What are central locking wheels? | The reader
Many of us were in the Internet room when “because the race car” happened – you should hum “The room where it’s happening” – and this original Craigslist post for a Mazda MX-3 happily went on. spurred a lot of fun memes over the years. He also explained a lot of bad decisions in the name of speed. You know who you are, I see you there. [Looks in the mirror: “Oh no.”]
Many of the modifications are directly inspired by motorsport, but few things scream more “race car” than the central locking wheels. The simple and clean wheel designs that setup makes it definitely stand out even among the supercar crowd. Compare the center locks to the multi-lug design found on most pedestrian vehicles. See the difference?
But what are central locking wheels? How are they different from the wheels on your Elantra? Can you convert your current setup to central locking and, more importantly, should you? We’re here to walk you through the technicalities of what a Center Locking Wheel is and whether it should be on your mod shortlist. Impact wrenches at your fingertips!
What’s the point of the central locking wheels?
Part of the idea behind center-locking wheels is that a centrally mounted lug nut has less rotating mass than many lug nuts that rotate around the center of the wheel. However, with a single nut holding the wheel together, the setup often needs to be tightened up to provide the same level of safety. So any extra weight added to secure it could offset the positive effects of the touted center-locking wheel in the first place.
So, a central locking wheel exists primarily for quick exchanges on a racetrack. You’ve seen refueling teams change four tires in just seconds, thanks to the magic of the central lock.
Although its origins are not in racing, it is clear that racing technology over the years has evolved into the use of center-locking wheels. They are used in F1, in sports car racing and finally, from 2022, even in NASCAR.
Some road cars use them as well, but it’s usually more for the show than to go. It’s easy for companies to add a motorsport link to a special edition car as part of an upgrade package, even if it doesn’t provide any major benefit to the person driving a 911 on a highway. 75 mph. Some people also claim that the central locking wheels allow for a larger brake adjustment, but this is rare and more often than not a real problem.
Where do Center-Lock wheels come from?
The origin of the central lock isn’t technically with racing cars – they date back to the early 1900s when a British company called Rudge-Whitworth (not to be confused with the charming human Rutledge Wood) developed a quick release for automotive wire wheels. They have been called by a variety of names, including “QD” which stands for “quickly disconnectable,” as well as “knock-off,” which referred to the way you thread the wing nut with brute force. beat to release a central locking hub.
Naturally, this trend spilled over into racing, and by 1913 they were the go-to quick-release wheel method for Grand Prix racing cars. For road cars, the original designer licensed the design, and Borrani spoked wheels became standard on a bunch of Italian and German cars of the time. This early version gave way to more modern center-locking wheels which are secured to the hub with a single large hex nut.
Eventually, safety rules meant the end of the OG version of the center-locking wheel. In 1968, Ralph Nader-influenced federal motor vehicle safety standards laws banned all wheels with “winged projections” for 1968. New, more modern hex-nut center-locking wheels began to be popular in the mid-years. 1980s on expensive supercars like the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959.
How to remove Center-Lock wheels?
Very quickly and with great force. Early versions of the center-locking wheels were simply struck with a soft hammer to tighten or loosen them, hence their colloquial name, “imitations.”
Newer hex-shaped versions are fitted or removed via an impact wrench, also known as a “wheel gun” in racing. Basically they make cool zip-zip sounds and the nut is tightened or loosened with a specified amount of repeatable force. You can do this yourself with an impact wrench or in a less dramatic way using an extra long handled torque wrench.
What factory-built cars use central locking wheels?
It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll find center-locking wheels as standard or optional on a number of high-end sports cars and supercars. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but just the highlights.
Ferrari used them on their fastest models, including the F40, F50, Enzo, LaFerrari and LaFerrari Aperta. And you will find them on pretty much every high end Porsches including Carrera GT, 918 Spyder, 911 GT2 and GT3 etc etc etc, insert the new GT Porsche here.
Lamborghini has used them at times, too, but mostly as optional extras on the Huracán and Aventador. Interesting trivia, Porsche’s red and blue nuts are like this for a reason. Red nuts are right-hand threads while blue nuts have left-hand threads.
And while there are countless more around the world, one of our favorite folks in the industry, Mr. Christian Von Koenigsegg, is a huge fan of central locking, using them on just about every one of them. his super-hyper-mega-cars.
So should I convert my car to Center-Lock?
Probably not. Unless your name is “Toto” and you’re running a racing team, you’re unlikely to have a real need for quick wheel and tire swaps. And as previously stated, only true Track Warriors who go out every weekend (and don’t show up with their car prepped on a trailer) might have some use for a central locking.
The mid-locking center-locking wheel uses the existing hub but can cost several times what a conventional wheel costs. It doesn’t even include the wrenches (impact or torque) and associated gear that you’ll need to lug around with you (see what I did there) to an event.
However, if you’re about to outsmart that jerk who usually parks next to you in front of cars and cafe, there are several center-locking conversion kits on the market. They basically bolt on to the conventional five-lug stud configuration (or whatever your wheel specification is). The kits will cost you a few large depending on the equipment.
Center-Lock Wheel Terms You Should Know
Be smart about the central locking, all kids do.
4/5/6-Lug Wheels: Probably part of your car’s wheels now, it will feature a traditional four, five or six lug pattern. It features a stud and wheel nut attachment that you experienced if you’ve ever changed a tire.
Central locking adapter: A kit which is used to convert hubs currently using a traditional lug nut mounting system to accept center locking wheels. The adapter is behind the steering wheel and mounted on the car’s factory dropouts.
Hex nut: The single, usually large, retaining nut that secures a center-locking wheel to the hub.
Center: The key element where all of your wheels attach to the car. Sometimes it is referred to as a “hub assembly” or “wheel bearing hub” and modern hubs consist of bearings, sensors, gaskets, and bolts / studs.
Impact wrench / torque wrench: The main tools used to quickly remove or mount a center locking wheel, but they can really be used for any wheel. The impact wrench, not to be confused with an impact wrench, is a powerful tool that can exert a high but measured impact force. Meanwhile, the torque wrench uses leverage and human power to loosen or tighten things to a specific level.
Knock-Off: Old school center lockers typically used a wing bolt in the center of the wheel that you hit with a soft hammer to loosen or tighten. They are the ancestors of the modern central locking wheel and are found on many classic cars with metal wheels.
Paw: This is basically the fastener, usually a nut used to secure a wheel to a vehicle. Most cars have about five lug nuts.
Center-Lock Wheels FAQ
You have questions, The reader has answers!
Q: How much does a central locking adapter kit cost?
A: It depends on your car, but most kits are in the north of $ 2000, not counting the center-locking wheels. The wheels themselves start at around $ 1,500 each and will easily drop into the five-figure range. For a wheel …
Q: Is a central locking conversion safe?
A: Probably, but you should still do your homework and purchase the adapters from a trusted source or store. Where your wheels are attached to your vehicle is critical, to say the least, so shoddy work is a bad idea.