Warning about OEM wheel locks and spare wheel/steel wheels



Like most, the dealer installed Subaru OEM wheel locks when the vehicle was delivered to me. Today I was putting on my winter tires that are on steel wheels and felt something off about tightening the wheel locks on them. Sure enough, the stud was bottoming out inside the wheel lock. The concerning thing is, the nut looks and feels completely seated, and I had no trouble getting it to 88ft/lbs. Easily overlooked if you don’t know what to look for.

I dug out the packaging for the wheel locks that the dealer left me and hidden inside was a red piece of paper that said in all caps not to use the wheel locks on steel wheels or spare wheels.

In summary, if you use the OEM wheel locks:

  • If you ever use the spare in the trunk, either keep a regular wheel nut in your trunk for it, or be prepared to swap one out from one of your good wheels
  • Don’t use them on your winter steel wheels, hopefully your dealer left you the regular wheel nuts to use with them

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