How Reliable is "The Club" in Preventing Auto Theft?

Do thieves routinely steal cars equipped with the Club? I remember years ago, someone told me that it was practically useless and that car thieves would buy freon and freeze the metal, and then crack it open with a hammer. Then someone else told me that they could easily cut the steering wheel.

I don’t want to spend alot on an alarm system, since the Club is obviously cheaper. But are there any statistics that show how reliable it really is?

A professional thief won’t be deterred by it for long. I’ve seen a demonstration on TV (sorry, can’t remember where) in which a car thief took a hacksaw, sliced through the steering wheel in 15 seconds, and slipped The Club right off. The professional thief couldn’t care less about a damaged steering wheel - that’s not where the money is.

I imagine it would stop the more casual thief, but it would be my guess that statistics are hard to come by.

I recall a TV news item from 5 or so years back, describing how police had busted some big car-theft “chop shop” operation.

They showed a giant pile of Clubs in one corner. The thieves apparently loved the things – very easy to defeat, and a visible indication that there’s probably nothing else to worry about.

There is a steel dish you can use in conjunction with The Club (I don’t know if it is made by the same people) that seems pretty effective. Essentially the steel dish surrounds and covers the entire steering wheel and is locked in place by The Club. This makes it virtually impossible for a would-be thief to saw through the steering wheel (certainly not in a short amount of time).

Other than that Early Out is correct. The Club is easily gotten around VERY quickly by a prepared (carrying a saw) car thief.

I’m guessing “The Club” will function only as a tie-breaker… or to prevent 14-year-old non-professionals.
If one car has the club, and another doesn’t, and they both have the same value on the secondary parts market (read fence value), then the one without the club would probably get stolen.

From a simular show, or maybe the same one…commentator said that you would be better off hiding in the bushes with the club in your hand, so you could beat the car thief with it as he attempted to get in your car.:smiley:

I have seen a demo on TV of a retired thief using a can of compressed gas. (Freon™ would be way too expensive in recent years.) A few seconds of spray and a tap with a hammer. Lock innards went bye-bye.

But cutting the steering wheel is probably the most common method. A hacksaw blade is easier to conceal and lasts longer.

I think this is actually the point of most security systems, whether on your car, in your house, boat or wherever. It’s usually not cost effective to make burglary, break ins, car theft impossible. But you can help your odds a lot by making your car/house/whatever, just a little bit harder to break into so that the a*hole just moves on to the next one.

I have no idea where this ancient knowledge comes from, but The Club uses wafer pins, which are easy to pick. Wow, I don’t know anything about lockpicking or even what wafer pins are. Maybe they weren’t called wafer pins. But the locks on The Club are easy to pick. I think that’s what I remember.

That was weird.

Several years ago, my car had a Club lock on the steering wheel, but the car was stolen nonetheless. Fortunately, the car was recovered undamaged, but the Club was gone. All around the steering wheel and the dashboard behind it was some powdery substance, which may have been residue from a compressed gas (probably not Freon®) used to freeze the lock before breaking it.

I think several people are referring to an infomerical that is hawking something that is supposed to lock around your clutch or brake pedal, thus making either impossible to start or dangerous to drive. No idea if that really works any better.

Just an aside… in 1996 I was walking down a shady street in Budapest and at that time most cars on the road were East German Trabants. There were perhaps 30 of these cars (all the same tan colour) parked ina row dow the street. In the middle there was a late model BMW and the “Trabby” next to it had a Club.


For those who have never seen it, this particular device fits over the steel bar that supports and works the brake pedal, keeping it from being depressed, and thus keeping the car from being shifted out of “park.” I beleive it can also go on other pedals, too.

Their selling points are that the lock is much harder to pick and much tougher in make than that on the Club, and that the part it attaches to is much tougher than the steering wheel, thus making it “impossible” (though this is only the commercial version of “impossible,” I’m sure) to remove with a hacksaw. (One point that they don’t mention, but I’m sure is a factor, that since this thing is supposed to go into the floor of a car, it prevents thieves from just sitting in the driver’s seat and doing their magic; they almost have to kneel by the open door, half in and half out, to work at it, which is more likely to attract attention).

Like asterion I have no personal knowledge as to their arguments about whether there’s really no way to drive off the car, or how tough that part of the brake pedal (or any pedal) really is. But it certainly looks heavier than the Club to me, which may or may not count for something.

Yes, someone cut my steering wheel and stole the Club! They did not get the car because it has a fuel kill switch that the thief could not find. See


I now have a device that goes over the air bag and the steering wheel, as well as the brake lock device mentioned by others.

My son tells me that although dearer, this thing is unbeatable.

Don’t cars come fitted with alarms and immobilisers? Most, new cars come with a factory fitted alarm in Ireland and people often also use a device like “the Club” or an Autolock - device that covers the handbrake and attaches to the gearshift (we have a lot of them here). Or if it is a desirable car, people often use a heavy chain and a padlock through the steering wheel and the seat mounts.

But they are all just devices to persuade the theif to take a different car - if he wants it, he will get it no matter what you do.

Yeah, standard eqiptment for a car thief is a pair of stout bolt cutters. With them, the thief can easily get through a steering wheel or a break or clutch pedal. Either way, the car can still be driven away after these devices are removed. I’ve found the best protection is still noise and flashing lights. The trick is to have the scurity system independant of the car’s batery, i.e. an additional battery to keep the thief from quickly disabling the alarm. My friends have designed custom systems like this but I’m not sure if there is one on the market or not.

I’m thinking that the cheapest, reliable system for me is to use The Club (for deterrence) AND a kill switch (for prevention).

Also, preferably wooden. Not one of those aluminium ones.

The ones that I have seen, if I understand what you’re talking about, hook onto the pedal lever below and the steering wheel above. Thus they have the same vulnerability to cutting the steering wheel.

Does anyone know of such a pedal-immobilizing device that hooks to something other than the steering wheel?