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Do Steering Wheel Locks Work? Ensuring Your Car’s Safety

Do Steering Wheel Locks Work? Ensuring Your Car’s Safety

Are steering wheel locks an effective safeguard against car theft? This critical question concerns every car owner!

Steering wheel locks are an effective theft deterrent, but they are not 100% thief-proof. The best approach to securing your vehicle will be to use multiple layers of precautions to prevent theft.

The value of a steering wheel lock depends on how you’re using it. But, they can be defeated. Let’s take a look at how they work, and how crafty thieves have been able to find ways around them!

Are Steering Wheel Locks Effective?

Most everyone has seen a steering wheel lock at some point. They look like a long metal rod, stretched over the steering wheel. They’re meant to prevent people from steering the car when they’re used.

Ultimately, if a thief got into your car, they’d be unable to steer the car. They might be able to turn it on still. But, they wouldn’t get very far after that!

Several shows have gone on to show how effective they really are. Unfortunately, these have proven a steering wheel lock can be defeated.

Other revisions of the steering wheel lock made it onto the market. These sought to correct the flaws of the original design found in “The Club.” This was the first steering wheel lock to hit the market.

Most of these revisions did improve some aspects of the original design. But, they’re still not totally effective. Even using them properly won’t fully protect your car.

The original design simply locks onto the steering wheel. It stretches across the handles from one side to the other. The wheel can’t rotate around its shaft with the device in place. Typically, you’ve got to remove them before driving.

However, simply cutting a hole into the wheel could make them easy to remove. And, someone could cut that hole within a couple of minutes. Securing your vehicle with one of these shouldn’t be your primary security method.

Improved designs are heavier and more difficult to remove. These wrap around the whole steering wheel. They’re harder to cut through, too. Without removing it, the steering wheel won’t move at all, either.

If you’re going to use a steering wheel lock, use one of the improved designs. They’ll prevent your car from being stolen as quickly at least.

Still, you shouldn’t rely on them as your sole means of security. Otherwise, you might find yourself disappointed in their performance.

Can a Car Be Stolen With a Steering Wheel Lock?

Yes, a car can still be stolen if it’s got a steering wheel lock on the wheel. Sometimes, thieves simply cut the steering wheel. Then, they’re able to lift it out of place quite easily.

Other times, they’ve simply cut the device itself. At that point, it’s no longer useful. It can be disabled without removing it from the car at all.

That’s in cars using the original devices, though. Larger locks can be a bit more effective. For example, the Disklok is a pretty good deterrent. They’re larger and heavier than your typical steering wheel lock.

Still, even the larger devices aren’t totally foolproof. It might take a bit longer to remove them. But, a determined thief could still remove them from your car. If they know what they’re doing, they could do it in less than 4 minutes.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use one of them, though. Putting a steering wheel lock on your car makes it a less attractive target. Someone still has to remove it before they’re able to drive away. So, you’ll have a few additional minutes of protection.

The best thing you can do to protect your car is to use multiple layers of security. Adding more than one security device makes your vehicle more difficult to steal.

Alternative Ways of Securing Your Vehicle

Using a steering wheel lock isn’t a bad idea. It’s just that you shouldn’t use them as the only way to secure your vehicle. If you’re really concerned about security, use multiple devices. That should make them far less attractive targets.

Always make sure you’re locking the car. Simply locking the doors could make it much less attractive to any thieves. They’d have to jimmy the lock before getting into the doors. That takes more time, and it might make a sound too.

Another way to secure your vehicle is to install an aftermarket alarm system. If you’re car already has an alarm, make sure it’s always armed. Security alarms are great at alerting other people. They’ll even make enough notice to wake people up in the middle of the night.

Finally, you could install a GPS system on the car as well. That would make it easy to locate your vehicle if it were ever stolen.

By making it more difficult to take your car, you’ll deter most thieves. Installing several security devices should help you to accomplish that goal. Most of the time, thieves look for the lowest common denominator. In other words, they’ll go for something easy to steal first.

Deterrents aren’t the only way to protect your car, either. You could also prevent the car from starting in the first place.

Pop the hood and look for the relay box. You can pull out one of the fuses to prevent it from starting. Simply tug on the relay until you’ve removed it from the box.

Before starting the car again, you’ll need to replace it. However, a thief won’t be able to start the car without putting a new relay in place.

You could also put a boot on the car’s tire. These stop the wheels from rotating. Sometimes, the parking authority puts them on cars that are parked where they shouldn’t be.

For the truly cautious, you could do all these things at once. Lock the steering wheel. Pull a relay. And, install a boot. Nobody is going to move your car without some serious effort at that point.

Keeping Your Vehicle Secure With a Steering Wheel Lock

Steering wheel locks don’t totally protect your car. At best, they’ll prevent thieves from stealing them as fast. A few extra moments could make the difference between success and failure, though.

If you’re worried about car theft, use multiple precautions. Hook up an audible alarm to the car. Always lock the doors at night. And, pull one of the car’s fuses.

Then, put a boot on the car, too. If you do all that, your car isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!