Top 8 Best Wheel Locks
By | Last updated: June 17, 2020
best wheel locks

On occasion, it must seem like the architects of this series think danger and the nation’s criminals lurk around every corner. We’ve brought you Club-style theft prevention, bumper guards, and now wheel locks. Good job we balance it out with the likes of work gloves and tire shine.

Wheel locks are hawked not just by the aftermarket but by every single new car dealership in which your author has stepped foot over the last couple of months while shopping for his own new ride and a set of wheels for a family member. When asked for a pricing breakdown of the car in question, a line item reading ‘wheel locks’ inevitably appears, ranging in price from $75 to in excess of a c-note.

Bin that and get yer own, we say. Most options of similar ilk on this list are less than half the price of what the Product Advisor is hawking. Just be sure you’re buying ones that are of the correct overall length and thread size. We’ve thrown in a few parking-style wheel locks for good measure as well but do note that none of these things guarantee security. If someone’s bent on taking your wheels, they probably will.

1. Editor's Choice: McGard Wheel Locks

By and large, it is very likely this is the brand of wheel locks with which you will end up should you choose to acquiesce to that dealership line item. McGard sells a metric ton of these things, in all variety of size and shape. As recommended above, be sure to find the set that fits your specific application.

McGard’s generally come with four or five lug nut locks (depending on the vehicle for which they are intended) and a key. That key has a pattern fitting the head of the locking lug nut on one end and a hex shape on the other end to fit your tire iron. Don’t forget the lock when you’re dropping off your car for a tire rotation.

Pros/Well known, many available sizes
Cons/Popularity breeds familiarity with thieves
Bottom Line/Likely cheaper than the same ones at dealer level

2. Gorilla Automotive Wheel Locks

Seeking to bring the heat to McGard by offering a similar product in direct competition, these locking lug nuts from Gorilla Automotive are likewise available in a yaffle of lengths and thread sizes. This ensures a good fit and no chewing up of difficult to replace wheel studs.

Reviews are excellent, with more than one real-world customer noting that locking lug nuts (from this or any brand) can be bypassed by a determined robber. Still, they are praised for being a good preventive measure whose color-matching is acceptable for the price.

Pros/Affordable theft deterrent
Cons/Check that sizing chart
Bottom Line/Blends great with black lug nuts

3. Trimax TCL65 Wheel Chock Lock

Yes, this extends outside the general realm of wheel locks and into something one might find featured on a show like Parking Wars when Garfield finds a wayward or miscreant vehicle. The difference here, of course, is that you’re trying to protect your vehicle, not fall into Philadelphia’s byzantine labyrinth of car impound lots.

These tools are great for protecting a trailer, for example, with its 7.25-inch clamp making for a quick and easy installation on the tires of a hauler you’re about to leave unattended. The design of this lock incorporates a wheel chock, helping to keep the thing from rolling away.

Pros/Different sizes available, doubles as an immobilizer
Cons/Weird pricing structure ($59 for one, $225+ for two)
Bottom Line/Not for playing tricks on yer buddies

4. Goplus Heavy Duty Trailer Wheel Lock

Similar in concept to the lock profiled above, this unit also goes clamped around the tire of a vehicle or trailer. It does not have as robust a chocking feature as that one, however, with a soft-coated handle rather than aggressive teeth. Hey, at least that makes it easier to carry.

This lock is said to be made of steel, weighing 5.3 lbs. The bright yellow and orange color provides maximum visibility – it’s up to you if that’s a good or bad thing. Its design is supposed to prevent a wheel from being turned as well. That soft coating also shows up on the clamp’s teeth, helping to prevent scratched wheels.

Pros/Reasonably priced
Cons/No true chocking feature
Bottom Line/They won't see you rollin' with this thing

5. White Knight Wheel Lock Set

Returning to traditional wheel locks. we find this company which offers its wares at a price well south of most other brands in this segment. Chrome in appearance and available in a multitude of sizes, there should be a style of lock from this brand to fit the wheels on your car.

One of the reasons for its sub-$15 price tag is that the washer, a feature normally found attached to the lug nut, is packaged separately. Presumably, this helps the manufacturer to churn out more of these things in a hurry but it does little to help with ease of installation. Getting one of those washers on an angle between the wheel and lug nut is a recipe for chewed up parts.

Pros/Very affordable
Cons/Improperly seated washer could ruin your day
Bottom Line/Cheap insurance

6. Toyota Genuine Accessories Wheel Lock

We’re including this product as an example that gen-u-wine products from an OEM are available in this segment. Since the company that built your car, truck, or SUV is printed right on the package, there’s an excellent chance they’ll fit with little fuss.

