LAST UPDATED: October 21, 2019
Best Locking Lug Nuts: Anti-Theft Devices for Your Wheels
Make it harder for thieves to steal your wheels with these high-strength locking lug nuts
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 21, 2019
It's easy for a thief to take your vehicle's wheels and tires if they aren't secured. Even cars with the most advanced alarm systems are vulnerable. The best thing you can do is to tire out the criminal by making the thieving process last as long as possible. You can do that by installing any of the locking lug nuts in our review below.
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DPAccessories Wheel Locks come in a set of five with a uniquely patterned socket wrench. The lug nuts are constructed out of a tough steel metal and painted with a black outer coating for protection against rust. They are also temperature-resistant, meaning they will last through long cold winters and hot summers.
The best feature is each package comes with a different key and lock combination. There aren’t two of the same in the world. Each is unique and resistant to being broken or tampered with by anyone with fancy tools or kits. They also look great when mounted.
Yet, the lug nuts may not be an exact match for every vehicle. They may be too short or too long for wheel studs as well. They are also more expensive than other models and you only get a set of five nuts.
McGard’s Wheel Locks come in all shapes and sizes. This set of five marine and automotive locking lug nuts are built for all types of vehicles. From the Ford Ranger and Jeep Wrangler to the Cherokee and Liberty, these nuts will lock any wheel into place. The pack is set at a reasonable price as well.
The five nuts are developed out of chrome and hardened for increased durability and strength. The key is designed to fit just with the nuts in this specific package, too. Each one is built with a computer-generated pattern for a more unique fit. Plus, each lug nut also features triple nickel, copper, and chrome plating for added toughness.
The nuts may be too small for certain trucks and SUVs. You may also find the inner threads can get jammed due to the thick paint. There is also no extra locking nut included in the pack so if you need others, you are out of luck.
The Gorilla Automotive Wheel Locks comes with a pack of 20 locking nuts. The nuts feature a 60-degree conical seat that makes them glide more easily and securely into place. They are finished with a shiny outer coat that enhances their look and appeal when mounted on the wheel studs.
As another benefit, the wheel nuts are chrome-plated for added toughness. Plus, doubled with the nuts' tough steel construction, they are kept securely in place and are rust- and weather-resistant. They also feature an exclusive lug pattern that can only be removed with the included key. Any attempt to remove them with a normal socket wrench or tools will leave them in a bad shape.
The one not-so-great thing about the lug nuts is their price. They are the most expensive package on our list. There may also be issues with locking them in place with the key, and there have been reports that the lugs can strip.
The Yitamotor Locking Lug Nuts are a sleek-looking set to lock your wheels in place. Each one is developed out of a steel alloy material, making them ultra strong, sturdy, and reliable. Another great feature of these lug nuts are their tough outer plating. They are made up of three different metals—nickel, copper, and chrome—for increased stability.
The lug nuts come in a full set of 20 so you can easily lock down up to five wheels. The set also comes with a socket that is designed to only work with these acorn wheel nuts. Each fits on tightly and securely no matter if you are installing them on your everyday vehicle, a travel trailer, or an RV. Plus, the kit is set at a rather low price.
However, the lug nuts are not universal and are not designed for all wheel studs. There have also been complaints that the powder coating can interfere with tightening them properly. Paint on the inside of the lug may be too thick and can make it more difficult to screw in.
Don’t be confused by these Yitamotor Chrome Locking Lug Nuts and think they are similar to our other choice. These throw out the small acorn design of the previously mentioned model and instead go for a larger more aggressive-looking locking nut. Each one is constructed with a chrome finish to give it that extra flare and shine.
The lug nuts are developed out of a steel alloy as well, and stick with the triple-plated combination of nickel, copper, and chrome. Coupled with the chrome outer shell, the nuts are built to withstand rust and corrosion from rain and other types of weather. Each one is cold-forged and heat-treated for a strong, dependable, and tight fit. They are one of the highest rated locking lug nuts around.
There have been reports that if the nuts are tightened and untightened multiple times, the paint can come off. If that happens, the nuts can start to rust if left in the rain. They may also be too short for some wheel studs or larger wheels.
- Do not hide the locking lug nut key in your glove box. It's easy for thieves to access it there. Consider hiding it in your trunk; it's much safer and will be within reach when you want to remove your tire in case of a flat.
- Roll up your windows and lock your doors if you plan to leave your vehicle for a long time to prevent theft.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area with a lot of traffic. It’s more difficult for thieves to steal your car or the wheels when people are watching.
- Invest in a highly sensitive alarm system for your car that will make a loud sound when anyone tries to tamper with it. You should also be able to get an alert on your phone in such instances.
Q: Is it possible to remove the locking lug nut without the key?
If you lose the key, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. You can also visit your nearest mechanic for help to remove the lug nut. Alternatively, you can attach a lug wrench on the nut and hammer it slowly until it comes loose. However, the latter method may not work on most high-quality lug nut locks.
Q: Is a clamp lock more secure than a locking lug nut?
Most power saws can cut through standard clamp locks. All you have to do is cut off one of the clamp's arms, and you will have an easier time taking out the lock. Locking lug nuts, however, offer a more secure fit and can't be easily removed without a compatible key. It may also take hours to hammer out the entire lug nut set on one tire.
Q: Do car rims make my wheels a target for thieves?
Yes. The more appealing the wheel is, the more likely it is to get stolen. This is also true for new tires on shiny wheels. You can discourage thieves by doubling the security: install both a clamp lock and a lug nut. Most thieves won’t risk getting caught while struggling with the locks.
Our top pick is the DPAccessories Wheel Locks. It offers the user peace of mind since there’s no chance of duplicating the locking key pattern, and it’s made up of durable hardened steel.
If you are on a tighter budget, consider the McGard Wheel Locks, which is a quick fix to your wheel security problem.