The Best Locking Wheel Lugs to Keep Your Wheels Safe and Secure

Vehicle security extends far beyond what’s inside the vehicle.

byJeric Jaleco| UPDATED May 5, 2022 7:53 AM
The Best Locking Wheel Lugs to Keep Your Wheels Safe and Secure
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Everybody loves a shiny set of eye-catching wheels on a nice ride—including marauding thieves. If your vehicle spends the majority of the time parked on the street or in parking lots, investing in anti-theft lug nuts is affordable insurance for wheel theft. Read on to see our picks for the best wheel locks to prevent theft.

Too often do we catch wind of vehicles ransacked for their rollers, but that’s what a nifty set of locking wheel lug nuts is for. Clever and secure for little chunks of metal, they replace a standard lug nut on each wheel to render it nearly impossible for thieves and ne'er-do-wells to snatch them right off. They’re ingenious bits for providing some added peace of mind that we won’t be left on the side of the road scratching our heads at the cinder blocks beneath our frame.

A quick search reveals that there’s quite an inventory, however. I can be tricky to know which is right for your car. Allow The Drive to assist in sifting through the array of wheel locks on the market. From big trucks to small cars and everything in between, I'll guide you through a catalog’s worth of goods to find the right product for you.

Best Overall

McGard Cone Seat Lug Nut Wheel Installation Kit

Summary
Behold the highly customizable kit for nearly any car from the brand renowned by OEMs. Choose from lock only or a complete lug set in a trinity of colors.
Pros
  • Many variants to fit nearly every car 
  • Choice of finishes
  • Difficult to defeat key pattern
  • Sold as key and lock or full lug set
Cons
  • Slightly higher starter price
  • Full sets can get very expensive
Best Value

Gorilla Automotive Cone Seat Wheel Lock Nuts

Summary
Here’s a simple, easygoing spline drive choice that sets itself apart by undercutting nearly every other product in its field.
Pros
  • Variety to fit on different studs
  • Great pricing
  • Sold as key and lock or full lug set
Cons
Full set of the same head style might reduce security
Honorable Mention

McGard Chrome Cone Seat Wheel Locks

Summary
This product offers McGard’s ingenuity in a simple, no-frills package for those who just seek top-notch quality in wheel security. No more, no less.
Pros
  • Perfect simplicity
  • Difficult to defeat key pattern
  • Variants for other cars exist for similar or less money
Cons
  • Black finish is more expensive
Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology


We at The Drive always aim to deliver the most informative product reviews possible. And while it wasn’t possible to source every wheel lock in the world to test on a range of vehicles in a timely manner, I curated this concise guide by pairing extensive research with personal knowledge. Real-life consumer feedback and expert opinion from retail sites such as Amazon and CARiD assist in determining which products are the right calls for each kind of driver. For more on how we generally curate the buyer’s guides, check out this link

Best Locking Wheel Lugs Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Material: Steel alloy
  • Finish: Chrome, black, gold
  • Head Style: Spline drive, computer-generated key pattern

Pros

  • Many variants to fit nearly every car
  • Choice of finishes
  • Difficult to defeat key pattern
  • Sold as key and lock or full lug set

Cons

  • Slightly higher starter price
  • Full sets can get expensive

Here’s a rock-solid, highly-configurable option for the discerning consumer looking to put their shiny rollers on lockdown. Renowned by OEMs, McGard’s Lug Nut Wheel Installation Kit is available to just about any car buyer out there. Simply input your car’s information into a sorting tool like CARiD’s to find the correct fitment and decide if you want a lock-and-key set or a complete lug set. The latter includes their robust wheel locks plus an accompanying set of spline drive lug nuts, although opting for it will jack up the price by multitudes.

Factoring in my personal experience with their products plus the universal acclaim of buyers, I hold McGard products in very high regard for their dense, near-invincible construction. Agreeing to their slightly higher prices rewards drivers with their unique, computer-generated key patterns which ensures the best security possible behind super-gluing your wheel to the hub — uh, please don’t do that.

