What do I do if I have lost my locking wheel nut key?

There is nothing more frustrating than turning up at a shop to have your brand new tires fitted and being asked by the mechanic where your locking wheel nut key is. Most of us will turn around and say…

I don’t know, is it important?

As it turns out, it is important! Without it the shop will be unable to get your wheel off to do any work. Just like that your locking wheel nuts quickly go from being a very effective safety feature to a very big pain in the ass!

Fear not however, it’s not the end of the world. We will outline a few of the ways you can get around a lost locking wheel nut key!

How to get your locking wheel nuts off

Locking wheel nuts require a special “key” to be removed. This means that without the key, you wont be able to get your wheels off your vehicle. These lugs nuts are designed this way to act as a deterrent for any thieves who may try to steal your wheels from your vehicle.

To be able to take your wheels off your vehicle will require you to get your hands on this key in 1 way or another. Here are the most common ways you can get your hands on this key!

Ways to get a locking wheel nut key

Assuming that you havent bought aftermarket locking wheel nuts, these are how to get your locking wheel nuts off.

Borrow one from another similar vehicle

If you are standing at the shop, chances are there are a few other owners with their cars there as well. If any of the cars there are the same brand as yours, ask the owner or the mechanic to see if they happen to have a locking wheel nut that you could borrow.

You might just strike lucky and be able to borrow a locking wheel nut key from another vehicle. If so, the mechanic will be able to whip your locking wheel nuts right off and get down with replacing your tires!

It will then be up to you to get your own locking wheel nut key once you get home. Trust me, you don’t want to get a flat tire and be stuck unable to get your spare on because you didn’t take the time to get your own key!

Head to your local vehicle dealer

If you simply have to have your wheels off today and no one at the shop can help, your best bet is to head to your local branded vehicle service centre or dealership. If they have a service centre on site, they will definitely have the right key to take your locking wheel nut off.

Just remember that it has to be the same brand of car that you have. Don’t be turning up in your Ford pick up at the BMW dealership, they wont be able to help!

Buy a new locking wheel nut key

This is the most obvious way to get your hands on a new locking wheel nut key, although you need to make sure that it is the correct shape and cut for the locking wheel nuts on your vehicle.

Luckily, most locking wheel nuts are a 1 fit for each vehicle manufacturer, so as long as you purchase a key designed for your brand of vehicle, you should be good to go. The bad news is that this will take a few days to arrive so if you are currently standing at the shop or need your wheels off today, you’ll need to head down to your local vehicle dealership.

Is it worth buying new lug nuts if I have lost the key

If you’ve managed to get your locking wheel nuts off but don’t have your own key, you may question if its better to buy a new set if your old ones are looking a bit worn or rusted.

If you’re going to spend the money on a new key anyway, I would recommend just buying a whole set of locking wheel nuts. Not only will you get a new key, but with new lug nuts you are unlikely to experience any issues such as the lug nuts becoming seized and not coming off.


Locking wheel nuts are a standard feature on nearly all new cars today. They are especially common on high end cars where the wheels and tires can be worth several thousands. It is no surprise to see then a rise in the number of people who are misplacing their locking wheel nut key.

From borrowing a key, to visiting a dealership or simply buying a new key online, there will always a way to get your old locking wheel nuts off. It can become a headache however so we always recommend keeping your locking wheel nut in the vehicle in a safe and secure place, such as the wheel well in the trunk.