Your RV door and RV door locks may not be the first thing you think about when you’re shopping for fun RV accessories. However, they play a very important part! When you’re looking at a part that will protect your belongings and those you love, you definitely want to make sure you get a good one. Let’s take a look at the important things to know about your RV doors and locks and how to make sure you choose the best one for your rig.
An Introduction to the RV Door
Every motorhome has at least one door on it, but did you know that these doors come in a variety of shapes and sizes? The two most popular styles of RV doors include square or radius (rounded) corners. Some doors can be fully enclosed or have a glass panel (like a window) to let more light in.
RV Entry Door
Most RV entry doors are located on the passenger side of the RV. Many doors are made of fiberglass, which is not necessarily a strong material. Upgraded RV entry doors exist as well as improved ways of locking your doors.
You might have noticed you aren’t a fan of your RV entry door handle. Have you considered swapping your RV entry door latch for a magnet closure? Magnets are commonly used by motorhome enthusiasts as an easier way of securing the door. Latches can be flimsy and can break over time, but magnets maintain a strong connection. Of course, we aren’t recommending that you use magnets to lock the door. Separate features exist for that.
Another common problem with fiberglass RV entry doors is that they often sag. This is sometimes the result of a hinge wearing away over time. You can look for RV entry door hardware to replace these features or purchase new or used RV entry doors for a full replacement.
A common repair you might need to make is replacing your RV entry door holder. This is the sliding piece that props the door open so you can enter and exit without opening and closing each time. These pieces do a lot of work and can easily wear out. Luckily you can find replacement parts cheaply online.
The RV Access Door
RVs also come with what’s known as an RV access door. Not to be confused with the front door of an RV, an access door provides access to the small cargo area on your trailer or RV. An RV access door needs to be both secure and easy to get to. It’s vital that it comes with a lock and key. These doors are often made from heavy-duty materials such as steel to provide durability against weather conditions. Generally speaking, an RV access door usually ranges in size from 14 inches to 70 inches.
RV Door Holder
An RV door holder (also referred to as an RV door catch) does just as the name suggests: it holds the door open to prevent it from automatically closing or slamming in the wind. Holding your RV door open can be handy when expecting guests, carrying things in or out of your RV, or even just letting a cool breeze in. While many RV models might come with a plastic door holder already in place, stainless steel or metal (like this one) is the way to go for extra strength and durability.
RV Door Handles
RV door handles serve one important purpose: to make opening and closing your RV door a lot easier! When it comes to adding or replacing the handle on your RV door, you have a wide variety of styles to choose from, including folding handles, paddle handles, swing handles, grab handles. ‘L’ handles, and ‘T’ handles. The type of RV door handle you choose will largely come down to the style and material of your RV door, as well as your personal preference.
RV Storm Door
Along with a sturdy RV door, some models also come with a screen door. These screen doors can be unstylish and hard to care for, not to mention prone to rips and tears. This is why many RV owners have opted for an RV storm door instead. These are made from durable, yet see-through materials such as plexiglass. Not only can the door withstand the extreme weather conditions that come with storms (such as hail or heavy rainfall), but they’re also great for providing clear and uninterrupted views from inside your RV.
Replacement RV Doors
Over time, you may need replacement RV doors, particularly if yours becomes loose or the RV door glass has cracked.
A number of companies specialize in RV door repair, or you might consider a brand-new door altogether. Before you buy, be sure to measure the space accurately and note down the particular style or material you have in mind. You can even have RV doors custom-made to fit your particular model of RV, camper, or trailer. If you are looking for a ready-to-go, high-quality solution, Amazon has RV doors you can check out.
A used RV door can come in handy, as it’s a thrifty way to ensure your RV is in top shape. Prices for used doors range from $100 to $350. You can find plenty of used RV doors on marketplaces such as Facebook, eBay, or Craigslist, or in your local classifieds.
RV Door Locks
Your standard RV lock has a latch and handle feature with key entry. Many RVs come with upgraded deadbolt locks for added security. A lock, of course, is only as strong as the door it’s on, so you may also want to also consider an upgrade for your RV door. If you feel the door is flimsy or just old, an improved door can work as both a security measure and an insulator, keeping the temperature inside your RV at its most comfortable with a solid seal. You should also consider your RV door latch. Typically, these kits come in plastic or metal. If you live in colder climates, you’ll want a metal latch since plastic can freeze and break in cold temperatures.
