Tips and advice

Best steering wheel locks to buy 2021

As key thefts and car hacks become more prevalent, a traditional steering-wheel lock can still act as a powerful deterrent

As vehicle security systems have become more sophisticated, many criminals have resorted to stealing car keys or keyless car theft. This means your car could be stolen from your driveway in a matter of seconds without little drama, leaving you with no car and increased insurance premiums. According to research carried out by the DVLA in 2019, a car is stolen every nine minutes in Britain. This has led us to take another look at the best traditional security measures, which are making a comeback.

It’s a somewhat ironic turn of events, as it was improving security software that saw the popularity of steering-wheel locks plummet, as immobilisers made it almost impossible to steal a car and some predicted car theft would eventually die out altogether. Instead, car thieves have simply shifted their tactics.

How to avoid keyless entry car theft

Fitting a clearly visible device like an old-fashioned steering lock could be just enough to make your car less desirable to criminals. An electronic hacking device might allow a criminal to drive away your car in near-silence, but the tools and effort required to remove a wheel lock should create a lot more noise and slow thieves down.

How we tested them

Our testing focused on steering-wheel locks and we rated them for their potential to deter thieves, their simplicity of fitment and ease of storage. We first took into account how easily they could be removed by cutting the steering wheel or using a drill to tamper with the lock with the help of vehicle security security specialist Mike Briggs, who has more than 30 years’ experience. Mike is also president of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, and founder of specialist security consultancies VSST and TASSA.

Next we fitted the steering wheel locks to a range of different test cars to assess how they fit before securing them to a specially made rig. We then started the stopwatch and Mike tried to remove them using brute force and a range of power tools. As well as the length of time it took to remove them, we also took the amount of noise we made, value for money and ease of use into consideration.

Read on for our list of the best steering wheel locks...

Stoplock Pro Elite review

  • Best price: £59.99
  • Time to defeat: 5 minutes plus
  • Rating: 5/5

The Stoplock Pro Elite is a worthy winner, although the Milenco came close to stealing the top spot. Despite Mike’s best efforts to remove it, the Pro Elite resisted. You may remember we tested the standard Stoplock Pro last year and, while they’re very similar in terms of functionality, the difference is that the Elite can be fitted to cars with larger steering wheel centres and costs an additional £10.

How was the Stoplock able to withstand Mike’s forces? Well, it’s extremely easy to use and boasts an almost unbreakable design. The highly visibly yellow bar, which also acts as a deterrent, is inserted through the steering wheel and a double hook at the opposite end is then secured between the spokes. This essentially means that the Stoplock can only can only be removed if a thief hacks at the steering wheel and cuts it in multiple places.

Buy now from Amazon

Milenco High Security Steering Wheel Lock review

  • Best price: £59.99
  • Time to defeat: 5 minutes plus
  • Rating: 4.5/5

The Milenco is clearly a favourite among buyers. This is evident by the vast number of awards the packaging bears from other independent tests. Using power tools and making a great deal of noise, it took more than five minutes to free the lock and remove the Milenco from our rig.

While it’s one of the more compact steering wheel locks on the market, it is slightly tricker to use in comparison to the Stoplock above. We’d recommend watching a few instructional YouTube videos to familiarise yourself with how to fit it.

Buy now from Amazon

Streetwize Full Steering Wheel Lock review

  • Best price: £36.99
  • Time to defeat: 4.5 minutes
  • Rating: 3.5/5

The Streetwize offers full-wheel protection in place of one bar. The key reason it sits ahead of the Dislock is simply because it costs less than a third of the price. That said, its cheaper price tag does bring with it some compromises. It’s quite tricky to fit and the lock keys are quite bulky, making them fiddly to insert.

Nevertheless, the Streetwize held its own against most of Mike’s methods to force its lock open, only buckling under the use of power tools. If you plan to use a steering wheel lock regularly, say after every journey, then the Streetwize probably isn’t the right one for you. But we can confirm that it will keep your car safe and won’t break the bank.

Buy now from Amazon

Disklok review

  • Best price: £119.99
  • Time to defeat: 5 minutes plus
  • Rating: 3.5/5

When we last tested the Disklok, we rated it so highly that it secured the second spot in our list of indestructible steering wheel locks. A thief would only need to look at the steel full-wheel case to know it will require time to remove. Alas, like the Streetwize, it’s quite a chunky and fiddly piece of kit to fit every time you park your car.

During our most recent test, however, the Disklok didn’t fit securely to one of our test vehicles. When we reported this issue to Disklok, the company said this was because the steering wheel design on this particular car would require a different size lock. Dislock has since amended the instructions regarding the importance of choosing the correct size for your vehicle.

Buy now from Amazon

Monojoy Steering Wheel Lock review

  • Best price: £26.99
  • Time to defeat: 1.5 minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

If you do a quick search on Amazon you’ll notice that the Monojoy is ‘Amazon’s Choice’, boasting a number of positive customer reviews. You’ll also notice that it’s one of the cheapest steering wheel locks here but that doesn’t mean it’s good value for money. The quality of the lock itself and even the packaging and instructions leave much to be desired compared with other locks here. Similarly, unlike most of the others that are finished in a highly visible yellow to deter thieves, the black and chrome colour scheme is barely noticeable from outside the car.

It’s not all bad news, though. The Monojoy does still offer good protection against thieves equipped with hand tools, resisting Mike’s forces for a good minute and a half, thanks to sturdier materials. It’s much easier to store and fit too.

Buy now from Amazon

Streetwize Steering Wheel Lock review

  • Best price: £17.49
  • Time to defeat: 10 seconds
  • Rating: 2.5/5

The Streetwize ticks all of the right boxes when it comes to size, ease of use and weight. Finished in vibrant yellow, it will instantly deter the casual thief too. It’s very similar to the Halfords Essentials lock, listed below, but is much smaller, with keys that will neatly link to your keyring without causing too much annoyance.

Unfortunately, the Streetwize doesn’t quite live up to its name. Mike only needed to use his hand tools for a mere seconds before the lock gave way.

Buy now from Amazon

Halfords Essentials Double Bar Steering Lock review

  • Best price: £19.99
  • Time to defeat: 5 seconds
  • Rating: 2/5

Although slightly bulkier in size when compared to the Streetwize lock, it looks almost identical and functions in the same way, with four hooks and two sliding bars instead of one of each. These lock either side of the steering wheel spokes helping to keep it secure.

Practicality is where it lost points. Attaching the steering wheel lock wasn’t too complicated but when it came to removing it safely with the keys, things got quite fiddly. Almost like a screwdriver, a cross-shaped key needs to align with the lock - we’re not entirely sure this would even be possible in the dark. Ironically, Mike was able to break the lock using basic hand tools faster than we could unlock it with the actual key.

Buy now from Halfords

Halfords T-bar Steering Lock review

  • Best price: £21.99
  • Time to defeat: 
  • Rating: 

While it sits at the bottom of our list, Halfords’ T-bar is the most compact and convenient to use of all the locks we’ve tested. Since the clasp can fit over a spoke, it’s near impossible to remove by cutting the steering wheel.

Boasting another attractive price and being a clear visual deterrent, it’s a great piece of kit for everyday use. But when it comes to keeping your car as secure as possible, you’ll want to go for one of the pricier and sturdier options. The T-bar could only manage a few seconds of brute force before succumbing to Mike’s efforts to break the lock.

Buy now from Halfords

Steering-wheel locks are a great way of putting off car criminals, but to keep your car safe, why not read our in-depth guides to car security and car insurance.

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