No matter how strong the windows are, or how advanced the security system is, your vehicle is still in danger of being stolen. That’s why steering wheel locks were invented: to prevent people with no access from hijacking the car and driving away. Also known as “the Club”, these devices have proven their worth over the years and are very popular all around the world.
But there’s a catch: if you don’t have the keys (say, you lost them or forgot them at home), it will be pretty hard to remove the Club. There are a couple of tried-and-true methods for getting it off and gaining back control over the ride, though! So, join me, and let’s see what the average driver can do to remove the lock and hit the road!
How does the Club Work?
So, what is this “magical” device all about? How does it work, exactly? There’s nothing fancy about it, to be honest. Essentially, it’s a bar (usually crafted from stainless steel) with hooks on both ends. As you’ve probably already figured out, those hooks grab onto the steering wheel from the inside, locking it down. That way, the steering wheel has no room for turning. The engine can still be fired up, of course, and the car will start.
However, with no means of twisting the wheels, you’ll most likely end up in an accident. Now, the Club comes with a key and you just fit it into the center of the locking mechanism and disengage it. I highly recommend making a copy just in case. Otherwise, you’ll have to call a locksmith and pay a pretty penny for his services. They usually charge 100 to 300 dollars. Or, you could try one of the following workarounds and fix everything by yourself.
Method #1: Using Chemicals and Wrenches
The most effective remedy against a Club is a refrigerant (preferably a non-combustible gas formula). Freon is a good pick for this. Originally, this solution was created for air conditioning, but you can use it to literally freeze the lock. Make sure the package comes with a valve stem because it will be much harder to use it properly without one. So, what you should do is attach the stem to the bottle/can of the refrigerant and spray the formula into the lock.
Once it gets into the slot of the lock, it will cause the metal to freeze, making it fragile and brittle. The next step would be to grab a wrench, hammer, or anything heavy and strong enough to break iced over metal. Yes, it sounds pretty brutal, and you will, most likely, ruin the Club, but this method is actually quite useful and gets the job done. Besides, since a decent-quality locking device costs 20-30 US dollars that won’t be a very big hit for your budget.
This is important: propellants slash refrigerants can be harmful to humans when inhaled. They can even hurt the skin. Therefore, wear protective gloves and a mask to keep yourself from harm’s way. A quick note: you gotta be extra careful not to damage the steering wheel or the windshield. And if you’re a bit clumsy, you may even end up activating the airbags.
Since most modern-day cars don’t allow resetting them, that will cost a fortune. I’m talking about three to five thousand US dollars! So, if you’re not 100% sure you can pull this off, it might be a good idea to wait for a locksmith to arrive.
Method #2: Screwdrivers and Hammers
Ok, let’s move on to the second technique. Overall, the Club is pretty strong, but its main shaft isn’t very tough or thick. Plus, as we already learned, the lock that’s located in the middle is far from being sturdy. So, you can put a screwdriver (or a long and pointy piece of metal) into the lock and push it in really deep using something heavy (a hammer would be ideal).
Here’s what you should do: with the improved “key” sitting really tight inside of the lock, start turning it to open up the Club. Make sure the screwdriver has reached the cylinder because it needs to become one with it and make the cylinder twist alongside with it. Now, the cylinder is protected by a set of gears, and they’ll resist your movements. The good news is – it’s very well possible to overpower them even if you’re not very strong.
When you have to hurry to work in the morning, and the keys for the Club are lost, the day can quickly turn into a disaster. But hey – now you know how to get rid of it even if you lost your keys and there’s no spare! While you will need at least a hammer and a screwdriver to pull this off, it’s still a lot better than calling a professional.
They’ll charge a lot for taking the locking device off and bringing the vehicle back to life. If you still have some questions about the Club and how to “handle” it, don’t hesitate to reach out. And if you know a couple of secret tricks that you’d like to share with fellow drivers, please, go ahead and do that in the comments section!