Cargo trailers usually come equipped with cam bar locks outside the door, and you need a padlock to secure the trailer while going away.
However, you can install an RV door latch lock beside the preinstalled bar lock to ensure your security while living inside, especially at night.
How to Install RV Door Latch on a Cargo Trailer? To install an RV door latch on the entry door of a cargo trailer, measure its dimensions, and cut a hole according to the measurements. Next, install the door lock with the help of screws and a strike plate on the edge of the door frame. Lastly, cut a hole and fix the strike plate to cater to the locking bar and deadbolt on the other end of the trailer door to complete the installation process.
I have added 6 easy steps to mount the RV door latch to your cargo trailer. RV entry door latch locks come in various shapes and colors. Typical colors are white, black, and silver to compliment the color of the trailer.
How to Install RV Door Latch on a Cargo Trailer?
RV door latch locks have a compact assembly to fit on the entry door easily.
It provides extra security due to the presence of a deadbolt that you can unlock from outside with the help of a separate key and deadbolt unlock knob from inside.
You have to use 2 keys while opening the door from outside. They are durable and sturdy because of high-strength materials like stainless steel, iron, and zinc coating for the locking bar and deadbolt.
It gives them waterproof and rust-resistant characteristics for longer life.
First, you will find each lock’s specifications that are suitable for installation on 1″ to 2″ thick doors.
Measure the lock dimensions
The first step is measuring the dimensions of the lock assembly.
I would advise you not to rely on the dimensions mentioned on the product packing and check it yourself.
Instead, increase the measurements by a margin of 1/4th of an inch for each side. It will ensure easy fitting of the lock assembly.
These are available in standard dimensions for easy replacement in case of a faulty lock.
Typical dimensions are 2-3 inches in length, 3-4 inches in height, and 1-2 inches in width. Lock width has only the purpose of checking its compatibility with door width.
While purchasing the door lath, its width should match that of your door. Otherwise, you have to make a special arrangement to install it.
Cut the hole in the door according to measured dimensions
Mark a rectangular box at a distance of 1 inch from the door edge of the length and height as measured in the first step.
Do this for both inside and outside of the cargo trailer door.
Usually, they have aluminum or steel skin over wooden frames with hollow or foam-filled interiors.
Use a metal-cutting tool having a blade strong enough to cut aluminum or steel. First, draw holes at the marking boundary, and next, cut them with the help of a saw.
It is the most challenging step of the whole installation process to cut the door skin.
Then, insert the lock assembly inside the hole to check its fitting. In case of difficulty inserting the lock, you need to make adjustments according to the lock dimensions.
Mount the backplate for lock support
Usually, screws on the backside of the door latch keep it firmly in its place.
You can cut a piece of plywood, inserted it between both panels, and fixed it with the help of glue.
It is a good practice to leave it for 1 hour to dry it and gain its strength ultimately. You will also need to make a shallow opening on the front side for movement of latch and deadbolt during locking and unlocking.
There are metal backplates also available to give further strength to the lock assembly. But they are difficult to install and cost extra dollars to purchase.
Install the latch lock on Cargo Trailer
Install the front of the RV latch into the hole and align it with the back portion. Tighten them until they are snug, but overtightening can cause the misalignment of the door latch.
Fix the screws with your hand and avoid using an impact wrench to prevent damage to the lock assembly.
Attach the latch side strike plate to the front edge of the door. Align its position such as to allow free movement of the locking bar and deadbolt.
If the installed latch doesn’t have a built-in seal or gasket around to protect it from water, use a sealant or filler on its sides to ensure waterproof assembly.
Install the latch receiver or strike plate
The last step completes the installation process of RV latch assembly on a cargo trailer. Next, you need to cut a hole and install the striking plate on the door frame that retains the locking bar and deadbolt of the latch in a door close position.
Drill a hole in the marked place with the help of a drill machine.
Close it and make fine adjustments according to the ease of latching operation. After that, install the striking plate on the hole with the help of 2 screws.
Finally, open and close the door from both inside and outside to test its performance and ease of operation.
Paint its surface
It is the last step after installing the door latch assembly to restore the trailer’s appearance. First, check for any sharp edges during cutting work and smoothen them.
Then, do the paintwork to cover the wooden sheet and internal exposed portion of the door panel.
Why do you need an RV door latch on a cargo trailer?
Cargo trailers have cam bar lock assemblies outside the door to lock them. It consists of a long bar supported by hinges and a hasp attached.
A hasp keeper on the other side of the door secures the lock with the help of a padlock. This type of lock arrangement is unsuitable if you convert it into a travel trailer and live inside it.
Common drawbacks of cam bar locks are:
They risk getting locked inside the trailer if somebody locks it from outside as there is no mechanism to unlock it from inside.
There is no mechanism to close the door from inside and compromises your privacy and security.
They are not secure as anybody can barge into your trailer by breaking the padlock.
Difficult to lock and unlock, and regular lubrication of hinges are required.
The easiest solution is to install an RV door lock on your cargo trailer beside the bar lock to overcome these problems.
It is an inexpensive and easy-to-install solution that most trailer owners utilize for extra security.
Time and cost of installation
While replacing an old lock, they are easy to install by simply removing the old one and fixing the new one. It usually takes 15-30 minutes.
However, you have to do a bit of work involving cutting holes and fitting the lock assembly in case of a new installation. Therefore, you have to spend 2-3 hours on proper installation and a lot of hard work.
It costs about $30 to $50 for conventional locks with 4 keys and a deadbolt. While for keyless entry with a keypad and remote fob, you have to spend about $230 to $240 for lock and $10 to $20 as installation cost.