Lock and Roll – Door Locks and Keys for Motorhome Safety
Camping in a motorhome is a great way to leave your worries behind and enjoy the great outdoors (without sleeping on the hard ground with all the bugs and wildlife). A nicely equipped travel trailer or motorhome (commonly referred to as recreational vehicles) can make an outing so much more comfortable and enjoyable, until you run into trouble with your door locks or keys. Like any object with a lock, keys get lost and locks get broken, but motorhome locks have some unique issues that could have you searching for the nearest locksmith.
Compartment Keys Aren’t Unique!
There’s nothing like hitting the open road for a weekend, or extended, camping trip in your motorhome. Whether you’re an occasional camper or travel full-time in your home on wheels, you want to keep your motorhome and your belongings safe. What you don’t want to find out is all your compartment locks can be opened with the infamous CH751 key. This means thieves (or your noisy neighbor in the campsite next door) won’t have to bother breaking in, they can use the same key that opens 1,000s of other motorhomes’ compartments.
Many RV manufacturers used the same locks on the storage bin compartments to make it easier for salespeople to show potential customers several different models without having to carry around a huge ring of keys. Even worse! Some manufacturers used these locks on entry doors, as well (always use your deadbolt). Inspect your keys and if you find it’s a CH751, upgrade your storage bay locks with uniquely keyed locks right away.
Storage compartments typically use a cam lock. If you’re ordering new locks to install yourself, you’ll need to measure the cam size to get a good fit. Standard tubular lock sizes are 5/8”, 7/8”, 1 1/8” and 1 1/2″. You’ll also have to measure the locking arm, which come in a wide variety of sizes that range between 5/8” all the way to 2 1/8”. Some locks will have offset cam you will also have to measure. If you opt to have them professionally replaced, then your locksmith will take care of the measurements. Even if your locks aren’t keyed with the CH751, standard manufacturer storage bay locks are often cheap and easily broken into, so you should consider high-quality replacements either way.
Here’s another unique situation you may find when dealing with RV entry doors. Sometimes these locks like to start mysteriously locking themselves and won’t unlock with the key. If this entry door is in a pull behind trailer (unless it’s a toy hauler), this may mean crawling in through a window (if there’s one big enough) or calling someone to get it open. In a motorhome, you might be able enter through the front driver or passenger side door after removing the external windshield shade (if applicable).
This is actually a fairly common problem in some travel trailers. If it starts happening to you, expect it to keep getting worse and more frequent. While there are little tricks you can try to keep it from happening, there’s no guaranteed fix. Re-keying the lock doesn’t usually fix the problem, so it’s best to schedule a lock replacement before you get permanently locked out.
Too Many Keys
Some motorhome owners also have a problem with having too many keys. This can be common in older vehicles that have a separate key for the ignition, driver/passenger doors, compartment doors and gas cap. In some cases, all your compartments may use the same key, but in others, you may have multiple keys. Either way, that’s a lot of keys, which may require a complicated identification system to remember which key goes to what.
One potential solution is researching key-alike options to decrease the number of keys on your ring. You can also opt for combo lock keys, which should be available for everything minus the ignition. You can go high tech and look into a keyless entry system.
There are many other door lock or key issues you might run into during your RV travels. This could include facing the problem of poor quality locks that have rusted shut from being exposed to the elements. If you’ve locked yourself out of your motorhome or are concerned home on wheels can be opened with thousands of other like keys, call Great Valley Lock Shop at 610-644-5334 or request an estimate today.