What are Wheel Locks And How To Use Them?

You should consider purchasing wheel locks if you live in a high crime area.  Similarly, if you work in a dangerous area, you should consider wheel locks.  Finally, leaving your car parked for extended periods of time can make it a target.  Protect your investment with a good set of wheel locks.

What is a Car Wheel Lock

A car wheel lock is a device used to prevent the theft of the wheels from your car.  Car wheel locks come in many different types.  You can purchase simple locking lug nuts.  Alternatively, you can buy large wheel clamps that cover the whole wheel.

Always make sure that you keep the key for your wheel locks in a safe place.  Losing the key can make it very difficult to remove the wheel.  In some cases, you need to be able to remove the wheel.  For instance, you need to remove the wheel for standard maintenance or to repair a flat tire.

What are Its Functions

The basic function of a car wheel lock is to prevent the theft of the car’s wheels.  In addition, some car wheel locks can even prevent the theft of the entire car.  These are typically the larger clamp-style locks that cover the entire wheel.

Frequently, just the sight of a car wheel lock is enough to thwart would be thieves.  In other cases, a thief may attempt to steal the wheel but is unsuccessful due to the lock.  Car wheel locks are nearly impossible to remove without the proper key.

The wheels on your car are typically a large investment, with some wheels costing upwards of $1000 each.  For this reason, it only makes sense for you to take precautions to protect that investment.  You should purchase and install proper wheel locks to help prevent potential theft.

How to Use It

The most basic car wheel lock is used much like any other lock.  With that in mind, it requires a key to fit into the mechanism for unlocking.  A simple locking lug has a pattern cut into the top.  The key fits inside this pattern and allows the lug but to be turned with a standard lug wrench.

You only need to install one locking lug nut per wheel to be effective.  Since you must remove all the lug nuts in order to remove the wheel, as long as one of them cannot be removed, then the wheel cannot be removed either.  So, you should install one locking lug per wheel, including your spare.

The installation of these locking lug nuts is quite simple.  First, just remove one of the standard lug nuts from each of your wheels.  Don’t forget the spare!  Then, replace the standard lug nut with the locking lug.  Use the key and a lug wrench to tighten the locking lug nut to the proper specs, and you are done!

One drawback to the locking lug nut style is that a thief may not notice they are present until he is attempting to remove the wheels.  In this case, the thief may attempt to continue removal even with the locking lug present.  This can lead to damage to both the lug nut and the wheel itself.

Larger, clamp-style car wheel locks are a little more difficult to use.  They are larger and heavier.  For this reason, they are more difficult to use and transport.  On the plus side, they prevent the car from being driven, so they protect your entire vehicle from theft.

The large clamp-style locks are easy to spot, and the presence of one on your vehicle is usually enough to make a thief pass over your car.  They are difficult to remove and make driving impossible.  Hence, a thief generally wants no part of a vehicle equipped with that style of the wheel lock.

Do Steering Wheel Locks Prevent or Deter Thieves

Car steering wheel locks are designed to prevent theft of your vehicle.  For the most part, they work as intended.  The sight of a steering wheel lock on a vehicle is usually enough to cause a thief to move on to the next car.

Steering wheel locks make it impossible to drive the car.  Consequently, it is impossible to steal a car if the thief is unable to drive it away.  In addition to locking the steering wheel, some locks also prevent the brake pedal from being pressed.  This inherently prevents driving the car as well.

While steering wheel locks are considered to be great deterrents, some research shows that car thieves actually prefer stealing cars with certain types of steering wheel locks present.  The thief is able to cut through the steering wheel and remove the lock.  Then, the thief can use the long bar of the lock as a tool to break the ignition of the vehicle.

What to do if my Car has a Wheel Lock and the Key is Stripped

Just as with any other lock, you can have problems if your key becomes damaged.  Car wheel locks can be difficult to remove once the key has become stripped. By its very nature, the lock is designed to prevent removal without the proper key.

In the event your key becomes stripped, there are some things you can do to remove the lock.  You can try smashing a regular socket onto the lug and attempting to remove it that way.  Alternatively, you can attempt to spot weld a lug wrench onto the nut so that it will turn the nut.

If those things don’t work, you should look for a specialized lug gripping tool to assist with removal.  These tools are made to grip onto the lug and allow it to be turned even with a damaged key.  At any rate, it’s likely that you will have to damage the car wheel lock to get it off without a good key.

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