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Locking Wheel Nuts Explained

Jaguar alloy wheel nuts

Locking wheel nuts (also known as lug nuts or alloy wheel nuts) are used by car manufacturers the world over to keep wheels secure to a vehicle, something which has been instrumental in combating car wheel theft. If you’re going to try and remove a locking wheel nut, you’re going to need a locking wheel nut key.

Why are locking wheel nuts used?

Where standard wheel nuts can be removed with minimum effort using an ordinary wheel brace, locking wheel nuts require the use of a locking wheel nut key. This is because they do not have a regular hexagonal head like a standard nut/bolt, meaning your car wheel will stay firmly on the vehicle unless you remove it using your locking wheel nut key.

What does a locking wheel nut key look like?

Locking wheel nut set

A locking wheel nut key is a metal tool which is cylindrical at one end and hexagonal at the other (on the right of the image). Bear in mind that each key is unique; you can’t simply use a Vauxhall wheel nut key for your BMW! They are quite small too, so often are housed in a plastic box. It’s worth establishing whether you were provided with a set for your vehicle when you purchased it.

Where are locking wheel nuts kept?

If you know you haven’t touched your locking wheel nut key during the time you’ve owned your vehicle, the chances are it’s where the manufacturer of the vehicle stored it. This means it could be in any number of places:

  • The glove box: many vehicle manufacturers will store the locking wheel nut key in the car’s glove box, so it makes sense to check here first.
  • With your spare wheel: as we’re sure you’ll know, if your car has one, your spare wheel is kept underneath the bottom panel of your boot. Many car manufacturers will store the wheel nut key in a compartment next to the spare wheel itself, so make sure you look here.
  • Boot storage: some manufacturers will store the wheel nut key in a storage panel either side of the boot. If your car has these storage panels, this is where it could be.
  • In or under the seats: if you’ve checked elsewhere, the final places you need to check are in the seat pockets, both driver and passenger, and under those seats as the set could have slid under there during travel.

What to do if you’ve lost your locking wheel nut key

If you’ve looked everywhere for your locking wheel nut key but can’t seem to find it – or you did manage to find it but discovered it was damaged – don’t worry, Mr Tyre can usually advise on the best way to remove wheel nuts from your vehicle to get new tyres fitted. Unlike some removal kits that are advertised online, reputable tyre dealers will have industrial equipment to avoid damaging the wheels themselves. Where safety is concerned, it always pays to consult a professional to avoid future problems which could end up causing accidents or more costly repair work.


Tyre search online

If you want to take advantage of Mr Tyre’s tyre fitting service but are struggling with the wheel nut key, get in touch with our friendly team today. We operate over 30 branches across Central England, so you can be sure of a dependable service, no matter where you are in the region. 

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