2 Things You Need To Know About RV Door Locks
The RV entry door lock shown above has probably been installed in hundreds of thousands of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and truck campers over the years.
In this article, I want to share a couple of tips that could very well save you from aggravation during your travels.
1. How do you know if your door will unlock with a passkey?
For decades, the main latch/knob of RV door locks have been keyed with master keys, also known as passkeys.
Look for a small letter (C, D, E, etc) next to the keyhole. If you see a letter, this indicates which lettered passkey will unlock it. The reason for passkeys is the convenience for RV manufacturers, transport drivers, and RV dealers.
It is much easier for someone in the industry to carry around a few master keys than a key to every RV in their inventory. What this means to you is anyone with the corresponding lettered passkey can open the latched handle of your RV entry door (or knobbed handles on older RVs).
To counter this, most RVers (myself included) only use the deadbolt on the RV entry door. Deadbolts are uniquely keyed and, under normal circumstances, you control the only set of keys.
2. How do you fix the deadbolt if it wears out?
Those of you that follow this blog know that I travel a lot and go to a lot of different places, some which are a little off the beaten path, which equates to many miles on my RV. In fact, it is safe to say, my 2010 model travel trailer probably has 3 to 4 times the mileage of most RVs of similar age.
Therefore, when my deadbolt started acting up, I figured it was worn out and ordered a new lock assembly. Upon removing the lock from the trailer door, I discover the screws holding the rear plate of the lock had vibrated partway out.
This allowed the rear plate of the lock to come loose, which in turn allowed the linkage that connects the deadbolt tumbler to the deadbolt to drop out of the cast holes that allow it to work.
Fixing the lock was just a matter of dropping the linkage back in the hole and screwing the rear plate back on tight, as the plate is the only thing that keeps the linkage from falling out of the hole.
Putting a little Loctite on the screws assures this won’t happen again. Fortunately for me, the linkage fell off when the deadbolt was retracted.
Track your RV maintenance
Be sure to keep track of all your RV maintenance with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all your maintenance records and documents in one place, you’ll receive timely reminders via email when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.
Hopefully by sharing this information, I have informed some about the dangers of passkeys and the pending failure of your deadbolt as the miles add up. Take corrective action before you find yourself locked out of your RV.
Being locked out of your RV in the middle of nowhere is an adventure in RVing no one wants to experience.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.