How Do You Lock a Trailer Hitch to Avoid theft?
No matter how much you invested in your boat trailer and the dream trip, everything will go in vain if you haven’t ensured its security. Trust us when we write this; we’ve been there after taking a walk, then checking the boats, only to find it gone. Sticking a lock or tying with a rope won’t do any good.
Boat thieves can steal your pontoon boat, jet skis, canoes, and even marine crafts if you don’t secure your boat trailer.
Securing one by one is time-consuming and complex. After several robbing experiences, we switched to a boat trailer and mastered securing it instead. We haven’t faced single theft issues after it for the past 22 years.
Can you put a lock on a trailer?
The short answer is yes. It doesn’t matter what trailer you use; every trailer offers lock and security options. According to Mark Ryden, the lead and founder of hitchspecialist.com, you can lock any trailer with a universal coupler. Different brands provide keys to secure the trailer couple meaning attaching the trailer.
Also, you can lock a trailer, including a boat trailer, using individual hitch pins. Puck locks are popular to close trailers. These have round casting that sits behind your trailer’s shackles and is shaped like a hockey puck.
Finally, trailers come with special locks; you should check the manual to know the correct way to attach them.
How do you lock a boat trailer to avoid theft? (Budget friendly simple ways)
Trailer Wheel Lock & Chain
Wheel locks are one of the most accessible devices to use and stop theft. These are more popularly known as clamshell locks than Wheel locks. The lock arm wraps around your trailer wheel and is shaped like a clamshell that protects the wheels from easy access. You will see different types and models of wheel locks that grab the wheels from the back or front.
We prefer clamshell-shaped locks. Why? Because it prevents the thief from driving the boat trailer away. Even if they do, it will cause the tire to puncture, making their heist fail. We have used the Mophorn 2 pieces, Wheel Lock, for our Tandem Axle Aluminum 8600.
You can get a solid wheel locker for between $40 to $200. A ratchet set is a must to install these locks. First, you have to open the adapters and position them in the midsection of the tire; after taking screws, you have to align. After aligning it, you can install it using screws and the rather.
Now, you’re done.
Safety chains usually come with trailers or hitches and have different installation processes. Make sure to follow the manual. The general rule of installing a safety chain is to attach it to a plastic cable and circle it 360 degrees against the tire.
This will allow us to cover the wheel chains and pull them upwards. Place the plastic cables lock side to side and the bottom cable to the bottom click.
Notice that the chain has a diamond shape. It prevents the wheel from moving and nearly punches tires if driven. Suppose your trailer is one; you would need a 6 mm chain.
Most wheel chains are under $50, but if you carry heavy-duty boats & canoes, you’ll need more vital chains that will cost above $100.
Motion Sensor Floodlights
Motion sensors are electronic chips that detect any infrared waves. It can detect heat waves and warmer objects such as people, cars, and even animals. Censoring the body temperature and movement automatically turns the lights on a boat trailer.
Floodlights are high-powered lights that you see in stadiums or outdoors usually. But how does it secure a boat trailer?
After installing and setting up your motion sensor floodlight, it will automatically light up and alarm if anyone tries to break in.
These work best in low to medium traffic meaning more miniature objects around the boat trailer.
However, medium to low boats are tied around, usually beside a boat trailer. But if you park your trailer in a high dentistry space, you would need an extra backup besides motion sensor floodlights. The installation part is tricky because it would turn on an alarm even if you try to move your boat trailer.
The standard way to install it is to position it eight feet above ground towards the coupler and select a sensitivity zone. This zone is where they would typically try to break the hitch locks or other chains.
Typically, you wouldn’t try to open hitch locks without disabling the motion sensor. You can install multiple of them at the places where thieves can break and run away with your boats. Most of the motion sensor floodlights are under $60.
Ground anchors are more popular for travel trailers than boat trailers. Most people lock the trailer and stay there as home. Most people make this mistake while using a ground anchor: Dig the anchor inside a dirt or water place.
To install a ground anchor, you must dig at least 16 feet inside the ground and make a 10 feet wide hole. So, the ground anchor takes place and doesn’t blow out for wind. Then you place it in a 360-degree manner and fix the position using a screw.
Then attach the boat trailer with the anchor. A ground anchor is a device installed at soil or tensile load and attached to a trailer, so it can not move its place and stays at the same position. You’ll also know them as tiebacks.
These are simply drilled to the ground so the boat trailer can not move. Using anchors can be a hassle camping or on a trip. We recommend these for permanent or extended duration security.
Using them for permanent or an ample duration boat trailer parking is better. However, ground anchors provide the highest protection amidst other ways we mention here.
Pro Grip 810101 is our favorite ground anchor. We also love the CURT 83730, but it’s better for a mounted trailer than a boat trailer. Most anchors will cost you around $14 to $68.
Install an Alarm
GPS alarms are the best and most practical solution to prevent theft. How does an alarm work? Most alarms sound and alert when they detect the boat trailer is taking a reverse route. It detects the motion of the trailer movement and animal and human temperature.
Alarms now are weather resistant, and rains and snow don’t affect the motion sensor. You can also custom set your trailer alarm system or select specific motions or activities and when to alert you. Some trailer alarm offers an extended sound that goes up to the bumper and RV system to make noise.
Some install the alarm on the door. Many users install it on the tongue, and you can also do it on the coupler. The installation process varies from brand to brand. You must manually turn on the red wire and connect with the blue wire to activate the alarm.
Some offer a plug system for which you may have to get a different switch system. Most alarms provide a mobile app through which it may send a text or make sounds besides sound on the spot. Many alarms now include a GPS tracker to send you the live location of the boat trailer.
A trailer alarm will cost you a maxim of $50 to a minimum of $11. If you want a GPS included, it will cost you around $60.
Alternative ways without spending money (DIY)
We are not a fan of DIYs regarding boat trailer safety. But sometimes situations call for DIYs, and we have some great security ideas for you:
Remove trailer wheel
It’s a classic idea. The thieves won’t be able to steal your boat trailer when it doesn’t have wheels in the first place; also, they can’t carry the jet skis without any trailer or towing vehicles. It might cause you to spend more time parking and setting.
Make sure to keep those wheels in a safe place.
Make your tongue lock
First, separate your hitch and the hitch ball. Remove the shackles attached to the hitch. Get a safety chain according to the gross weight rating and wrap it around the trailer tongue in a 360-degree manner.
Now take a strong lock and secure the chain shackles. We recommend double locking to eliminate additional risk.
Always park trailers or cars in a well-lit space, campsite, or parking lot. Suppose there’s a CCTV camera facility, that’s a bonus. But if you don’t find any options, search for a safe place.
Remember walking far to the parking lot is better than stealing your boats. We always block ways by parking a treeline row, or when camping with colleagues/friends, we put each other’s cars in a way that blocks the trailer movement.
Which is the best way to secure a boat trailer? Thieves can either be underprepared or experts in breaking trailer locks. So, you always have to keep the best security for your trailer and boats.
It’s clever to combine two or three security systems with one. For us, using a wheel lock, a separate boat lock, and adding an alarm is the most brilliant combination. However, ground anchors and removing trailer wheels are superior options if you are parking for a long time.
GPS is convenient nowadays. Another tip is to leave two links attached to the boat trailer tongue when you are hauling it.