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This is a review of www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk which offer a service to quickly and easily replace your lost locking wheel nut key using just a photo of your locking wheel nut taken with your phone. Their matching service is free - you just pay for the key and they offer a "No Quibble" guarantee.
Before you read this review, let me be clear: This company contacted me out of the blue, I am not connected with them in any way and I have not been paid by them to do this review. I tested their service for free because I thought it'd help others. Let's face it a lost locking wheel nut key is a pain and so when someone claims to offer a service that can cheaply and easily fix that problem it has to be worth testing! Anyhow, they agreed to be put to the test in February 2016 and this review was written as a result of that in March 2016.
Summary - How www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk replace your lost locking wheel bolt key
OK, if you don't have time to read the whole review then the summary of my experience is here. However, I'd urge you to read the whole review as it has a lot of extra information about what was tested, what is offered by this company and what it costs.
So the concept is pretty simple, you take a photo of the locking bolt or nut, then send it off with the registration year, make and model of your car and they send you a replacement key. You can see the general process in the image to the left. At the time of writing this costs £38.00 + P&P and they offer a range of postage and turnaround time options as this is a worldwide service. And yes, they really do mean worldwide - they told me they sent one recently to Australia which is about as far as you can get from the UK! They don't charge for matching your key, just for the key itself and they offer a no quibble guarantee. (although I didn't get to test this out as my key worked perfectly!).
So did their service work well for me? Yes, absolutely perfectly. I had a key in my hand within 72hrs of sending them a photo...and it was a Saturday when it arrived. The key appeared to be completely genuine and worked perfectly. They say they can match and deliver in even less time - just 24hrs for an extra fee. I'm inclined to believe them on this claim because when the key arrived, the information pack that came with it states that my key is one of the "unusual ones" that has an extended normal order time of 5-7 days!
What more can I say? Given the price and service I experienced www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk really must be worth a go if you have lost your locking wheel nut key. OK, they don't do every make of car (you can find more information at the bottom of this review)....but they do most and it's an excellent business concept. I mean why bother to call out the AA, RAC or some other professional who'll charge you a fortune and possibly damage your wheels, when you can use their "Next Working Day" service and have a key in your hand within 24hrs for about £55 all in? Add to that that Will and Victoria are great people to deal with and it has to be a winner. Nice one guys!
Testing their service - can you really replace your locking wheel nut key with just a photo?
Over the years I have had many contacts from various vendors and service suppliers, so it wasn't a huge surprise when I was contacted in February 2016 by Will Bohem of www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk. Will's email to me is shown in the image below.
What was new was his business concept - the service he was offering was to replace your lost locking wheel nut key with a brand new one.....using just a photo taken on a mobile phone! Now that was new (well new-ish as many have contacted me with ideas like this and failed to deliver a matching key). So I was intrigued - I replied and told Will that I'd happily write a review of his service for free if, and only if, it worked. He accepted the challenge and it was game on!
Step 1 - Selecting a test car for replacing the locking wheel nut key
So the first thing to do was to work out a test procedure - basically choose a common, moderately difficult car with a locking wheel nut key I already had and compare his replacement to that one (I wasn't into wrecking perfectly good wheel nuts just to test a service).
After a few chats with mates in the trade a Mercedes was selected. The reasoning behind this choice was that there are more than a few Mercedes of this type around and they have highly recessed locking wheel bolts that would make taking a clear photo very difficult. Also because having kids has made me devious, I decided to make matters even more challenging.... so we rang around until we found a very "late model" car - in other words an older model that was registered at about the same time the replacement newer model in the range was introduced. Late model cars like this are notoriously difficult to match parts for as they often come up wrongly on supplier databases and may even have a mix of old and new parts on peripherals...like wheels!
By this point we were fairly sure that if the guys at lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk could match the locking wheel nut key on this car, they could probably match it on any car in their range.