Specs

  • Material: Steel alloy
  • Finish: Chrome, black
  • Head Style: Spline drive

Pros

  • Variety to fit on different studs
  • Great pricing
  • Sold as key and lock or full lug set

Cons

  • Full set of the same head style may reduce security

A stout choice for someone specifically looking to bolster their vehicle’s security while replacing old lug nuts will find confidence in Gorilla’s Wheel Lock Nuts. Like other kits on the market, these spline drive nuts are sold in your choice of lock-and-key set or a full-on lug nut replacement set. Gorilla’s party trick for this item is the immense variety of designs they come in for whatever car you may be driving. Want a long lug nut for trucks and SUVs or maybe a stubby, open-ended look? Gorilla has you covered. Simply feed these retail sites your car’s information and choose.

Allow me to insert a quick disclaimer that fully replacing each lug nut with one of these may not offer as much security as mixing up your lug nut and wheel locks patterns. While spline drives are far less common and unlikely to be removed via a conventional tire wrench, all it takes is a chance encounter with some crook with the right socket to snatch them all.

Specs

  • Material: Steel alloy
  • Finish: Chrome, black
  • Head Style: Computer-generated key pattern

Pros

  • Perfect simplicity
  • Difficult to defeat key pattern
  • Variants for other cars exist for similar or less money

Cons

  • Black finish is more expensive

McGard comes in clutch yet again with a simple, five-piece kit not unlike most wheel lock kits offered at your dealership's parts departments. I would know, I sold these as a former dealer parts employee. In fact, McGard made these same kits for Toyota to rebrand as their own. Like their larger, more configurable kits, these are robust and hefty chunks of steel with the same floral key pattern that’s nearly impossible to defeat.

There are a few variations to fit different threads and stud sizes with most of them ringing in within a few dollars of each other. Interestingly enough, the same products in black finishes are available as well but at roughly $15 to $20 more. This steep price hike is likely due to sporting a PVD finish which doubles as protection from damage and corrosion.

Best for Trucks/Large SUVs
DYNOFIT Spline Wheel Lug Nuts
SEE IT

Specs

  • Material: SCM 435 steel
  • Finish: Anti-rust/anti-strip coating chrome coating
  • Head Style: Spline drive

Pros

  • Lengthy design for beefy truck studs
  • Sold in set of 24 for six-lug hubs
  • Strong value
  • Two keys included

Cons

  • Full set of the same head style may reduce security
  • A few reported quality control issues

DYNOFIT’s spline wheel locks represent solid value in the face of truck owners looking to boost their vehicle’s security. Like Gorilla’s products, these kits secure your wheels via a spline drive pattern rendering common tire wrenches useless. These are sold in full sets of 24 nuts for nearly all six-lug hubs with M14 x 1.5 threads. While that does bar a few trucks and SUVs from taking advantage of this product, it’s still enough to bring most Rams, F-150s, Silverados, and Tundras under their fold. Other examples of vehicles that can reap the benefits include Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Expeditions, and Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburbans. But do check your thread pitch down to your vehicle’s model year in case of any generational changes.

While most consumer feedback has been positive, a small number of buyers have noted faulty, cross-threaded lug nuts from the factory. Additionally, the same concern about running an identical pattern lug nut on each stud for every wheel remains. It’s a small worry of an unlikely encounter, but it’s still worth thinking about.

Specs

  • Material: 7075-T6 aluminum
  • Finish: Brushed silver, black, red, blue, “neo chrome”
  • Head Style: Hex, spline drive

Pros

  • Unique, flashy style
  • Skinny design allows for use on most aftermarket wheels
  • A literal rainbow of finishes
  • Sold as complete set with lugs and locking nuts

Cons

  • Being sold as a full set means higher base price
  • Aluminum construction may compromise strength
  • Vulnerable finishes

Sporty wheels need sporty lug nuts, wouldn’t you say? From the road course to the Cars N’ Coffee, Mishimoto’s Cone Seat Locking Lug Nuts are here to ensure those fancy aftermarket rollers remain planted firmly on your car. The skinny design allows fitment in tight wheel designs with gun barrels for lug nut holes. You can order them in sets of 16 or 20 depending on the specified vehicle and in a myriad of colors — neo chrome is an extra cost option. According to Mishimoto themselves, some kits may even include extra locks for use on spare wheels.

