Prevent Getting Locked Out with Keyless Entry for Your RV

Getting locked out of your RV can be a major hassle, especially if you’re parked far from home or help. Fortunately, modern keyless entry options like combo locks and Bluetooth technology can prevent lockouts and add convenience to your travels. As a longtime RV enthusiast, I’ve tried my share of options.

The Pain of Getting Locked Out

Before we dive into the keyless solutions, it’s worth understanding why lockouts are such an annoyance for RVers. Trust me, I’ve been there!

One time, I was camping along the Oregon coast when I stepped outside to walk my dog without grabbing my keys. I assumed my partner was still inside, but when I tried to get back in, the door was locked tight. This was before we had cell service, so I couldn’t call for help.

After 20 frustrating minutes, another camper drove by and helped me break in by removing a vent screen. Of course, I then had to repair the damage. Lesson learned – always take your keys!

Lockouts can happen so easily with RVs – stepping outside for a minute, going for a quick walk or bike ride, driving to get propane. And they often happen at the worst possible times when you’re far from assistance. Nothing sours a camping trip faster.

Beyond the hassle, a lockout can also be dangerous if weather conditions are poor or you need medical help. It pays to find reliable keyless options to avoid finding yourself stranded outside your home on wheels.

Benefits of Keyless RV Locks

The main advantage of keyless locks is convenience. You don’t need to remember where you left your keys or dig them out of your pocket each time. I love that I can keep my hands free when coming and going.

With some systems, you also get the ability to create custom entry codes. So you can give the main code to family members, but offer temporary codes to contractors or house sitters.

Many keyless locks also keep you from getting fully locked out. Even if you forget your phone or the code, you can use a backup key hidden on the vehicle. This gives you multiple ways to get in.

Finally, some RV locks now work via smartphone app. So you can unlock from a distance as you approach. This is super handy when your hands are full! Just tap the app as you walk up and voila, you’re in.

Combo Locks

The simplest keyless locks are combo locks similar to what you see on lockers or safes. You enter a code, usually 3-8 digits, and the latch retracts.

I installed a combo lock from Zephyr on my first RV and found it easy to use. I liked that it came with adhesive so I could mount it without drilling holes. I put my lock above the standard key lock so I didn’t have to modify the door.

The buttons were large, making the combo easy to enter even in the dark. And memory was not an issue since I could store the code in my phone. The only annoyance was needing to manually spin the numbers back to zero after opening.

Combo locks range from $25-100 on average. Popular brands include Kaba, Master Lock, and Disc-O-Bed. Just confirm the lock will fit your RV’s handle and door thickness before purchasing.

The main downside of standard combo locks is the lack of smart features. You only get one way to unlock, and you can’t open from a distance. Still, the low cost and simplicity make them a good choice for basic keyless convenience.

Keypad Locks

For a bit more functionality, you can upgrade to an electronic keypad lock. These operate the same way by entering a code. But they add backlit buttons and the ability to set multiple codes.

I upgraded to the Lippert Electronic Keyless Entry Handle after having combo lock issues. What sold me was the sleek low-profile design with an integrated door handle. Installation took under 20 minutes with a simple screw mount.

The buttons light up at night – a big perk when fumbling in the dark. I use the main code daily but have temporary codes for house sitters that I delete afterward. Up to 4 codes can be active at once.

Popular keypad lock brands include Lippert, LCI, and Kijaro. Expect to pay $150-300. Pay attention to power options – some require 4-8 AA batteries, while others have a built-in USB charging port.

Make sure any model you choose has enough codes and an easy installation process. Watch for flimsy plastic parts that feel cheap. Spending a bit more gets you better build quality and longer lifespan.

Smart Locks

For the ultimate in convenience, smart locks use Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone. You simply tap an app as you approach your RV. Voila – it unlocks automatically!

My newest locking system comes from Schlage and works flawlessly. It took 30 minutes to install with the interior mount kit. I downloaded the app, paired it to my lock, and was up and running.

Now I can grant virtual keys to family members by sending a link through the app. I monitor who comes and goes right from my phone. There’s an activity log showing dates, times, etc.

The Schlage lock accepts regular keys as backup. And if my phone dies, there’s a lighted keypad for entering codes. With three ways to unlock, I’m never getting locked out again!

Other top brands for Bluetooth smart locks include LockState and Kijaro. Expect to spend $250-350. Make sure to check battery life, app reviews, and backup entry methods before deciding.

Smart locks are the “cadillac” option. But if you value access control and reducing lockout risk, the extra investment can be worth it. Just make sure your RV’s door and walls don’t interfere with Bluetooth signals.

Installation Tips

Installing a keyless lock sounds intimidating, but most models are designed for DIY. I’d recommend these tips for a smooth process:

  • Watch online videos for your specific lock model to understand the proper installation procedure. Knowing what to expect makes the job easier.
  • Use the drilling template provided to mark holes accurately. Rushing this step can lead to misaligned holes.
  • Clean the door surface thoroughly so the included adhesive makes a tight seal. This prevents air and moisture getting in around the lock.
  • Consider adding exterior sealant once mounted for extra protection from the elements.
  • Disable any existing interior lock before installing a new exterior keyless lock to avoid interference issues.
  • If drilling holes, apply painter’s tape on the drill entry and exit points to prevent scratching or splintering.
  • Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the specified size, then widen as needed for a snug fit.
  • Make sure the door is fully closed when aligning and drilling to ensure accurate positioning.
  • Don’t overtighten screws – snug is fine. Overtightening can crack plastic parts.

With proper care, you can install a keyless lock yourself in under an hour, saving on installation costs. Just work slowly and double-check everything as you go.

Lockout Risks

While keyless locks provide convenience, they also come with some risks to consider:

Forgotten Codes – If you pick a random code, it’s easy to forget it over time. Make sure to store it somewhere secure as a backup. Some locks let you look up forgotten codes.

Dead Batteries – Keypad and smart locks rely on batteries or charging. Make sure to have spare AAA or AA batteries on hand for emergencies.

Failed Keypad – With heavy use over time, keypad buttons can fail or get water damage. Test yours regularly to make sure all numbers function.

Bluetooth Issues – For smart locks, Bluetooth signal problems can prevent remote unlocking. Be aware of potential interference factors.

Manual Keys – Many keyless locks still come with physical keys as backup. Don’t lose these or you could find yourself locked out!

The more ways your lock provides to get in, the lower your risk. Combining keypad codes, hidden keys, and Bluetooth reduces the chances of a total lockout.

Based on my own experience and research, here are some top-rated keyless locks to consider for your RV:

  • Lippert 39CLRV – Great midrange electronic keypad model.
  • Schlage Encode – Reliable Bluetooth smart lock with app access.
  • Kijaro Ductus – Budget Bluetooth lock with touchscreen.
  • Master Lock 5401D – Simple set-your-own combo lock.
  • LCI 3011 – Keypad with interior/exterior mount options.
  • LockState Connected – Smart lock with WiFi and GPS geo-fencing.

I always suggest reading reviews and watching product videos before deciding. Make sure any lock you choose is designed for RVs and has enough codes/features to meet your needs.

Give Yourself Peace of Mind

As an RVer, getting locked out is one of life’s frustrating “gotchas” that can quickly ruin your travels. By investing in a modern keyless entry system, you can save yourself major headaches down the road.

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