Wheel Locks: Are They Worth the Hassle? Expert Mike Weighs In

Dear Mike,

I recently bought a new car and it comes with wheel locks. I’m not really sure what they are or why they are necessary. Do I need a special wheel lock key to use them and what happens if I lose it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!



Hey there, Hazel! It’s great to hear from you and congratulations on your new ride! Buying a new car is one thing, but maintaining it is a whole other ball game. Wheel locks are something that comes up often when it comes to vehicle maintenance, so I’m glad you asked.

In short, wheel locks are specialty lug nuts designed to keep your wheels from being easily stolen. They work by requiring a specialized socket, or wheel lock key, to remove them. So, to answer your question, yes, you will need a wheel lock key to use them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to change a flat tire or replace your wheels.

Now, as to whether they are necessary, it really depends on the situation. As I just mentioned, they can be useful in preventing theft in certain areas or for certain types of rims, but for the most part, they are unnecessary and can actually do more harm than good.

You mentioned being worried about losing your wheel lock key, and that’s a valid concern. If you have the code for your key, you can have a replacement made by a dealer or manufacturer. Or, if you know the brand and model of your wheel lock, you can often order a replacement key online. However, if you don’t have either of those options, you’ll have to pay a professional to remove your wheel lock.

Speaking of professionals, it’s important to bring your vehicle to a mechanic you trust if you ever need your wheel locks removed without a key. Inexperienced mechanics can easily damage your wheels in the process and end up costing you more in repairs.

So, Hazel, my advice to you is this: if you live in an area with a high rate of tire, rim, or wheel theft, or if you have custom or specialty rims that you’re worried about losing, then wheel locks might be worth considering. However, if that’s not the case, they are likely unnecessary and might just give you a headache in the long run. Regardless, be sure to keep your wheel lock key in a safe place and always have it with you when you’re on the road.

Thanks for reaching out, Hazel. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!