Removing "The Club" Steering Wheel Lock Deviceby John Albers
What Is "The Club"?
The Club is a patented car-theft prevention device that is designed to prevent a car from being successfully driven. It's essentially a stainless steel bar with an extender in the center. Pointing outward from either end are hooks that fit into the insides of a steering wheel. When locked in place, the club takes up so much space that it prevents the steering wheel from being successfully turned, rendering any car incapable of being driven until it's removed. The Club can only be removed conventionally with a key, fitting into the integral lock at the center of the bar. Sometimes a car owner may misplace or lose her key, effectively stranding herself until a locksmith can be called to remove the device. This costs both time and money. Thankfully there are other ways to remove The Club in a pinch, though none that will leave it intact for further use, unfortunately.
The best way to remove The Club without the aid of a key requires a can of Freon, the same chemical used to recharge a vehicle's air conditioning unit. You also need the valve stem attachment that comes with it and a hammer or other heavy metal tool. By connecting the valve stem to the can of Freon and then spraying the Freon directly into the slot of the lock, one can cause the metal of the lock to ice over. Keep in mind that Freon under pressure such as this is dangerous if inhaled and should never come into contact with human skin. It's so cold that it will actually cause the metal of the lock to become brittle. A stout impact with a hammer, wrench or tire iron will shatter the frozen metal, allowing The Club to be removed.
Because of the relatively thin shaft of The Club, the lock in the center is not very sturdy. A flat-head screwdriver can be inserted into the lock and driven inward by means of a hammer. This will strip the thin gears of the cylinder in the center of the lock. The gears would typically only align if a key were inserted, but they can be sheared clean off with brute force, allowing the cylinder of the lock to be turned and opened with a simple twist of the screwdriver.