Many RVers are concerned about theft of their RV when they are away from it. First of all, know that crimes against RVs and their owners are extremely low and the chance of your RV ever being stolen is close to zero.

While my wife and I regularly boondock leaving our RV unattended out in the middle of nowhere, our biggest concern relating to theft of our travel trailer is when we drop it along a stretch of lonely highway while we enjoy a side trip in our tow vehicle to a ghost town or other out of the way place in the middle of nowhere. Who knows what criminal element might drive by, see our RV sitting on the side of the road and circle around to take a closer look. Discovering it to be temporarily abandoned, it would only take a minute for a bad guy with a truck to latch onto our travel trailer and head down the road to points unknown.

Following are several tips for deterring theft of your RV while it is; stored in your driveway, left alongside the road for the day, left unattended in a campground or about anywhere else you choose to “abandon” your RV for a period of time.

Trailer* and motorhome owners can:

  • Leave the stabilizing jacks down making the RV less mobile. (Regardless if I am camped for the night or have just dropped the trailer on the side of the road while exploring, I almost always put them down to level the RV keeping the refrigerator functioning properly.)

  • Run a chain through your wheels and suspension system and lock the ends together. This will prevent your wheels from turning if someone tries to drive off with your RV.

  • Use a wheel lock clamp boot. This is probably the gold standard for immobilizing a vehicle and more than most RVers need or would want to carry, but definitely an option.

Trailer* owners may also consider:

  • Lockable wheel chocks (I use these combined with a chain through the wheels and suspension – see photo) Additional tip – When I use a locking wheel chock and chain through the wheels I also place them on the side of the RV facing the highway so that they are visible to anyone passing by taking a closer look at my RV than they should be.

  • A coupler lock to prevent someone from quickly hooking onto your RV.  There are a multitude of locks on the market to prevent criminals from hitching onto your RV and towing it away in your absence, do an online search and find the one that is right for your application.

Motorhome owners may also consider:

  • Install a hidden switch that disables your ignition system.

  • Use a club or other device that renders the steering wheel useless.

If your RV were to be stolen, here are several things to consider in aiding recovery:

  • Paint large letters/numbers on the roof visible to law enforcement patrolling in aircraft. Some RVers use the last four digits of the RVs serial number.

  • Install a device / service that allows your RV to be tracked like GM’s OnStar or a Spot Trace. One advantage of the Spot Trace is that it allows you or loved ones to know when your RV is on the move and where it last stopped. Solo travelers appreciate the peace of mind knowing that someone is aware of their location in the event they become incapacitated and are unable to check in.

Don’t let fear of someone stealing your RV keep you from enjoying the RV lifestyle, employ one or more of these tips and rest easy knowing that your RV will be where you left it when you return.

*Includes fifth wheels and folding trailers.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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