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Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

Posted by bud_wi (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 20, 07 at 1:58

This might be long but my question is at the bottom of the post.

I bought a used Scion last November. When I picked it up at the dealership the salesman said to me "If I were you, I would get locks for those wheels or else someone is going to steal them."

I never bothered to try to get locks as I assumed my risk was minimal. Fast forward to August. I get a flat tire and drive it into a Midas shop since it was right there and thought maybe they could help me. They said they would have to order a tire. I said "Fine" and whipped out my CC and then asked if they could be so nice as to put the spare on. Sure. They asked for my *key*. I opened my hatchback for them and they still asked for my *key*.

It turns out that this Scion DOES have locked wheels. They are aftermarket wheels and I have no idea where they were bought.

The guys at Midas said I would have to junk the car. Another place said they would have to cut the wheels off but it would cost more than the car was worth.

I called the dealership and asked for the salesperson who sold it to me. I said "Remember when you told me to get locks for the wheels?" He replied "Oh no! Someone stole your wheels?!?" When I told him "No" and that the wheels HAD locks on them and I NEEDED THE KEY becasue of a flat tire, he was stumped. He said that didn't think it had locks on the wheels and the Midas guys where wrong. He argued with the Midas guys when I put them on the phone. Then I got on the phone with the manager of the dealership. After a lot of back and forth with the manager and then the manager's manager and then the GM, who now kept insisting that I must have "lost" the key and that they never would have sold it without giving me the key, they had it towed to one of their places. From there it was towed to a "mystery place" and then back again to the dealership place. Fortunately they covered everything and I don't have to go to court or anything.

When I picked up my car they gave me one tubular key. I asked to have a spare and they said "Impossible!" They would not tell me the other place where it was towed to and then back, where they resolved the problem. They would not give me any serial number or anything in case I need a key again. This was such a nighmare I hope I do not ever have to go through it again and I want to be on the safe side in case I really do lose the key.

How would I go about getting another key for the wheels? Can one be made from the one I have. If so where do I go to have it done?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

Depends on what kind of 'key' it is. If it's a key in the conventional sense of the word, a locksmith can probably make one. If this 'key' is really a special socket, that would be harder. You've probably done this already, but look real good in the glove box, console, any other compartment that this car has. If no luck, try to contact the previous owner either through this dealership or DMV. Last option, call around to different tire stores and explain the situation. If the car has always been in your area, one of them may have a record of what was put on it. I'd also think one or more of these tire stores would have a way of removing the locks short of destroying the wheels or the car. Drill, grinder, nut buster, welder, ect. This can't be an uncommon occurrence.

I doubt the dealership knew or cared if it had wheel locks or the key to remove them when they bought and sold the car.

Good luck.


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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

Why not just go get 4 new locking bolts or nuts, whichever they are, with a new key + duplicate key and toss the offending locks?


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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

That is good idea mxyplx. Thanks.

I have the feeling that these lock sets only come with one socket key though, and a dup would still have to be custom made. I will definately check to see if what you suggest can be done. I'm really not very knowledgeable on autos and am wondering if the lock sets are part of the wheel set and lock and keys are never sold separately though. Going to a machine shop to have one made would be too costly I am sure.

Gary__, yes, the whole car was gone over with a fine tooth comb looking for a hidden key, when I was in the midst of the dilemma. Believe me. I also had called tire stores and custom shops and every one said they could not help me and that I had to locate the custom shop that put the wheels on. I live outside of a HUGE city and there are a ton of custom shops and I know of at least three who do not even list in the phone book or have a sign on the building, so I am sure there are lots of "underground" custom shops around that could have been the one that put the wheels on. It would be a needle in a haystack. You're right, I am sure I am not the only person who has gone through this so I am puzzled as to why they make it so difficult.

I did a lot of checking and everyone said that there was NO WAY to get the wheels off without destoying the wheels and possibley causing damage to the auto. Supposedly the wheels I have are a very unusual type. By coincidence, the day of the flat tire, I saw that my neighbor had their son visiting, and he is a race car driver and does auto work. I went over and asked him and HE even told me the same thing and he would have no reason give me false info as it would not benefit him in the least to do so.

I asked the dealership to contact the previous owner and they told me "No" but I am wondering if that is how they got the key they gave me?. I am also thinking that the missing key may be the reason the orig owner sold the car in the first place. The tire that went flat was always going low on me ever since I got it. Every time I check the air on the tires it was always down to about 20lbs.

The good thing is the orig problem has been solved, but I am a cautious person and want an extra key.

I am sure I am not the only person who has gone through this. I am relieved that the dealership took responsibility for the situtation and cannot imagine what the whole thing cost to resolve dollar-wise.


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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

Duplicating your existing lug-nut key may not be possible w/o a registration certificate. I'm guessing if you bot or at least looked at a new set of lug nut keys they would come with a registration certificate that you could send in for a duplicate key.

Removing the wheel w/o the key can be done w/o destroying anything but the anti-theft lug nut itself.

1. Google this phrase: "duplicate lug nut key" Note it is not a wheel lock key. Here is just one site:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-304588.html

2. Beat a slightly smaller socket onto the nut. That's likely to split the socket so use an impact wrench socket.

3. Weld a crossbar on the nut/bolt then just turn it off or break it loose with a hammer. Have done this with big truck lug nuts particularly the inner nuts.

4. Carefully burn/split the nut off with a torch. If the stud gets damaged its easy to replace. Have did this too.

5. Live dangerously - Eliminate the anti-theft lug nut.

Presumably the entire wheel and hub assembly can be removed as a unit for easier working.


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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

can you post a picture of the nuts and lock? might be able to tell what you have, if i can see it


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RE: Wheel Locks - Where to get an extra key? (Long)

I have a set of tools specifically for the purpose of removing rounded off lugnuts, or as in this case anti-theft nuts where the key is missing or damaged.

The "Key" would in fact be a special socket manufactured to work only with those locking nuts that were on the car. It is not at all beyond possibility that they simply identified the nuts manufacturer, and ordered a replacement key. Not to mention if anyone has the original key it could be the original owner of the car, or accidently in the posession of a technician that serviced the car. I have forgotten in the past to put the special socket back into someones car and had to call the customer to have them stop back by to pick it up. Today to prevent this I always open the glove box while the key is out of the car. That way if I finish the service, and get in the car and see the glove box open, I know I have to get the key and put it back.

Frankly, I would throw those things away. If someone wants to steal your wheels, that locking nut wont actually stop them. The key's do get lost and consumers have a bad habit of blaming everyone but themselves for the problem. While it may not be the case in your problem, tell me how you could possibly prove that you never had the key and missplaced it on your own. All anyone could get would be your word, and of course thats all the dealer can do as well. It's quite likely that a salesman who advised you to get locking nuts was simply trying to make an extra sale. Notice the important thing there is he didn't know it alledgedly already had anti-theft nuts.

Lastly, I can buy master sets for every style of anti-theft nuts, and the respective "key"(s). It would cost me more than ten thousand dollars. The same goes for any business, be it a dealership, or custom shop.

Oh, if anyone would try and remove these with a torch, I'd send them packing. There is no need to damage a wheel at all in any of these cases. In the event of the most rounded off, seized lugnut situation, I simply drill the wheel stud out and replace it.


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