Wheel Locks 101: The Ultimate Guide

Once upon a time, there were people who we called thieves. They used to take away the things that belonged to other people for selfish reasons. Time passed and over time the only thing that remained constant were these thieves and their greed for things that didn’t belong to them. They were constantly stumped by people trying to keep them from doing just that but then came cars and it became all too easy for thieves to steal them. They could move on their own which meant that they didn’t have to work too hard to take it away. But, once again all their plans were thawed with the invention of car alarms that were capable of waking up the entire area with the sound of the car being stolen. If they were discrete in that regard, then they would have police chasing their tails before they could even sing ‘kumbaya’.

But, then these little thieves got smarter and craftier. Instead of stealing the whole car, they went for something that one would never expect them to steal. If not the car, they tried to go for the wheels. Compared to the car, the wheels seemed pretty small of a thing to steal. But, it certainly was easy money.

So, now the need arose for something to keep the wheels on a car in place.

It is common knowledge that wheels are kept in place using Lug nuts. These lug nuts are removed from their place using a wrench or a mechanical wrench. Both of them work well, but both of them are pretty common as well and can be bought from just about any hardware store out there. This makes it easier for any Tom, Dick and Harry to just waltz into the store, purchase a wrench and then go about their business at night.

Therefore, the brilliant minds around us came up with the idea to keep those lug nuts in place and quite simply, they called them wheel locks. These special wheel locks are the key to keep your wheels safe even in the worst of neighborhoods where you were scared to leave your ride unattended for more than a few minutes. Furthermore, you will certainly sleep better at night knowing that a wheel lock is there along with your lug nuts in place, protecting both your car and its wheels.

Are Wheel Locks Necessary?

One might believe that wheels are easier to replace instead of a whole car if it is stolen, but the people saying so couldn’t be further than the truth. While cars are expensive, the wheels people tend to put of them are just as important and heavy in the money department, even if they are not as heavy as the price of an entire car. Still, the fact remains that what belongs to you should be protected.

Now, what is really interesting to know is the fact that most thieves do not always go after the wheels, but the rims as well. Additionally, if you have just installed some expensive and premium quality wheels in your car, then you should know that sooner rather than later they are going to catch the eye of some thief and you would have to say goodbye to that set of wheels you pay good money for.

Thus, it is safe to say that if you have premium quality, expensive wheels installed in your car as opposed to low profile ones then using wheel locks becomes a necessary evil of sorts.

How Do Wheel Locks Work?

Whether you park your car in the driveway during the night, or you have wandered into a dangerous neighborhood for some business or have had the misfortune of parking your car in an unlit parking lot, whatever the case may be, a wheel lock is just the thing for you. All you have to do is get hold of some of the best wheel locks that are available in the market today.

Now the question remains, how do they work? Well, as we have mentioned already, all you need is a wrench to loosen a lug nut but when it comes to a wheel lock, you need to have a very special key in order to do so. Some of the best wheel locks out there come equipped with a unique and exclusive key with every set of wheel locks that is provided to the buyer on the purchase of a wheel lock. This key is completely unique to their set, assuring that their car is in perfectly safe hands.

A standard set of wheel locks aimed at protecting your rims and wheels tend to contain around 4 to 5 lug nuts and a special key like a tool to remove and put them on. The number of lug nuts and they key depends on the brand of wheel locks you are using. These lug nut or rather wheel locks will look a lot different from the usual lug nuts that you use. They come in a special shape and more often than not, is larger in size than the commonly used lug nuts. This way, the standard socket would not fit over the nut, keeping it safe.

Until and unless you have the special key to unlock the wheel lock, you will not be able to remove the wheel locks and neither can any potential thief.

How to Install Wheel Locks?

So, as we have mentioned how a standard set of wheel locks come with 4 to 5 special lug nuts. This means that there is one lug nut for each wheel with one to spare. Now all you have to do is replace one lug nut with the wheel lock on every wheel and you are all good to go.

It is a no brainer that a single wheel lock will certainly be able to keep your wheel in place because even if those big bad thieves will be able to remove 4 out of the 5 lug nuts keeping the wheel in place, unless they are also able to remove the 5th one, the wheel wouldn’t come off under any circumstances.

