Wheel Clamp Buying Guide
This page is intended to provide basic information about wheel clamps and wheel clamping and is intended as a guide to assist you in choosing the most appropriate wheel clamp to meet your specific requirements. For further information on specific wheel clamp models please refer to the detailed specifications for the wheel clamp you are considering buying.
Reasons for buying a wheel clamp
There are two primary motivations for purchasing wheel clamps, parking enforcement and security. Whilst it is possible that a wheel clamp may serve both these objectives, it is important to decide the main requirement up front as this will assist greatly in focusing on the most suitable wheel clamps. The Bulldog Centaur is a popular Sold Secure and adjustable wheel clamp.
Why wheel clamps for security?
Wheel clamps are excellent physical security devices for motor vehicles, trailers, caravans, motor homes horse boxes etc. and are increasingly being used by individuals and businesses in the fight against crime. The main advantages of a wheel clamp for security are as follows:
How secure are wheel clamps?
Given time and appropriate equipment (angle grinders etc) any wheel clamp currently available on the market can be removed, however the time taken and noise of such an attack will frequently prevent the theft. Not all wheel clamps offer the same level of protection and some should be considered as offering deterrent value only. In general, the wheel clamp you purchase should be appropriate to the level of perceived risk.
Wheel clamps should fit tightly around the tyre and when fitted there should be minimal vertical and horizontal movement. The wheel clamp should prevent access to at least one wheel nut (but preferably all nuts) unless locking wheel nuts are fitted.
Which wheel clamp will fit my tyre?
There are numerous different tyre sizes and trims used today and it is critical that you first find the full tyre specification to determine which clamp may fit your tyre. Tyre sizes are usually written on the tyre itself with the three significant dimensions displayed as "xxx/yy/Rzz" where "xxx" is the tyre width, "yy" the profile and "zz" the rim diameter. The width is quoted in millimetres, the profile as a ratio and the rim size in inches. (Eg a tyre marked 185/70 R14 has a 185mm tread width, a 14inch or 355mm rim, and a 614mm total wheel diameter calculated as 185mm x 0.70 x 2 + 355mm).
It is recommended that you calculate (or measure) the overall tyre diameter to find a suitable wheel clamp for your specific tyre. Please note that there is no guarantee a particular wheel clamp will fit until you have tried it, however by going through the process of checking the tyre size, the risk of purchasing an incorrect clamp is significantly reduced.
It is also important to consider whether your wheel has any bulbous wheel trim (hubcaps) or significantly protruding wheel nuts, as this may affect the size of wheel clamp required.
Which Model Wheel Clamp to choose?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a wheel clamp for security. The first two (level of security and tyre size) have been discussed in some detail above. Another important factor is the weight of the wheel clamp. Heavier wheel clamps are generally (but not always) more secure, however additional security should be assessed against convenience and functionality.
You may also need to consider how frequently you will be fitting the wheel clamp and your specific circumstances. Most wheel clamps are easily fitted although there may be some initial work required to assemble the clamp. After some practice, you should be able to properly fit your clamp within a minute or so. Some wheel clamps are designed with a chain that fits around the wheel arch; these clamps are quick to fit and are fitted by maneuvering the chain into position and securing with a padlock. Another popular design is those clamps with three arms whereby the two lower arms fit around the base of the tyre and the third is swung into a vertical position.
You may also consider whether you prefer a lock integrated into the clamp or a removable lock.
Wheel Clamps and Insurance
Wheel clamps are frequently required for insurance of valuable assets including caravans, boats, jet skis, camper trailers etc. Insurance requirements vary, however insurance underwriters often require wheel clamps to have passed the Sold Secure independent test. The Sold Secure rating is an indication that you are purchasing a quality product tested to a high standard in the U.K. It is recommended that you check specific requirements with your insurance broker prior to purchasing your wheel clamp.
Wheel Clamps for Parking Enforcement
Wheel Clamps are popular in the U.K. and abroad for immobilising vehicles that have been illegally parked on private property. A key requirement for wheel clamps suitable for parking control is versatility in that it is likely that a wide range of vehicles with differing tyre sizes will be clamped. It is of course also important to use a sufficiently secure wheel clamp to ensure that wheel clamps are not easily removed.
Many high security wheel clamps are designed to fit a range of tyre sizes (not all tyres) therefore It may be necessary to purchase several clamps of different sizes to ensure that you are able to properly clamp larger tyres (4x4's and transits etc). Some models can be supplied with adjustable arms that extend the basic clamp to fit a larger range of tyres. There are however wheel clamps available that will fit nearly all tyres (e.g. Triangle Clamp ) offers good value for money as a one clamp fits all product.
The third consideration is weight and size of the wheel clamp which may be a factor depending on specific requirements.