Bolt’s lineup of one-key-fits-all security locks does away with clunky keychains
They say good fences make good neighbors. If that axiom is true, it could follow that good locks make good RVers.
In this day and age, you have to secure your stuff, and between locking up the bikes, the portable generator, the truck-bed locker and the hitch mount, and securing the trailer in storage, that’s a lot of locks. And a lot of keys. Besides the hassle of carrying a hefty keychain, it can be difficult to keep track of which key belongs to which lock.
Yes, there are a number of one-key solutions on the market, but they tend to be limited to an initial purchase and don’t work across multiple types of locks. Bolt Lock has come up with a unique solution: an assortment of locks that are mechanically matched to the tow vehicle’s ignition key. You can purchase a single lock or several, and later add as many as you like.
So, how does Bolt even do that?
According to the company’s website, “The first time you insert your ignition key into the lock, the spring-loaded plate tumblers move up and down until they are matched exactly to your key.” As the key is rotated in the lock for the first time, the positions of the plate tumblers are permanently set to the key.
The Bolt system includes different types of locks, including several specifically for trailer towing and storage. There’s a Receiver Lock ($31.99), a Coupler Pin Lock ($29.99) and an Off-Vehicle Coupler Lock ($74.99). For fifth-wheel owners, there’s a Collar-Kingpin Locking System ($14.99) that works with the Receiver Lock to secure the kingpin.
The locks work with ignition keys for many makes and models, particularly trucks and SUVs. To determine if yours is compatible, check the vehicle finder at www.boltlock.com/find-your-lock.
We tried out several of the Bolt locks, all keyed to a Ram 1500. At first, we were stumped because the 2015 Ram Outdoorsman has an electronic key fob. It took a moment or two to realize we could use the valet key that is hidden inside the key fob. Within minutes, we had several locks keyed to the truck’s ignition key.
A couple of obvious uses for the Bolt Cable Lock ($39.99) are to secure the generator in the truck bed while traveling and to the trailer’s A-frame or bumper when in camp. The lock is attached to a 6-foot vinyl-coated coiled cable, plenty long enough for other jobs like making sure the bikes or a barbecue grill are secure.
We’ve been using the standard Bolt Padlock ($21.99) on our rack-mounted cargo carrier. The padlock has a 2¼-inch hardened-steel shackle, so it’s big enough for oversize latches or chains. Of course, we’re also using the 5⁄8-inch Receiver Lock to keep the ball mount from being stolen when it’s on the truck.
Bolt products feature auto-return spring mechanisms, so they lock when the key is removed. They have what’s called plate-tumbler sidebars that help prevent bad actors from picking them. All are weatherproof with stainless-steel lock shutters to keep out dirt and moisture. And they come with a limited lifetime warranty.
There is one downside to the Bolt system. If you change vehicles, there isn’t a way to rekey the locks to your new ride. Bolt’s website claims that’s more of a feature than a bug, as it ensures the best possible security. If the locks could be rekeyed, the company’s logic goes, it would be too easy for a thief to do just that. To soften the blow, Bolt has a loyalty program that provides a discount coupon for customers to use on a new Bolt system when the original vehicle is sold or no longer in service.
Bolt Lock is a division of Strattec Security Corporation, a leading manufacturer of automotive locks and keys. To find a retailer, check the store finder on Bolt’s website.
Bolt Lock | 844-972-7547 | www.boltlock.com
Trailer Life Production Director Bob Dawson is a second-generation RVer as well as a fitness, photography, video, tech and outdoor enthusiast. Bob was a photojournalist in a previous life, and his photos and articles have appeared in Trailer Life publications for more than 20 years. You can see some of his video work on our TrailerLifeDIYTV YouTube Channel.