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Trailer Lock Review - Best of 2017

Article by Robert Smith - Caravans Plus

Unfortunately it's a sad fact that caravan theft in Australia is a real issue. The insurance companies say around 500 caravans are stolen each year and the majority are not recovered.

The interesting part is that the average claim value has been decreasing over the last few years. Insurance companies believe the change is a sign that many of the more expensive vans are better protected with good quality security devices.

Caravans Plus has put this quick guide together to show the security options that are now available and highlight their pro and cons.


1. Security Accessories Comparison Video

Caravan Security - Coupling Lock Vs Wheel Clamp

2. Coupling Locks

Coupling locks or tow ball locks are generally the most convenient style of protection. While there are a lot of different trailer locks on the market, the simple principle is the same - to prevent someone else from hooking up and driving away with your caravan. Key benefits of this style of lock are:

  • They are smaller and easy to transport than larger wheel clamps.
  • Can be used on different trailers (not limited by tyre size)
  • Quick and easy setup and removal
  • Caravan Security Accessories - Kovix Trailer Lock with Anti-tamper Alarm
    Our Choice: Best Overall Trailer Lock - Kovix Trailer Lock with Anti-tamper Alarm

    How Caravan Coupling Locks Work

    The caravan or trailer is secured by limiting unwanted access to the coupling. This is done by inserting a tow ball like device which is secured in place by a lock - generally a locking bar over the top of the coupling. The effectiveness of this style protection depends on the construction quality of the unit. While there are wide range of coupling locks available at different price points you do get what you pay for. While the cheaper lightweight trailer locks may be okay for a small box trailer you probably want a bit more protection for your home away from home.

    Ark Trailer Coupling Lock with Padlock

    Ark Trailer Coupling Lock with Padlock

    14 In Stock Now.
    $35.95
    View

    The higher quality locks have a range of added benefits and provide a greater level of confidence. They are made of with better locks, stronger materials, limit access for drills or angle grinders, and some even have anti-tamper alarms.

    Saracen Hitch Lock by Purpleline

    Saracen Hitch Lock by Purpleline

    14 In Stock Now.
    $83.95
    View
    Kovix Trailer Lock with Anti-tamper AlarmSpecial Price

    Kovix Trailer Lock with Anti-tamper Alarm

    12 In Stock Now.
    $174.95
    View

    Off Road Couplings

    Many camper trailers and 4WD Caravans have Off Road Couplings. The Kovix Trailer Lock shown above will also suit Treg style block hitches and Hitchmaster DO35 hitch.

    Treg style block hitches Hitchmaster DO35 hitch
    Kovix Trailer Lock with with Off Road Coupling


    3. Wheel Clamps

    Securing your caravan with a wheel clamp is a very effective way of protecting your investment. With a wheel clamp attached it nearly impossible to move a trailer, and they are very hard for the wrong person to remove. The added strength of this style does come at a cost, things to consider are:

  • Can be quite bulky to transport
  • Can only be used on trailers with similar size tyres
  • Not as easy to set up as coupling locks

    Caravan Security Accessories - Nemesis Wheel Clamp
    Caravan Security Accessories - Nemesis Wheel Clamp by Purpleline

    Wheel Clamp Features

    Wheel clamps are not only a great security device, they're also an effective visual deterrent to thieves. Purchasing the right clamp for your Caravan or RV is simple when you have the right features:

  • Full cover over the wheel nuts
  • Secure, robust fitting which will not dislodge if the caravan is towed away
  • Tough material which can resist cutters
  • A solid and strong lock
  • Tested, proven and trusted brand

    A wheel clamp is an affordable and simple investment to protect your caravan. One which many victims of theft wish they'd purchased retrospectively, before the crime was committed.

    Purpleline Nemesis V3 Wheel Lock - Suit On & Off Road Tyres up to 275mm / 17 inch

    Purpleline Nemesis V3 Wheel Lock - Suit On & Off Road Tyres up to 275mm / 17 inch

    8 In Stock Now.
    $224.95
    View
    Klamp It Type E 4WD - Suit Tyres 265-285mm / Rims 14-16 inch

    Klamp It Type E 4WD - Suit Tyres 265-285mm / Rims 14-16 inch

    2 In Stock Now.
    $319.95
    View

    4. Quotes taken from a Caravan World report.

    CIL Insurance executive manager, Andrew O'Hara, says:

    "Our experience shows that caravans are more often stolen from storage yards, often in remote areas, or from home addresses when the owner may be away,"

    "These thefts usually occur when there is a lack of van security, such as a tow hitch lock, and caravans are facing outwards, making it easier to tow them away."

