• n3

    Just bought a new car and it happened to have wheel locks. They do not seem like they’d stop a determined thief, but does anyone have any knowledge as to whether wheel locks should become a standard part of any car purchase in DC (and by that I mean that people should buy them, not that dealers have to include them).

    • n3

      Interestingly enough, the wheel locks were $50 on the invoice. They did not charge me for them. But researching wheel locks just now (the lug nut kind) reveals that you can buy them for $12. Definitely a smart purhcase.

      • kapitolhill

        Good old “dealer pricing”.

        We have garage parking for our car right now, but when we move in the summer, if it’s street parking – I’ll be getting wheel locks too. Sort of a “it won’t stop them, but maybe it’ll make them think twice and go to the next car without them”. Frankly, if I owned an RS3 and parked in that Shaw/Bloomingdale area, I’d be worried about street parking. On my old street in Bloomingdale a Challenger Hellcat got robbed and put on blocks one night.

        • Anon

          That’s just your run-of-the-mill S3 – there are far more expensive cars street-parked in the area.

          • JohnH

            Yes, but why would you street park a luxury car? If you’re that rich, pay $150/month for an off-street spot. I never understood that. Not to mention insurance for it is absurd.

          • Rich

            A lot of upper middle brow cars are leases (probably the most popular price range for leasing) and lessors don’t necessarily treat cars the same as something they own. There are plenty of hipriced vehicles that park on the street.

    • anon

      They make it far less likely you’ll be a target and yeah, they’re cheap. So yes; it is a wise investment for DC and really anywhere.

    • OP emails me: “the Audi I sent had factory installed wheel locks… didn’t seem to slow anyone down.”

      • n3

        I guess that answers that!

      • U neighbor

        Stealing rims isn’t like a smash-and-grab style offense where you can make your car less appealing (I suppose you could throw steelies on your Audi, maybe some spinning hubcaps). This was obviously a pro job, and a felony at that ($1,000+). Wheel locks just need a wheel key, which any self respecting professional wheel thief will have an assortment of.
        Would love to see the thieves caught and locked up for this felony. Has the OP tried to identify any security cams nearby? Got a few daycares nearby, and plenty of businesses between the two spots. I’d be looking for a van.

        • Bryan

          I live on that street and figure the Howard building might have a camera, but that would be it.

    • stacksp

      Some thieves know how to pop off the wheel locks. It does slow them down though so definitely recommend getting a set as they are fairly inexpensive. Just dont lose the key

    • Mrm

      You’re better off swapping your nice rims with plain steel rims and hub caps. You can buy tools that remove most if not all wheel locks without the key.

  • Emmaleigh504

    What do you even do in this situation, you can’t drive over and get new tires. Can you get tires delivered?

    • anon

      Presumably, yes. You can basically get anything delivered for a fee. Would be surprised if selling four tires is enough motivation to throw in delivery and on-site install for free.

      • anon

        Sorry, *wouldn’t be surprised.

    • stacksp

      Yes you can have the tires delivered. I order tires from tirerack.com all the time and they will even deliver to your mechanic’s shop. Purchase tires and have them mounted on the new wheels at the mechanic shop and then have them delivered to the house for mounting.

      • kapitolhill

        Tire Rack is great. I’ve bought my winter setup and track tires from them.

    • OP Anon

      Call your insurance and let them deal with it. They will probably have your local car dealer come out with rims and tires. Pretty nuts, IMHO.

    • Sorry For the Sarcasm

      Yes, you can get anything delivered. This is the 21st century.
      Person: Ring Ring Ring
      Internet: Hello
      Person: Can I buy some tires and rims
      Internet: Sure just tell me what what you want, and give me a credit card number
      Person: Blah blah blah
      Internet: They will be there in 15-1000 minutes depending on my whims
      Person: Cool, Thanks

      • MadMax


  • Daryl

    When you purchase wheel locks, it only means that the thief must have the same wheel lock to take your rims/tires. Roadside assistance and similar professions will have universal wheel locks. It may slow someone down, but it will not stop anyone that is determined.

  • Anon

    So the S3, sure, those wheels/tires are likely worth something used, but the Accord? That seems preposterous.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      Maybe the tires were like new, and wheels on accords are pretty nice now.

    • Anon. no. 5

      It’s the most common car, so it has the most demand (even on the black market).

