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Locking wheel nuts: Do I need them? – Joe F.

Locking wheel keys are one of the most frustrating devices ever invented. This is an anti-theft key designed to prevent your sparkly new rims and tires from going missing. It usually hides somewhere buried in the glove box or trunk of your vehicle never to be found when you need it the most.

They serve a purpose, but are they worth the effort? These keys require all the wheel fastener-tightening torque to be delivered through a smaller, uniquely designed keyed surface. Accordingly, they wear out from repeated mounting and unmounting of your rims/tires, and the use of impact air tools accelerates their demise.

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They do have their place though. Driving a brand-new vehicle with the upgraded rim/tire package or investing in a set of chrome low-profile rims tires? Sure, go right ahead, chances are you are a car enthusiast who monitors every aspect of your vehicle and you will notice a problematic wheel lock before it becomes an issue. For the average driver with the average car, don't waste your money. If a would-be thief really wants your rims, he will acquire the same universal wheel lock-remover tool that we use in our repair shop and you will be in the exact same situation – which is having to call your insurance company.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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