Lock It Down: The Best Steering-Wheel Locks of 2024

steering wheel lock
Tested: Best Steering-Wheel Locks of 2024Car and Driver

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Having your car stolen is not just an inconvenience and an expense; it also shakes your sense of security. In many cases, crimes occur because the target is accessible, prompting criminals to seize the opportunity. However, a simple device can be a powerful deterrent, causing potential thieves to think twice before breaking in.

This is where the steering-wheel lock comes into play. By staying proactive, you can reduce the likelihood that your vehicle will become a target. We tested several steering-wheel locks on the market to evaluate their effectiveness in thwarting thieves once they've gained access to your cabin.

Things to Consider

Before you buy a steering-wheel-locking device, here are some important factors to keep in mind.


Since a steering-wheel lock is an additional step to the leaving-the-car routine, installation should be simple and quick. Life is complicated enough, so choose a lock that is easy to install to save yourself time and frustration.

Keys and Locks

Most steering-wheel locks require a key; losing it will leave you with a locked steering wheel and no way to drive. Most will come with multiple keys, but make copies if you must.


Steering-wheel locks are similar to ice scrapers—they need to be easily accessible, but they can also be annoying when floating around in the footwell. When purchasing your steering-wheel lock, consider its size and storability.

Fit and Compatibility

There are a few different steering-wheel shapes and designs out there. Do your research, and buy the best steering-wheel lock for your wheel shape.

How We Selected and Evaluated Steering-Wheel Locks

We knew we wanted to test locks to the limit for this test. So, instead of yanking them off our own steering wheels, we headed to Regal U-Pull It in Howell, Michigan, on a drizzly Friday afternoon. Amid the rows of salvage cars, we installed each lock and rigorously tried to remove them. For this test, our main parameters were:

  • Installation and design

  • Breakability

  • Special features

After installing each steering-wheel lock according to its directions, we tried to break each one of them. We shook them, hammered at them, drilled into them, and took bolt cutters to each to see if they could stand up to the pressure. Here's what we found.

The Best Steering-Wheel Locks

Tevlaphee Universal Steering Wheel Brake Lock

If security is your top priority, we recommend the Tevlaphee. Unlike most steering-wheel locks, the Tevlaphee locks the wheel against the brake pedal, inhibiting both the wheel from turning and the brake pedal from being depressed. Installation is straightforward, but it does require maneuvering into the footwell, which may make for some awkward contorting. If you have mobility issues, this lock may not be your best option.

Overall, it's the most secure and user-friendly option we encountered. Without hesitation, the Gear Team recommends it as our best choice.

How We Broke It: We didn't! In our testing, the Telvaphee could not be broken.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R453BKR?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10048.g.46991530%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Tevlaphee Universal Steering Wheel Brake Lock</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$43.99</p><span class="copyright">Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver</span>

Kaycentop Seatbelt Wheel Lock

Using a flexible cable, the Kaycentop loops through the steering wheel, then anchors into the seatbelt to keep the wheel from turning. The seatbelt latch has a locking shell that covers the buckle and prevents it from deploying, so even if a thief gets into your car, they can't simply disengage the seatbelt and remove the lock.

At least, that's the idea. While we were impressed by the Kaycentop's design, ease of use, and compact size, our bolt cutters made quick work of the connector cables and freed the wheel. So much for security.

But hey, it did leave the seatbelt cover behind, which means the crook would at least be vulnerable to a click-it-or-ticket infraction.

How We Broke It: Bolt cutters.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FT8KTW2?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10048.g.46991530%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Kaycentop Seatbelt Wheel Lock</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$29.99</p><span class="copyright">Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver</span>

Cartman Vehicle Steering-Wheel Lock

If you like old-school, you may like the Cartman. A classic steering-wheel-lock design, the Cartman uses two hooks to secure it onto the wheel. One end is longer and limits steering-wheel movement when it hits an obstacle in the cabin, making any meaningful turn impossible. This length can be positioned in various ways; we opted to wedge it between the A-pillar and windshield, but it could be installed in any number of positions. Installation is simple but requires a firm pull on the center ratchet for a tight fit.

For removal, shaking by hand, hammer, and drilling were ineffective, but our bolt cutters did manage to snip the center aluminum shaft. Truthfully, not many of these locks were able to stand up to our bolt cutters, but the Cartman resisted better than all but the impenetrable Tevlaphee.

How We Broke It: Bolt cutters.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KY5R6VB?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10048.g.46991530%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cartman Vehicle Steering-Wheel Lock</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$24.99</p><span class="copyright">Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver</span>

The Club 3000 Twin Hooks

From the same company that delivered the original The Club wheel lock back in the '80s, The Club 3000 Twin Hooks maintains the traditional steering-wheel lock function: two anchor points on a wheel, a ratcheting mechanism in between, and a long arm to prevent full turns. The only difference between this device and the Cartman we also tested is that the new Club 3000 features two hooks on each end instead of one.

