How Steering Wheel Locks Actually Work? – Expert Guide 2021

With the cases of carjackers on the rise, it is important to keep your car safe at all times.

There are various methods to ensure the safety of your vehicle when either parked in public establishments or shared home parking spaces.

In this post, we’ll confine ourselves to the Steering Wheel Locks…

What is Steering Wheel Lock and how does it work?

A steering wheel lock is a mechanism that is put in place to lock your steering wheel in case anyone tries to move the car without putting the key into the ignition.

This mechanism was invented by a Korean War Veteran, James E. Winner Jr.

His military days had inspired him to secure the steering wheels their soldier company’s’ cars with metal chains. This ideally immobilized the vehicle in case anyone tried to make away with it.

It comes in two types: the manual steering wheel lock and the In-built steering wheel lock.

Let’s get to know about each of them better:

Manual Steering Wheel Lock

This device is fixed onto the car's steering wheel. There were varied manufactured designs that resulted from James Winners concept. The first design involved a steel bar being placed over the wheel and brakes making it impossible to steer or brake the car, respectively. This model was known as The Club.

Following designs involved two interlocked pieces laid over the steering wheel with a larger part protruding out and also making it impossible to steer the car.

As of every device, there are critics who don’t believe in the safety that the manual steering wheel locks provide. They claim that professional carjackers have a work around.

 However, not most carjackers are professionals in the least, with most being druggies and joy riders, and this should be put into consideration.


This device was designed to prevent your car from turning for more than a few degrees in any direction. No one can get far in that.

This device not only acts physically but also visually. Any thief who sees this bar device on the steering wheel would be dissuaded from trying to steal the car but would rather target cars without the instrument.

When these devices started being replaced by inbuilt locks in the UK, there was an influx in car thefts that caused most police to encourage citizens to go back to using the manual steering wheel locks.


The pitfall that arose from these devices was that they could easily be out maneuvered by use tools such as a hacksaw to cut through the instrument.

This prompted innovations that led to the creation of inbuilt steering wheel locks.

In-built Steering Wheel Lock

Newer car models have an inbuilt steering wheel lock. If you hear a clicking noise when exiting the car and try to move it, but it won’t budge, then your vehicle has it internally installed.

A spring loaded lever is released, and this engages a slot that locks the steering mechanism as soon as any steering action is initiated after the key has been removed.

This lock system not only locks the steering but your key system too. To unlock it you will have to turn the key in the 'on' position while simultaneously slightly moving the wheel in the direction it allows you.

By doing this, the pin that engaged the slot is retracted by the spring back to its tumbler, and this releases the steering mechanism. The key turning should be done gently to avoid breaking it while in the slot.


You will not have to keep carrying around a piece of metal and continuously locking and unlocking it from your steering wheel and brakes.

It is also designed to prevent your car from turning in more than a few degrees in any direction.


This inbuilt system just like most features in electric cars can be easily hacked and disengaged.

There is the danger of turning your steering wheel or key too forcefully that may lead to steering damage and key breaks respectively.

NOTE: You don’t have to move the steering wheel after you have removed the key to initiate the lock mechanism. It automatically sets in motion when any steering mechanism is initiated.

This makes it harder to release the lock each time, and if this is a habit, then it may lead to wearing off of the entire mechanism.

Also, in the case of inbuilt steering wheel lock systems that refuse to unlock, you should seek professional help to avoid damaging your car.

Final Thoughts

Both these steering wheel locks have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the long run, steering wheel locks are an excellent addition to your overall car safety system.

It may not be an ideal stand-alone safety feature, but when conjoined with other physical security features, including alarms or even locking your car doors, it should provide the needed protection for your vehicle.

How Effective Are Wheel Locks? Are They Necessary?

Many vehicle owners go the extra step to pimp their rides with customized alloys, aluminum wheels or rims- all of which enhance the look of their cars.

Besides looks, these customization significantly improve the value of your car.

Doing all these customization on your car will definitely cost you a lot of money and you’ll be more than determined to protect your precious investment at all costs…

…and that’s where the wheel locks come in.

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How effective are wheel locks in protecting your vehicle wheels?

