There has been a welcome upside to the introduction of Auto-Grip’s LNX and GTX wheel locks – a brace of products that in the last 18 months has brought peace of mind to vehicle owners the length and breadth of the subcontinent.
But apart from saving substantial amounts of money (the average wheel/tyre combination for an 18-wheeler costs R20 000) this tough and affordable anti-theft solution is finding favour as a means of securing a variety of other “movable” assets.
Manuel Reis of Grip Tech – which manufactures Auto-Grip products explains: “Productivity is key for any business, and – for example – stolen truck wheels are not only a direct loss, but it invariably means a delay in delivering a load. It isn’t just about getting the payout from insurance – downtime is a problem for any industry and therefore prevention is always better than cure. As a result, we’re seeing a steady increase in enquiries about using our wheel lock nuts to secure all kinds of valuable assets which are difficult to guard.”
Savvy citizens are using GTX truck wheel locks and LNX passenger car wheel locks to secure items a diverse range of products; from gate motors, solar panels, cellular masts, pumps and generators – often vulnerable to opportunistic theft, particularly in rural areas. These devices are usually bolted to studs embedded in concrete and unfortunately removing them is as simple as having the correct spanner. Auto-Grip lock nuts change all that.
The GTX (for Grip-Tech eXtreme) is a heavy-duty product, initially designed for the transport and logistic industries. The design makes it almost impossible to remove – for example, the slip-ring collar which shrouds the integrated nut makes gripping it extremely difficult. There are several closely guarded secrets in the design but overcoming one security feature simply reveals another. The more it is brutalised, the more difficult the GTX becomes to remove.
The LNX isn’t in quite the same league, but it is a tough and hardy product, nonetheless. Like the GTX it has a five-pin “key”, which means literally thousands of combinations are possible and the placement of each hardened steel pin must align precisely with the holes in the nut for the removal tool to engage. These positions are determined by a computer algorithm and then precisely executed by Computer Numerical Control machinery. Moving the position of just one of the pins creates a new ‘key’.
The GTX nut is designed to work with an M22x1.5 stud which is virtually standard in the truck industry – but which also happen to be commonplace for fastening studs in an industrial application. LNX nuts are either M12 x 1.5 or M14 x 1.5 – both widely used on cars and light commercials. This means a conventional nut can simply be replaced with a locking nut to create an affordable and tough security solution.
The fact that the likes of Nissan, Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, GWM, and Mahindra have given Auto-Grip spare wheel locks the thumbs-up for aftermarket use is a huge vote of confidence too.