There are also RV door locks on the market featuring keyless entry. These digitized keypads required a numeric code, which you can program and share with anyone you want to have access. A perk for these types of locks is that you can’t lose the key, although many come with a backup physical key for emergency situations in case you forget that code.
If you’re still concerned about locking your camper, consider investing in an RV security system. These range in price and sophistication but can alert you when someone is trying to enter your motorhome. Some will record and store footage of a break-in while others simply chime to warn a burglar that a security system is in place.
RV Entry Door Lock
There are several ways to lock your RV. The first involves the standard keyed lock with a handle lock and a deadbolt. The handle lock prevents the latch or knob from opening while the deadbolt slides a chunk of metal through the door to the frame of the RV for added strength.
Of course, a potential problem is either losing the entry key or not having enough copies for everyone traveling in the motorhome. Some folks have upgraded to keyless entry pads which require a code for use. The best part is, you can give the code to anyone and change it anytime you feel your security has been compromised. Should you forget the code, they have spare keys that come with the keyless locks.
While you’re at it, consider improving the locks within your RV as well. If your RV entry door is compromised, it’s best to also have your other valuables locked and stored within your RV with separate keys and keyless pads.
When considering security, you should also ask yourself about that RV entry door window. If you don’t need it, it’s easy to find a door without one. These are sometimes considered weak spots when a criminal is looking to enter your motorhome. If you want to keep the window, consider a privacy screen. These screens can also help to prevent hot air and sunlight from warming up the interior temperature of your RV.
RV Door Lock Replacements
You have a few options for RV door lock replacements. The first is to purchase a proprietary replacement from the manufacturer of your vehicle or trailer. While this is typically the more expensive option, it also ensures that the replacement part you receive will fit your vehicle exactly. Be sure to purchase a replacement for the same make, model, and year of your RV as these features change from one version to the next.
Another option is to upgrade with a third-party manufacturer. Many of these companies will make universal-style locks and latches for your motorhome that fit no matter the brand.
RV Door Latch/Lock Installation
When installing your new RV door latch, begin by removing the old latch. Make sure that the door is in good condition before replacing your latch with the new parts. A door latch is only as strong as its door, so you don’t want to put a perfectly new RV lock on a worn-out door if that door isn’t going to hold.
Next, you’ll want to insert the new lock and secure it to the door frame. There are a number of online tutorials that can walk you through this installation process. In addition, your latch kit should come with detailed instructions specific to the type you purchased, including descriptions of all included RV door latch parts.
After installing your new RV door latch, you’ll want to consider rekeying the lock. Many times, these locks are all manufactured with the same key, which means that anyone with the same latch can use their key to get into your RV. Of course, to stay safe, the manufacturers will give you a different combination of deadbolt and handle locks, so the person would need the same two keys. But if you happen to lock only one or the other, you may have a problem. And while you might want to believe no one would do that, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
RV Screen Door Repairs and Replacement
Let’s begin by discussing screen door repairs and RV screen door replacement. Luckily, repairing parts of a screen door and putting in a replacement RV screen door are both fairly easy jobs. The average handyman should be able to get their door up and running again in no time.
RV Screen Door Slide
The most commonly broken part is the RV screen door slide. This is the plastic bit that slides back and forth. It’s meant to keep bugs out of the rig when closed while still allowing the user to use the latch by sliding it open. Unfortunately, because these are 1) plastic, 2) exposed to the elements, and 3) used often, they become weathered, warped, and cracked over time.
Replacing your RV screen door slider is no big deal. The plastic parts come in clear, white, and black colors, and as long as you purchase one that fits your door properly, you’ll find it pops right in without any tools at all. You can find a screen door slide for your RV on Amazon or anywhere else RV parts are sold.
RV Screen Door Latches
RV screen door latches are another thing that can break easily. After all, they are used every day, and honestly, very few campers are gentle with them.
While replacing an RV screen door latch does take a bit more effort than replacing the slide, it still isn’t a difficult task. Generally, a few spins of a screwdriver are enough to remove the old latch, and putting a new one in is just as simple. Plus, you are looking at an average $10 piece so it’s a cheap replacement!
The one thing you’ll want to be aware of when replacing your screen door latch is the fact that these parts come in right- and left-handed models. To determine which one you need, stand on the inside of your camper and face the door. If your latch is on the right-hand side while doing this, you need a right-hand latch (and vice versa).
