porsche centre lock wheels

Porsche Centre Lock Wheels – The Benefits And Drawbacks (Detailed)

Centre lock wheels are certainly not exclusive to Porsche. Even if Porsches tend to get better value out of them than most other vehicles, this handy blog post will discuss what Porsche centre lock wheels are, how they work, how they differ from regular wheels, maintenance and how much they cost to install.

Additionally, we will give you a great breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of Porsche centre lock wheels to help you decide for yourself whether they might be worth the fuss for you and your car. Don’t worry if you have never even heard of centre lock wheels.

By the end of this article, you will feel like an expert on all the facts, even if you decide they aren’t quite for you.

What Are Porsche Centre Lock Wheels?

Now, Porsche centre lock wheels are by no means the sole invention of Porsche. But, as always, Porsche has built on some already existing ideas and made them their own. Regardless, here is how centre lock wheels work. Centre lock wheels lock the wheel onto the hub by a central locking system.

In the centre of the wheel. Unlike on regular wheels, where they are secured to the hub by a circular ring of lug nuts. Centre lock wheels are connected with one thicker lug nut/bolt dead centre in the wheel.

It might sound like that would be far less reliable or unstable, but it isn’t really a big deal. There are some big differences between the two styles of wheels, though they aren’t all that different from a safety and security perspective.

How Do Centre Lock Wheels Differ From Regular Wheels?

For the most part, they lock on the same, so it isn’t all that different mechanically. Though they are quite a lot different in practice. For example, since regular lock wheels have several lug nuts holding them in place, there is a huge amount of torque spread all around the wheel, keeping it tight and in place and stopping it from rocking back and forth.

Centre locks don’t have this. Does this mean centre lock wheels rock back and forth and wobble? Of course not! They need to be done up with a huge amount of torque to compensate.

Far more torque than the human arm can generate with a standard wrench or even with a normal torque gun. Purely because the lug is locked. Making it impossible to remove without the right tools.

What Are The Benefits Of Porsche Centre Lock Wheels?

There are various benefits to using centre lock wheels on your Porsche instead of regular lock wheels. Firstly, if you have a pit crew, they are far faster to lock and unlock, making for high-speed wheel changes during races or track days.

But most people don’t have a team behind them/the right tools to do this. Wheel changes with centre lock wheels don’t have a speed advantage over standard lug nuts on a wheel.

Let’s have a look at some real-world benefits, since they are locked up with so much torque, they really don’t become loose. No matter how long ago it was, they were tightened. Therefore you don’t need to constantly be checking and re-checking whether your lug nuts are tight enough on track days.

It also makes them harder to remove without the right tools, meaning you aren’t likely to see your Porsche get its wheels stolen if you happen to park in the wrong neighborhood by mistake.

Furthermore, they look cool! You’ve always got to consider the style factor when discussing cars. And centre lock wheels on a nice and shiny Porsche look cool. This is usually 99% the reason why people opt for centre locks, the visual appeal is what it’s all about. But you can always get wheels with centre lock style lug nut covers.

There is no other word for it. Each to their own, but we think they look awesome. In terms of actual tangible benefits, they are also said to be more resistant to rust than regular steel lug nuts, but you can always upgrade your lug nuts.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Porsche Centre Lock Wheels?

Of course, there are some drawbacks. The first is that if you do not have your locking tool on you, there is no chance you are going to be able to take your wheels off. Even more so, you can’t just drop your car off at any old garage or mechanic and expect them to be able to change your wheel.

They need to have the right tools and the right know-how to do so. You also have to consider the cost of buying the tools to lock your new wheels on, as well as the wheels themselves. This isn’t a large extra cost relative to the cost of the wheels, but it is something to consider.

Generally, using a large centre lock wrench and torquing the wheels on correctly is a huge effort. It’s not as seamless as you may see a pit crew change wheels during a race car’s pit stop. It’s actually quite difficult and time-consuming to change a centre locking wheel.

