The steering wheel lock market is booming. It might seem like an analogue approach to car security in a digital age, but sales are on the up. It’s with this in mind that we’ve created a list of some of the best steering wheel locks you can buy, with prices to suit all budgets.
Keyless car theft is on the rise
Steering wheel locks were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, when many cars could be unlocked using a paperclip, a front door key or a coat hanger. If nothing else, they provided a visual deterrent, helping to ward off opportunist thieves and slowing down more determined criminals.
The humble steering wheel lock fell out of favour when car manufacturers upped their game. Improved locks, smart immobilisers and efficient tracking systems levelled the playing field, sending crime figures into freefall.
Related: Our guide to van security
Those were the days before the keyless car theft ‘epidemic’. Following years of a downward trend in the number of vehicle thefts, car crime is on the up. Keyless car theft, also known as a relay attack, is to blame.
Two criminals work together using electronic signal relay devices to steal the vehicle. One stands by the car, while the other one stands close enough to the electronic car key to pick up the signal. This effectively fools the car into ‘thinking’ the key is present, leaving it open to attack. The thieves jump in and drive away.
So why do you need a steering wheel lock?
It might seem odd fitting a steering wheel lock to a high-tech new car that costs tens of thousands of pounds. We’re not saying it will stop your car from being stolen, but a steering wheel lock could add valuable minutes to the seconds it might take to steal a car using a relay attack.
A criminal will think twice about stealing a car if they see a steering wheel lock. You might even get a small discount on your car insurance. Compare car insurance quotes here.
Here are some of the best locks on sale.
Parkers - The best steering wheel locks
1. Stoplock HG 134-59 Original Steering Wheel Lock
Stoplock is one of the most familiar names in the car security sector. The company offers a range of old-school devices, including van locks, wheel clamps and motorcycle locks. The Stoplock Original is the entry-level steering wheel lock. It's built to resist power tools, so it's likely to deter all but the most determined thieves. It features a flashing LED for added visibility.
2. Streetwize Twin Bar Steering Wheel Lock
The Streetwize twin-bar steering wheel lock is one of the most affordable units on the market, but don't confuse 'cheap' with 'inferior'. The unique curved key locking mechanism makes it difficult to break into, while the yellow colour provides a highly visible deterrent. The lock should fit all standard steering wheels, but check compatibility before purchase.
3. X-Lock Full Face Steering Wheel Lock
If you're after a visible deterrent and something that will make it more difficult for a thief to steal your car, this is just the ticket. It comes with two keys and a storage bag.
4. Goodyear Elite Heavy Duty Steering Wheel Lock
Goodyear is a name you might associate with tyres, but there are a couple of reasons why this steering wheel lock is worth a look. It comes with a Faraday pouch, so you can protect your car key from a relay attack. It also features a glass breaker, which is ideal for emergencies. This is an impressive lock for a mid-range price.
5. Turnart Steering Wheel Lock
Simple and sturdy is what you get here. It lacks the obvious yellow finish of others but you can be rest assured this steering wheel lock will do its job. It has a good range of adjustability and features an emergency hammer at the opposite end.
6. Master Lock Pedal to Steering Wheel Lock
This Master Lock differs from the others featured here. It's designed to extend from the steering wheel to the pedal and is made from hardened steel for protection against cutting and hammering. It's red, so it's highly visible from the outside, and it should fit most cars, SUVs, MPVs and vans. Check compatibility before purchase.
What to consider when choosing a steering wheel lock
Fitting a steering wheel lock is just one of the things you can do to keep your car safe. Keyless car theft means that this old-school security device is enjoying a renaissance, but its usefulness isn’t reserved for new cars.
If you own a classic or retro car with poor locks, no alarm and a basic immobiliser, a steering wheel lock is a must-have. Some classic cars are stolen to order, while others are taken to be stripped for parts. Either way, a steering wheel lock could encourage a thief to keep walking. If nothing else, it will slow them down, which could mean that they’re caught in the act.
Do your research before buying a steering wheel lock. Not only do you want to make sure that it fits your car, you’ll also want to see evidence of the lock in action. A determined criminal will defeat even the best lock, so check the reviews before taking the plunge.
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