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How to Secure a Trailer From Theft? – Most Effective Methods

Writen by Dane Heldt

Fact checked by Robert Clark

how to secure a trailer from theft

Trailers are usually a need when having a long journey or a vacation. However, leaving a trailer in a lot might cause worry to anyone because of possible theft.

Since attempting to guard the trailer could be a hindrance from wandering around and enjoying the vacation, a more convenient way than constantly keeping an eye on it is preventing the trailer theft itself.

Learning these essential steps is a must to gain knowledge on how to secure a trailer from theft. Tips that are helpful, especially to spend your vacation to the fullest.

Ways to Secure a Trailer From Theft

You can choose one or combine several trailer theft prevention methods below to secure your trailer. Read below for more details about each locking system.

  • Hitch Pin Lock
  • Coupler Lock or Tongue Lock
  • Receive Lock
  • Safety chains or strap
  • Wheel or tire lock
  • GPS tracker or alarm system
  • Padlock

Here Are the Steps to Secure a Trailer From Theft

Step 1: Secure the hitch with a lock.


When it comes to travel trailer security, the first thing that comes into your mind is to lock the trailer so it can’t be stolen.

The following are the kinds of locks you might want to consider to prevent your trailer from being stolen:

  • Coupler Lock – comes in a variety of styles and colors. Regular coupler locks secure the coupler part of the hitch. This does not lock any other hitch part. Hence, it is recommended to use a hatch pin lock along with this type of lock.
  • Tongue Lock – a type of coupler lock featuring a U-shape metal and a ball part that can fit the coupler. This type of lock also secures the hitch so that it cannot be pulled upwards due to the U-shaped metal over the hitch.
  • Hitch Pin Lock – locks the frame of your vehicle and prevents the thief from connecting their vehicle to the trailer.
  • Receiver Lock – locks the frame on the towing vehicle part. It fastens the hitch part that holds the trailer and prevents disconnection of the trailer from the towing vehicle. This type of lock can either have one or two locks on their ends.

Step 2: Install safety chains, straps, and regular chains


Sometimes, anti-theft trailer locks are not enough to ease the worries of the users. Thus, the extra layer of protection can be made for much more robust security.

Installing safety chains on the trailer neck near the hatch and using a heavy-duty padlock to lock the chain can help prevent the thief from towing the trailer.

You may also use a regular chain to tie the trailers’ wheels to the ground, especially when parked in an open and wide area.

When securing cargo or boxes, make sure to use cargo straps and attach them to solid anchoring points. Cargo straps are thicker compared to regular straps. Moreover, they can hold even types of equipment or heavy boxes.

Step 3: Adding wheel or tire lock


If the first two locks are still not enough to ease your mind, preventing trailer theft can also be done by locking the wheels themselves.

This will give no more chance for the thieves to tow your vehicle as it locks right through the tires, preventing them from moving or turning around.

The available tire locks are:

  • Wheel clamp lock – is a clamp-looking device that can be pinned on your wheels, hooking into the wheel disc. When the vehicle is tried to be moved, this lock serves as a stopper. Hence, it prevents the tire from rolling.
  • Wheel boot lock – considered the best way to lock a trailer This lock prevents theft from happening as the rim and nuts are fully covered by the lock.

Wheel boot lock is practically better than clamp locks that can easily be outsmarted by bringing their own tire and changing the trailer’s tire.

Other Tips When Traveling With a Trailer

Tip #1: Secure the keys of the locks


Locks are significant for your trailers, so they can’t be stolen. Hence, it is a must to keep the keys in a safe spot – most probably with your car keys inside your pocket or on your pants.

You must also know that securing the keys is not just about putting the keys in your trusted, safe place. It also means having a spare key and keeping it in another hidden place near you.

Keeping your spare keys inside the trailer is not recommended since thieves can easily search for possible storage boxes of essential things, even if you think they are hidden in the best spots.

Tip #2: Mind where you park


Parking is also one of the essential things to consider when you want to prevent trailer theft or even when you have to secure a teardrop trailer.

It is commonly recommended to park in well-lit areas or plain views so you can easily keep an eye on your trailer.

Parking your towing vehicle next to your trailer is also considered to be a trailer anti-theft activity you should practice.

If you want to park your trailer and towing vehicle, make sure to lock your trailer to your truck or any towing vehicle.

Putting both hitch pin lock and coupler lock is advisable since some culprits can still tow a trailer with one of the locks in it.

It is also possible to park in crowded areas as the people in these places can quickly notice any alarm system while the theft is happening.

Tip #3: Install digital devices


Utilizing the advancement of technology is also one way to secure your trailer theft. People have discovered several digital trailer theft protection devices.

Some of these devices are:

  • GPS tracker – helps you track the exact location of your trailer
  • Geofence – a digital fence that alarms when a trailer has entered or exited a specific location using GPS.
  • Alarm System – an alarm that turns on when someone messes with your trailer. It will also alert even when someone starts to open or at least bump into the trailer.

This will notify the people around that some theft is happening. It is recommended to set up an alarm system for both the trailer and the towing vehicle for better security.

Additional Towing Security Measures

Measure #1: Lock on spare tires

Thieves maximize their opportunity to steal things, and if they cannot steal the trailer itself, it is evident that they might look for other parts to steal. Spare tires are usually one of the parts of the trailer they often target.

Hence, make sure to purchase a lock for spare tires. It is also recommended to keep it inside the trailer or cover. This will result in a reduced chance of the trailer being stolen.

Measure #2: Cable lock for bikes

Aside from the cargo, as mentioned above, the trailer also usually carries bikes that can help attract thieves. Since keeping the bike inside the trailer is sometimes impossible, buying a heavy-duty cable lock would be a great security measure.

What do thieves do with stolen trailers?

Thieves can quickly sell your trailer in places that do not require a title at the time of the sale. Sometimes, they also have the ability to disassemble your trailer and sell the parts individually to a marketplace or a pawnshop.


Are there some trailer locks that are easily damaged by culprits?

Yes. Coupler locks, DIY trailer locks, hatch pin locks, and tongue locks can sometimes be easily damaged by a hammer or a drill, depending on their quality.

It is advisable to use locks that are made of steel instead of those made of aluminum, as these locks are more durable and not prone to corrosion. This is a common practice, especially when you are to prevent a u-haul trailer theft and any other trailer theft.

You should employ several security locks for trailers above to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen.

What to do when a trailer is stolen?

Immediately report to the police and ask nearby people. Describing unique features of your trailer and providing complete details like plate number, trailer type, brand, and color can result in better distinguishment and tracking.

If also applicable, call your insurance provider, describe the incident and any possible witnesses, report theft, and file a claim.


There is always a possibility for thieves to hitch your trailer – be it on vacation or even just when you want to secure a trailer in the driveway.

Although a lot of shops are offering theft-proof trailer locks for maximum protection, you must be sure to purchase heavy-duty products since there are ones that some tools can easily defeat.

Learning these tips on how to secure a trailer from theft has a high chance of driving the thieves away from your trailer, especially when you have not only one but a combination of several locking and protection methods.

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