How to Lock a Trailer to a Hitch

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Last Updated on May 18, 2022

One of the most common queries of first-time trailer-towing folks is how to lock a trailer to a hitch. And that’s what inspired us to look into the matter in-depth and come up with this guide.

Now, you may have experienced the zest of the answer. You may already know about hitching the trailer and only the locking part is confusing, which is usually the case. Well, in all scenes, this tutorial to lock a trailer to a hitch should come useful. Let’s Get into It!

Here’s How to Lock a Trailer to a Hitch

Follow the steps given below for hooking the trailer to the hitch and locking it. You’ll find some amazing ideas on maintaining overall safety, which is the main goal we believe.

Hitch Lock Included Ball Mount Installation

Your trailer would need a ball mount installed into the receiver tube. This is the first thing that needs to be sorted. And here, you should think about going with a hitch lock included ball mount, instead of the typical hitch pin. 

That way you’ll have the most effective trailer locking to hitch safety structure.

Gradually and carefully let the ball mount slide into its position. Then make sure that the shank holes, as well as the receiver tube, are lining up correctly. Now through both the holes, you want to put the pin of the hitch lock. Next, you want to work with the key-operated cap.

Adding an Anti-Rattle Kit Could be A Great Bonus Step

If you are wondering how to lock a trailer so it can’t be stolen then adding trailer anti-theft devices might just be the right answer. Go for an anti-rattle hitch lock. This will keep the ball mount safe and at the same time avoid any type of rattling that could happen with a shank into the receiver tube.

Use Coupler Lock to Secure Latch

The next thing in the hitch trailer locking procedure that you need to handle is coupling the trailer to the vehicle. If you already know the hookup process, this should not be anything new. The way you engage the coupler will determine how secure the whole thing stays later. So maximum trailer security has a lot to do with this part.

One thing you can do is use a coupler lock after engaging the latching mechanism with the trailer ball. This lock will come with a pin that would go through the latch. And then the latch won’t be able to engage or disengage.

Keep Spare Keys Protected

The towing set up at this point will have hitch and coupler locks installed. Now you want to find a safe place for keeping the spare key and primary key. You can have the primary key inside your pocket along with the car keys. In that way, access will be easier.

And for the spare key, you can store it inside the glovebox. The spot should be somewhere easy to access but less guessable by any prying eyes. Investing in a specific magnetic key box can also help. The ones that stay beneath the vehicle body.

Using Chains or Straps on a Trailer

A supplementary thing that isn’t directly taking care of trailer hitch locking but is quite important for overall safety, is cargo loading. 

Those should be tied down well. You can use some cargo straps so that there’s no movement. You can even go for binder chains or safety chains. However, chains are not necessary always, unless you load quite costly equipment or machinery items. 

No matter if you choose straps or chains, they should not be crushing the cargo. Just maintain a solid anchoring point and that should be enough contribution to the overall trailer safety.

As You Drive to Destination

After you lock a trailer, tie the cargo the right way and drive to your destination, you are more likely to stop along the way at times. When you do so, make sure to choose a plain view area that also has enough light source in case it’s during nighttime.

You want to check the connection of the vehicle and trailer. Also, don’t forget to check the cargo hauling.

Leave The Trailer Coupled While Parked

As soon as you are at the destination, you might think of uncoupling the vehicle. However, doing the other way could be a great way to maintain security.

However, if that’s not going to work and you must uncouple the trailer, you can do it by using the key for removing the coupler lock first. Then it’s all about the general way of uncoupling the trailer. 

As the trailer gets detached, you need to re-engage the coupler latch. And then re-input the coupler lock. Or else there will be a risk of a potential stealer coupling in another vehicle to take it away.

Using a Wheel Chock Lock for Added Safety

If you must leave the trailer parked and unattended for quite a long while, then use a wheel chock lock. The lock will have to get clamped into the wheel of your trailer. And so, it will act as an added obstacle for potential thieves to go through adding more security overall.

Wrapping Up

And that’s all! This was pretty much all about how to lock a trailer to a hitch. We also talked through some other matters that shall help you overall maintain the safety you’re worried about. 

Hopefully, you won’t be facing any trouble while trying things now. Also, be careful not to try something you are not sure of. You don’t want to accidentally damage any part. Give it a try and see for yourself. Good Luck!

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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