What is a locking wheel nut

Tyres and alloy wheels are expensive items and that makes them attractive to thieves. In recent years, therefore, it’s become commonplace to fit cars with locking wheel nuts to make it harder to steal the wheels.

Locking wheel nuts come in a set of four, together with the appropriate ‘key’ to allow them to be undone. You only need to fit one locking nut to each wheel, leaving the other standard nuts in place. The key needs to be kept in the car should you need to change a wheel, but make sure that you keep it out of sight in the boot or the glove compartment. If you have to change a wheel yourself, always undo the lock nut first and replace it last.
 
There are three types of locking wheel nut in general use today. The first and most common type has a keyed head to the nut. You slot the key into this, the other end of the key has a standard hex head that fits a wheel brace so that you can undo the nut in the normal way.

The second type of nut has a rotating collar that spins around the nut, making attempts at forced removal without the proper key more difficult. The final type is the ‘shear head’ these are usually used where the wheel has bolts rather than nuts and they are often fitted on Citroen and Peugeot models. On this type, the head of the bolt is designed to shear off if a tool other than the proper key is used to attempt to remove it.

Most new cars now come with locking wheel nuts or bolts as standard. As a result, theft of wheels as an opportunist crime is now relatively rare in the UK unless you have a particularly unusual or valuable car and wheels. While locking nuts are a deterrent, if criminals really want your wheels, they will find a way to take them, even if it means lifting the whole car. You shouldn’t, therefore, neglect basic vehicle security, parking your car in well-lit areas or keeping it in a garage, for example.

If you lose or damage your locking wheel nut key, then removing your wheels is going to be a problem. Fortunately, at Protyre, our tyre professionals can help, it’s always better to get someone with experience to do the job in these circumstances rather than attempting it yourself.


Did you know?

Protyre offer free tyre checks at all garages within our UK network. Click the button below to book online, or alternatively, give your local Protyre garage a call to book your vehicle in over the phone.

Free Tyre Check
 
For any job that requires the wheels to be removed, such as a service, work on the brakes or replacing tyres, the locking nut key will be needed, so make sure that you know where it is and tell the garage when you take your car in for any work.
 
If you need new tyres then here at Protyre we stock a wide range of sizes and brands including Falken, Sumitomo and Bridgestone. This means that we have something to suit all pockets and motoring needs.
 
If you are not sure of your tyre requirements, please feel free to give us a call or use our online search tool to find the right choice for your vehicle.

About the author

David Sholicar

David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and ...

View author

Related Articles

How to make sure you buy the tyres best suited to your vehicle

Any car enthusiast will know that not all tyres are created equal. However, the quality of tyres is an issue that should be of importance to anyone who drives, as the tyres on your car have a direct effect on safety in wet conditions, stability, the degree of comfort you have on the road, cornering and general road handling. A car with the wrong tyres will not only feel lacklustre to drive, but its safety could be compromised.
Find out more

Time for new tyres?

New tyres may be needed if you find your car is taking longer to stop after braking or your vehicle is not handling as it should in wet conditions.  
Find out more

The role of a tyre

At all times and in all weather conditions they are the only element in contact with the road - yet they are one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of vehicle maintenance.
Find out more