How to prevent (truck) wheel theft

Johannesburg – Do you run a fleet of commercial vehicles? Have you been experiencing losses because your trucks’ wheels and tyres go ‘missing’ on a regular basis? Fortunately there is a way to cost-effectively mitigate wheel theft thanks to Grip-Tech’s new Auto-Grip GTX Series truck wheel locknut.

The device is both designed and manufactured locally, and it represents the culmination of two years of tough research and ongoing development.

There are several unique traits which contribute to the unique design of the GTX.

For instance, up to 10 000 unique ‘keys’ can be created using a computer algorithm, making the removal of the nut virtually impossible without the matching adapter key. Codes can be allocated exclusively to a specific company or customer, so only they have the ability to order additional locks and keys of that type.

A nut, which is hardened and tempered to meet Original Equipment Manufacturer standards, is the starting point for each GTX. The machined nut is fused under extreme pressure with a high-grade stainless-steel collar in a way which makes them inseparable.

Businesses in the transport, freight or logistics sector are the primary target market for the locknut, as theft inevitably has an insurance-related consequence. According to the manufacturer, the insurance industry already sees the GTX as an affordable and effective way of reducing risk.

Thanks to its compact design and appealing stainless-steel finish it is also more stylish than traditional wheel locks.


“We have tested the GTX against a multitude of attack methods and are confident that it is virtually impossible to remove,” says Manuel Reis, Managing Director of Grip-Tech. “We’ve created layers of anti-theft measures to counter any form of attack using chisels, hammers, vice-grips and just about any other manual tool you care to name. It is extremely rugged and robust.”

So what happens if a driver needs to replace a tyre? The GTX locknut remains user-friendly. The matching adapter key with its five hardened steel pins is in effect a male version of the locknut and will fit closely over it once correctly engaged. Identification marks on both the nut and the key make this process straightforward. It also incorporates a standard hex profile and the nut can be tightened or loosened in the usual way with a standard wheel wrench.

The typical tightening torque of a truck wheel is 550Nm to 650Nm, but Grip Tech has gone way beyond that and stress tests the locknuts to 1000 Nm to demonstrate just how robustly-engineered the product is.

To meet the needs of different truck and trailer operators, Grip-Tech keeps stock of GTX blanks in most popular wheel nut types and sizes. The required key-code pattern as determined by the algorithm is then executed by Computer Numerical Control machinery. Moving the position of just one of the pins creates a new ‘key’.

“We believe that the GTX is the best product of its kind in the world. The design is unique and we back that up by only using the best materials. This contributes not only to the high level of security but also means a trouble-free service life,” Reis concludes.

Drive360

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