Chances are you’ll eventually be locked out of your RV. You may even be locked inside your RV. Believe it or not, this is a very common issue for people who own RVs, but there are some steps you can take before it happens, to get back inside. With the right techniques, most people can who find themselves in this situation can make their way back into their home on wheels.
Get a spare set of keys made and place them in a secure location where you can access them in the event of a lockout. I have included several options below to help you decide how to secure your spare set of keys.
Locked Out of Your RV
You’re just enjoying a nice long walk, on a beautiful sunny morning with your favorite pup when you reach into your pocket and realize you don’t have your keys. You locked them into your RV. How do you get back inside? You grab that spare set of keys you wisely stashed for just this eventuality.
If you get locked out of your sticks and bricks home, you likely have a spare set of keys somewhere like under a flowerpot or doormat. Or you might call a friend or relative who has a spare set and can come to your rescue. When you’re out traveling, you’re on your own.
The best way to handle this situation is to prepare for it before it happens. Get a spare set or two of keys made and place them somewhere you can access them if you get locked out. It’s a good idea to have a set of spare keys for your tow vehicle and your RV.
How Can I Get Spare Keys Made?
Check out this great article on getting spare RV keys made over at Go Downsize.
How to Keep Your Spare Keys Accessible
I have several options for the placement of my spare keys. My truck has a keypad on the door and I can unlock it by entering a code. If I keep my spare keys inside my truck, in a hard-to-find location, I can access them by simply unlocking my truck. Alternatively, I can unlock my truck by using the My Ford app on my cell phone which I have on me 99% of the time.
Many people choose to hide their spare keys in a hard-to-find location on their RV. You can buy magnetic key boxes and put them under the wheel well or some other place only you know about. I have personally heard of one instance of a magnetic key box failing so this wouldn’t be my choice unless I could place it where it wouldn’t get lost if it fell off.
Another option is to get a lockbox like the ones real estate agents use. You can place it somewhere out of sight and if you want to get the keys out, you’ll need the combination to do so. I like this option best because the lockbox will be firmly attached to something on your rig and you can’t just open it without the combination.
Some people choose to attach these lockboxes to something inside the propane cover. This keeps it out of sight but it is still easily accessible when you need it.
Before you choose a key holder, make sure it is large enough to hold your keys.
What If It’s Too Late and You’re Locked Out?
Generally speaking, your RV entry door will have two locks. One is the deadbolt with its own unique lock and key. The other is likely a universal lock. This means the lock can be opened with a master key. Check the keyhole on the outside of your door. If it takes a master key, there will be a very small letter stamped into the metal near the keyhole. The letter indicates which master key will open your lock.
You can buy all of these master keys on Amazon. Please consider changing your locks and always use your deadbolt to lock your main RV door.
While this is not normally a good thing, if you’re locked out of your RV, you may be able to simply borrow a key from another camper and get your door unlocked.
This is also true of your storage compartment locks. Take a look at your key. There will likely be numbers imprinted on the key. CH751 keys will open 60 to 75 percent of all RV storage compartments.
If You’re in a Campground, Contact the Office
Your campground’s office may have a set of universal keys on hand to help campers who get locked out of their rigs.
Check the Windows
Check to see if you left any windows open. You may be able to gain entry through an open window. If you can’t climb through because it’s too small, high, or you’re just not that nimble, ask for help.
Years ago, one of your slides failed and there was no way to get into the bedroom. We needed a lot of things that were in the bedroom including my late husband’s medication. The only way in was to climb onto the top of the slide from the hallway and drop down into the bedroom. Not something I could possibly do. I needed a tall, skinny, agile person.
I wandered around the campground until I found a lanky teenaged boy and brought the whole family back to the RV with me. He was able to rescue all the things we couldn’t do without and it makes for a great story. The family was so kind.
Check Storage Compartments
Many outdoor storage compartments lead into your RV. Often times you’ll enter from under the bed. If you have a bed that lifts up with storage underneath, you’ll have to push the bed’s platform up to get out. This may or may not be an option for you depending on how small the openings are, how much is stored under your bed, etc.
Contact Roadside Assistance Plans You May Have
Many roadside assistance plans such as AAA and Good Sam have lock-out assistance. If you belong to one of those plans, give them a call.
Call a Locksmith
If I had exhausted all other options and was still locked out, I’d say uncle and call a locksmith.
Locked Inside Your RV
In November of 2019, my friend and I were locked inside my Airstream. I was in The Florida Keys and went to the door to take Murphy for his morning walk and the door wouldn’t open. We tried everything to get it to open but it didn’t work. Eventually, we opened the emergency exit window and my friend went through and opened the door from the outside.
We had to remove the screen from the window in order to get out but we really had no other options. Replacing that screen was brutal and I hope I never have to do that again.
Airstreams are notorious for locking people in or out. Not a week goes by on the Facebook Airstream group that someone is locked in or out and looking for suggestions to remedy the situation. I understand Casitas are the same.
What Causes The Door Lock To Stop Working?
We took the lock apart to investigate but we never figured out why the door locked us in and it hasn’t happened since then.
Many of these lockouts have been caused by the loosening of the screws over time. The vibration of the RV while moving down the road is said to be equal to a 3.5 magnitude earthquake. This causes screws to slowly work their way out. The problem may be that simple. Also, make sure you lubricate your locks regularly with 3-in-One Lock Dry Lube to keep the parts moving properly.
The locks on my outdoor storage compartment are failing. Over the last year, one by one they have stopped working. On most storage compartment locks, you can replace the cylinder. That’s the part the key goes into. Unfortunately, my locks won’t allow that and I need to replace all of them at $50 each.
You can buy cylinder replacement sets for most RVs. Changing them out is simple, fast, and you’ll have locks with unique keys instead of those CH751 keys everyone has in their pockets. Make sure you measure and get the right size and type for your RV.
Before you get locked out of your RV, get those spare keys made and placed where you can get to them in the event of a lockout. You’ll be so glad you did.
You might also like, The RV Living And Travel Guide For Beginners.
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