Having a vehicle is one of the modern convenience that we enjoy today. It can bring you to any place where you want to be. However, worrying about its safety proves to be a concern since it is unavoidable that a person might have to go to an unfamiliar neighborhood, busy parking areas, and dimly lit places.
Thieves might find it hard to steal the car itself because there are already a bunch of safety features installed in it. In addition to that, buying a vehicle requires a lot of paperwork so selling a stolen car will be difficult.
Unlike cars, wheels are easily sold or traded. According to United States’ National Insurance Crime Bureau Senior Vice President and COO Jim Schweitzer, the parts of today’s cars and trucks are often worth more than the entire vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. However, there is a way to protect your wheels and this is through the use of wheel locks.
Wheel locks look like an ordinary tire lug, but it is an effective means of ensuring that your wheels and rims are burglar-proof. These security devices are equipped with simple technology will prevent a vehicle from moving freely, once they are attached to the rims.
But unlike an ordinary tire lug which can be removed by a wrench, wheel locks are hard to remove because doing so would require the use of a set of unique keys that come with it. Even if thieves use a powerful tool, these little guys are unbreakable. There is just enough space for the key to fit around them and this space is very small for a prying tool to fit into.
Benefits of using wheel locks
Aside from what has been previously mentioned, there are still other benefits that wheel locks can provide. For one, it is cheaper to buy wheel locks than to replace an entire set of wheels and rims. The vehicle cannot do its job without the wheels,so the car owner has no other choice but to buy one once the wheelsare stolen.
Though some wheel locks may not live up to its name, the mere presence of one could easily discourage would-be thieves because taking these wheel locks out will still take time and they run the risk of being caught. Lastly, having peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is secured is priceless.
Types of wheel locks
Splines are teeth or ridges around a shaft. These ridges are then fitted inside the grooves of a parallelshaft. Easy to install and are often chosen because of their reliability, spline drive wheel locks have a large seating surface or that part of the nut that makes contact with the wheel.
It has a closed end design and has a strong gripping power and stud engagement. Common types of splines include involute, parallel key, crowned, serrations, helical, and ball splines. Spline drive wheel locks are a perfect fit for vehicles with thick lug-design diameter.
Alloy Wheel Locks
As the term suggests, these wheel locks are made from solid alloy finish and are intended to secure alloy wheels. They are well-constructed and aim to provide smooth security for the vehicle as it needs a specialty socket when it is time to remove the locks.
Locking Lug Nut
While its exterior surface is smooth, its interiors have a rigged pattern making it hard to open using a regular wrench. Attached to the rim’s exterior, this type of wheel lock can only be opened using its especially designed unique key.
Clamp Wheel Lock
This type of wheel lock has a different form compared with the other models. The clamp wheel lock is usually attachedto the wheels,and the vehicle will not be able to move at all unless the clamp is removed. Also called as a wheel boot or a parking boot, the security it offers will prevent the vehicle from rolling or being towed.
There are also different types of wheel lock depending on the kind of seat they have:
- Tapered seat
It has a 60-degree cone that connects the thread and the head on the bolt, enabling it to fit right into the nut’s wheel.
- Radius seat
This type of wheel lock has a curved area where the thread connects with the bolt.
- Flat washer
Wheel locks with this type of seat have a flat washer where the wheel and the thread connects.
What to look for in a wheel lock?
Convinced that wheel locks are indeed an essential vehicle security device, it is now time to head on to the local dealership and purchase one. Here are the factors which should be considered in buying wheel locks:
Wheel locks come in different sizes, so it is important to take note first of the size of the vehicle’s wheel. There is also a need to check with the manufacturer if the wheel lock is compatible with the wheels of car where it will be attached.
A set of wheel locks come in four, but there are also some brands which offer more. Having more than four is more advantageous because there is already a replacement unit once one of the four gets lost. It may be more expensive than buying a set of four,but it is worth the price is given that there will be no need to buy a new set of four locks if you only need one to replace the lost one.
Choose one which is easy to install and simple enough to be used. It should also be easy to remove with the use of its key. While one may want a wheel lock which is easy to work with, it should not be as easy for the thieves to manipulate it without facing any difficulty. Try to find one which has both features.
Look for a wheel lock whose manufacturer does not offer a universal key which can open all wheel locks that they produce. The protection provided by the wheel lock lies on the fact that it has a unique key designed explicitly for each bolt. Having a universal key capable of opening all wheel locks is a breach of such security feature.
