buying expensive wheels, you need to protect your investment
by using wheel locks. There is an important difference between
wheel locks and anti-theft lock nuts.
Although both are deterrents, wheel locks
are better deterrents.
Wheel locks prevent
theft by making it very hard – although not impossible
– to steal a set of wheels along with the tires. They
work like regular lug nuts (the nut that holds the wheel onto
the axle) except that wheel locks can only be removed using
the wheel-lock key – a specially shaped socket which
you carry in the trunk. There is one wheel lock per wheel
(although, if you want you can place a second one on each
wheel); wheel locks are also available for spare tires. The
reason wheel locks are so effective is that it is extremely
difficult to remove a wheel lock quietly – brut force
requires banging or, more realistically, a pneumatic tool
– actions that are conducive to late-night theft.
Anti-theft lug nuts are
not the same as Wheel Locks – even if some folks say
they are. Anti-theft lug nuts make it difficult for thieves
because the shape of the lug nut is non-conventional. For
example, it may be a 7-sided lug nut which can be opened easily
only if you have the proper 7-sided socket. However, these
are not unique – they resemble metric sockets. As a
result, a thief can use a metric socket and heat it up using
a portable propane torch – this is quick, easy, and
above all quiet. The heated socket can be forced onto the
lug nut and, when cooled with a little water, is used to loosen
the lug nut. Four such sockets are cheap, and two or four
thieves working in concert are very quick.
If you lose your wheel lock key, your dealership
or place where you purchased your aftermarket wheels and the
lock can usually replace it. If not, tire or wheel dealerships
can break off the wheel lock and put on your new one.