RV Door Screen Replacement
Sometimes the screens in RV screen doors end up being damaged. This is annoying but totally fixable, and in most cases, it doesn’t even require an entire door replacement. If you’ll be replacing your screen door, be sure to consider all of your options. Since you’ll be doing the work of putting in a new door anyway, you may want to think about upgrading to an RV retractable screen door or a nicer version of a screen door.
Most RV door screens are held in place by a rubber strip that fills a channel in the door frame. By pulling the rubber out, you can easily remove the entire screen. Another piece of screen and another rubber strip can then be placed in the channel using a special screen rolling tool made specifically for this job. You can find a screen repair kit on Amazon for only $19.
RV Screen Door Upgrades
For some RVers, even if their door is in perfect working order, it’s still not quite what they want or need. In these cases, an upgrade is in order. Problems keeping bugs out or a desire to keep kids in definitely contribute to the need for an upgrade! Once you have the door you really want and need, you’ll be so glad you took the leap and changed it out.
RV Screen Door Closer
An RV screen door closer works by using a spring to ensure the door closes behind you every time your go in or out of your rig. It’s perfect if you have kids or if you tend to walk in or out with your hands full on a regular basis.
RV Screen Door Guard
If you have pets or young children, you may find yourself fearing for your screens. An RV screen door cover will protect your screens from accidents. These come in a solid plastic form as well as RV screen door grill style and are the perfect RV screen door protector.
RV Screen Door Handle
An RV screen door handle is a great way to make your door a bit sturdier and gives you a way to close the door from the inside without pulling on the plastic slide. It’s a great addition to every RV.
RV Screen Door Lock
An RV screen door lock is a great addition to prevent young children from leaving your RV unnoticed, as well as for campers who enjoy leaving their door open but would like to feel more secure. These locks are easy to install and can really help give you some peace of mind while camping.
RV Screen Door Opener
Finally, we must discuss the screen door opener. This handy gadget allows you to open the screen door from the inside without moving the slider, meaning it’s much easier to keep bugs out. These are super easy to install and can be purchased individually. However, many campers prefer to purchase an RV screen door slide with an opener already attached, making the installation process even simpler.
How to Unlock Your Camper Door Without a Key
The first question to help you in this situation would be to ask yourself… Do you have a CH751 key in your RV?
Many manufacturers do make the same locks for RVs because they discovered it was easier for dealers to show RVs without needing multiple keys. These are called CH751 keys and can open a variety of locks. If you didn’t change your locks from the original setup in your RV, it’s most likely you have these keys which means getting a hold of a fellow RVer or campground host key will get you back in.
Call a locksmith
If you haven’t recovered your key and still can’t get in, you can call a locksmith to help. This is certainly more expensive, but it’s cheaper than breaking the door or window to get inside. If you rent an RV with RVshare, their 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance covers a locksmith, or towing if your RV needs to be taken to town before it can be unlocked. AAA members may also be covered, and other insurance companies might cover the cost as well.
If your lock is stuck
Perhaps you have your key, but the lock won’t turn, the key gets stuck, or the door is jammed and won’t open. This can be a common problem for RVs with the Global Lockset. You’ll know if you have a Global lock because it will have a “G” on it. Global locks have a small lip that can jam and keep the door from opening. Push on the left of the door, near the handle, while you’re trying to open the door and it should come unlocked.
Older RVs can often suffer from jammed locks as they age. Start by jiggling the key around to see if you can get it to click. You can also try WD40 or a lock cleaner to see if that gets the mechanism moving.
If you are locked out or in, check out this Youtube video for what steps to take.
How do I avoid getting locked out again?
To avoid a jammed lock, be sure to keep them cleaned and well-oiled with a lubricant like WD40 or Loctite. A little maintenance by checking and oiling your lock every so often can prevent getting locked out at a bad moment.
To avoid getting locked out when you lose your keys, you may want to consider a lockbox. A lockbox lets you store your key somewhere else, perhaps in the compartment where you keep your propane tanks or batteries. After punching in your lockbox code, you can retrieve the spare set of keys and let yourself in.
You may also want to consider getting a coded lock system for your RV. Simply punch a code into the lock and access your RV that way, rather than with a key. Most coded lock systems also have a backup key in case the battery in the system dies, so you’ll have that as an option as well.