Steering wheel locks are not mandatory.
I wanted to post this in the "buying" category of "buying and selling", but I don't see a way to do that. Edmunds forces me to choose a brand of car so I chose Toyota because it is the most popular. I want to warn everybody that some new and some used cars do not lock the steering wheel when the ignition key is removed. This may not be important to some people. It would be an advantage if you plan to flat-tow the car. It is important to me because the last time a car was stolen from me, the thieves used a tow-truck like this because, that one night, I forgot to turn the steering wheel before locking the car in my driveway. And the thieves still know where I live. The problem, as I see it, is that nobody is talking about this. The car magazines didn't tell me. The new car dealer didn't tell me. The manufacturer didn't tell me. The NHTSA didn't tell me. I bought a new Miata last Summer and I found out the steering wheel didn't lock on the sixth day of ownership. I had not seen a new car without a steering wheel lock since 1968. Checking for a steering wheel lock before buying a car would have been as strange as checking to see if the front brakes were connected to the master cylinder. To make a long story short, it took about 10 days and the loss of possession of the car for a day for Mazda to tell me that it was not equipped with a steering wheel lock. For those 10 days, I was afraid to drive it because I thought the steering wheel lock was malfunctioning and might lock up while I drove it. Eventually, they told me that Miatas had not had one since the 2009 model. The NHTSA said if a manufacturer proved to them that the car was hard to steal because of some other anti-theft device, it would grant a waiver of the steering wheel lock requirement for that model. I believe, if the steering wheel is not locked, raising the rear wheels will change the kingpin inclination so that the front wheels will caster and the towed car will follow the directly behind the tow truck. I may be wrong about that; if anybody knows, say something. I have no doubt that if the front wheels are turned and the steering wheel is locked, the towed car will be towed at an angle that will take up another lane, and that will attract attention. Thieves don't want attention. And they don't want to take the time to break into the car and break the steering wheel lock. I now know to check to see if a car has a steering wheel lock before I buy it. I want everybody else to know. I asked the NHTSA for a list of cars that had been granted a waiver and I have been waiting for a response for 23 days. An acquaintance has told me that his 2013 Volt does not have a steering wheel lock. If you know of another car sold in the USA in the last 44 years without one, list it here. And spread the word.