CHICAGO — Some car owners who rely on anti-theft steering wheel attachments to prevent auto theft are learning that club-style devices are anything but foolproof.
The idea behind the contraptions is pretty simple: thieves won’t be able to steer the car if you lock a metal rod across a vehicle’s steering wheel.
Kia and Hyundai have been issuing the devices to people who own their cars while the automakers try to fix design flaws that allow their vehicles to be operated by thieves who substitute a simple USB plug for the ignition key.
Unfortunately, as one Lakeview man recently discovered, the thieves can remove the devices by simply cutting through the steering wheel.
This particular car owner drives an Infiniti, another car model popular with car thieves, supposedly because the vehicles’ key fobs are easy to clone.
After getting his stolen Infiniti back, he put a club-style device on the steering wheel while parked. Within days, his car got stolen again.
How? As you can see in the picture above, the thieves simply sliced through the steering wheel and slid the metal rod off.
Alternatively, many YouTube accounts claim the devices can be easily removed by drilling out the locks:
Crafty thieves have been defeating club-style devices for decades. Years ago, they discovered that blasting the locks with Freon could force them open. The designers fixed that problem.
The anti-theft companies have also created a new design with two prongs that wrap around the steering wheels on each end. That was supposed to make it more difficult for thieves, who would have to slice a steering wheel in four places to remove the device. A YouTuber claims some of those devices have flaws, too: