These easy-to-install car anti-theft devices effectively deter criminals.
Though we never want to imagine it happening to us, car theft is a reality. In 2020, the FBI reported 810,400 stolen vehicles in the U.S.
After some serious homework, we’ve found the best car anti-theft devices to deter criminals before they attempt to steal your car. These security devices will help protect your vehicle whenever it is parked in the open — whether in a public parking garage or on the street.
And you may find that the added peace of mind from using these devices is worth the additional step when parking your car. If you have ever been a victim of auto theft or vandalism and felt that internal sinking feeling, you will likely agree that taking added precautions to reduce the risk of a repeat break-in or stolen vehicle is a worthwhile investment.
And a little tip from us? Time is the enemy when someone is attempting to steal your car. Having multiple security devices potentially extends the time to defeat them, which increases the likelihood that the thief will move on and choose another target. Also, consider installing a GPS tracking device on your vehicle to help authorities find it if it does get stolen.
After searching for the best car anti-theft devices available, we discovered that steering wheel locks are the most popular and preferred option because they’re quick, convenient, and distinctly noticeable. To slow or hinder a potential car thief even more, consider adding a secondary anti-theft device.
A sound security approach entails using a combination of anti-theft devices such as an immobilizer, brake lock, tire lock, and an aftermarket alarm system.
Steering wheel locks adjust to fit most steering wheels. They are easily attached and removed, and they come with a key. The wheel lock prevents a steering wheel from turning, thus rendering the car immobile.
Brake locks attach to the clutch or brake pedal and are then locked in place with a key. They prevent operating the pedal so the would-be thief can’t shift or brake.
Immobilizers, engine disablers, or ignition kill switches disable the engine by disconnecting the starter, ECU fuse, or fuel pump. For engine disablers that require keying in a code or flipping a switch, it’s best to hide them out of sight in a secret location.
Wheel lock clamps act as a tire boot to keep it from rotating. If you plan on going out of town for an extended time and your car will be left unattended, a tire boot lock is a solid option to prevent vehicle theft.
For any type of anti-theft device you decide upon, verify fitment for your specific vehicle beforehand. In addition to the four types of locking devices mentioned above, other anti-theft device options include GPS tracking devices and aftermarket car alarms.
The Best Car Anti-Theft Devices
Below, we’ve outlined the best car anti-theft devices on the market today. Depending on your preferences and use case, you can find one, or a few, suitable to your needs.
Along with our buying guide with the best products, we’ve also answered your most frequently asked questions surrounding car anti-theft devices. With these impressive devices, keep reading to learn how to add extra security to your car.
- Best Overall Choice
- Best Budget Choice
- Best Premium Choice
- Best Wheel Clamp Lock Choice
- Best of the Rest
Best Overall Car Anti-Theft Device: Winner International “The Club” 3000 Steering Wheel Lock
Winner International is a recognized brand for automotive, household, commercial, and outdoor recreation security devices — and their reputation is well deserved. The Club 3000 is durable, dependable, and easy to use.
It checks all the boxes for the best anti-theft car device to deter criminals from stealing your car: chromoly steel construction, reinforced lock housing, and a bright yellow protective PVC coating that calls attention to itself.
The twin-hook design and reinforced lock housing of The Club 3000 makes it harder for thieves to defeat. Unique to The Club is a patented self-locking feature — with a single pull, you can set and lock the device on your steering wheel.
When it comes time to unlock it, simply use the key provided. Because of the vibrant yellow color, criminals might reconsider before attempting to break into your car.
Best Budget Car Anti-Theft Device: Cal Hawk Battery Cut-Off Kill Switch
This budget-friendly gadget wears a lot of hats in terms of utility for your car. A kill switch can help prevent battery drain when storing and working on cars.
And in the event of an on-track accident, a kill switch can be used to cut power on race cars to prevent fires. You can also use a kill switch as a car anti-theft device, and the inexpensive, 12-volt, 300-amp Cal Hawk kill switch serves as a good security measure.
When flipped, this switch will immediately stop the electric flow to the battery, preventing the car from turning on. In terms of installation, you will want the kill switch hidden from the would-be thief but in a spot that is easy for you to flip the switch on and off. Popular options are under the seat, in the trunk, under the dashboard, or in a glove box.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing basic electrical work to install the switch, contact your local auto maintenance or stereo install shop for help.
Best Premium Car Anti-Theft Device: Disklok Steering Wheel Lock
The Disklok Steering Wheel Lock looks like one of the best, fanciest anti-theft car devices — and that’s because it is!
Made of hardened steel, the Disklok has a locking barrel with an internal disk for added security. The patented, award-winning design covers the entire steering wheel making it very difficult for a thief to remove it. It also has an extended bar to frustrate potential thieves further if they try to drive away.
