high quality locking wheel nuts

3 Best Wheel Locks For Cars 2019

Wheel locks act as an extra deterrent against car criminals after your wheels. Using a wheel clamp is one way to prevent your wheel being stolen but the better and cheaper option of locking wheel lugs is the preferred option.

The best wheel locks are the Gorilla 61631 Acorn Guard Locks with an outer sleeve that will rotate if a socket is forced over it in an attempt to beat the wheel locks.

Unlike other automotive parts, there are only three main wheel lock brands that offer high quality locks. Gorilla, McGard and DPAccessories all offer a range of sizes and provide unique identifying codes for spare locks in case you ever need more.

Gorilla 61631 Acorn Guard Locks

Gorilla locking wheel nuts have been designed to withstand any attempts to remove them without the key. As mentioned below, removing a locking wheel nut is simple as hitting a slightly larger socket over the lug and using a breaker bar to remove.

Gorilla have been able to withstand this attempt by using an outer sleeve that will rotate if a socket is forced over it. This is excellent for an anti-theft locking lug which acts as a deterrent for any car criminals looking to steal alloy wheels.

The Gorilla Guard 61631 locking wheel nuts are hardened steel with a chrome plated finish, which looks great on the wheels. The only small issues I have with these are that they stick out slightly further than standard lugs. However, ensure that you choose the correct size and you will not be able to notice it.

They are the best locking wheel nuts to buy and are relatively low costs compared to what you would pay at the dealerships.

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McGard 24538 Chrome Wheel Locks

These McGard wheel locks have an infinite number of pattern combinations, meaning that no locking wheel nut set will be the same. After breaking many OEM locking wheel nuts, the McGard’s offer the strongest lugs on the market. They have a triple layer of nickel as well as being coated in a chrome finish that protects against any rust.

Avoid dealership expensive prices, these McGards are higher quality with hardened alloy steel construction and also much cheaper. However, in terms of security, the Gorilla locking wheel nuts provides extra defense against someone hitting a socket over the lug.

McGard have been around for centuries and remain to be a strong lug locks with very little reports of snapping using heavy duty torque wrenches.

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DPAccessories Black Locking Wheel Nuts Review

DPAccessories locking wheel nuts are focused on great design as well as security. Like the other locking wheel nuts, these are extremely unique and the brand provide a personalized security key card with the unique code. This allows you to get a replacement if you ever lose the locking lug for some reason.

Whether you have certain alloy wheels that expose the lugs, then these locking wheel nuts are brilliant. The chrome black and the shape of the locking wheel nuts look great when bolted to various wheels.

For ensuring your wheels are kept safe without the need of a security wheel clamp, these offer DPA Accessories are cheap locking wheel lugs with a choice of black or chrome styling.

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Wheel Lock Buying Guide

Wheel locks are a product that anyone can buy and fit themselves to increase the security on their cars. The aim is to make it as awkward as possible for car criminals, which will make them think twice before targeting your wheels.

It seems silly to have expensive wheels yet not spend on wheel locks. They are low costs and take seconds to put on but before you do purchase a new set, there are some factors that you should consider.

How to Remove Locking Wheel Nut Without Key

The removal of locking wheel nuts is not the easiest job in the world when you don’t have the correct equipment. Of course, this means that the locking wheel nut will be doing its job to prevent car criminals trying to take them off.

You have two options, the first involving a trip to your local dealership requesting a key set. However, this is usually very costly and time consuming. However, if you still have the box the locking nuts came with, you will be able to match up new locking wheel nuts online with the code in the box.

To remove the locking lug without the key, you will need an appropriate socket (use a 12 point), breaker bar, hammer and a torque wrench. Per wheel, begin the following removal process:

  • Find a socket close to the size of the locking wheel nut
  • Use the hammer to bang the socket onto the locking nut
  • Use the breaker bar to loosen the bolt

Yes, its that simple but made harder with the spinning locking wheel nuts such as the McGard’s. You will probably need to buy a new socket and of course new locking wheel nuts. There are tools that will make it easier to remove the locking wheel nut if you are worried about using the “direct” approach.

best locking wheel nuts for security

High Quality Aftermarket Locking Nut v Manufacturers

Aftermarket locking wheel nuts are becoming more popular with added security benefits such as a spinning collar. They are often higher quality to those that come from the manufacturers. Whilst removing some locking nuts from an old Mercedes, I suffered the dreaded crack whilst turning the breaker bar (manufacturer locking lug).

However, not a problem I had many other spare locking wheel nut keys and luckily one of them worked. I find this quite concerning because a criminal could have several different types of the same manufacturer locking nut and hunt for certain cars.

Why choose Aftermarket Locking Wheel Nuts?

  1. Uniqueness. Unlimited number of key patterns as opposed to a manufacturers standard 10-30 patterns.
  2. Higher Quality. Uses hardened steel to avoid breaking the groove patterns under heavy force.
  3. Cheaper. Your dealers easily charge over $100 dollars for a set of four, which quite frankly is a rip off.

Where to Hide Your Locking Wheel Nut?

There is no point investing heavily into locking wheel nuts if you are intending to leave them visible in the car. There is no stopping a criminal once they spot your shiny wheels. If the criminal mindset is to steal your wheels, nothing will stop them smashing some windows. The best places to leave your locking wheel nuts are:

  • Glove Box
  • Boot with the Spare Wheel
  • Taped to Car Jack
  • Small Box under Drivers Seat
  • Center Console/Arm Rest

Of course, having the locking wheel nut not even in the car may be safer. However, a major flaw is that you may need to remove a wheel at any given time. For example, if you have a puncture or even when having your tire changed at a garage.

What Are The Best Locking Wheel Nuts?

As mentioned, I have used various McGard’s locking wheel nuts over car ownership with great success. No horror stories from rusted bolts or rounded locking wheel nut keys. However, the Gorilla Guard locking wheel nuts are the best. The fact that you cannot smash a socket over the locking wheel nuts is the winning factor.


Adding heavy duty wheel locks to your vehicles security will act as a further deterrent to car criminals. Without wheel locks, there is no obstruction for someone to overcome when trying to steal your wheels and it makes things much easier.

Both the McGard and Gorilla Guard are very popular worldwide and ensuring you have one of these locks will be a worthwhile investment. The DPAccessories is more popular in the US and useful as a backup set.

What Are Your Thoughts?

  1. its worth mentioning that you should never let a tire fitter near your lock nuts and key with an impact wrench. One of my locking wheel nuts has been rounded off making it impossible to remove with the key (which is much harder than the nut locating spigots).

  2. Great point John! Luckily the tire fitter that I personally uses always torques it to the correct torque rating rather than just forcing an impact wrench on it!

  3. If wheel locks are from Gorilla or McGard or other aftermarket brands, will dealership be able to open wheel locks without key?

  4. Hey Paul – Well the dealerships themselves will not have the keys to unlock them. However, they are more than likely going to have a tool that can remove any wheel locks, which would be similar to what a recovery service would use too. Hope this helps.

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