Trailer anti-theft devices and how to prevent trailer theft

locked trailer tyre


Posted June 06, 2024

Here’s how to protect your trailer from theft using a range of anti-theft devices and tactics.

Trailers are a theft target in Victoria due to their mobility and potential resale value. This can be a big issue for self-employed tradespeople who own a trailer to conduct their business, but even if you're hiring a trailer for one day, you should be aware that thieves can also target the goods and valuables you're carrying around if you leave them unattended. 

Neighbourhood Watch CEO Bambi Gordon says it’s a smart move for Victorians who own or are likely to hire a trailer to learn about trailer security and preventing trailer theft.

“Trailers can be valuable in themselves – but in particular if they're loaded up with valuable tools, building equipment, and other property,” she says. “As with all theft, the harder we make it for the criminal – for example, parking the trailer off the road, with the hitch up against a wall – the better.”

Find out how to prevent theft of your work car, ute or van too. If you’re towing a caravan rather than a trailer, learn how to prevent caravan theft. Also be aware that if you have a trailable boat, you need separate insurance for the trailer as well as boat insurance.

The ultimate guide to preventing trailer theft

Use wheel locks

A wheel lock can immobilise your trailer, preventing thieves from easily taking your trailer away. As a result, wheel locks also act as a great visual deterrent. Many opportunistic thieves will not try to break through a heavy-duty wheel clamp.

The most common types of wheel locks include:

  • Wheel clamp – a pincer-like lock that expands to fit different tyre sizes. One clamp pincer is put around either side of your wheel and then locked in place.
  • Wheel boot – like a wheel clamp, but includes a plate that covers the entire centre of the wheel. This is the type of wheel clamp that you might have seen on an impounded vehicle.
  • Wheel brace – works with dual tyres by sitting between the two tyres in an X shape that prevents the tyres from rolling.
  • Wheel chock lock – uses a plate that braces against the ground with sharp teeth, combining your need for a chock to prevent rolling on inclines with a wheel lock.

Install a trailer tongue lock

Trailer tongue locks fit in or over the trailer tongue, preventing a thief from inserting a hitch ball by plugging up the coupler. Without being able to attach the trailer to a vehicle, thieves can’t drive off with your trailer. This is a great lock for when you need to leave your trailer disconnected from your vehicle.

Make sure that any tongue lock you use is made from strong metal, is tool-resistant and pick-resistant, and has a key or combination mechanism that requires the correct key or code to open.

Install a hitch lock ball mount

Trailer hitch locks prevent thieves from uncoupling your trailer from your vehicle. Simply install your ball mount into the trailer hitch’s receiver tube, then insert the hitch lock instead of the regular hitch pin.

A ball mount with a hitch lock typically uses a protective cap secured by a lock cylinder or padlock. Thieves won’t be able to simply slide out the hitch pin to uncouple your trailer.


man locking trailer hitch

Locking your trailer to your vehicle can prevent thieves from stealing the trailer. Image: Getty

Consider digital security devices

A wireless alarm that makes a loud sound if tampered with can scare thieves away from your trailer. It can also alert you – or passersby – to the attempted theft.

Small GPS tracking devices can also be hidden somewhere on your trailer. If your trailer is stolen, you can then track its location on the GPS’s related app and inform police where your stolen trailer was taken.

Make your trailer bright and unique

Thieves don’t like unique or obvious markings on objects or vehicles they hope to steal. Not only do bright markings make your trailer harder for the thief to resell, but it is also easily recognisable to police on the lookout for your vehicle.

If you own a trailer, consider adding bright colours to your trailer, or reflectors that shine brightly in headlights, to deter theft.

Drive directly to your destination and park smartly

Sometimes the most effective safety method is the simplest. When towing a trailer, drive directly to your destination without unnecessary stops.

Once you’ve arrived, park in a well-lit area, preferably in a locked garage or shed if possible. You can even block your trailer’s exit path with your towing vehicle so that thieves can’t manoeuvre it away.

Secure your trailer’s contents and your towing vehicle too. “In some instances, crooks may be stealing the trailer for its resale value, but the primary motivation is for the equipment and property that is on board,” Bambi says. “Especially if the trailer is connected to a vehicle so that it is being stolen in conjunction with a car or ute.”


parked and locked trailer on driveway

Remember to park your trailer with security in mind. Image: Getty

Update your trailer insurance

One of the best ways to guard against loss of your car trailer is to take out dedicated trailer insurance. RACV Trailer Insurance covers any trailer that meets VicRoads requirements, both when the trailer is parked at home and while you’re driving. It also covers anyone borrowing your trailer with your permission.


Help protect your trailer from loss or damage with RACV Trailer Insurance.
Discover more →


The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions, please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.