Depending on the size of your steering wheel, you can get a size small (13.7-15.3 inches), medium (15.4-16.3 inches), or large (16.4-17.3 inches). To find what size you need, measure your steering wheel’s diameter.
This steering wheel lock comes with three keys, a nice bonus if you are prone to losing or misplacing your keys. Disklok recommends separating your car keys from your anti-theft device key. To illustrate, if a criminal were to steal your car keys, they would still not be able to remove the steering wheel lock.
With your purchase, Disklok offers a 3-year mechanical warranty.
Best Wheel Clamp Lock: TURNART Wheel Clamp Lock
A wheel clamp is an excellent deterrent for car thieves. Right off the bat, it is unmistakable. This particular tire lock from TURNART is bright yellow, making it highly visible day or night.
Moreover, the upgraded lock is tougher to compromise compared to the copycat brands. Weighing a hefty 13 pounds, the heavy-duty steel and aluminum alloy clamp resists sawing, prying, and freon attacks.
The clamp arm and disc cover have a PVC coating to protect the wheels. The 14-inch reach and 15-inch wraparound dimensions will fit common wheel sizes for cars, trucks, campers, and trailers.
Manufactured of high-quality aluminum alloy and steel — which resists freon, sawing, and hammer attacks — the Universal Steering Wheel Brake Lock from Tevlaphee is less visible but still valuable at making it difficult for thieves to drive away with your ride. Along with being highly effective in preventing car theft, you can also use this device as an escape tool to break a window or windshield if needed.
In terms of design, the double-lock cylinder provides extra strength and makes it more difficult for thieves to compromise once installed. For sizing, this lock is adjustable for most cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs where the distance between the brake pedal and steering wheel is between 22.8 to 33.5 inches.
After installation, simply use the key to lock and unlock the device. Both sides of this lock have solid steel hooks wrapped in a wear-resistant plastic coating to keep it securely in place. And it comes with a protective strip on the hook to reduce any marks left behind on the steering wheel.
Consumers mention Tevlaphee has terrific customer service available should any issues arise.
Get Peace of Mind With the Best Car Anti-Theft Devices
To ensure that your car’s anti-theft device works correctly, measure before purchasing to verify that the specific hardware will fit your vehicle. Once you secure the anti-theft device, perform a quick check to confirm that it is installed properly and fully locked.
And, just like your car keys, keep the key to the device somewhere safe where you can easily find them so you don’t risk getting locked out of your car.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If I Lose the Key to My Car’s Anti-Theft Device?
First, you’ll likely need to call a locksmith to remove the anti-theft device from your vehicle. Sometimes, car anti-theft devices come with two or three sets of keys. You can unlock your device using the spare if that’s the case.
The next option is to contact the manufacturer. More often than not, you’ll need to purchase a new anti-theft device because most do not have spare keys available for security reasons.
If I Have a Car Alarm or Security System, Do I Need an Anti-Theft Device?
Though a car alarm will usually go off if someone breaks into your car, it may not deter the thief or prevent it from being stolen. An anti-theft device is a visible deterrent and a physically secure method to prevent a vehicle from being stolen.
We recommend ensuring that your car alarm works and installing a passive or active anti-theft device for added security.
Does Using Car Anti-Theft Devices Lower My Insurance Premium?
Insurance premiums vary according to the provider. In some cases, an installed GPS device can potentially lower your premium. Certain insurance companies may offer a lower premium with anti-theft devices installed. The discount can range anywhere from 2.5% to 30%.
What Else Can I Do to Prevent Car Theft?
- First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings
- Always remove valuables from your car
- If you can’t remove valuables altogether, move them out of sight
- Keep a watchful eye on your car keys
- Remember to lock the car doors
- Try to park in the most secure location possible
How Does a Kill Switch Work?
A kill switch stops the electrical flow from your battery or ignition system through a fuse installed in your car. Check out this guide for information on how and where to install a kill switch.
What Are the Most Commonly Stolen Cars?
According to the list of the 10 most stolen cars in the U.S., the full-size trucks from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Dodge all made the list; Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry were the top three most stolen vehicles in 2020.
Looking at the past decade, Japanese cars have taken eight of the 15 spots on the list. The Honda Accord was the most stolen car of the decade. Recently, Ford and Chevy pickups have been the main target of car thieves in 32 states and rank at the top of the list for most stolen vehicles from 2019 through 2021.
What Is the Easiest Car to Steal?
Theft of two automaker brands is trending because of social media videos demonstrating how simple it is to hotwire them: 2011 or newer Kia models and 2015 or newer Hyundai models. However, using a steering wheel lock and some type of engine immobilizer could dissuade potential thieves.