How to Repair a Lock Cylinder on an RV

How to Repair a Lock Cylinder on an RV
Don't get locked out of your RV due to sticky or malfunctioning cylinder locks. It's not uncommon for RV doors and hatches to get mucked up from road detritus and debris, or have cylinder locks get sticky from salt water air or accumulated gunk.

Fixing and repairing RV lock cylinders can be as simple as a quick lubrication to having to change out the offending cylinder. Set aside a few minutes to an hour for diagnosing and fixing the lock cylinder on your RV.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Handheld hair dryer with a heatless setting
  • Dry graphite spray-on lubricant
  • Phillips or flathead screwdriver
  • Replacement cylinder lock kit
Step 1
Blow air inside the lock cylinder using the handheld hair dryer. Make sure it's set to the heatless position before directing the air into the lock cylinder. Wiggle the lock mechanism with the key inserted after you blow out the cylinder. Check to see if the air dislodged the debris or if the cylinder is moving freely.
Step 2
Point the nozzle of the spray-on dry graphite-based lubricant into the cylinder lock. Give the lock two or three quick sprays of the graphite. Insert the key and move the cylinder. See if this has freed the cylinder mechanisms.
Step 3
If the previous fixes did not work, unscrew the four small screws surrounding the latch plate on the side of the door. You will need to replace the cylinder with the replacement cylinder kit.

Unscrew the screws on the exterior of the cylinder mechanism on the outside door. Once all attached screws have been removed, pull the old cylinder out through the hole on the side of the door.
Step 4
Insert the new lock cylinder into the empty hole and align the screw attachment points with the holes in the side of the door and screw the cylinder into position. Turn the screw to the right to tighten them, and go as tight as you can by hand. Screw in any other screws as needed by the cylinder kit instructions.
Step 5
Test the new lock cylinder with the new keys. Replace you old keys off your key chain and add the new ones. Save a spare key where you can easily find it should you lose your key ring.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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