Wheel locks — pros and cons
Here are the pros and cons to installing wheel locks on your vehicle
No wheel lock offers 100% protection against theft and some offer little protection and are a pain in the ass to use.
Wheel locks only slow down the thieves, they don’t prevent theft
Contrary to popular lore, wheel thieves don’t carry sets of “master” keys. They’re far more sophisticated than that.
They carry wheel lock removal sockets and a battery powered impact wrench.
If you install wheel locks, don’t think for one second that you’ve protected your wheels from theft.
Types of wheel locks
There are 3 basic styles of wheel locks:
Keyed with unique shape wheel lock
The key pattern is computer generated. To install or remove the lock, insert the key into a socket, align with the keyed wheel lock and tighten/loosen
The major drawback to this design is that it is EASY TO STRIP. In most cases, the wheel lock manufacturer recommends loosening/tightening by hand to avoid damaging the key or the wheel lock. Tire shops HATE this type of wheel lock because it strips so easily.
Pros: Inexpensive. Easy to find in auto parts stores
Cons: Strips easily. Very easy to remove
using a lug removal socket. Offers very little theft protection
Advice: If you’re going to use this style wheel lock, make sure you order extra keys because the keys strip so easily.
Spinning sleeve with internal key lock
The spinning sleeve design requires a matching key that fits onto the splines that are protected by the spinning sleeve. Due to the small surface area of the splines, these lug nuts can also strip if installed/removed with an impact wrench.
The outer sleeve spins if a thief tries to use a lug nut removal socket. To defeat this type of lug nut, thieves simply create a crack in the sleeve using a chisel. This takes longer, requires more physical effort, and makes more noise. It can be defeated, but it’s far more difficult than either of the two other designs.
Pros: Much harder to defeat. Offers the most protection
Cons: Should be installed and removed by hand. Costly
Advice: If you’re going to use this style wheel lock, make sure you order extra keys because the keys strip so easily. Also, install two spinning sleeve wheel locks on each wheel for deterrence.
This type of wheel lock can be removed easily with a lug nut removal socket. In fact, the splines offer a better grip for the removal socket than the smooth cylinder shape of the unique keyed style lock.
Cons: Easiest to remove.
Advice: If you’re going to use this style wheel lock, install one on every stud. That’s the only way to make the crooks job so hard that they’ll think twice about stealing your wheels.
©, 2022 Rick MuscoplatPosted on by Rick Muscoplat