    Peter Wright, executive officer of the Caravan Trade Industries Association (Vic) said recently that "...we have had only one instance in the last three or four years where a caravan has been returned. We think they end up on blocks of land. They don't get found at the end of the day."


    5. Compare Trailer Locks - Side by Side

    Compare Caravan & RV Trailer Locks

    Compare Caravan & RV Trailer Locks

    View the different Trailer Locks available. Compare their specifications, prices, reviews and more.
    Read

    What do you Think?

    Are trailer security locks worth the effort? Let us know your thoughts below.

    Was this helpful?

    4.17/5
    (82 votes)
  • 39 Comments

    • comment-avatar

      Dirk

      Good idea to bring this to the attention of customers. Can't believe the number of generators stolen from major rallies. Maybe add some high tensile cables.

    • comment-avatar

      Ian

      Lock your safety chains back away so they can't be used to loop over a tow ball and your van towed away.

    • comment-avatar

      Trevor

      Not sure if / how it would apply to a van, but I fitted an off-road hitch to my camper with pin locked in place which limits those that have a suitable hitch to attach it to.

    • comment-avatar

      Ian

      Remove the jockey wheel and prop on a stand plus fit wheel nut security lock on clamps that dont cover wheel nuts

    • comment-avatar

      Ray

      GPS tracker. Wont stop theft but may find your van

    • comment-avatar

      Steven

      The problem with any coupling lock is, that they don't need to use your coupling. They drag it away with your own safety chains wrapped around their ball, then padlocked. It takes minutes

    • comment-avatar

      Michael

      We have fitted a McHitch to our rig which came with a lock to prevent the linch pin from being removed after we unhitch we replace the linch pin on the van and lock it on thereby making it almost impossible for a third party to tow it away whithout drawing considerable attention to themselves.

    • comment-avatar

      Chris

      The key is to slow them down, if they really want your van they will just drag it up onto a flat bed, I keep my van behind locked gates with two security bollards fitted.

    • comment-avatar

      Robert

      Also discuss door security. Many people carry iPads, laptops and other valuable items. My door key also fits my friends van!! We both have fitted extra security devises - visual deterrent also.

    • comment-avatar

      Wendy

      We have had a hitch lock for many years. My husband made it and it works very well. It's very sturdy, small and locked. Probably works to our advantage that it is an older van as well.

    • comment-avatar

      Dave

      A practice I had in place for years, also two padlocks that attach to the door, (deterrent only), a locked pin on the tow bar, how easy it is to pull the pin and attach to someone else!!! People should be more aware of the "bad guys" out there...

    • comment-avatar

      John

      So many times l see the coupling type with a cheap Chinese lock on it. Might as well not be there. Emphasize need for lock quality. Thank you.

    • comment-avatar

      Annette

      Have seen so many camper trailers in front yards and driveways with no lock what so ever. $30 would save thousands as well as a lot of heartache. Thieves will look for opportunity. Why go to the trouble of cutting off a lock when there is one unlocked around the corner?

    • comment-avatar

      Gordon,

      Please demonstrate options for better door security. One little key don't protect much!

    • comment-avatar

      Neil

      I pull the safety chains through the tow hitch handle and then padlock them together so the handle cannot be lifted and they can't use the chains either unless a fair amount of cutting is done.

    • comment-avatar

      Ken

      I agree with Gordon, we need better Entry Door security. Suggest someone designs a sturdy door lock replacement or one that can be added to supplement the existing Door Lock.

    • comment-avatar

      David

      For $150, also consider hiding a gps tracker. Make sure it is 3G compatible, as the cheaper ones are usually 2G only - which no longer works in Oz. A cheap 365-day expiry plan from Aldi or similar and you can locate your stolen van easily.

    • comment-avatar

      Geoff

      Well you need to look at this from a thief's point of view and I'll start by assuring you that I am most definitely not a thief! Firstly, a hitch lock isn't much good unless you also secure the safety chains because a thief could just ignore the hitch and rest the hitch, lock and all, on the crossed chains and drive off, albeit slowly. Similarly a wheel lock on a dual axle van can be overcome by using a tiedown strap to lift the wheel off the ground and drive off.

    • comment-avatar

      Dennis

      I use an Australian made Talon brand pin lock on my towbar tongue to stop it being stolen and a second same keyed pin lock on my Kimberley Kamper, Treg hitch when I am towing and when the trailer is parked separately. Please review the Talon brand as it is very well manufactured and easy to attach.