Reading on other customer’s experience will also help in deciding which type or brand of wheel locks to buy. There are a lot of online product review sites that one may visit to find out other person’s firsthand experience about the specific wheel lock he intends to buy.
Purchasing a high-quality wheel lock is worth investing to,but expensive does not always mean that it is the best. The best one will not be the same for everyone. It is important to consider first the specifications of a wheel lock, and if it matches the vehicle and the wheels, it will be used with.
One may also consider looking for a wheel lock which has an anti-corrosive property. It should be covered in chrome plating to prevent it from rusting.
Most importantly, the material from which the wheel lock was made from should be durable and of high quality to ensure that the locks will be able to secure your wheels. Wheel locks are madeof different steel and titanium alloys,and some of these materials are stronger than the others. If unsure of what to buy, going for one which was made from chrome vanadium or titanium alloy may be the best option as these materials are known to be durable, abrasion-resistant, and non-corrosive.
Top five wheel locks
There is a wide variety of wheel locks available on the market today and deciding which one to choose may prove to be overwhelming. Following the considerations mentioned above, these are our top five picks for wheel locks:
Acorn Gorilla Guard Locks is packed with security features that make it an excellent choice for a wheel lock. Socketed and round, it cannot be unlocked by using vice grips. The only possible way to open it without using its unique keys is to hammer, which is not a good move for would-be thieves for it is noisy and will attract attention.
In unlocking it using its keys, one can feel that the pressure is distributed among all the components of the bolt which prevents breakage and bending.
This wheel lock comes in three different sizes—1/2 inch, 12 mm x 1.25, and 12mm x 1.5. It is made of steel and can withstand the weight of up to 100 lbs.
However, signs of rusting are visible within a year of usage, and this can affect the lock’s reliability.
McGard is known to use tempered steel in its wheel locks exclusively,and this type of material is a pretty sturdy one. In addition, the wheel locks are also coated in chrome finish protecting it against rust, in addition to its triple layer of nickel.
The wheel lock itself has a steel collar which guides the key to be in perfect alignment with the lock pattern. McGard’s selling point, though, is that it has an infinite number of pattern combinations which makes each lock and key combination unique. But, in this strong point also lies the model’s weakness—losing the unique would mean buying another set.
Made from hardened steel, these wheel locks may be one of the hardest locks in the market Made with triple-nickel plating and chrome finish, these wheel locks have a good defense against corrosion because of extreme weather conditions.
While they are primarily made to be used for Toyota cars, they offer high performance and are durable. They also weigh the same as the original lugs so there is no need to rebalance the tire, once these wheel locks are installed.
The set also comes with a manual that presents easy to follow instructions for installation and removal.
Since they are intended to be used for Toyota cars, they may not work efficiently with other car brands and models.
However, some people reported that they found it difficult to remove these wheel locks, once they are installed.
4. Zone Tech Wheel Lock Security Tire Clamp Premium Quality Heavy Duty Anti-Theft Protective Vehicle Lock
This particular wheel lock is used for trailers and heavy vehicles with its smooth exterior, and an interior made up of an alloy of materials which has undergone intense smelting, making it durable and damage-resistant.
There is no need to install this clamp-type wheel lock since it only needs to be wrapped and locked around the wheels and the vehicle will not move an inch.
It also comes with two sets of keys,so there is no need to buy a whole new set if the keys get lost.
One of the disadvantages of this wheel lock is its weight for it is quite heavy.
Its powder coated finish protects the lock from corrosion, and it can fit any wheel given its universal design. Made from heavy-duty material which cannot be easily damaged using pliers, wrench, and other power tools.
On the other hand, small tools or pick will not work as well with this wheel lock because of its pick-resistant internal mechanism. Furthermore, it is equipped with triple-lock system, adding in extra layers of security.
However, this wheel lock may be removed by using a sledge hammer, though it will take some time. To prevent this from happening, extra chains and bolts may be used to reinforce the vehicle’s security.
One should consider adding wheel locks as part of the vehicle’s security system. It will also help if the car owners themselves will practice basic security measures to avoid attracting unscrupulous individuals and keep their vehicle safe and protected. Before leaving the car, make sure that the ignition switch is turned off and the car keys are removed. Only leave the car in a secure parking area.