How to break a steering lock

Written by joanne cichetti
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A steering lock is an accessory whose purpose is to keep your car from getting stolen. It's a fabricated bar that locks over the steering wheel and prohibits turning of the steering wheel more than a few degrees; it prohibits driving the car even if the ignition key is present. A steering lock is supposed to be unremovable without the key that comes with the locking device. But if you lose the key or damage it, you may find yourself stranded until you find a locksmith, who will charge you up to £48 or more to unlock the device. Fortunately, there is one way you can fix the problem yourself, and that's by breaking the steering lock. You can then purchase a new steering lock for future use.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 1 can Liquid Freon / liquid nitrogen
  • Heavy duty plastic bag
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Attachment used to inject Freon into a vehicle’s air conditioner

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  1. 1

    Don safety goggles and gloves before you get started on the project.

  2. 2

    Pull out the pin from the end of the Freon-injector attachment that looks like a tire’s valve stem. Do this before you attach it to the liquid Freon can.

  3. 3

    Keep your face and body away from the nozzle. Connect the attachment to the Freon can. The Freon will eject from the can with much force; so make sure that you point the attachment’s nozzle directly toward the steering lock. Ice-like build-up will accumulate around the lock.

  4. 4

    Discard the Freon can immediately by wrapping it up in a plastic bag. Now use a hammer to forcefully strike the lock, which is now covered by ice. The lock will shatter, releasing your car’s steering wheel column.

Tips and warnings

  • Due to the new environmental laws, Freon may be difficult for you to obtain. In case you are unable to find it, you can purchase a can of liquid nitrogen, which is cheaper than Freon and does not cause any harm to the ozone layer. While using either of these chemicals, be very careful not to let it touch your face or body.

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