    • spookiness

      The Accord Sport trim level with 19″ wheels are apparently very attractive to thieves. There have been articles on car blogs. One generation of the Honda Fit was also very prone to theft, because the wheel came in a diameter and offset that was unusual for the bolt pattern typically associated with smaller cars. The Fit wheels could easily bolt on and pimp out an older Honda, or any assortment of 20+ y.o. compact and subcompact cars. Somewhat related, but I had a Civic in the 90’s and it was a break-in magnet. Thieves specialize on certain models and learn their Achilles’ heels, and Civics and Accords are plentiful targets.

    • LNontheHill

      I’m pleased to report that the wheels on my street-parked ’93 Accord wagon are still intact. Given that it was an Accord, I was super paranoid about thefts when I began parking it there 6.5 years ago. But now, I’m pretty sure it’s outlived the thieves’ interest in the parts. (Only break-in/theft has been the standard window-smash-after-market-stereo-grab; prior suburban-living owner had permanently mounted the normally removable faceplate.) So yeah, prevent theft by having a sufficiently old car!

      PS FWIW, it’s not always clear that off-street parking is an option. In my neighborhood in Cap Hill, I don’t think that there’s any convenient off-street parking options available if your abode does not come with it (and none of the rowhouses on my narrow street have large enough lots for off-street parking).

  • Brightwoodian

    Anyone know the street value of these wheels? Seems like a decent amount of effort and risk for minimal gain. Four tires also takes up a lot of space and is pretty conspicuous. It just seems like if I was a thief there has to be more profitable lower risk options.

    • Anon

      I wouldn’t necessarily assume that the thieves fully worked out the risk assessment spreadsheet on this one.

      • MadMax

        Surely they at least made a line graph.

    • Anon5

      OEM Audi wheels can cost upwards of $700 each, without tires. A complete set with tires can be close to $4000.

      • paulcotton

        agreed on a top o’ the line audi. the most those S3 rims would be is ~$350 if they were stock. it’s still a good bit of money though.

  • Shaw Rez

    I’ve never had wheels stolen, but this reminds me–about a month ago, I came outside to find the glass in my driver’s side mirror gone. Since I hadn’t had coffee yet, I assumed at first that someone had simply been driving too close and hit it. Later, I realized that there was no broken glass or signs of damage. Turns out, someone had carefully **removed** and absconded with the glass for a driver’s side mirror for a Mazda 5. People will steal anything.

    • emuhawk

      Same thing happened to me a couple months ago. Turns out with my car you can’t even use the glass once it’s been removed — the whole casing has to be replaced too. Wasn’t that expensive to have fixed, but I still don’t understand why anyone would bother.

    • Nathan

      A month or so ago we noticed some scratches on the fuel door and and the body of the car at the seam of the fuel door. It locks when the car is locked, so if you wanted to get access to the gas cap you’d have to pop that open. Really doesn’t look like its from scraping against something. Do people still try to steal fuel?

  • bje22201

    Wheel-locks: You just take a slightly larger socket that’ll fit on it snugly, and pull it off that way. It’s not rocket-science, and nobody is walking around with an assortment of all types or random wheel lock keys.

    When I run my nicer/summer wheels, I use two different wheel-locks. Not that it’s stopping anyone, but screw trying to make a thieves life easier.

    • U neighbor

      Reminds me of the wheel lock on my first car back in high school, a cap that covered the lug nuts with a 5-star torx-style bolt with a pin in the middle. The key? Standard flat head screwdriver.

  • TinkerTaylor

    I deter theft of my wheels by grinding them up against the granite curbs when I parallel park. It’s definitely not that I’m just a terrible parallel parker . . .

    • MadMax

      At least you won’t get a ticket for parking too far away from the curb.

    • navyard

      LOL. Me too!

  • Waterfront


    I had my fuel stolen a year or so ago….yup, people still do it.

    • Rich

      This is a time of year for seemingly odd crimes, so I’m not entirely surprised. I’m willing to bet that there will be at least one high profile “senseless” murder before New Years and it could easily be in the burbs or upper Caucasian. And it’s not just DC. Where this stuff happens. This is a time of year that is expensive and supposed to be about good cheer, but not everyone can pull it off and the result is often pretty odd. You also get an uptick in theft in workplaces–when my old office mocked to the suburbs, the suburbanites were surprised by this. I wasn’t.


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