Step 2 - Taking a photo and sending it off to see if they can match it
This was actually the hardest step in the whole process - just how do you take a clear photo of a locking wheel nut bolt when it's recessed so deeply? It took several tries as I was determined to use my shoddy camera phone (4 mega pixels) rather than the workshop camera. Let's face it if this service is going to work it has to work with kit anyone can get their hands on. You can see the actual photo I took to the left. Will had also asked me to measure the head of a wheel bolt. However, because they were so highly recessed this would have been impossible for your average Joe without a set of sockets....so I told Will that he'd have to do all the matching from the photo, make, model and registration date alone. That said, I was lucky as this was a Mercedes and could be matched without a bolt size (so I'm told). Most cars can't be (especially Nissan's and Renault). So if you find yourself in this predicament, get your hands on an ordinary socket set (or pop down to your local mechanics who will have one). The size of the socket that fits your ordinary wheel bolts (i.e. not the locking ones) will show you the size of the bolts. For example, if a 18mm socket fits your wheel bolts snugly this tells you your bolts are 18mm. I'd use this approach rather than measuring them with a ruler as you cannot go wrong and it will work even if they are highly recessed like mine - alternatively lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk have a diagram on the FAQ page of their site showing you how to measure your bolts with a ruler.
It was at this point I decided to be evil (kids again!) - I sat on my hands and waited until Thursday lunchtime. This would give Will less than 48hrs before the weekend to get the key to me. Let's face it, how many times have you realised late on in the week that you urgently need to order something for a job at the weekend? I was starting to feel a little sorry for Will.... but off went the email anyway at just after 11am on Thursday 3rd March.
It was at this point Will brought in the "Big Guns" and Victoria contacted me. They were happy to start the matching process and could I confirm the details I had just sent. With the details confirmed, the process started....it was fast. You can see the actual email chain from my server below, but the upshot was that the key was matched in hours and the next day the key was on the way to me.
Step 3 - Testing the new locking wheel nut key
On Saturday morning at 8am the doorbell rang (That'll teach me to be evil and wait until Thursday - karma sucks!) and the postman delivered my replacement locking wheel nut key. Amazing, within 72hrs I had a replacement key using just a dodgy photo of a locking wheel bolt....but would the key work? Short answer: Yes, perfectly!
However, before testing it on the car's locking bolts, I pulled out the original locking wheel nut key for the car so that I could do a comparison. You can find images of the two keys (original and replacement) to the right. Both appear to be identical except for the scratches on the older key. It would seem that Victoria had sent a genuine replacement Mercedes locking wheel nut key in less time than I can get it from the main dealer and it had been matched from just a photo.... in your face overpriced main dealer guy! A few minutes later and it was confirmed - the key fitted the locking bolts on the wheels perfectly and worked just fine. So all in all a perfect job by Will and Victoria.
www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk - Key Information about their service
You can probably tell that I'm pretty impressed by this new business and I reckon it could be a serious winner. Anyway, below you'll find some additional information about their service that should be useful.
Are they international? Does their service cover the world?
Simple answer: Yes. Although they are based in the UK, they post worldwide for £10.99 at the time of writing and tell me that they recently helped out a guy in Australia.
Do they cover every make and model of car? What about other vehicles and "after-market" nuts?
They cover most vehicles, makes and models, including "after-market" keys. They even cover vans and things I'd never thought about like trailer locking nuts! From what I can make out they seem to cover almost any type of vehicle or trailer - so if you can't see what your looking for I'd be inclined to ask. However, they do not cover every make and model of car. The main gap in their range is that they do not provide keys for Jaguar, Citroen or Peugeot. A full list of the makes and models that they offer is available on their website: www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk (this link will open a new browser window).
How quickly can they get a replacement locking wheel nut key to me?
This depends on the key they're trying to match and the service you choose. They offer a "Next Working Day" service at extra cost. Most keys are sent in 1-3 days, but some others (e.g. Aston Martin) take 5-7 days. That said, the vehicle I selected was on the 5-7 day list and they got the correct key to me within 72hrs.
What does it cost?
The matching service is free - you only pay for the key + P&P. At the time of writing, the key costs £38 and postage and packing varies depending on the service you choose. Standard delivery is £5.99 in the UK and £10.99 for international. Express delivery (The "Next Working Day" service) is offered from £9.99 to £15.99 depending on the make and model - I guess this service is aimed at trade users. Full details are available on their website: www.lockingwheelnutkeys.co.uk (this link will open a new browser window).
Do they offer a guarantee.?
Simple answer: Yes - they offer a no quibble guarantee. They tell me that all their keys are are genuine OEM parts and are fully guaranteed - this was certainly the case with the one I reviewed. Plus if they can't match your lost locking wheel nut key, you get a full refund.
What are their business hours?
The website is obviously open 24/7 for orders and you can message them at any time. However, they've also got a 'live chat' feature on their website which operates from about 8am to 5pm (UK time!) Monday to Friday.
Review - Lost or broken locking wheel nut key replacement!
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