After installing new specialty rims, you might intend to go the extra mile to protect them from being stolen. One of the solutions that most drivers turn to is locking wheel bolts. Locking wheel bolts are special bolts for tires that contain theft-deterrent sockets. They work as standard wheel bolts but they require specific keys to install/remove.
If your wheels and tires aren’t secured, it is easy for a thief to take them. These locking wheel bolts give you peace of mind if you worry about tire theft. While locking wheel bolts are effective to protect your wheels, things will get complicated if you lost the wheel lock key. Once you installed locking wheel bolts, always remember to keep the wheel lock keys well stored. Since they are special sockets that match the unique pattern, using other keys to fit your wheel locks means nothing. When removing a locking wheel bolt without a key, it is easy for inexperienced professionals to damage the wheel.
Types of Locking Wheel Bolts
The most common locking wheel bolts you could find are spline drive bolts and heptagon bolts:
Spline drive locking wheel bolts are designed with many narrow grooves on the head and even down the sides. A special key socket can fit over the grooves and make it easy to install/remove these locking wheel bolts. All the splines aren’t the same pattern. Without corresponding key sockets, even a professional thief will spend more time dealing with these bolts. For decades, they have been well developed by manufacturers and proved to be very useful in wheel protection. Besides, the narrow spline shape will fit more aftermarket wheels which are made with small lug holes.
As the name states, the Heptagon locking wheel bolts have unique Heptagon (7-side) shape heads, which make it hard to be stolen due to the irregular shape. This means they require a special 7-side socket adapter to remove the bolts. The 7-side keys are available in various inside diameter sizes. Even the thieves have 7-side socket adapters, it is difficult for them to find the correct one to fit.
Are Locking Wheel Bolts Worth It?
In short, yes, they are worth it. Many cars have equipped with locking wheel bolts for OEM wheels. Many aftermarket wheels will be sold with wheel locks. Regardless of whether your car has stock or aftermarket wheels, a set of locking wheel bolts will protect them effectively. Assuming that there are a few thieves looking for high-end rims and tires. When the wheels are so accessible, they can easily remove wheels with a normal lug socket. However, if you use locking wheel bolts, thieves could spend hours dealing with those locks. Obviously, they will steal wheels that aren’t protected instead of those that have wheel locks installed. Installing locking wheel bolts means you are essentially putting up an additional barrier that makes the whole removal process more difficult than desired. They are useful precautions you can take into consideration to help aid in the prevention of wheel theft.