Using wheel locks is by far the most convenient method of securing your wheels. Unlike wheel clamps, they don’t require you to install and remove them each time you drive your car as they function as a normal lug nut. Considering that some wheels cost thousands, it’s worthwhile investing into a quality set of locking lug nuts to keep them safe. Not only do they keep them secure but they also act as a visual deterrent to potential thieves.
If you require a quick answer, the best wheel locks are the Gorilla 61631 Acorn Guard Locks, which use an outer sleeve that rotates if a socket is forced over it in an attempt to compromise them.
In terms of how we picked the wheel locks within this article, we based our recommendations upon our own experience, research and multiple factors. The factors that we considered included their build quality, added security features, unique patterns, thread sizes available, warranty and value for money.
Table of Contents
- The Best Wheel Locks
- How We Picked The Wheel Locks
- Wheel Locks Buying Guide
The Best Wheel Locks
The build quality of the locking lug nuts you decide to use is crucial because they must be able to withstand severe punishment. For example, most criminals may attempt to hammer a socket onto the locking lug nut to remove it or even try to saw it down the middle as a more direct approach.
Many premium examples come with intuitive features that make the criminal’s task of removing the lug nuts even harder. Some of those features can include rotating outer sleeves, unique locking patterns, infinite number of keys and so much more.
Below is a list of the best locking lug nuts that will keep your wheels secure and act as a visual deterrent.
1. Gorilla Guard Locking Lug Nuts
Gorilla Guard are a popular brand within the locking lug nut industry and offer a wide variety of locks. The 61631 set in particular is completely unique with an external security pattern, which is impossible to remove without the matching key that it comes with.
These Gorilla Guard locks also have a clever feature where the outer sleeve rotates if a socket is forced over it. This is an excellent feature that also acts as a deterrent for any car criminals looking for an easy target.
Other features of the Gorilla Guard Locking Lug Nuts include:
- Conical seat style
- Rotating outer sleeve
- Constructed of harden steel
- Triple chrome plated finish
- Available in 4 different thread sizes
- Registered to owner key
- 4 locks included in a pack
Overall, the 61631 set offer excellent value for money when compared to the OEM alternatives and also improved security. Gorilla Guard offer this set in a range of thread sizes to best suit your vehicle too.Check it Out
2. McGard 24538 Chrome Wheel Locks
Just as popular as the Gorilla Guards locks above are the McGard locking lug nuts, which are a premium option. They are known for being the choice for many car manufacturers but purchasing them privately avoids the expensive prices charged at your local dealership.
McGard have been produced these for many years now and they are well-known throughout the world for their superior quality. I personally own several sets of the McGard locking wheel nuts and cannot recommend them enough.
Features of the McGard Locking Wheel Nuts include:
- Infinite number of pattern combinations
- Extra narrow groove patterns with precision threads
- Triple nickel chrome plating
- Hardened alloy steel construction
- Corrosion resistant
- Cone seat style
- Multiple sizes available
- Made in the USA
Overall, they are the best locking lug nuts in terms of build quality but the lack of the rotating outer sleeve is a drawback when compared to the Gorilla Guard locks above. However, for long term usage and as a direct replacement to OEM locks, these are the best option.Check it Out
3. DPAccessories Black Locking Wheel Nuts
The DPAccessories locking wheel nuts are another excellent set that focuses on great design as well as security. As with the other locks, these are extremely unique and the brand also provide a personalized security key card with a unique code in order to get replacement keys.
Other features of the DPAccessories Locking Wheel Nuts include:
- Available in black or chrome
- Cold forged and heat treated steel construction
- Different key-to-key patterns for maximum security
- Multiple sizes available
- Conical seat style
- Pack of 4 locks
- Various sizes to choose from
Overall, the DPAccessories wheel locks are great all-rounders that provide an aesthetically pleasing design and are available in a black or chrome finish.Check it Out
How We Picked The Wheel Locks
As well as our experience of using wheel locks produced by a range of brands, we also based our recommendations upon research and multiple factors. The factors that we considered included their build quality, added security features, unique patterns, thread sizes available, warranty and value for money.