Being sold as a full kit of well-crafted goodies does mean an increase in base price versus competitors but, unlike them, the range of pricing is much smaller. Some consumers have reported that the finish can be a bit vulnerable to damage, especially when using power tools, and the aluminum construction raises additional concerns over longevity and strength. Thank goodness for their lifetime warranties.

Specs

  • Material: Steel alloy
  • Finish: Chrome, black
  • Head Style: Spline/hex combo

Pros

  • Added security for Euro cars
  • Odd head style may prove difficult to defeat

Cons

  • A tad more expensive than comparable products
  • Only sold as a set of four

For all the Euro enthusiasts, these Veritek Performance Wheel Bolt Locks are security devices. They are crafted for German cars rocking wheel bolts with an M14 x 1.5 thread. Steel construction ensures proper strength like a more common lug nut, and the finish is reportedly quite resilient and of high quality. The interesting hex-spline hybrid head will prove capable of deterring would-be thieves. I can’t imagine the key for this being a common item in most toolboxes. One consumer review tells how a Mercedes driver noticed a failed theft attempt on their wheels which must have left the crook stumped as not a single bolt could be freed.

A nitpick to be had could be that a product like this could easily replace all bolts on a vehicle but is only sold in a set of four. For security reasons, that’s probably for the better as you’d be using non-identical fasteners to further deter theft. Pricing is also a tad higher than rivals by a few dollars.

Our Verdict on Locking Lug Nuts

There goes The Drive’s guide to wheel locks, with McGard’s Cone Seat Lug Nut Wheel Installation Kit ranking as our overall best for its variety and undeniable robustness. The Gorilla Cone Seat Wheel Lock Nuts represent stellar value for boosting security with a good price.

What to Consider When Buying Locking Lug Nuts

Wheel locks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some of them aren’t even lug nuts, but bolts for specific vehicles! Some are spline drive lug nuts while others have far more intricate and complicated key patterns. Whichever you choose, the first and foremost factor to consider in determining if it fits. Identical wheel locks may be produced in varying thread sizes to accommodate different vehicles, so be aware of the threads on your vehicle’s studs and the wheel lock itself. Most retail sites will feature a tool to help you sort out which locks will fit your application.

Pricing 

Wheel lock kits are generally one of the more inexpensive car parts you can buy. Most will ring in between $20 and $40 for a set of locks and a key or upwards of $100 to $300 for a full set with accompanying replacement lug nuts depending on the vehicle.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Are wheel locks universal?

A: No, fit is based on the vehicle and its studs. How long are they? What’s the thread pitch and diameter? These are things to consider with some locks only compatible with a select few vehicles. Most websites will have tools to help you sort out the correct products for you.

Q: How is thread measured?

A: Thread is measured in stud diameter and thread pitch and most often measured in millimeters. An example is the thread size, M14 x 1.5, where 14 and 1.5 are the stud diameter and thread pitch in millimeters, respectively. In rare cases, some companies may measure in inches.

Q: How exactly do wheel locks secure my wheels?

A: In short, locking lug nuts/bolts use heads with complex patterns that are difficult for a conventional hex socket to grasp and remove. Spline drives and floral-pattern grooves are examples, requiring a specific key to grasp. The key can then be paired with a normal socket and wrench.

Q: What is the most secure type of locking lug nut?

A: From personal experience and feedback, floral-style grooves engraved into heads like McGard are the most difficult to bypass given the many odd patterns available. Even if someone had a key for that type, there’s no guarantee it would match as companies may etch one of several random patterns onto the head.