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RV Closet Door Latch: A Clever Solution To Keep RV Sliding Doors Closed

RV Closet Door Latch: A Clever Solution To Keep RV Sliding Doors Closed

Lots of RVs have sliding closet doors, but since RVs are moving vehicles, the doors have to be latched in place to keep them from sliding back and forth while you’re driving down the road. There are several variations on the RV closet door latch that manufacturers use in their RVs to keep the doors closed during travel, but many of them fail or simply don’t work all that well from the get-go.

We’ve been on the road full time for nearly 20 years, so we’ve learned quite a few tricks along the way. After our first couple of years on the road, we improvised our own RV closet door latch that not only works very well, but is also inexpensive, easy to install, and dead simple to use.

In today’s post, we’re sharing this RV quick tip with you!

What’s the Problem with RV Sliding Closet Doors?

There’s no problem with sliding RV closet doors – as long as the rig isn’t moving. The problem with sliding closet doors in an RV lies in the fact that an RV is a mobile home – (emphasis on the word mobile”).

As we drive and turn and stop and start and take a curve and go up and down hills, our closet doors can get jostled. They slide open, then they slide closed, then open again. With sufficient force, which can easily happen with a sudden change of direction or speed, mirrored sliding doors can even slam hard enough to break.

RV manufacturers use various types of latches to keep sliding RV closet doors closed securely during travel. That includes the popular plastic clips that our closet doors originally came equipped with – attached to the wall at the outer edge of each sliding door.

Photo of a typical plastic RV closet door latch

This small plastic clip is typical of the latches intended to keep RV sliding closet doors secured during travel.

The problem is that this type of RV closet door latch not only gets in the way when you’re actively using the closet to put clothes in or remove them, but they also have sharp edges that can cut your hands when you reach into the closet.

Can I Buy an Effective RV Closet Door Latch?

You absolutely can – and we did.

For the reasons noted above, we removed both of the plastic clips that came with our RV and we replaced them with a single alternative option that works much better and doesn’t pose a hazard to hands and arms.

To replace both of our original RV closet door latches, we needed only a single item often known as a Burglabar.

The Burglabar is a self-locking hinge lock designed as a home safety item. The hinge lock, properly installed, has the strength to withstand 300-450 pounds of stress, strain, and vibrational movements. They were designed, and are sold, as window security latches (hence the name Burglabar… barring burglars from opening a sliding window from the outside.

Photo of a Burglabar at the top of a window in the locked position

The Burglabar is intended to be used as a window lock. When in this position, it prevents the window (or in our case the sliding closet door) from being opened. (Photo courtesy of  Addalock/Burglabar)

What we can tell you from LOTS of driving experience since we installed our Burglabar all those years ago, is that it works perfectly as an RV closet door latch.

Since we installed ours, we’ve also seen them sold as the “Defender Security Patio Door Lock” or the “Prime-Line Glass Surface Lock.” Whatever you call them, it’s an ingenious way to secure a sliding glass or mirrored closet door! It works simply, and effectively, every time… and doesn’t get in the way when you’re parked and using the RV. Simply flip the Burglabar out of the way, and slide your closet doors open/closed as much as you want during you’re stay. Flip it back, and the doors are latched again for travel.

How Much Does a Burglabar Cost?

A single Burglabar costs a whopping $6.95. And trust us – it’s worth that 7-dollar investment in spades.

Besides An RV Closet Door Latch, What Else Can It Do?

Besides working as a fantastic solution to keep your sliding closet doors closed in your RV, the Burglabar can also be installed on any (all?) of your RV’s sliding windows. Install it in a position that allows the window to be left open a crack, and you can have peace of mind leaving windows open (for a pet you’ve had to leave behind?) while you’re out-and-about, without worrying about someone being able to slide the window the rest of the way open!

What Tools Are Required to Install the Burglabar?

Installation is very simple, and NO tools are needed to install a Burglabar, though you may need a small screwdriver to remove the latch currently installed in your RV.

How to Install the Burglabar as Your New RV Closet Door Latch

To install a Burglabar, simply clean the glass, remove the Burglabar’s adhesive strip backing, and stick the Burglabar in place on the inner closet door (the one that slides behind the outer door), close to where the outer door overlaps it.

The Burglabar has now become your RV closet door latch. You can pick one up here (sometimes at an even cheaper sale price)!

Sale
Prime-Line U 9842 Glass Surface Lock, Clear (2-pack)
  • Self-adhesive back secures lock to glass surface
  • Clear acrylic offers inconspicuous security

For a quick visual tutorial on the Burglabar and how we installed ours, have a look at our short video on the topic:

How Have You Solved the Issue of Sliding Closet Doors that Don’t Stay Closed During Travel?

If you’ve found a clever way to keep your RV sliding closet doors closed while in transit, let us know in the comments below! Interested in other, clever tips? How about a list of clever uses for toothpaste around your RV?

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Tom E

Saturday 26th of November 2022

use a pip pin in a hole drilled thru the sliding door track to secure my sliding door while travelling. Did the same for securing drawers under the dinette. And, a pip pin in the track of the dinette table, to lower it several inches from "full up."

Robert Storms

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Great idea.

If there was a huge annoyance with our supposed "High-end" 5th wheel, it's all of the crappy hardware used that's the same crappy hardware used in 80% of all "low-end" 5ers and travel trailers. It just blows my mind that this holdover from the 60s is still installed in RVs to this day, and that the RV parts people still offer it. After being jabbed and scratched several times (that's my side of the bed, dontyaknow), I found a temporary solution in removing these accursed clips. Later on, I found the complete solution in removing the sliding mirrored doors completely! I set them by the dumpster in our RV park and they were recycled by someone who actually wanted them. :) I did not include the clips. Those went in the trash where they belonged.

Paul Thorpe

Saturday 11th of June 2022

My order is in the cart on Amazon. Thanks for the tip.

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 11th of June 2022

That's great, Paul. Thanks! And hope it works for you as well as it has for us all these years!

Tim Howlett

Friday 10th of June 2022

Sometimes it’s the little things that can drive you the most crazy…and this is a perfect example. The built in latch (which actually worked!) on the sliding closet doors of our Fleetwood Expedition broke shortly after we took possession from the previous owners. We’ve been searching for an effective replacement ever since (and have tried several remedies that all ended in disappointment)

Once again- RVGeeks to the rescue!! Thanks guys!

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 11th of June 2022

Glad to help, Tim! Hope you like this solution as much as we do!

Pat Parker

Friday 10th of June 2022

Great idea

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 11th of June 2022

Thanks, Pat! Glad you liked it!

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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