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How to Remove a Trailer Hitch Lock? – 3 Useful Steps

Writen by Tom Hank

Fact checked by Joseph Varney

how to remove a trailer hitch lock

You might run into a sticky trailer hitch lock in one of your camping trips. It can be a frustrating experience, especially if you don’t know how to remove trailer tongue lock without key.

So how to remove a trailer hitch lock? Doing this may only require you to secure a metal pipe. You need to use the pipe to pry the lock from the hitch. It also means destroying the hitch in the process.

Table of Contents

What You’ll Need

If you already tried different methods to unlock trailer hitch lock, and even using the key didn’t work, you may only need one item to remove a Master Lock trailer hitch lock.

Metal Pipe

The concept to remove hitch lock without key is to use a metal pipe and remove the bolt from the trailer hitch. Use one that fits the lock snugly.

A metal pipe with a 5/8-inch diameter hole should suffice for this operation. Don’t use a pipe that’s significantly larger than the hitch lock’s diameter or you might have a tougher time than expected in removing the lock. Likewise, using a smaller metal pipe than the trailer hitch lock won’t work.

You might have one lying in your garage or vehicle. Otherwise, you may need to buy one online or from your local hardware store.

Step-by-Step Instructions


As you may already notice, you’re going to pry and remove the entire lock from the hitch. It also means that you’re going to destroy the lock to remove the hitch from the vehicle.

So, make sure that you’re adamant about proceeding with this process. Also, it might be practical to have a spare trailer hitch ready to replace the one that you’re about to break.

Now, with a metal pipe in hand, follow these steps to proceed with this operation:

Step #1: Insert the Trailer Hitch Lock Into the Metal Pipe

If needed, slightly lift the hitch lock and put it into one end of the metal pipe. Keep in mind that it’s okay to scratch the lock at this point since you’re about to break it from the hitch.

However, if the pipe you have is slightly smaller than the lock’s diameter, you may need to apply lubricant to the setup. Put your preferred lubricant on the lock’s surface before sliding it into the pipe.

Step #2: Pry the Lock Off

Once the trailer hitch lock is in the metal pipe, use the pipe and extend the lock’s connection beyond its tension point. Take note that you may need some leverage for this step, depending on your hitch’s setup.

If you need leverage, putting the metal pipe onto the hitch’s plate may help. But be careful when applying force to the pipe. Applying more force than necessary might make you push the pipe onto the vehicle, causing a dent or scratch to it.

Step #3: Replace the Trailer Hitch

After the removal of the lock, you can now take the rest of the old trailer hitch out of the vehicle. At this point, you may want to replace the broken hitch with a new model.

If you already have a new trailer hitch and you’re ready to install it, make sure to check the owner’s manual first. Read the instructions to have a general idea of how you’re going to install the hitch onto your vehicle.

How to Install a Trailer Hitch?

Keep in mind that not all trailer hitches on the market have the same installation process. Here’s a quick look at the steps to install these hitches for a general idea of how to complete the procedure.

  • Find the mounting points on your vehicle’s frame.
  • Clean the mounting points with penetrating oil and a rust remover if necessary.
  • Set the hitch onto the mounting holes and secure it with the provided bolts that should come with the kit.
  • Torque the bolts using a wrench according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Install the hitch ball, drawbar, drawbar pin, and retainer according to your model’s instructions.


Did you like this post on how to remove a trailer hitch lock? Remember that you need to have the determination to go through with this task. Also, only try breaking the hitch lock if you already exhausted other possible methods to unlock the hitch.

What do you think about unlocking a trailer hitch lock with a metal pipe? Also, if you like this post, make sure to share it with others to help them if they run into this sticky situation.

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