Have You Seen My Keys?
As we all get older, we’re probably often asking this question of our spouses, our partners, our kids, our pets, maybe even ourselves (it’s still ok to talk to yourself!). But in this tech article I’m not talking about car keys. Instead, I’m discussing your wheel lock key.
Wheel locks and a coordinating wheel lock key? I have those? Most likely you do, all depending on how your vehicle came equipped from the Porsche factory. Instead of having all of the lug bolts (which attach your wheels to your brake rotor/hub) fit into a 19mm socket, you may have one toothed-looking convex “wheel lug” per wheel, called a locking wheel lug, or wheel lock for short. Think of the wheel lock key as a sort of adapter, inversely concave in style, that fits onto this unique locking wheel lug, preventing someone from more easily stealing your wheels by using only a 19mm socket/wrench.
More important than knowing that you might have wheel locks on your wheels, is knowing if your vehicle actually has a wheel lock key, that it actually fits your wheels, and where your wheel lock key is located/hidden.
Far too many times we’ve seen vehicles come into our shops for repairs or maintenance which require the wheels/tires to be removed from the vehicle, only to find the wheel lock key missing from the vehicle. Where should it be located? It should be in the factory tool kit (either in frunk or trunk), along with your tire iron (i.e. lug wrench), jack, tow hook, etc. For those who don’t have a full size spare wheel/tire, and instead only have a can of fix-a-flat tire goo, might you still have a wheel lock key? Indeed, for after your vehicle is flat-bedded to a tire shop and/or repair/service facility, the shop will need to remove your wheel/tire in order to patch your tire or replace your tire(s) with new.
What happens if you don’t have the needed wheel lock key, or might have lost it? You might be up a certain creek without a paddle if you know what I mean. The tire shop would have to carefully drill out the existing wheel lock key, then install a regular lug bolt (if they happen to have one!) to get you back on your way, until you can order another set of 4 wheel locks and coordinating wheel lock key from Porsche. If you do have a wheel lock key, ensure that it’s placed back into its proper storage location after use.
Note there are a myriad of different types of wheel lock keys, all with unique splines. This is to help limit the possibility of a wheel thief having the specific wheel lock key for your vehicle. Most Porsche dealerships and repair facilities will have at least some master wheel lock key sets in case your vehicle doesn’t have the wheel lock key, but this is not always a safeguard, so don’t count on this! At least one of our ORPCA members recently found this out the hard way. They went to a regional Porsche dealership for a second set of winter wheels/tires, only to find out they didn’t have their wheel lock key in their newer Cayenne, that the wheel locks had been superseded and were no longer in use, such that even the dealership didn’t have the correct wheel lock key for removing the wheels/tires from the vehicle! So the dealership had to drill out the wheel lock keys, and install a newly updated set of 4; not an inexpensive endeavor. For this reason, it’s advisable to check that you have your wheel lock key and not count on your service center to have it for you.
If you don’t have your wheel lock key, and the dealership can match up which key you need using their master sets (i.e. key #45), a new wheel lock key can be ordered for you. For security reasons, it is not possible to know which wheel lock key number your vehicle takes by using the VIN #, data card, build sheet, CoA, etc. You’d need to physically match up a possible wheel lock key to your vehicle’s wheel locks, using a master set.
Drive safe, have fun, and happy Porsche’ing!
Please feel welcome to ask any questions, and/or make any suggestions for future tech articles.