During installation, the hooks felt loose against the wheel, even with the arm extended the farthest it would go. We wondered if we were installing it incorrectly, but the instructions indicated that this was to be expected.

What it does have going for it is the deterrent factor. The bold yellow hooks and imposing size make it hard to miss; its chunky, bright presence practically screams "Keep out!" So to that end, it's practical.

But removing the lock was disconcertingly easy. A single hammer swing was all it took to loosen it enough for removal. We tried several times to install and remove it, and each time, one swift hit would loosen the Club 3000 and release the wheel. Then we tried the bolt cutters, and we snapped the aluminum shaft easily. Any determined crook intent on taking your car would probably be able to get away with it pretty quickly.

How We Broke It: Hammer.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HNT4WQ?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10048.g.46991530%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>The Club 3000 Twin Hooks</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$34.76</p><span class="copyright">Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver</span>

Vechkom Steering Wheel Lock with Alarm

The Vechkom relies on an alarm system for protection. To install it, you close the clamps over a half-turned steering wheel and the motion-sensor arm rests on the dashboard. The concept is simple: tampering triggers the alarm, scaring off potential thieves.

Yet, in practice, it fell well short of the promise. It's far too easy to install this device incorrectly. Vechkom failed to provide installation directions in the packaging, and we couldn't locate a company website or social-media presence to show us the way. We finally found installation guidance buried on the product's Amazon listing. Typically, this isn't a major issue—but in this case, if the Vechkom isn't installed correctly, it doesn't work. (For the record, you must turn the steering wheel 180 degrees and clamp the device onto a spoke or small portion of the wheel.)

First, the alarm sensor's sensitivity is suspect. We manipulated the wheel pretty aggressively during the test, and the alarm never went off. Once it did sound, its disappointing 96 decibels was far below its claimed 130 decibels and could be easily muffled with a hand over the tiny speaker. We covered it and recorded a mere 76 decibels—about equivalent to a handheld vacuum. We were still looking at the decibel meter when the alarm stopped; turns out, it only lasts for 20 seconds. A patient thief would have no trouble waiting it out. It should be noted, however, that once installed, the lock itself was pretty sturdy and would require tools to remove.

Now, plenty of product reviewers at Amazon say the Vechkom works great and its alarm is very loud, rating it 4.2 stars. That's why we ordered it. However, this was decidedly not our experience. Here's an ideal example of why we buy and test the products we feature and don't believe manufacturer claims or rely on Amazon reviews for the facts.

TL,DR: As an anti-theft device, the Vechkom did not inspire confidence. Buyer beware.

How We Broke It: Drill.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0762H739T?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10048.g.46991530%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Vechkom Steering Wheel Lock with Alarm</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$65.99</p><span class="copyright">Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver</span>

How We Tested Steering-Wheel Locks

Since steering-wheel locks are touted as anti-theft prevention, we wanted to test them to their limits. So we took our locks to Regal U-Pull It to yank and swing without fear of damaging our cars.

During our tests, we unboxed each lock and installed it according to instructions, assessing the complexity and fit of each steering wheel and noting any special features of the steering-wheel lock.

For breakability, we first tried to yank off the locks with our hands. Next, we used a chisel and hammer. If that didn't work, we moved on to a drill bit. The last test was bolt cutters, usually the final straw for any lock.

best steering wheel lock
Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver


How do steering-wheel locks work?

Most often, steering-wheel locks prevent the steering wheel from being turned, making it difficult or impossible to steer or maneuver the vehicle. They are usually installed on the wheel, but some products choose different anchoring points, like the brake pedal or the seatbelt. They are often visually obvious to act as a deterrent. Some incorporate alarms.

Will a steering-wheel lock guarantee my car won't get stolen?

No, it does not. Most of the locks featured in this article were easily removed with a few tools. However, it's important to remember that these locks are primarily designed to prevent a thief from trying in the first place.

Can a steering-wheel lock be defeated?

If you've made it this far into the article, you'll know that steering-wheel locks can be defeated. But, it is an extra step that thieves must undergo, making you far less likely to be a victim of vehicle theft. As with most safety measures, preparedness is the key to prevention.

Why do people still buy steering-wheel locks?

Mainly because they are a visual deterrent to thieves. Plus, in a world of electronics-happy vehicles, where car hacking is the latest fad, good old manual locks can add a layer of security to our ever-growing hackable world.

Are steering-wheel locks universally compatible?

Not necessarily. There are multiple steering-wheel configurations and lock designs, so before you purchase a steering-wheel lock, it's advisable to read reviews and product descriptions to make sure it'll work on your vehicle.

a train is parked next to some yellow poles
Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver

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Hearst Autos combines the talent, resources, and expertise of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. The Gear Team has tested a wide variety of automotive products, parts, accessories, and gear, such as floor mats, leather cleaners, and interior cleaners. We get our hands on each and every product we test. Most are purchased; some are supplied by manufacturers.

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Visit our Tested & Trusted page to see the very best in automotive gear. Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.

Gannon Burgett - Car and Driver

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