How to Break a Steering Wheel Lock

by Genae Valecia HinesmanUpdated July 21, 2017
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Items you will need

  • A can of liquid freon or liquid nitrogen (if freon is unavailable)

  • The attachment used for injecting freon into a car’s air conditioner

  • A heavy duty plastic bag

  • Hammer

  • Safety goggles

  • Heavy work gloves


Freon is more difficult to obtain because of new environmental laws. If you have a chemical supply house nearby you can purchase a container of liquid nitrogen. It costs less than freon, won’t destroy the ozone layer, the fumes are not toxic, and it is faster and more effective than freon. Note: Some luxury automobiles have built in steering locks (i.e.-Mercedes). If you have one of these, and you need to break the steering wheel lock, you should place a screwdriver into the keyhole, pound the end of the screwdriver with a hammer, and then use a wrench to turn it. According to online resources, this should work well.


Both freon and liquid nitrogen are potentially dangerous if they come into contact with your face or body. Use extreme caution when following these tips. Make sure there are no pets or children in the immediate area. Freon is getting more and more difficult to come by because of new environmental laws. However, if you have a chemical supply house nearby you should be able to buy a thermos of liquid nitrogen. This is even cheaper than freon, will not destroy the ozone, the fumes won't kill you, and is far more effective than freon. Disclaimer: This information is intended to assist car owners who have been prevented from driving their OWN cars due to a malfunctioning steering wheel lock, or a lock to which they have lost the key. This is NOT to be considered instruction for car thieves! Neither this writer nor this website and its affiliates assume any responsibility for how this information may be used or misused.

It may be unfortunate, but it does occasionally happen: you have lost the keys to your steering wheel lock. Chances are, you were using the popular device called “The Club”. The local police cannot unlock your vehicle’s steering column without removing the steering wheel, and at times, even this is not possible. A locksmith could be the answer, but service such as this will cost you up to $75 or more. Lucky for you, there is a way to fix this problem for yourself.

Put on the gloves and goggles

Pull or unscrew the pin out of the end of the attachment (it will resemble the valve stem on a tire) BEFORE you attach it to the can.

Hold the nozzle away from your face and body. You must connect the attachment to the can of freon. When you do, the freon will forcefully be ejected from the can. Make sure to point the nozzle directly at the lock on The Club. You will see heavy ice building up in and around the lock.

Dispose of the can immediately into the plastic bag.

Take the hammer and strike the iced-over lock forcefully. It should shatter, breaking The Club and releasing your steering wheel column.

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