Many agree, myself included that the benefits of Porsche centre lock wheels only really apply to cars that spend most of their time on the track. For street cars, it’s purely aesthetic, and the drawbacks don’t outweigh the benefits for most.

This is why it’s not uncommon to hear owners changing their wheel setup to one with lug nuts, as it’s just easier and more practical. But in the end, when you’re at the level of owning a Porsche, I don’t know of many who work on their own cars, so it may just be a problem that can be solved with some cash.

The Cost Of Maintaining Porsche Centre Lock Wheels

Speaking of cash, one massive drawback that almost nobody talks about is the cost of maintaining the centre locking mechanism. Let’s take a quick look at the rough maintenance intervals and what is required at each:

Mileage IntervalComponents
4,200 miles (7,000 km)Rear Central Lock Nut x 2
Rear Wheel Hub x 2
Rear Wheel Bearing x 2
8,400 miles (14,000 km)Front Central Lock Nut x 2
Front Wheel Hub x 2
Front Wheel Bearing x 2
Rear Wheel Bearing x 2
Rear Wheel Carrier (Left & Right)
16,800 miles (28,000 km)Front Wheel Carrier (Left & Right)
Front Wheel Bearing x 2
Porsche Centre Lock Wheels Maintenance Interval Requirements

Now, looking at the table above might not seem too intimidating, but when you start to add in the associated cost of components, it gets a bit more real. The initial 4,200-mile interval isn’t too bad, each component ranges from $125 – $295. Minus the labor, this brings the total to $1,270.

Moving onto the 8,400 mile interval, things get expensive, mainly due to the rear wheel carrier set costing $1,195. This, plus everything else, brings the total to $2,374.10. Luckily, the carrier comes as a set for that price for both sides.

Now, the final boss, the 16,800 mile interval, costing the most at $4,994.10. This means by 16,800 miles, you’ve spent a total of $8,638.20! This is a massive extra expense on top of the standard maintenance of your car.

Now while this type of maintenance isn’t unique to Porsche, it does play into the reliability of your Porsche if you don’t maintain it properly, and you can run the risk of some serious issues down the road.

In full transparency, these figures are based on a 997 GT3/GT3 RS provided by Suncoast Parts, and it’s stated this is only for miles on the track. But from real-world experience, a lot of owners follow a similar pattern for their 911s with centre locks, which are purely used on the road. After all, safety is key.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Centre Lock Wheels Yourself?

It depends on what route you want to go. Suppose you decide to buy a torque gun to change them really fast and really easily. The gun alone will cost you a few thousand plus however much you spend on wheels.

Alternatively, you can just buy a “normal” centre lock tool for a lot less. Each has its advantages, and of course, price plays a big part. If you have the money to burn, go for the specialist torque gun. It saves time.

But there is nothing wrong with doing it by hand. Of course, if you can do it by hand and don’t rely on the gun, then you aren’t also at the whims of an electronic tool. Which, as we all know, will fail at the worst possible moment.

Tools aside, if you don’t trust yourself to install a new set of centre lock wheels for your Porsche, you can pay Porsche to install them. To get a final quote on that, you will need to contact your dealership.

It’s probably a good time to mention if you’re going from a car with lug nuts to a centre lock wheel, you’ll also need to install a completely new hub for each wheel to mount to. This is not an easy task and should be done by a professional.

The Verdict On Porsche Centre Lock Wheels

So, now you know all there is to know about Porsche centre lock wheels. What they are, how they work, and most importantly, how they differ from regular wheels. In terms of actual driver benefits, they are pretty much the same as regular wheels.

If we remove all of the pain around changing wheels, track days, etc., they are the same as regular wheels. It really is up to you whether you think they are worth it. If you like them, think they look cool, and don’t mind the hefty price. Go for it!

From experience, I’d personally stay away from them. As cool as they look, the cost of the maintenance intervals and the fact there’s no real-world benefit for a street-driven car, it seems a bit pointless.

But if I’m buying a GT3 that comes with them from factory, the pure driving experience would be so enjoyable I’d probably forget about the cost of ownership and just enjoy the drive.

Similar Posts