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How to Unlock Trailer Hitch Lock? – 3 Easy Methods

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to unlock trailer hitch lock

Imagine this scenario— you were planning a long trip with your family. You got some of your heavy stuff settled on the trailer. Everything went well until you noticed the trailer hitch wouldn’t unlock with your key.

You’ll either kiss the sweet family travel goodbye or leave the trailer and necessary stuff behind because you can’t unlock your car hitch.

Good thing you found this article on how to unlock trailer hitch lock because it doesn’t have to go on either of those ways. Read through here to learn more.

Ways to Unlock Trailer Hitch Lock


What to prepare?

You will need either of these tools to get a trailer hitch lock off without a key:

  • Metal pipe
  • Metal grinder
  • Picking kit

#1. The pipe method

Don’t have the skills to pick a lock or the proper tools to break the hitch lock open? Don’t fret because this method works like a charm! Just look for a pipe that would cover the hitch lock head, and you’re good to go.

This method could be used to break a Reese trailer hitch lock and will work if you have the key to your tow smart locking hitch pin stuck in the keyhole.

Step 1: Locate the weak spot of the hitch pin.

Of course, to successfully break the trailer hitch lock, you would want to do it on the weaker side of the piece because trying to break the metal side wouldn’t give you any success.

To locate the weak spot, look for the barrel lock and that’s usually the weak part of the hitch.

Step 2: Insert the pipe hole onto the lock.

Once you’ve located the part you’ll break, you can get your pipe and start the action.

Make sure the pipe hole covers the hitch lock.

  • Insert the pipe over the lock.
  • Fit the lock inside the pipe hole.
  • Pull the pipe on and ensure the lock resists the pressure you’re pulling.
  • Do it until the lock breaks off to the metal piece.
  • Remove the pin, and you’re done!

#2. Grind it open method


If you’re having difficulty fitting the pipe onto the lock, or if the tube won’t work on the type of lock, then you can use this method.

Grinding the metal is the best way for Reese towpower lock removal or any classes of such lock like the heavy-duty locks from Master lock.

Grinding your hitch lock open is also the fastest and easiest way to remove trailer coupler lock without a key or any cuttable metal lock.

Step 1. Wear protective equipment

This step is optional but highly advised. Since it involves a hazardous tool, it’s much better to do it prepared and securely.

Get yourself a face shield and safety google to avoid inhaling the dust and fumes you’ll get from grinding the metal.

Step 2. Cut the cathing metal.


Since you can do this on different trailer hitch locks (even on trailer tongue lock and hzn hitch lock), the only advice here is to cut the locking body so you can remove it from the car hitch.

  • Decide the part you’re grinding. Make sure the lock slides out of the hitch slot once the piece is cut.
  • Grind the locking body for a minute. Keep a close eye on your fingers when using this tool.
  • Keep grinding until the metal pieces are separated.

Step 2.1. Cut the universal coupler lock hook.

You can also use this method to deal with the universal coupler hook lock. What you can do to detach the coupler ball from the coupler latch is to cut each side of the hook.

  • Cut one side of the hook, just above the hook plate.
  • Secure the coupler ball above the protective support or platform so it won’t just drop once detached from the coupler latch.
  • Cut the other side of the hook.

If this method is too dangerous for you, consider calling a friend or an expert to perform the task.

#3. Picking method.

Got a hitch lock with the usual cylinder and pin tumbler? This picking method would work best on unlocking padlocks without key.

This method is ideal for reese hitch lock pin and latch pin trailer locks and will leave your lock without damage.

Step 1. Prepare your picking kit

Of course, having the right set of tools would do you a favor in this kind of task. To pick the hitch lock open, you will need either a rake or a hook tool and a tension lever.

Improvise using bobby pins

However, you can always improvise a picking kit if you don’t have one in your possession. Just get yourself a couple of bobby pins and any cutting tool.

  • Get a bobby pin and make it thinner by removing the round tip of the straight end using any cutting tool.
  • Pull apart both sides of the bobby pin to a 160-degree angle using your hand. Ensure the wavy end is slanted while the straight end is flat.
  • Alter the tip of the straight end into a hook-looking pin by bending about 1 centimeter of the tip using the plier—this will act as the picking tool.
  • For the tension lever, get another bobby pin and angle an inch of the closed end to a 90-degree angle.

Step 2. Put pressure on the lever.

Get your tension lever and insert it at the bottom of your keyhole. Make sure you’re putting enough pressure on the core.

Imagine how you usually use your key. That’s how much pressure you should put into the tension lever.

Remember that proper tension is necessary for this process. A slightly over or under-pressure tension in your lever would risk the result of your picking.

Step 3. Pick each pin.

Once your tension lever is already in its position with enough pressure, insert your picking hook and feel the resistance of the pins.

If the pin is loose or springy, leave it aside for a minute and put your focus on a resisting pin. Push the resisting pin upward to pick it.

Once the resisting pin is picked, the springy or loose ones will start resisting, meaning you can now pick it by pushing upward.

Repeat the process until all the pins are pushed upwards. Remember to feel the resistance of the pin to know which one to pick.

Can I Remove the Trailer Hitch Lock with Key?



Yes, in a normal situation, you can remove trailer hitch lock with key. However, if you lost key to trailer hitch lock, then you might want to follow the methods above.


A trailer hitch is an excellent component of your vehicle as it helps you perform heavy-duty tasks. However, it’s such a hassle once the lock starts to malfunction or when you lose the key.

Following one of these methods on how to unlock trailer hitch lock will save you from the hassle and money from calling a locksmith.

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