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By tightening the “secret” bolts tightly, you can sleep peacefully - now no one will remove the wheels of your car. Including, perhaps, you yourself …

Anton Utkin

The first "secrets" appeared back in the 70s, when an acute shortage of tires forced morally unstable motorists to go out to night fishing. The bolts and nuts, accessible only to the “tricky” key, were then made to themselves personally or by good acquaintances, and, as a rule, all operations were performed by one person - a turner, therefore the “locks” did not have teeth, slots, or bald patches - only cylindrical heads with the pin offset from the axis. Even the key faces were managed to be done on a lathe. And, of course, no galvanic treatment: he ground it, put it in his pocket and - at the entrance …

In the era of cooperatives, the production of secret wheel fasteners has become a business and has flourished. The fruits of the tireless imagination and the inventors who remained unknown were embodied in metal using not only lathes and milling machines, but also blacksmithing, thermal and galvanic equipment. In general, there was plenty to choose from.

Today, they don’t remember about the variety of ingenious solutions - mainly the secrets of the two most primitive schemes are on sale - the eccentric and gear-slotted head, which has long become obsolete. In the afternoon with fire you will not find cervical pentahedrons, which can be turned off only with a key made of two halves. The faceted cone ("pyramid"), very reliable and inaccessible for power capture, has also sunk into oblivion. Almost all of the "secrets" that we were able to buy for testing, - with a rotating ring of dubious strength, and many are simply converted regular bolts and wheel nuts - their hexagons are milled for special keys. A common feature of today's "secrets" - they are open to dirt, because there are no plugs that would be nice to insert into the rings.

However, we can explain such a decline in the quality of secret fasteners - today the wheels are protected by far from the richest owners. For example, expensive foreign cars, if they “keep it secret, ” then not according to common sense, but rather, according to a habit that has become ingrained. After all, such a car will still not be left in a deserted place - the glasses smashed by vandals and the stereo system torn “with meat” with speakers will cost more expensive than the wheels. However, there are cities (for example, Yekaterinburg) where it is not customary to leave the old Zhiguli unattended - gangs of teenagers gnaw the salon in a couple of minutes, so all cars spend the night in garages - why do they need “secrets”?

In general, it is easier to determine who needs the “secrets”. First of all, the one whose “Volga”, “Samara” or “Lada” are shod in imported tires, especially on alloy wheels. Well, and the owner of an old foreign car, spending the night on the street, if the tires are fresh, and the size "Zhiguli" - 13 inches. The first thing we pay attention to when buying is the length of the secret bolt. It should be almost the same (± 1 mm) as the regular or those that mount your alloy wheels. An excessively long bolt will rest against the hub and will not pull the wheel tightly or hook the stationary parts of the drum brake. An excessively short bolt, wrapped in two or three threads, can break loose on the fly or simply break the thread when tightened. Bolts for cast and forged discs are usually 5–8 mm longer than for stamped ones, since the cast disc itself is just as thick in this place. By the way, the protective rings of secret bolts or nuts are usually not put on alloy wheels, even if they are included in the set, since in the deep well the head of the bolt cannot be grabbed by anything other than a key.

And now - photos of the "secret" with comments - they will help you avoid buying unsuccessful or carelessly made products.

The last five sets of fasteners (photos 7–11) are clearly worked out by one manufacturer using the same, very simplified technology - on a drilling machine. The semicircular teeth of the bolts and nuts engage with the same key grooves (see photo) with a huge backlash - the slightest misalignment of the one-shoulder balloon wrench causes the teeth to collapse and break. A key turned around the head of a bolt or nut is already useless - you have to resort to welding and spoil the disk.

1. Secret bolts for VAZ cars from stainless steel. Price - 200 rubles. The most, in our opinion, strong and reliable. On the bolt heads there are 14 teeth of involute profile, on which a slotted key is put on with a minimum play. Rotating ring - for stamped discs only. The only drawback is that the teeth are made in advance and end already on the cone of the bolt, so when tightening the latter, the disk is milled, deepening the hole. However, if you rarely catch nails, it’s not scary - for the bolt to noticeably go deep into the disk, it must be tightened at least two dozen times.

2. Secret bolts for VAZ cars from titanium. Price - 280 rubles. A rather unsuccessful scheme with a leash displaced from the central axis, the pin being made in the key, and the undercut for it in the bolt head. Of the advantages - only a high degree of secrecy, specified by three parameters - the outer and inner diameter of the pin and its offset. Disadvantages: unjustified high cost of the material (titanium is noticeably weaker than stainless steel), unreliable pin (not only is it tubular, it is also machined at the same time with the key, but not pressed in - the fillet contributes to load concentration). In addition, these bolts are most capricious in the event of contamination: before inserting the key, you will have to painstakingly clean the sleeve-shaped undercut under the pin with an awl. And finally, after unscrewing the bolt always jams in the key: the other wheel can not be removed without putting the first one back in place - this is the payment for the eccentric design scheme.

3. Secret bolts for VAZ cars, galvanized. Price - 80 rubles. They are made from the standard ones - the hexagon "at 19" is turned by milling into a three-beam star that is not afraid of pollution. Three-jaw key reliably captures the rays - the strength of the connection is beyond doubt. The only drawback is the low degree of secrecy. Any three-jaw key purchased complete with similar Zhiguli or Moskvich bolts will do. However, even the most cunning systems of "secrets" do not save from a prepared thief (and there are very few such as we found out).

4. Secret bolts for Moskvich-2141, galvanized. Price - 80 rubles. The purchased version of the kit is designed for alloy wheels - the bolts are noticeably longer than the standard ones. The only ones tested are not equipped with a rotating ring - here is an inner five-pointed star with a central pin that increases privacy. The key connection is very durable and with minimal backlash. The disadvantage is the need to thoroughly clean with an awl and blow through the five-beam recess, otherwise the key will not go to full depth and may disrupt the teeth when the bolt is loosened.

5. Secret nuts made of titanium with M12x1.5 thread. Price - 250 rubles. Suitable for all rear-wheel drive "Muscovites" and many foreign cars ("Toyota", "Ford" and others). On stamped discs are placed with rings, on alloy - without. Of the shortcomings - only low secrecy: the bolt heads are simple trihedrons. Everything else: strength, corrosion resistance, backlash-free key connection and insensitivity to dirt - are beyond praise.

6. Secret bolts for VAZ cars, galvanized. Price - 70 rubles. An extremely unsuccessful decision is an eccentric. Without a ring, the key does not rotate the bolt, so these "secrets" will not work for alloy wheels - the ring abuts before the bolt cone enters the hole. The pin is not pressed in, but turned at the same time, therefore its strength is in doubt, and it only enters the undercut by 3 mm: a slight skew and a breakdown is inevitable. The thin ring is easy to jam, and then the key is no longer included. And finally, the unscrewed bolt with the ring sticks tightly in the key, and the key itself - in the hexagon of the head - all four parts have to be separated by barbaric blows of the hammer …

7. Secret bolts for VAZ cars, nickel-plated, with six teeth. Price - 95 rubles.

8. Secret bolts for VAZ cars, titanium, with seven teeth. Price - 300 rubles.

9. Secret bolts for cars "Moskvich 2141", galvanized, with five teeth. Price - 100 rubles.