Wheel Locks Buying Guide
Investing into a quality set of locking lug nuts can potentially save your wheels and save you paying the costly expense for replacement wheels. If a criminal were to see that you have multiple locks on the wheels, they will think twice before attempting to steal them and this is why they are a worthwhile investment. Most people with expensive wheels will invest into two different locking wheel nut manufacturers for maximum security. Considering the low cost of these locks, it makes sense to increase the security of your expensive wheels.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding wheel locks.
Quality Over Cost
Although you may be able to find cheaper wheel locks when compared with the recommendations in this article, you should purchase them with caution. The image below is a locking lug nut that broke into pieces when I tried to remove the lug nut. These were cheap wheel locks that were used by the previous owner.
All of the recommendations above use a hardened steel constructions to avoid this type of damage. However, it’s also highly recommended that you use a torque wrench for lug nuts when installing wheel locks to avoid damage to the key during the removal.
Thread Size and Style
Not every locking lug nut will be suitable for your vehicle and using the wrong thread can cause issues. For example, if you were to use an incompatible thread, the damage it would cause and the hassle of removing it isn’t worth thinking about. Before purchasing, we advise that you measure the length and width of an existing lug nut or alternatively refer to your vehicle’s manual for further clarification.
It’s important to note that there is also a range of different seating types to choose from. The majority are a cone or conical seat style but some could even be a mag, flat or spherical seat too.
OEM vs Aftermarket Locking Wheel Nuts
Aftermarket locking wheel nuts are becoming increasingly more popular with added security benefits such as a spinning collars. They are often constructed to a much higher quality to those that come from the dealership too. Some benefits of using an aftermarket locks include:
- Uniqueness. Unlimited number of key patterns as opposed to an OEM set that only has around 10-30 patterns.
- Higher Quality. Uses hardened steel to avoid breaking the groove patterns under heavy force.
- Cheaper. Dealers will often charge a premium when compared to aftermarket locks.
You may even notice that some manufacturers use aftermarket locks but sell them as their own. If you check the small print on the locking lug nuts, you may find McGard is listed.
Where To Hide Your Locking Wheel Nut?
There is no point investing into locking wheel nuts if you intend to leave the key visible in the car. There is no stopping a criminal once they spot your shiny wheels and if the criminal’s mindset is to steal your wheels, nothing will stop them smashing your car’s windows.
Some of the best places to leave your locking wheel nut key are:
- Inside the glove box
- In the trunk with the spare wheel
- Taped to car jack
- A small box under drivers seat
- Center console/arm rest
Of course, having the locking wheel nut key not even in the car may be safer option. However, a major flaw with this is that you may need to remove a wheel at any given time.
How To Remove Locking Wheel Nut Without Key
The removal of locking wheel nuts isn’t easy when you don’t have the correct equipment. However, on the plus side, this means that the locking wheel nut is doing its job to prevent criminals trying to take them off. However, if you do need to remove them without a key, there are ways of doing this.
You have two options, the first involves a trip to your local dealership and requesting a key set. However, this can be costly and time consuming. Alternatively, if you still have the box the locking nuts came in, 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 to use an appropriate socket, heavy duty breaker bar, hammer and a 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
It’s fairly simple to do but if the criminal were to do this, they would be making a lot of noise. It’s worth noting that if the socket is the only one within your socket set, you may want to purchase another socket because it will more than likely be cracked once performing this task.
If you have expensive wheels that aren’t protected with a set of locking lug nuts, you are playing a risky game. Wheel locks are relatively cheap and act as a visual deterrent to criminals that may be thinking about stealing your expensive wheels. Therefore, we highly recommend using multiple locks to further improve your security because it will make it as hard as possible for criminals to try and remove your wheels.
We have only recommended three brands, which include Gorilla Guard, McGard and DPAccessories. These three brand offer various sizes, excellent value for money and are built to last.