How to protect your alloy wheels from theft

In any major UK city, our car insurance claims statistics show that 15-20 sets of alloy wheels are stolen every week. This causes motorists big problems with the loss of their no claims bonus, in addition to the payment of the insurance excess. So what can you do about it?

The problem with alloys is that they're fairly easy to take and virtually impossible to trace once stolen. With immobilisers fitted as standard on many cars, thieves are now taking the wheels rather than the whole cars, so wheel protection is key.

Locking wheel nuts

Locking wheel nuts can be fitted to vehicles where the manufacturer has not already done so, but these do not make your alloy wheels invulnerable to thieves. The main problem is that most people keep the key to the wheel nuts inside the car - often in the glove compartment. Thieves are well aware of this and after breaking into your car, it won't take them long to locate the key.

It's even possible to buy a tool to remove wheel nuts - obviously these are marketed to car owners who have lost their key or professional mechanics, but it's just as easy for thieves to pick them up and use for criminal activity. On a slightly positive note, though effective, using one of these tools can cause pretty unsightly damage to alloy wheels, which reduces their saleability and can be a useful deterrent to thieves.

Anything that slows a thief down will help protect your alloys from theft. If you've had your locking wheel nuts for a few years, consider replacing them. Older nuts really only provided basic resistance, but as designs have evolved over the years, the level of security they provide has improved dramatically.

The toughest nut to crack is the cookie-cutter style of wheel nut with a spinning shroud. A circular indent in the bolt can only be unlocked by a key that matches the pattern, and there are limitless key combinations. Wheel nut unlocking tools usually don't work on this type of bolt. 

Look for Thatcham Category 4 rating

When shopping for locking wheel nuts, look for a set with Thatcham Category 4 rating. This means they comply with the insurance industry's criteria for security. In the event of a claim, it may help your case if you've used them.

Get a Quote

Related pages:

Comprehensive Car Insurance

Tags: Alloy Wheels, Car Crime, No Claims Bonus

Released On 11th Sep 2015