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Car theft is a significant concern for many vehicle owners, especially those who park their cars outside without a personal garage for protection. Installing a steering wheel lock is an effective way to increase car safety and prevent car theft. Several types of steering wheel locks are available, but the three most common are traditional bar/club locks, whole wheel locks, and wheel-to-pedal locks. Let’s dive deeper into how steering wheel locks work and look at these three popular options for your car.

How do steering wheel locks work?

Zeigler Auto Group explains that steering column locks rely on an internal mechanism that locks the car’s steering wheel. Once you remove the key from the ignition, any movement to the steering wheel will release a spring-loaded lever that engages a slot and locks the mechanism. You can only unlock the wheel when you insert the key into the ignition and turn the engine on.

Types of steering wheel locks

1. Traditional bar or club locks

Traditional bar or club locks are the most popular and commonly used. These consist of a steel bar or club that extends across the steering wheel and prevents it from being turned. The bar or club lock is easy to install and use, and it’s an affordable option. The lock is also visible so that it can deter potential thieves. However, one of its main weaknesses is that it can be easily cut or removed with bolt cutters or other tools – so if that’s a concern, you may want to consider another option.

Example: The Club 1000 Original Steering Wheel Lock

2. Whole-wheel locks

This type of lock covers the entire steering wheel with a metal casing or wrapping. It’s harder to remove than a traditional bar or club lock since it covers the wheel. Whole-wheel locks also provide additional protection for the airbag and steering column, which are common targets for car thieves. However, the installation process is more complicated and less visible than a bar/club lock.

Example: The Disklok Full Cover Steering Wheel Lock

3. Wheel-to-pedal locks

Connecting a Club Steering Wheel Lock from the brake to steering wheel in a 2017 Kia Sportage
A ‘wheel-to-pedal’ steering wheel lock | Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

This type of lock connects the steering wheel to the brake pedal, which prevents the car from moving. The lock clamps onto the steering wheel and is attached to a weight that rests on the brake pedal. This type of lock is difficult to remove and provides an extra layer of security. However, the lock can be cumbersome to use and may take longer to install and remove.

Example: The Winner International Club Pedal-to-Wheel Lock

Choose the right steering wheel lock to protect your car from theft

Remember, the type of steering wheel lock accessories you choose depends on your personal preference and the level of protection you need. Traditional bar/club locks are affordable and visible but easily removed. Whole wheel locks provide extra protection but are harder to install and less visible. Wheel-to-pedal locks provide an additional layer of security but can be bulky. Whatever type you choose, ensure it fits your car’s steering wheel properly and is made of high-quality materials. Your safety depends on it!

Related 4 Vehicle Anti-Theft Alternatives to a Steering Wheel Lock 

4 Vehicle Anti-Theft Alternatives to a Steering Wheel Lock