Let’s get into some basics first…

As you already know, the wheel lock is specially designed lug nut that will protect your spare tires, as well as the tires that drive your car, from theft. To do this, they securely bolt your wheels to your car- most packages require you to use one lock per wheel.

And unlocking these bolts is ONLY possible using a special key that comes with the package.

A smart way to deter thieves who plan to steal your car tires, right?

If you buy the best quality wheel locks, from reputable brands, I can guarantee you that you’ll enjoy the effectiveness associated with them. In other words, you’ll enjoy a list of benefits that I’m going to discuss with you below:

  • Firstly, You’ll have a peace of mind knowing that nobody can easily tamper with your car wheels. If you’ve been loving in worry and fear of thieves making away with those expensive alloy rims you recently installed on your car, a wheel lock is the surest way to keep them from getting lost/stolen.

This is especially true for folks who live in areas where theft of vehicle parts are high!

  • Another reason why I’d advise you to invest in wheel locks is that they’re way cheaper compared to replacing your rims or wheels. Imagine if you woke up one day to find your wheels/rims missing? You’ll definitely have to spend a good amount of bucks to replace them.

What if you’ve invested in wheel locks? You’d always wake up to find your aluminum wheels and alloy rims safe.

  • Did you know that the presence of wheel locks on your vehicle is sufficient to drive away thieves? Yes, when they come to your car and sight these handy security tools, their hopes of obtaining your expensive tires will die away…they fully understand that only a special, unique key can open that lock, so they’ll just move ahead to the next vehicle in the parking lot without wheel locks.

Should you install wheel locks in your vehicle?

Yes, you should. As long as you want to protect your vehicle wheels or alloy rims from getting stolen, nothing should stop you from investing in these useful locks.

The way I see it, the wheels are the only part of your car that can’t be easily tracked down. They don’t come with specific identities or serial numbers and it’ll almost impossible for the law enforcement officers to track them down. Even if they’ll succeed, they’ll take longer than you can imagine.

The same way you can easily rotate and remove/change your car tires using the appropriate wrench the same way thieves will steal your precious investment if you don’t take this step of installing the wheel locks.

One more reason why you need to invest in wheel locks is that they’re extremely affordable…they’re way cheaper compared to the other car tracking system you invest.

So, why don’t you protect your pricey tires/alloys by using an extremely cheap but powerful security tool?

Final Verdict

If you’ve recently installed those expensive wheels on your car, you know that they’re an instant attraction to everyone including thieves. That means you need to be very wary of waking up one morning to find them gone for good.

Luckily, you can protect your precious possessions using wheel locks which allows only you to tamper/remove/change your tires as you’re the only person holding the special key required to unlock them.

In my view, wheel locks are 100% effective and 100% necessary in this age!

How Do Wheel Locks Work? Expert Guide 2021

A good number of automotive owners swear by the wheel locks. This security equipment simply acts as a replacement for your car lug nuts and can only be unlocked using a special key they come with.

With that said, they’re seen as the most secure way of protecting .your car tires and rims from getting stolen/lost…and sending you back to the car parts stores.

But how does a wheel Lock work to ensure your wheels remain safe at all times?

Let’s take a look at the working mechanism of a wheel lock below…

If you head to the market right now to buy a wheel lock, this is what you should expect:

A typical package comes with about 4-5 wheel locks plus a special removal tool (basically the unlocking key). Keep in mind that these nuts look different than the original lug nuts that come with your car. They feature a special shape.

 And are usually bigger than the standard nuts to prevent the standard socket from easily fitting and unlocking them; that is, you’ll only need a special key to remove these nuts/locks from your wheels.

How To Install Wheel Locks

The process is extremely simple and you can do it on your own- no expert skills needed.

You’ll need to have a set of wheel locks for the four wheels of your car. Remove ONE lug nut on each of the 4 wheels of your vehicle. And replace each of them with the wheel locking nuts.

That’s all.

Remember to safely store your spare lug nuts…you might need these in future- for instance when you buy new tires for your vehicle.

Wheel Locks- Working To Secure Your Vehicle Wheels

Now that you’ve installed only one lock per wheel, how will it protect your vehicle from the notorious car parts thieves?