    • comment-avatar

      Graeme

      I purchased a Klamp It wheel lock three years ago, shortly after purchasing my off road van, I find it a definite deterrent for thieves. The downside is it is bulky. I also have a high strength padlock that I lock my van coupling with when travelling or when unhitched. These are deterrents only if someone wants your van a portable side grinder is hard to beat. I have also looked at GPS tracking systems but they do not work in remote parts of Australia where there is no signal, careful consideration is required before purchasing.

    • comment-avatar

      Wally

      I have all of the above plus a GPS tracker hidden which is active all the time, giving me a 24/7 watch on the Van. Also the kids have comfort in seeing where we are all the time while we are away.

    • comment-avatar

      Chris

      If the data says that "...we have had only one instance in the last three or four years where a caravan has been returned". , does that include those with GPS trackers? Or does it indicate that the thieves are professional enough to be ahead of the technology ?

    • comment-avatar

      Stephen

      To steal a van all you need to do is to wrap the safety chains around the tow vehicle tow tongue, secure with a shackle and drive off. I have moved vans that had coupling locks when we had to get them away from a rising river due to a flood. Rob the real question that you need to answer for us is, " How many vans with GPS trackers have been stolen and recovered ? " All other type of locks etc are visual deterrents only as they can become overcome. Last year a camper at a remote camp arrived only to discover that he had left his keys to all his padlocks at home and could not gain access to his camper. He went around and asked other campers for help. I used my angle grinder and cut off all his padlocks. His wife was surprised how quick and easy it was to beak into his padlocked camper.

    • comment-avatar

      Peter

      Around 85% of all crime is what is termed "Opportunistic", so simple things like being careful with belongings, vans etc. Simple visible deterrents like lock wheel clamps are good as they will stop the "Opportunist". If someone really wants "Your" particular piece of property it is much more difficult so a GPS tracker adds an additional tool to catch the thief after the event.

    • comment-avatar

      Tony

      Using a hitch lock is also not the answer as the hitch can be easily unbolted and replaced with another, even if you pass the safety chains through the handle or the hitch lock and lock them the hitch can still be unbolted and left hanging by the chains and another hitch fitted.

    • comment-avatar

      John

      I agree with "Tony Oct 4". Van safety chains brought up through the coupling and locked together would have to be a great deterrent. I also have a coupling lock. There's a lot of work to remove some (my) coupling assembly. Great ideas!!

    • comment-avatar

      Ross

      There are YouTube videos showing how useless coupling locks are!! Vans trailers are still towable by using their breakaway chains attached to the vehicle stealing the trailer!!! Gone in under 60 seconds!! You MUST lock up your chains as well ... I do +coupling lock & high tensile 14mm chains on wheels with class 10 high security padlocks. I put a class 10 padlock to the shorten breakaway chains as well so they cant be used to reach to any tow vehicle. Wheel clamps only way to go for most reliable security but they too are not 100% deterrent to a portable angle grinder. Put enough security items in a thiefs way and they will choose an easier target as they dont have 20-30 minutes to defeat security measures.

    • comment-avatar

      Dennis

      beside the wheel clamp, is there prevention tools available that suit 5th wheelers?

    • comment-avatar

      Lynton

      Well done. Like most deterrents a thief may well rather look for a van or boat with no security lock.

    • comment-avatar

      Glen

      Lock up your safety chains for sure but the thief can easily bring his own length of chain and hook up. Hard to stop them!

    • comment-avatar

      Alex

      A mate of mine removes one wheel and puts a stand under the axle when his van is parked at home..

    • comment-avatar

      Jim

      The theif will just bring a spare and a jack

    • comment-avatar

      cialis coupon

      Whoa tons of terrific info.

    • comment-avatar

      lou

      cut the chains of and d shackles put them back on when inuse

    • comment-avatar

      Fester

      Lou, do you realize that by law (all Aus states) the only place you can have a rated shackle in the safety chain is at the point of attachment to the vehicle ??

    • comment-avatar

      Chris

      Some great input here folks. What is the best GPS tracker on the market ?

    • comment-avatar

      Stephen

      Read through this lot (just abot to collect my first camper) and am thinking there is a marker for lockable wheel hubs. Only wat to move it the is with a crane......

    • comment-avatar

      Clement

      It's hard to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you're talking about! Thanks chorusmaster (Azucena)

    • comment-avatar

      Wendy

      This is so scary. Im just about to pick up my new van. I only have a small front area and so easy to steal my treasure. I was thinking wheel clamp and hitch lock but now i think I need to sit out there all day with it. And have good insurance.

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