If your set comes with 5 wheel locks, you can easily store the spare one away and use it down the road if you lose one or you can always use two wheel locks on the single wheel if you feel like it. Also, if there is a good chance that you are feeling way over protective of your premium quality amazingly new set of wheels you have just purchased, you can always purchase four sets of wheel locks instead of just one and replace all lug nuts on your wheels with wheel locks and no thief in their right mind will be able to steal anything from you.

This little tactic is not really necessary, but most experts do highly recommend it. Still, you have free room to do what you believe works for you.

How to Put The Keys Away Safely?

Now that you have purchased your very own set of wheel locks, you may be more than tempted to store it away in a place that is exceptionally safe, yet completely easy to access if you are out and about. What in your opinion would be the best place to store your key? Let us take a guess and say that it would be none other than the glove compartment. If that is exactly what you were going for then let us tell you that it is a super bad idea.

If someone breaks into your car while you are away then you are in big time trouble because if your wheel lock key is in the glove compartment than they can access it just as easily as you do and be able to remove your wheels in record time and be off with it, leaving you with no option but to say goodbye to your wheels which will be sold on the black market in a matter of hours.

While you should never leave your wheel lock key at home either, it will certainly be in your best interest if you keep the key somewhere on you when you are out and about. The best place to do that would certainly be the truck or you can always tape the key under the driver’s seat. Or, you can always put it in some special compartment in the car which no one other than you know. This way you can keep your wheels and your key completely safe and out of harm’s way.

Trust us when we say this, you do not want to lose the key or keep it at home because if you get a flat tire in the middle of the door, you will never be able to replace it with the spare unless you get really crafty about it or choose to pay good money for it.

Popular Brands of Wheel Locks

Now that you have been convinced that the purchase of wheel locks is in everybody’s best interests, you should now know some of the best wheel locks out there and are they even worth the money you choose to splurge on them. Thus, for your knowledge and entertainment, mentioned below are some of the best wheel locks the wheel lock business has to offer. Each brand comes equipped with a different set of colors and style and all of them have their very own locking systems.

  • Gorilla Lug Nuts

To call the products manufactured by Gorilla Automotive Products some of the best products that automotive industry has to offer is nothing less than a huge understatement. Being the leading brand in the wheel lock industry for more than 35 years, Gorilla wheel locks are some of the best wheel locks there are in the entire world. Based out of their LA offices, Gorilla has a habit of testing their products out in the roughest of neighborhoods and for sure does this tactic play in their favor.

Their wheel lock keys are made with the narrowest groves possible that just add an extra layer of security to your wheel locks. Every single lock made by Gorilla is made from case-hardened steel and later plated with chrome for that dazzling showroom effect.

  • McGard Lug Nuts

Being one of the oldest automotive company in business, McGard is no new kid on the block when it comes to wheel lock business. It was founded in 1960 and has been hard at work manufacturing some of the best and most used wheel locks ever made. Their products are high in demand and have been responsible for preventing more car and wheel thefts than we’d care to admit.

These days, McGard products are not only commercially sold but they also supply their Anti-theft devices to marine as well as municipal applications. Their locks are unique and one of a kind courtesy of their very protected internal locking pattern that cannot be tampered with and an exclusive exterior locking pattern that just doubles the security on your wheel locks making it the best wheel locks in business today.

Where to Purchase Replacement Wheel Lock Keys From?

When someone pays good money for premium tires and additional money to make sure that they stay where they are supposed to say, one would expect that this person will also try to keep the key responsible for all of this to be kept safe and sound.

But, on the offhand that this person loses the very special key, then the only thing they can do is order it exclusively from the manufacturer. Not only is the process extremely tedious but the person has to be very thorough and exact when it comes to ordering that key. They need to let the manufacturer know the special key number written on the set of lugs and then wait for it to be delivered to your home.

Now, something like this would be okay if you discovered this little problem at home but if you are stuck with a flat tire on the side of the road, then boy are you in trouble.

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Mark Peterson

Mark Peterson is 25 years old Blogger and IT Engineer from the United States. Recently he is pursuing Masters in Business Administration from Columbia Business School. Click here to know more.