Well, the thieves will successfully remove all the other four lug nuts you didn’t replace. But when it comes to removing the fifth one (the lock itself) it’ll take them years and they’ll never remove it. That means they can’t take your wheels.

And oh! The sight of the wheel locks alone will drive these thieves away. Trust me; they already know how the locks look like and just seeing them will alert them that they won’t easily get away with your vehicle, so they’ll just walk away and leave your wheel unhampered.


Sometimes you might feel that installing only one lock per wheel isn’t enough to protect them. Vehicle owners who install new expensive aluminum wheels or alloy rims can associate with this statement; they tend to grow overly protective of their new wheel because they can already feel the pain of losing their pricey investments.

In such cases, you can go ahead and replace all the lug nuts on your car wheels with the locking nuts. Only a special key will be required to remove all of these nuts.

And that translates to tighter security!!

Storing Your Wheel Lock Key

Where should you keep your wheel lock key? That would definitely be in a safe, totally secure place.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean a safe place like your glove box. We’ve all heard cases of thieves breaking into cars and getting access to the special lug nut keys which they use to successfully remove the wheels.

I’d suggest that you keep your lock somewhere safer- like under your seats, in the trunk, in any special compartment.

While still on it, don’t make the mistake of leaving this key at home. Because you don’t want to imagine what would happen when yup get a flat tire and you’re far, far away from home.

Final Thoughts

Wheel locks have steadily grown in popularity in the past few years, and continue to do so, do to their effectiveness in protecting your car wheels from potential theft.

 They act as a replacement for the original lug nuts that come with your car. And come with a special key which ensures that no other tools can easily remove them (and hence steal your vehicle wheels).

You can opt to replace just one lug nut or all them in each of your car wheels with the locks.

Again, ensure you keep your key somewhere safe, secure, and within reach.

How Does Combination Lock Work? Expert Guide 2021

If you’ve used a combination lock before, you must be very fascinated by its ability to keep your valuables secure…Whether it’s your gym box, school locker, bike, etc.

Everyone else swears by this lock.


Have you ever wondered how this lock works to keep your items free from illegal access?

I bet you have; just like me and many other users out there.

Below, we’ll take a trip inside the combination lock in an attempt to understand exactly how it executes its excellent security mechanism.

PS: This description refers to all combination locks regardless of brand/manufacturer.

Let’s start with the basics…

A typical combination lock comes with a wheel pack that specifically out the locking function. That is, they feature a group of wheels that “know” your code, and once you dial it in, they allow you to open your combination lock and access your stuff.

So, how does the wheel “understand” your password?

I know you’re already familiar with the dial that rests on the face of your lock. Your lock attaches to a spindle behind, which goes through the wheels I’ve just told you about and then attach at the back of the drive cam.

The number of wheels behind your dial translates to the number in a given combination. Other than the spindle, the lock also features a drive spin- located against the top part of the drive cam. Its job is to make contact with what is referred to as wheel fly (on the back wheel), prompting each wheel to spin.

That is;

As you spin your lock dial, the drive pin makes contact with each of the wheel flies present, making the entire wheel to spin.

Opening Your Lock

On top of the fly, all the wheels present in your lock come with a notch. What’s the notch used for? You might wonder…Whenever you input the right combination code for opening your lock, these notches perfectly line up. And this opens your lock so that you can access your valuables.

What if you enter the wrong code (or someone else tries opening with a wrong code)?

As you already know, the lock hardly opens.

It comes with another feature known as the fence- a small metal bar that runs parallel to spindle. The job of a fence is to prevent your locker, safe, box, etc., from getting open without the right code being entered. To do this, it simply rests on the wheels of your lock- blocking the path of the bolt securing your locker door.

Keep this in mind:

When all the wheels in your lock get aligned in the correct positions, their notches become aligned such that they form a gap. Due to its own weight, a fence will fall into this gap and allow you to open your lock.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how a combination lock works. Given that the names used for different parts found inside the lock are easy to understand and directly related to the lock’s working mechanism, the whole process is extremely easy to understand for everyone.

Again, this is the basic principle followed by all types of combination locks out there regardless of size, company, design, etc.