Things You Need To Know About Latches For Your Pop-Top Roof


On occasion, you’d watch a news broadcast on TV about recreational vans (RV) having to pull over on the side of the road and deal with the damage they created because the pop-top roofs of their vans had come off and fallen on the road. It doesn’t occur all the time, but it appears enough.

While you may believe that it will not happen to your pop top roof since it appears to be solid, others who had similar accidents likely felt the same thing before they occurred. If you have a pop-top or hybrid camper, you should begin inspecting the latches that keep it on top of your van.

Most RVs are outfitted with four over-the-center latches that fasten the pop-top roof. However, this form of design carries significant hazards that might lead to difficulties, which should be the reason for concern, mainly because most vans use this design style.

If you have a pop-top or hybrid camper, you should read this article and check your over centre latches as soon as possible to avoid serious accidents.

Problems And Safety Issues When Using Over-Center Latches

Most pop-top and hybrid caravans employ four over-center latches to attach the pop-top roof to the train when the van is not in use or being towed. The sort of over-center locks used on practically all Australian pop-top and hybrid caravans can cause many difficulties and safety hazards, which are:

1. Disconnecting of latch

There are two primary reasons why locks might separate from the camper while travelling. First, it might be due to incorrect installation, resulting in the latches not being adequately fastened into the over-center position. It might also be that the contents of your camper have settled during travel, causing the weight distribution to be incorrect and the latches to disengage.

Detaching latches while travelling may be exceedingly dangerous. It will not only harm your camper, but it may also endanger other cars surrounding you. They may collide with it or perhaps run over it, causing them to lose control and cause an accident.

Furthermore, having them detach may be financially ruinous because you must pay for repairs not just for your losses but also for the damages of others. You would also be obligated to pay for hospital fees if the event resulted in injuries.

2. Pop-top latch failure and corrosion

Poor design and construction of pop-top latches can cause several issues, including the following:

  • The wall thickness of narrow pop rivets used as pivot pins in locks is skinny, as is the diameter. They are also not particularly robust, which is why they frequently fail when subjected to undue force or weight.
  • It might become inoperable when the latch becomes broken, corroded, or rusted. These items can be caused by various factors, including excessive wetness and over-tightening the latch.
  • Using pop rivets causes the latch to be stiff from the outset and provides a danger of physical harm when the latch handle is left protruding at a 90-degree angle to the car’s frame.

Most locks are built of flimsy materials to favor price over durability. The material used in these locks is readily corroded and corrosive.

Once the pop-top roof latches are not engaged, the latch T Bar may expand and injure or grab the user. Some Pop Tops have locks at eye level, resulting in serious accidents.

To avoid having these issues with your recreational van, search for locks made of stainless steel or another robust material.

3. Clasp failure and possible damage of lifting cable mechanism

Most of the lifting cable mechanism damage caused by latch failures is due to the open pop-top, while some of the over-center latches are still attached. Damage to the pop-top lifting cable system can occur if all four over-center latches are not correctly detached before attempting to wind up the pop-top.

It is common for this to cost between $200 and $500 to fix. The pop-top will be rendered inoperable if the lifting table mechanism is not there. This is such a primary failure, yet it can cause so much trouble, mainly if it occurs in the middle of a journey.

How To Solve Over-Center Latches

The majority of pop-top caravans on the market come with these potentially dangerous concerns. Even if you spend more than $40,000, pop tops at this price level are still made of flimsy materials that are easily damaged. It’s not simply because of the material chosen; the design is poor and prone to harm as well.

The Snap-Flat over-center latch can provide a better, safer, and more secure alternative. It might be a fantastic solution to regular pop-tops since they are designed with increased safety and made with more sturdy and long-lasting materials.

Also, it is a heavy-duty stainless steel over-the-center latch. The Snap-Flat latch’s “FAIL-SAFE” function ensures that the latches will not detach from the hook by mistake, even if the latch is not secured into the over-center position. This is accomplished by including two springs inside the latch, which provide consistent tension to the latch arm and prevent it from “decoupling.”


Having faulty pop-top latches on your RV is never a pretty sight. Aside from the fact that it ruins your journey because you’ll be anxious all the time, it may also cause distractions to other travellers on the road. Be wary of your vehicle’s materials and make sure that it is sturdy before taking it out, ensuring safety and peace of mind as you lead yourself towards a fantastic vacation on the road!

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