Best Steering Wheel Lock: Add Security to Your Car
Prevent vehicular theft with these steering wheel locks.
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BY Katherine Rother / LAST UPDATED ON March 22, 2021
A steering wheel lock is an effective and inexpensive visual deterrent to vehicle theft. Of course, as with any security device, a steering wheel lock is not undefeatable. Someone who is determined to take your vehicle can eventually find the means to do so, but a simple device like a steering wheel lock will compound the difficulty several fold, giving would-be thieves the incentive to turn their attention elsewhere. This is why steering wheel locks are so effective as a deterrent, and why you should have one in your car.
If you're convinced you need one (as you should be), check out our buyer's guide below to learn more about the best steering wheel locks available.
A tried-and-true design from a company that’s been specializing in steering wheel locks for decades.
- Patented, innovative design that works with most cars
- Offers a solid metal body with visually deterring color combo (red and black)
- Great guarantee
- Locking mechanism can get jammed during use in colder climates, which is not ideal if you live in frostier temperatures
This three-point fixed lock works with airbags and fits most car models. It is made of heat-treated steel.
- Quick and easy to install
- Locks easily
- Good visual deterrent
- Two keys included
- May make a temporary indent in your steering wheel
- Doesn’t fit all vehicles despite universal labeling
The classic enclosed steering wheel lock with a variety of security features to keep your car safe from theft.
- Incredibly high-quality build is heavy and bulky design to withstand physical attacks
- Features anti-drill and anti-pick lock design and spinning frame to make steering the car nearly impossible
- The only downside we found was the higher price point. However, you do get what you pay for, and this wheel lock is worth the investment in higher-end cars
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Benefits of a Steering Wheel Lock
- Physical barrier. A steering wheel lock is a heavy chunk of metal that stops your steering wheel from moving. This helps protect your vehicle from theft because it's extremely hard to crack.
- Visual theft deterrent. Not only do steering wheel locks prevent the wheel from moving, they’re also a great visual deterrent that will likely keep thieves away. They help make your car much more difficult to steal, causing would-be thieves to look elsewhere.
- Peace of mind. If you worry about your car every time you park it, a steering wheel lock will help put your mind at ease. Fewer worries and less stress equal a healthier you.
- Save money. Obviously, if your car gets stolen, you lose money on the replacement even if you’re insured. In that sense, a steering wheel lock can help you save money.
- Prevents turning. Even if a thief decides to jump into your car and drive away without cracking the wheel lock, the car will be impossible to properly maneuver. Simply put, the thief wouldn’t be able to turn the wheel far enough to make any turns or even keep the car safely in a lane.
Types of Steering Wheel Locks
An enclosed steering wheel lock looks just like it sounds — it completely covers the steering wheel, locking it from use. These locks provide a high level of security for obvious reasons, and they'll require a lot of effort to crack, which is bad news for any would-be thief. Their downside is they are bulky, heavy, and more difficult to stow away.
This is the most common design among steering wheel locks. They are basically bar-shaped and have hook ends that attach to opposite spokes of the steering wheel to prevent it from turning. The advantage of this design is that it gets the job done while having a manageable footprint.
These are designed to hook onto both the steering wheel and the brake or clutch pedal, preventing both from use. This makes them effective as a security measure since they offer double protection. The trade-off is that they are less visible from the outside and might serve as a deterrent only after the thief has already broken into your car.
Based in Sharon, Penn., Winner International makes the popular The Club steering wheel locks. Founded in 1986, the company is still going strong, making innovative new tweaks to the existing designs. The company’s most popular product is the Original Club.
An online-based manufacturer and retailer of car steering wheel locks, as well as a whole host of other automotive accessories, MONOJOY makes quality, affordable products. Many of the company’s wheel locks are popular, with the Heavy-Duty Car Anti-Theft Lock being the forerunner.
With head offices based in the United Kingdom, Disklok is behind the most popular full-enclosure steering wheel lock. Since 1993, Disklok has continued to innovate the design, making one of the most effective anti-theft devices for cars on the market. The Disklok Security Device is the company’s most popular product, and it’s Thatcham-approved.
Steering Wheel Lock Pricing
- Under $30: Steering wheel locks in this price range will vary in quality, with some being suitable enough to get the job done while others being flimsy enough for a thief to defeat. If this is your budget range, make sure to go for a reliable brand as it will make all the difference.
- $40-$100: Traditional bar-shaped locks will still be the most common at this price range, but you'll be able to get other designs too, including wheel-to-pedal ones, which offer double security. Also, the materials used for the construction of steering wheel locks at this price range will be better.
