How to Pick a Hitch Lock

Written by chris stevenson
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How to Pick a Hitch Lock
Hitch locks are antitheft devices used on trailer hitch receivers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Trailer hitch receivers typically consist of a square steel frame that slides inside a mount, which is welded or bolted directly to a tow vehicle's chassis. A hitch lock permanently connects the hitch frame to the receiver frame. It consists of a through-bolt that has a lock on the end of it. If you lose the keys to the hitch lock, you must pick it to remove the hitch. Picking a hitch lock requires specialised tools and some patience.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Floor jack (optional)
  • Jack stands (optional)
  • Bogota entry tool set

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  1. 1

    Place the vehicle in park or neutral, depending upon your transmission type. Apply the emergency brake and remove the ignition key. Make certain no one is near the driver's compartment. You do not want the vehicle rolling back toward you for any reason.

  2. 2

    Examine the key way angle on the hitch lock. You need the key way slot facing you or easily accessible. If you need more clearance, use a floor jack to raise the vehicle high enough to place two jack stands under the rear part of the frame. Swivel the hitch lock so that the key slot faces up, towards you.

  3. 3

    Remove the pick tools from a Bogota entry tool set. Choose the smallest tension wrench that will fit into the bottom part of the key slot and allow additional clearance for the rake tool above it. The rake tool has a snakelike or squiggly design to it, and it has a sharpened point at the end of it.

  4. 4

    Insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the key slot and twist it until you feel it compressing the tension pins inside the lock. Hold the tension wrench with one hand, keeping pressure on it. Insert the rake pick over the top of the tension wrench and begin working it back and forth, while twisting it from side to side. While holding pressure on the tension wrench, use a few fingers of the hand that is holding it to push the lock toward the exit end of the shaft. Spring the hitch lock free and remove the lock shaft.

  5. 5

    Choose a single feeler pick if you do not have sufficient room to install both the tension wrench and the rake wrench at the same time. Insert the single feeler pick at the bottom of the key way and twist it to wedge the hitch lock pins. Insert the rake pick wrench over the top of the single feeler pick and work it back and forth, while twisting it at the same time.

  6. 6

    Use your fingers of the hand that is holding the feeler pick to pull back on the hitch lock. Keep working the rake pick until the hitch lock pins disengage. Pull the hitch lock shaft out of the receiver frame. Use the floor jack to raise the vehicle and remove the jack stands.

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