside and saved the case for later, just in case.
Another year goes by and the numbers on the lock start peeling off so we put the new case on and trashed the old one.
The new case had been set wrong from the factory and there was no way to reverse it, so now we have a new case where the lock button unlocks, and the unlock button locks!
Yeah, try doing that when you’re in a hurry!

Jerome Friedman (@guest_201416)
1 year ago

We have digital lock. Always have a key… never know when the batteries will decide to die and the code won’t unlock it… happened once. Even the most robust lithium batteries don’t last forever

Stephanie (@guest_201367)
1 year ago

In the article it states “RV dealerships also have a master key that unlocks a lot of the deadbolt locks on RVs including the ones on most, but not all, travel trailers. But the lock that works on the door latch is unique and dealerships do not have a master key for this. ”

However, while checking the locks on my TT, the master lock is the door latch and my unique key is for the deadbolt which I believe to be more secure as the master is not the deadbolt. Perhaps the writer had his statement reversed …or his locks were reversed.

Robin Newcomer (@guest_151282)
2 years ago

While I have yet to lock myself out of my new Jayco Greyhawk, our Ford Escape Hybrid tow decided to have some fun with me: it locked me out while running in park with the keys INSIDE. I left the keys in the tray inside the car while repositioning the tow bar just a smidgen to the right to attach the Blue Ox towbar to the car. I left it running to jump outside to check whether it was going to fit. All of a sudden, I heard a “click,” and it took me a second to realize the car had locked itself with the keys within view but out of reach. We’d left my keys at home (it’s my hubby’s car when not being towed). He couldn’t remember the handy external keypad code, so after a few moments of panic, I realized a call to Good Sam would get us out of this embarrassing predicament. We have since purchased a key that will be stored inside the RV and written down the keypad code. Next up: foolproofing the RV from a lockout.

rvgrandma (@guest_145737)
2 years ago

When we were working at an RV park a lady locked herself out of her travel trailer. Our motorhome door key opened her TT door.

Jerome Friedman (@guest_145398)
2 years ago

Digital lock is great. Always have a key since I never know when the batteries will die before I unlock it… that happened once.

TIM MCRAE (@guest_143279)
2 years ago

I used the combo locks on last MH. Loved them although you can’t leave them unlocked or anyone can see you combo. Constant fiddling was annoying but not as much as keys …

The newer MH has 751’s as well as slap locks. Can’t find a combo for the slap locks so will probably go with 1 key for slaps & front door.

There is one digital door lock available which does NOT have a remote and only has 1 key for deadbolt and door lock. It also combines the two latches into a kind of combined mech. These are all excellent features (in my mind), but of course it is the most expensive. Still ‘thinking’ on this one.

Any suggestions?

Last edited 2 years ago by TIM MCRAE
TomS (@guest_108606)
2 years ago

Over 30 years ago we misplaced both our sets of keys between trips. I found my desk key from work opened the side door. Found one set inside and the other a couple of weeks later.

Dave (@guest_108590)
2 years ago

As a locksmith for 40 years, never shoot dry graphite into any lock for any reason. That powder only ‘packs in’ resulting in further problems, ask any experienced locksmith. Use a good synthetic lube made for automotive applications. (no WD40 unless you have to as it becomes tacky quite quickly, flush it out as soon as possible)

Brian (@guest_108476)
2 years ago

Watch the lock picking lawyer channel on YouTube. Those little wafer locks on the touchpad could probably be raked fairly easily. He also has tricks to shim combo locks for a quick decoding of the combination.

Ray (@guest_108468)
2 years ago

The “key” to protection is to pose a different and stronger set of obstructions to the would-be burglar than what he is prepared to deal with.   

Scott R. Ellis (@guest_108466)
2 years ago

Those combination locks are a grand idea if you’re a fair-weather camper. Sure wouldn’t work for me. There are aftermarket units available which are of better quality and use unique (or at least much more unique) keys.

MLogan (@guest_108432)
2 years ago

My door lock broke while on trip and we could only enter by way of the cab doors (class C). The cylinder bolt had broke in half and the lever to open would not move the locking bolt. Called WGO and found out there was a recall on similar door openers. Call manufacturer of door opener and they sent free replacement. Easy job to replace except a little hard to move the broken cylinder bolt as I had to use needle nose pliers to grab hold. Also investigated about the RVLock above to install at a later time.

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