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RV Theft Prevention Tips for Trailers and Motorhomes

Published on December 22nd, 2022
This post was updated on January 12th, 2023

RV theft is a concern for motorhome, trailer, campervan and truck camper owners. In fact, RV theft has become so prevalent that social media groups and websites devoted to reuniting RVs with their owners have formed. And on the popular iRV2 Discussion Forums, RV theft chatter is often one of the hottest conversations happening at any given time.

Sometime in summer of 2021 our rig was stolen from the lot. Papers/signatures were forged and our rig was sold to an unsuspecting buyer off an RV dealer lot.

The theft was not discovered until this April when the border was reopened without testing restrictions. Needless to say I was gobsmacked to discover our beloved rig was not there. 

When considering how to prevent RV theft, it’s best to be prepared.

CY Wood

Essential Tools to Help Prevent RV Theft

Towable RVs include travel trailers, fifth wheels and folding trailers. These gadgets and anti-theft tips minimize the risk of a towable RV being stolen.

Following is a list of items you can prepare and implement to help prevent your camper from being another RV theft statistic.   

Leave the stabilizing / leveling jacks down

Leveling jacks down for RV theft prevention
Keep leveling jacks extended (Image @lac, iRV2 Forums)

This makes the RV less mobile. Would-be crooks looking for a quick and easy target will think twice before attempting to steal an RV with the jacks deployed. They either need to figure out how to retract the jacks or attempt to move the RV with the jacks down.

Either way, leaving jacks down increases a thief’s chance of being detected by spending more time retracting them. Or, by making plenty of noise trying to move the RV with the jacks down.

Many motorhomes will not start when the jacks are down, adding one more deterrent.

Install a cutoff switch in a baggage compartment or other secure location

kill switch for RV trailers
An RV trailer kill switch system is easy to install. (Image: Amazon)

You can do this if you have a towable RV equipped with electric tongue jacks or landing gear.

Use a keyed switch on the exterior

With no power available to operate the jacks, thieves will be unable to raise the unit up or down to connect it to a tow vehicle.

Chain the tires and suspension system

Run a chain through your wheels and suspension system and lock the ends together. Doing this prevents your RV wheels from turning if someone tries to drive off with your RV.

RV theft prevention with chains and lock
Locking wheel chocks combined with chain through suspension.

Use a Wheel Clamp Boot

A wheel clamp boot is the gold standard for immobilizing a vehicle and preventing RV theft.

RV Wheel Boot
Example of wheel clamp for RVs (Image: Amazon)

Extra Anti-Theft Tips for Towable RVs

Trailers and fifth wheel owners can take extra steps to prevent RV theft, with tools and gadgets such as:

Lockable wheel chocks

Try lockable wheel chocks to prevent the wheels on tandem axle RVs from turning. This makes it difficult for a thief to tow it away.

Coupler / Kingpin lock

There are a multitude of coupler locks on the market to prevent criminals from hitching onto your RV and towing it away in your absence. Not being able to hook up to a travel trailer or fifth wheel is a highly effective way to prevent RV theft of towable RVs.

Locks to prevent RV theft
Coupler lock or a kingpin lock will help prevent RV theft

Motorhome owners might also consider:

Install a hidden switch that disables the ignition system.

Take it a step further by installing a Ravelco anti-theft device which disables the ignition. The vehicle will not start without a unique multipin connector in place to start the vehicle.

Use a steering wheel locking device.

This anti-theft device renders the steering wheel unusable.

Steering wheel club
Steering wheel locking device. (Image: Amazon)

More RV Theft Prevention Tips

In addition to the above RV theft prevention items, minimize the chance or your RV being stolen while parked at home or wherever it is stored by utilizing the following:

Store your RV in the best setting possible   

  • Keep your RV stored in a well-lit area or install motion lights that come on at night when motion is detected around your RV.
  • Limit brush and other visual barriers around your RV. This allows you and others to keep an eye as to what is going on in the vicinity of your RV.
  • Park another vehicle in front of your RV
  • Install annunciators around the perimeter of the RV that sound off when motion is detected. Thieves dislike noise that draws attention.
  • Keep your RV parked behind a locked gate.
RV theft can be prevented
When stored park behind a locked gate. (Image: iRV2.com)

By employing just a handful of the above items, you can greatly decrease the chances of RV theft. If you still have concerns about your RV being stolen, you might also consider installing tracking devices or wireless cameras.  Here are some tips if you are more concerned about crooks breaking into your rig and stealing your stuff rather than your RV.


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