Who would be so low as to actually steal someone’s trailer? To actually back up their truck, manually attach it to the hitch system, and drive away like absolutely nothing happened. Well, the reality is that trailer theft is a problem, but it’s hard to understand just how big of a problem it is.

Due to the fact that trailer thefts can be placed in different categories of theft, it’s hard to track the numbers. However, this story here is a great indication that it’s indeed an issue. So, how do you then prevent it from being an issue? Lock it or implement a security system!

That’s truly the answer but looking into how to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen requires a lot more attention. Before we dive headfirst into each individual method, we thought we’d list them for anyone looking to get right down to business with this problem:

  1. Install your ball mount with a hitch lock
  2. Secure the latch with a coupler lock
  3. Place some spare keys in a secure location
  4. Lock your trailer when it’s parked
  5. Keep your hitch lock with your ball mount
  6. Install a GPS tracking system onto your trailer
  7. Install an alarm system onto your trailer

Truthfully, it’s wise to not just pick a few of these as most of them go hand in hand with one another. One more thing before we get further into this, many of these security methods are advised by CURT, who’s an industry-leading manufacturer of USA-made trailer hitches.

How to lock a trailer (the proper way)

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Photo by Daniel Fazio / Unsplash

1. Install your ball mount with a hitch lock

This really should be the first step for anyone looking to enhance the security of their trailer. Installing a ball mount with a hitch lock as opposed to a hitch pin is an excellent way to start.

The process is pretty simple to do too as once you have the ball mount in place in the receiver tube of the hitch and the holes lined up, you’d just have to insert the hitch lock pin through both of the holes. From there, you’d just apply whatever locking mechanism the hitch lock you buy utilizes.

2. Secure the latch with a coupler lock

In addition to a hitch lock, it’s also a wise idea to install a coupler lock when trying to figure out how to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen. Basically, a trailer coupler lock will come with a pin that will pass through the latch. This will prevent the coupler from being able to be engaged or disengaged.

Now, this needs to be done after you couple your trailer to your vehicle and engage the coupler latching mechanism. After the locking pin has been inserted, go ahead and secure the lock with whatever locking mechanism the coupler lock has.

3. Storing the spare keys in a secure location

This is assuming, of course, that you’ve decided to buy both a hitch lock and a coupler lock for your trailer (which is highly recommended). For both of those, you’ll more than likely be presented with some spare keys. Where you store those spares is important.

Of course, keeping the primary keys in a safe location is also vital. Keeping them on the main keychain you use for your car keys, house keys, etc., is always a good choice. But what about those spares? Well, it’s probably best to keep the spares away from your trailer itself (for obvious reasons).

A magnetic key box or even just a glovebox are both solid choices for spare key storage, though the decision is ultimately yours. Just make sure the spares are in a safe and secure location that only you have access to.

4. Lock up your trailer when it’s parked

A great way to maintain trailer security is to merely leave it coupled to your vehicle while it’s parked. However, there may be times when you need to uncouple your trailer. No worries there as you can still lock up your trailer while it’s parked.

After you uncouple your trailer and it’s disconnected from your truck, you’re going to want to reengage the coupler latch and also insert the coupler lock again. Additionally, for even more protection and security, you can apply a trailer tongue lock.

This device will install over the coupler, and it’s going to prevent a trailer ball from being inserted, in the first place. Just a thought for those who really want that extra level of security.

5. Keep the hitch lock with the ball mount

It’s not only just your trailer that you want to keep from thieves. The ball mount from your receiver hitch is also something that you want to remove when you’re done towing. In addition to saving it from potential theft, doing so can also protect it from the elements.

Oh, and speaking of which, if you’ve recently been in the market for a new strong, adjustable hitch, perhaps you’d be interested in checking out our list of the five best.

Now, after you’ve removed the ball mount, it’s a good idea to insert the hitch locking pin back through the shank. This is just a smart idea as it keeps the towing equipment together to better prevent it from being lost (which can sometimes be as problematic).

6. Install a GPS tracking system

All of the above methods of how to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen are recommended to prevent theft. However, what if a theft does happen and your trailer is no longer in your possession? This is an easy one as if you install a GPS tracking system onto your trailer, you’ll have greater peace of mind.

With such a system installed, you’ll know exactly where your trailer is if it so happens to get stolen. If you alert the police that your trailer has been stolen and you have GPS tracking for it, it’s also going to make their jobs a lot easier. Call this the icing on the cake if you will.

7. Install an alarm system

Of course…you could also just install a full-fledged alarm system on your trailer (and some of them will even come with built-in GPS). Arguably even better than just a GPS system, an alarm can also deter potential burglars.

As with GPS systems, there are quite a few alarm systems that you can buy and install for your trailer. Do some research on the market to find the ones that are best for you, as you may not need the most advanced or technical system to give you peace of mind.

Other purchases to keep in mind

We’d say that if you implemented the above methods of trailer security that your chances of not having your trailer stolen will be pretty darn good. Yet, there are some additional purchases that you can make to enhance the security even more. Better safe than sorry, right?

A trailer tongue box

A trailer tongue box is kind of what you’d think it’d be. Mounting onto the front portion of a trailer’s frame, it’s basically just a storage box that can be used for towing equipment and other accessories. Trailer tongue boxes will come with some sort of integrated locking latch, so you can rest easy knowing all the items inside will be safe.

A spare tire lock

This is not so much for your trailer but the spare tire for the trailer if it has one mounted on it. A spare tire being stolen wouldn’t be as monumental as the entire trailer getting swiped, but securing the spare is still going to be something that you’ll probably want to do.

The good news is by investing in a spare tire lock that can be done very easily. It’s basically just a simple and subtle lock that will be installed over one of the wheel bolts. Important to this topic is how long will your trailer tires last? After all, having that spare could be very, very useful.

Final thoughts

“Gee, so how many keys am I going to have to account for after all of this?” “Is it really worth it to buy ALL these accessories for keeping my trailer security high?”

We wouldn’t be surprised if anyone thought of one or both of the above questions at any point during this post. At the end of the day, how to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen does come down to what you feel you need.

Depending on the neighborhood you live in, you may feel inclined to elevate the security of your trailer to the absolute max. If you invest in all the above accessories, it will take an absolute madman to attempt to steal your trailer.

Then again, you may only feel the need to buy a few of the locks or even just a GPS tracking system. No matter, the decision is ultimately yours! Before we go, on the topic of trailers, perhaps you’ve heard of a weight-distribution hitch. Do you really need that type of hitch? Hmm, interesting question.