How to Lock a Generator to a Trailer

by John Cagney Nash

Many owners of recreational vehicles use generators as a regular and frequent component in their camping experiences. Large A-Class and medium-sized C-Class RVs typically have factory-fitted generators installed in dedicated bays, often with lockable doors, inside which the generators are bolted down. Most B-Class RVs, travel trailers, fifth wheels and pop-up campers are manufactured without a dedicated bay and sold without a generator, which results in small, light-weight, expensive machinery being retrofitted externally. This practice makes the generator very vulnerable, so locking it to the trailer is the norm. Knowing how to do this effectively is important in deterring theft.

Lock the generator to something strong and heavy. Chaining it to a spare wheel allows its theft by the simple expedient of removing the one nut holding the spare in place.

Use a lasso security cable or a chain and padlock or a U-lock fabricated from case-hardened steel. No device can prevent theft, but strong materials deter it. Thieves will usually be unwilling to invest much time in freeing a difficult generator when an easier target may be available at the next campsite.

Attach the chain to a secure point as high as possible on the trailer. Although chassis rails and welded-on bumpers are strong, their proximity to the ground is a vulnerability factor. According to the experts at Motorcycle Cruiser "If you attach... up away from the ground, the thief probably won't that extra leverage to pry the lock." Use a luggage tray, a body hoop that is exposed inside a cargo bay or a roof access ladder so long as it is fixed through the trailer body into a sturdy metal stud.

Keep the generator in a well-lit area. Pro Vigil note that "White security lighting... deters more cautious thieves and lights your jobsite at night so neighbors and passers by can see more brazen intruders." Install a scare light on the trailer above the locations where you store and use the generator.

Cover the generator when it is not in use. Although there is no disguising a running generator, disguising the machine may deter theft because the potential thief does not know it is there. This is particularly important when parked in the remote areas of store lots typically set aside by mall operators for RV parking.


  • check Remove the generator when the trailer is not in use, both at home and at storage facilities, and keep the generator in a locked garage.


  • close Most owners lock their generators by running the lasso, chain or U-lock through the carry handle. Many such handles are made of plastic with no internal brace, and can be shattered very swiftly and easily. Make sure your securing device passes through at least one strong metal component of the generator, such as a frame rail, or is threaded around the cylinder.

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About the Author

John Cagney Nash began composing press releases and event reviews for British nightclubs in 1982. His material was first published in the "Eastern Daily Press." Nash's work focuses on American life, travel and the music industry. In 1998 he earned an OxBridge doctorate in philosophy and immediately emigrated to America.

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  • photo_camera lock image by Dwight Davis from