Photo: Chevrolet Newsroom/Courtesy
Even by the standards of the crazy times we’re in right now, this is weird, even for car thieves. They’re stealing flyers. That’s nothing new, as those expensive airbags inside the center of the steering wheel can pay off for the cheeky. But there’s a more puzzling layer of steering wheel theft happening more recently; specifically targeting Chevy Malibu steering wheels.
Thieves easily steal Malibu steering wheels
Cars provide an endless supply of material for thieves. Catalytic converters, gas and for those with bolder ambitions; the whole car, and stealing gasoline directly from gas station storage tanks. But specifically, in and around Detroit, the chosen flyers come from Chevy Malibu sedans. Shattering the driver’s window and hooking the steering wheel takes only a couple of minutes.
Why can it take months to get replacement Malibu steering wheels?
And then the owner is left with the replacement of said window and steering wheel. But that’s just the beginning of the annoyance because, at least in the Detroit metro area, Malibu flyers are backordered. Some dealers have to wait months before replacements arrive. That means your Chevy Malibu is out of service by the time it takes to get a new steering wheel.
Why Malibu frills?
If you’re wondering why the flyers are being easily stolen from the Chevy Malibu, it seems that by removing two screws, the steering wheel comes out directly. So it’s a quick and easy way to grab a wheel and go. And with a lot of common ground for components like these, airbags should have applications in many other vehicles.
And there are plenty of Malibuses out there. Although sales were down last year, over the last five years there are almost 600,000 of them. The Malibu has been a source of income for Chevy for years. And it still is for airbag thieves.
What do the police recommend?
Of course, the police will tell you what they tell everyone who is a victim of a catalytic converter/air bag/gasoline/tire theft; lock your car, park it in a garage or gated compound, or in a well-lit area. Security cameras are also useful. They are getting cheaper, especially the ones that are built into your front door chime.
Steering wheel lock bars are also recommended. Yes, they can be cut, or the steering wheel can be cut to remove. But in these cases, the thieves will probably leave it on and steal the steering wheel with the Club attached.
But if you own a Chevy Malibu in the Detroit area, take a few extra precautions. You don’t want to have to wait for months while your car sits behind a repair shop waiting for the next delivery of flyers.
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