As with most products branded with the crest of a car company, these locking lug nuts are a bit more expensive than some other options. Many customers gave a five-star rating to these locks, with the few proffering a one-star review complaining about the fact these things don’t totally deter vandalism or theft. Those people would do well to remember or warning at the top of this post – wheel locks are deterrents, not anti-theft guarantees.

Pros/OEM fit
Cons/OEM price
Bottom Line/A safe bet

7. Cheriezing Anti-Theft Wheel Stud Bolt Locks

Yes, Virginia, there is a wheel lock solution for cars that have infernal stud bolts rather than lug nuts. Operating in the same fashion, they require a key (included) for tightening or removal. These particular units are designed to fit a series of BMW vehicles; others are available for different brands.

Despite being sold by a company with an inscrutable name, these locks enjoy a steady five-star rating from people who’ve read the instructions and have reasonable expectations. The refrain “cheaper than the dealer” is repeated frequently.

Pros/A great replacement for lost or absent factory locks
Cons/Make sure of fit before ordering
Bottom Line/Good option for German cars with stud bolts

8. Bibowa Motorcycle Disc Lock

Ok, this technically isn’t a wheel lock. However, it performs the same task for those of us who’d rather our motorcycle remains in the same place we left it when we stopped for lunch. Running off a trio of small batteries, this security device aims to lock up the disc of a bike, preventing the criminal element from taking off with your two-wheeled fun machine.

Those batteries permit the lock to emit an ear-piercing wail when tampered with, helpful if your bike is out of sight. The seller claims it is weather-resistant, which is more than your author can claim for himself. A ‘reminder cable’ is included, helping to prevent riders from taking off with these things still attached, thereby attaining YouTube infamy.

Pros/Great for bikes
Cons/Only for bikes, alarm requires batteries
Bottom Line/Don't forget to remove it before riding

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Bizi88 / Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

7 Comments on “Lock n’ Load: Best Wheel Locks...”


  • avatar
    gasser

    Living about a mile from where the above photo was taken, I am very sensitive to this issue. I strongly urge NOT buying special wheel/tire combos if you park anywhere that you don’t have a secure garage. If that fails, my advice is to buy the wheel locks the dealer offers (Those locks will fit and the dealer will have a universal key when tire rotation is needed) and BUY AN EXTRA KEY!!!!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    My new Blazer came with these, not because I wanted them but the car came from another dealer who puts them on everything and charges 75 bucks. My dealer ate the cost rather than switch to the standard lugs. Hopefully if I ever need to take off a wheel I’ll remember that key wrench is in the glove box.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    There is a truism that when a thief specifically targets a particular item, it will get stolen.
    Sooner or later.

    However, the immense majority of instances, the thefts are opportunistic robberies. So it is always a good practice to stack the odds in your favor.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’ve always wondered how many different keys are there for these things?

    Is it 3 or 5? As long as the crooks have a keychain full can they get them off?

    Or are we talking hundreds of different keys and preventing that?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The crooks have defeat devices for all wheel locks. Some are improvised, homemade, others are pro tools sold to tire shops, mechanics, towers, etc.

  • avatar
    relton

    I resist locking lug nuts/bolts for a couple of reasons.

    1. I find it hard enough to get them off in my calm and cool workshop. Think of trying to change a tire in the rain at night. If the car came with them, I replace the locking lug nut with a regular one as soon as possible. My wife’s Ford came with an extra set of regular lug nuts, just for people like me I guess. I’ve been driving cars for 60 years (OK, some of those years not legally) and I have never had a wheel stolen.

    2. There are different kinds of seats on lug nuts, tapered and spherical being two that I’ve encountered. Even though the nuts/bolts may have the right thread, they may not have the right seat. Use the wrong seat and the wheel may be damaged, or worse, fail.

    If you live n a neighborhood where your wheels might be stolen, perhaps you should move.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I don’t know if the Gorilla locks are made in the USA, but I do know that the McGard locks are. The Toyota locks shown are made by McGard as well. McGard also makes tailgate lacks and spare tire locks (trucks, SUVs) that are available repackaged for the OEMs as well. Toyota typically charges something like $129 for a set of wheel locks that you can buy as McGard locks for $25-$30 at the local auto parts store.

    And yeah, if you’re going to buy a set, get a spare key to keep at home, which usually means mailing in a card that comes in the package with the locks, along with a check or credit card info. That also serves to register the locks (you can also do that without buying a spare key. You can also order spare locks, in case some hamfisted tire installer cross-threads one of your locks.

    As far as wheel locks go, they’re not a slam dunk. If a thief is determined and has the time, there are ways to get the locks off. The locks just make it more difficult for the thief to get them.

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