‘It’s very uncomfortable’: Madison Hyundai drivers hope free steering wheel locks from police deter car thieves

2 Lock Giveaway 10 Frame 731

MADISON, Wis.- As thefts of certain Kia and Hyundai models in Madison and nationwide show no real signs of slowing, Madison Police hoped to arm drivers with free steering wheel locks at National Night Out Wednesday. 

 “I love my Hyundai, I don’t want it stolen,” said Sharon Hervig, echoing what any of the Hyundai drivers lined up outside the Madison Mallards stadium at Warner Park were thinking.  

MPD hoped 100 steering wheel locks donated by Hyundai could provide some peace of mind.

“Always lock your vehicles, take the valuables out of your vehicle, do what you can to protect yourself — but this is certainly a visible and proven deterrent,” said Sgt. Kurt Wege.  

Hyundai and Kia vehicles made between 2015 and 2021 have keys and fobs lacking an anti-theft chip. That makes it easy for thieves to break in, damage the steering column, and use anything to start the car. 

“That makes me feel good that the company’s like, hey, we made a mistake, and they’re willing to fix it,” Dakota Willis, another Hyundai driver said.  

“I think it’s good of Hyundai to cough it up, you know?” said Hervig.

According to Sgt. Wege, while the wheel lock won’t prevent someone from starting the car without a key, “it helps prevent the theft by preventing the turning of the wheel.”  

He demonstrated how to properly attach the club-like lock to the wheel.

“It’ll hit this pillar, hit the side of the door if that’s closed, or if you decide to put the long part over on this side it would hit the center console area.”  

Hervig said she’ll try anything to make sure her vehicle doesn’t become one of the dozens stolen last month, while also keeping it — and others — safe.  

“It’s very uncomfortable, you know, it’s a fairly new car, it’s new to me anyway and I don’t want to lose it and have it wrecked or somebody who’s 14 years old driving it and gets killed in my car,” she said.   

She has a garage, but others like Willis have to park their cars out in the open.

“I live in an apartment building and so either the parking lot or across the street from my building, so yeah, it helps a lot,” Willis said.  

He plans on keeping his Hyundai for at least a few more years, so the wheel lock has to work with a healthy level of caution.  

“Nervous, scared, more comfortable knowing I have this now though,” he said, holding up the wheel lock.

Beloit Police also gave away 100 wheel locks for both Hyundai and Kia drivers at their National Night Out event Wednesday.