- $100 and up: If this is your budget range, then your options will include the toughest steering wheel locks available in the market. These locks will be made from more than just heavy-duty materials, to be sure, but suffice to say it's a lot to spend for a steering wheel lock.
Modern steering wheels tend to be very similar in size and design, but some makes and models have unique quirks that warrant a universal fit wheel lock. You’ll avoid guesswork and poorly closing latch points; both of which will result in better security for your car. If you’re driving an 18-wheeler or some other really big vehicle, you might have to look for a specialty lock.
One of the key deterrents to theft is a highly visible wheel lock. That means you want lots of bright color and bulk that can be spotted, even from across the street. Our favorites are red and bright yellow, but a bit of shiny silver helps the spotting, too. If would-be thieves can see what they need to deal with before even getting to your car, you’re that much better off.
You want a steering wheel lock that’s as resistant to physical attacks as possible. If a thief decides to break into your car, even after spotting that wheel lock, you’ve got to assume that they’ve got the toolbox to tackle it. Hardened steel or steel alloys will make it that much harder for a would-be thief to break the lock, making these the materials you need for top-notch security.
- Size. Although bigger is usually better when it comes to steering wheel locks, you have to keep in mind how much space it will take up when not in use. Make sure to choose a wheel lock that’s just right in size to work for your car so that you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of more bulk than you need.
- Ease of Use. Some car security bars have more connection points than others, making them more secure but also more difficult to use. You’ll want a lock that balances convenience and security so that you’re never discouraged from using it.
- Guarantee. A number of manufacturers offer not only a great warranty for their wheel locks but also a guarantee that your car won’t be stolen. If you’re unlucky enough for it to be taken, then their guarantee pays for part or all of your insurance deductible.
- Locking Mechanism. Here’s a point where quality really matters. If the locking mechanism is poorly made, it can be easily broken by a professional thief. Make sure you invest in a good steering wheel lock that can’t just be sprayed, frozen, and broken.
- Padding, If you’re worried about potential damage to your car’s steering wheel from metal edges, you’ll want to look for a wheel lock that features rubber or plastic padding around the latch points.
Best Steering Wheel Locks Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Protect your steering wheel from any potential scuffing or tearing by always carefully placing and removing the steering wheel lock. If you’re especially concerned about possible damage, try using a piece of cloth or a rag between the lock and the wheel. Just make sure that it doesn’t get in the way of the locking mechanism.
- Some steering wheel lock manufacturers offer a guarantee that covers part or all of your insurance deductible, should your car get stolen while their device was in use.
- Steering wheel locks come in a number of different lengths. Make sure whichever model you choose is going to be long enough to properly do its job. As a good rule of thumb, newer compacts and sedans can take almost any lock on the market, whereas SUVs, trucks, and otherwise larger cars will need something longer.
- Many newer cars have steering wheels and pedals that adjust to a final position when the key is removed from the ignition. If your car has this feature, make sure to first turn off the vehicle and remove the key before you attach the steering wheel lock. You might cause damage to the vehicle otherwise.
- If you ever find yourself with a steering wheel lock that’s stuck, try spraying some dry graphite lubricant into the locking mechanism. This can help the lock release.
Q: Will steering wheel locks damage my steering wheel?
A lock that's improperly sized for your vehicle can leave scuff marks or scratches, but one with the right size shouldn't be a problem with proper care and use. In any case, you can always put a fabric scrap or cloth between the lock and your steering wheel to avoid leaving marks and scratches.
Q: How do I properly install a steering wheel lock?
This will largely depend on the steering wheel lock's design. For the conventional bar type, just extend the lock until both hook ends fix themselves on opposite spokes of the steering wheel, then lock it in place with the key.
Q: What do I do if I lose my lock’s key?
If you can locate your spare key, try that first. If you've managed to lose that too, then call a locksmith before attempting anything drastic like using a hacksaw.
Q: What kind of steering wheel lock works best?
Any steering wheel lock that's built strong enough to resist all kinds of tampering will work well, but we feel that a well-constructed wheel-to-pedal lock is particularly effective since it prevents both your steering wheel and pedal from being used.
Our top pick is the original The Club 1000 Steering Wheel Lock. It’s a tried-and-true design that’s been on the market for decades, so you know you can trust it.
If you’re looking for a more wallet-friendly option, check out our best value pick, the FLK Tech Universal Anti-Theft Steering Wheel Lock, which works with many makes and models.