Do Steering Wheel Locks Prevent Car Theft?

A look at the effectiveness of steering wheel locks in preventing car theft, and some alternatives that might be more effective.

Steering Wheel Lock Prevent Car Theft

Everyone is looking for ways to protect their vehicle from being stolen. Over the years, “The Club” brought a lot of attention to the steering wheel lock. While these tools have grown in popularity, many people wonder how well they work. Do steering wheel locks actually prevent car theft?

In this article, we determine how well the steering wheel locks work. Our guide also shows you what to look for in a steering wheel lock. We even offer some suggestions to keep your vehicle safer.

What is a Steering Wheel Lock?

The steering wheel lock is pretty self-explanatory. It is a device that locks the steering wheel in place, so the car cannot be stolen. 

There are two parts to the steering wheel lock. It will have the locking mechanism and an external construction that attaches directly to the steering wheel. The most popular model is “The Club.”

Do Steering Wheel Locks Work?

The steering wheel lock does protect the car on some level. However, it can be bypassed with enough time and effort. The steering lock could be picked, but this takes time. It can also be cut, but most thieves aren’t going to take the time to do this. 

Since locks were invented, people have been looking for ways to bypass the mechanism. With enough skill, it will only take a thief a few seconds to get that lock open. On the other hand, cutting the device is going to take a lot more time and could draw more attention. In general, thieves aren’t looking to hang out in the stolen car for that long. 

How Does A Steering Wheel Lock Work?

The steering wheel lock works by locking the steering wheel in place with the use of a long bar, making it impossible to steer the vehicle without removing the bar. Some models also include a bar that locks the brake pedal.

Steering Wheel Lock Types

1. Traditional Lock

The traditional lock is the most commonly used. It’s the traditional bar shape that you see with The Club.

There are hook ends on either side that attach to the steering wheel spokes. The wheel cannot be turned as long as it is locked in place. 

2. Enclosed Lock

The enclosed steering lock covers the entire wheel. There is a higher level of security with this type of lock.

However, the locks are heavier and bulkier than the traditional type. You might have difficulty getting it stored away when it’s not in use. 

3. Wheel-to-Pedal Lock

Steering Wheel Lock To Pedal

The wheel to pedal lock might be the most sophisticated. It hooks into the steering wheel, as well as your car’s clutch or brake pedal. 

With this double layer of protection, you have more security. The system is less visible from possible thieves, so many of them can’t see it until they have broken in, which is a downside. 

How to Choose a Steering Wheel Lock

1. Compatibility

A steering wheel lock is only good if it works with your vehicle. If it isn’t going to fit, there’s no way it can protect your car from theft. 

Before you purchase a lock, make sure it works with your make and model. The lock must fit your steering wheel size. To ensure the right fit, this must go beyond just measuring the diameter and finding one that works. 

You want to check the compatibility and fitment on the website you are buying from. Enter the make and model of your car to ensure the model you’ve chosen will fit. 

RELATED: How To Protect Your Car Against Catalytic Converter Theft

2. Construction

To ensure maximum security, the steering wheel lock must be made from high-quality materials. A weak construction isn’t going to hold up well against a persistent thief. 

Avoid products that are made mostly from plastic. These are too easy to break. If you can afford to purchase a model with heavier, more durable materials, that’s a better option. 

You should also take a closer look at the locking mechanism. Make sure it’s not cheaply made, or you could end up dealing with stuck locking cylinders, leaving you without an option to get it off. 

3. Visibility

In the case of protecting your vehicle, you want a lock that’s highly visible. This might seem backward, but if a thief can see the steering wheel lock, they are less likely to attempt breaking in. Thieves want a quick target and they aren’t looking to put forth too much effort. 

Some products boast about the inconspicuous design, but this isn’t something you want. Instead, go for the most obvious design you can find from a reputable brand. 

4. Budget

Whenever you purchase a new car accessories or security product, you want to be able to stick to a budget. There are always times when trying to save a buck is a good thing. 

However, buying a steering wheel lock shouldn’t be a time when you cut corners. Instead, you need to focus heavily on what’s going to best protect your car. If your car is stolen, how much money will you be out?

Evaluate the available brands and decide which ones are highly-rated. While these might cost you more upfront, you will save time and hassle in the long run. 

Do Steering Wheel Locks Damage the Steering Wheel?

If the lock isn’t properly sized for your type of vehicle, it might not fit well. If the fit isn’t great, there could be scratches and scuff marks left on the wheel. 

However, if you get the right lock for your steering wheel, there shouldn’t be any damage. However, you can still protect the steering wheel by putting a thin layer of padding between the lock and steering wheel. 

RELATED: 5 Types of Kill Switches to Install in Your Car to Prevent Car Theft

How to Prevent Your Car From Stolen

1. Hide Valuable Goods

Your vehicle in itself is valuable, even if it is older. Even older cars can bring in a lot of money when the parts are sold. 

For this reason, you don’t want to give a thief any more reason to want your vehicle. If you leave valuables out in the open, you make your vehicle more attractive. 

2. Use Multiple Methods

The steering wheel lock is a great device for preventing theft, but it shouldn’t be all that you use. If you want to protect your car, you need to layer up on the security.

Install a security alarm that alerts you if someone tries to break in. Many of these devices can be installed for a reasonable cost and it will provide you with more peace of mind. Many newer car models have good alarms installed from the factory though.

3. Lock the Doors

This step might seem obvious to some, but many people still walk away from their vehicles with the doors unlocked. Before you leave the vehicle, check all of the doors to ensure they are locked.

Additionally, you should take a closer look at the windows. If you leave them open at all, a thief could easily get into the vehicle. 

4. Park in a Well-Lit Area

Take a look at the area you are parking in. If it seems shady and secluded, it might not be the best spot for your vehicle.

Instead, choose a well-populated area where a thief would be noticed. If you are parking somewhere at night, look for an area that has plenty of lighting. You don’t want to park in a dark corner where thieves can work on your car unnoticed.

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