You might think you’ve made your UTV safe from theft by removing the fuse, but what have you done to secure your trailer? If you’re traveling, camping, or just grabbing lunch while towing your side-by-side, your trailer is the easiest target—it can be gone in minutes if you’re not careful. Plus, your awesome side-by-side is more likely to attract determined thieves when it’s on display on the on a trailer.
In fact, around 20,000 ATVs and UTVs are stolen every year according to NICB, and only a third of those are ever recovered.
If you want to know how to secure your trailer from theft and keep your UTV safe from those thieving jerks, check out these 7 ways to protect your trailer.
The main purpose of trailer security is deterrence. If somebody really wants to get your trailer, they will. But if you put enough road blocks in their way, you can stop most would-be thieves from going through the effort.
With that said, we’ve ordered this list from the most important to the least important, but your best bet is to implement as many of these security measures as possible.
A tongue lock attaches to the coupler of your trailer where it connects to your ball hitch. It plugs up the coupler, rendering the trailer completely inoperable. It’s the best way to lock a trailer tongue.
These are useful when your trailer is disconnected from your vehicle and your trailer is the most vulnerable.
Tongue locks are easy to find and simple to install. You don’t want to go out and buy the first lock you see though. Make sure it’s tool resistant and has above average pick resistance—professional thieves will come ready with lock picks and power tools.
A hitch lock keeps your hitch pin in place. This keeps someone from easily removing your hitch altogether.
Usually keeping your trailer hooked up to your vehicle makes it a lot tougher to steal, but if your hitch is unsecured, somebody can pull the pin, remove it, and then connect it and your trailer to their vehicle.
Get a solid hitch lock and stay more secure.
Chock locks attach to your wheel to prevent your trailer’s wheels from turning at all. They work a lot like a police department’s boots that are used to impound vehicles.
Don’t forget that deterrence is the primary goal here, so make sure you choose a brightly colored one that will be obvious to any curious passersby. Not only will it secure your trailer from theft, but it will also make them think twice about even approaching your hauler.
You can attach a wireless, vibration activated alarm to your trailer to alert you if somebody starts messing with it. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to get multiple: one for your trailer and one for each vehicle you’re towing.
A shrill alarm will make anybody panic and, hopefully, run away without your trailer.
Adding unique, obvious, and bright markings to your trailer can make it stand out too much for any thief to want to mess with. Painting the rails with neon green and pink stripes might make your eyes bleed, but it’ll also make it easy to report to police and even easier for them to spot rolling down the highway. The last thing burglars want is to stand out. They’ll take one look at your neon nightmare and walk away.
It doesn’t have to be hideous though. Pick your favorite school colors, football jersey, or logo and get to painting. Just make sure whatever you choose stands out. You can even add a pattern of reflex reflectors to ensure it shines bright when headlights hit it.
If they do decide to take your trailer anyway, you can be sure the first thing they’re going to try to do is repaint it. Make sure you report it stolen ASAP so law enforcement can catch them before they get the chance.
Whether you’re parking in a lot or at a campsite, there are a few common-sense methods to keep your trailer from being stolen.
First, always park in a well-lit area. Look for a street light and park there. If you’re in a packed parking lot and your options are limited, it might be worth looking elsewhere for a safe place to park your trailer.
Another thing you can do to annoy thieves is block your trailer with your tow vehicle. If you can back your trailer up against a building or the tree line at your campsite, it’ll be virtually impossible for somebody to maneuver it to another towing vehicle. If you’re traveling with another car, it can help block your trailer too.
Finally, if you’re really worried about thieves, keep your trailer with you at all times. It might be a pain, but if you keep your trailer coupled to your tow vehicle, you can make sure it’s always blocked, always in a brightly lit place, and never left alone.
GPS tracking devices are less of a deterrent and more like a kind of insurance. If somebody does manage to get away with your trailer and your ride, a couple of these in well-hidden locations will ensure that you can tell police where it was taken.
Securing your trailer from theft isn’t the only thing you can do to protect your property. Here are a few more smart tips to keep everything else safe while you tow your UTV or ATV.
Keep in mind that no matter what you do, there’s no way to stop someone who’s willing to steal your trailer at all costs. By adding layer upon layer of security, you’re making would-be trailer takers think twice about taking your trailer.
And that’s the biggest lesson: there’s no one “best” thing you can do to secure your trailer from theft. So follow all of these tips, and thieves will want your UTV-laden trailer like they want a hole in the head.
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The tongue lock pictured is an absolute joke as is the wheel lock AND the hitch lock. The tounge lock I tired takes about 10 seconds if that to remove with a simple ball peen hammer or a sledge hammer. The wheel lock pictured, 30 seconds at max using nothing but a short piece of pipe which btw will also snap the lock end off of that joke of a hitch lock.
Want a solid tounge lock but one from proven industries. Hitch lock? Rule industries high security hitch locks will take hours to remove. The wheel lock need to be heavy heavy duty not that JUNK pictured. Good article but if your going to give anti theft advice then give good advice
Locking your trailer involves more than just shutting the windows and doors. However, these safety measures are required. In this case, think about the best technique to secure a trailer that circumvents the kingpin. Cylinder locks and padlocks are the two most popular options.
A friend of mine recently had his car trailer stolen. They took bolt cutters and cut every padlock off of it and were gone in short order. That was a Wake-Up call for me and after reviewing the recent rash of Cargo Trailer thefts I purchased this Master 389DAT trailer lock. Since the lock mechanism is built in there is no hasp to cut. This increases the degree of difficulty and the time involved. Both of those things are helpful.
When the trailer is not connected to the towing vehicle, using a tongue lock is recommended. Because the thief won’t be able to attach the trailer to their towing vehicle, creating this lock will prevent a trailer from being stolen.
That’s a good point, Robert!
Incorrect. Thieves will use a taller truck, back up to the trailer, putting their taller hitch right above the tongue with your lock on it. Then they raise the trailer up to the bottom of the hitch, wrap the safety chains around the hitch, lock it together and then pull out. You MUST lock your chains with a good, round lock to prevent this from happening as well.
How to secure a trailer against theft. Step 1: Secure the coupler with a padlock. Step 2: Install safety chains, straps and regular chains. Step 3: Adding a wheel or tire lock.More tips for touring with a trailer. Tip 1: Secure the keys in the locks. Tip 2: Be careful where you park. Tip 3: Install digital devices. Hope my ways can help you!
Best way to prevent theft is not to leave your truck unattended. If you have something you are transporting and cannot stay with the vehicle overnight the next best thing is an alarm, 2 guard dogs, and a GPS device with camera connected to your iPhone.