If your steering wheel is locked, you won’t be able to start your car: either your ignition switch won’t turn, or if your car has a start-stop button, you’ll see a warning light about the steering lock. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to unlock a steering wheel and get your car started with the following simple steps. If you suddenly find yourself stuck in the middle of Columbia or Lexington with a locked steering wheel, you need to take the right steps to avoid damaging any internal components.
Follow these tips
Don’t Use Excessive Force: You can’t muscle your way out of a locked steering wheel, and trying to force the issue can damage key parts of the steering mechanism. Instead, turn the key to the ‘on’ position, then use varying pressure while moving the wheel steadily back and forth.
Try Slowly Turning The key: If you can’t get your key to the ‘on’ position, slowly turn it while adjusting the wheel back and forth to help realign things.
Use A New Key: The team at our Irmo service center can always have a new key made. The old one’s shape may have deteriorated over time, so it may be that it is no longer able to engage the tumblers. You visit an authorized Toyota dealer instead of a random Chapin auto shop.
Cars with an ignition cylinder
The steering wheel lock is directly connected to the ignition cylinder. To unlock a car steering wheel, use your left hand to wiggle the steering wheel left and right with significant force. At the same time, use your right hand to turn the ignition key from the LOCK position to the ACC (accessory) or START position.
Cars with a start button
The steering wheel lock is essentially an electronic deadbolt. Wiggle the steering wheel with your left hand, using significant force. At the same time, use your right hand to tap the start-stop button. Do not step on the brake. These steps should put your ignition in ACC mode and unlock a steering wheel without starting the engine.
The steering wheel lock can wear out, break, or glitch in other ways. Try spray lubricant or a different key on vehicles with an ignition cylinder. If the ignition cylinder is worn or broken, replacement might be necessary. Check that the key fob battery is good on push-button start vehicles, or try a different fob. If you still can’t unlock a steering wheel, you may have an electrical or electronic problem.
The best way to prevent a locked steering wheel is to steer the wheel where you want it, rest the vehicle on the parking brake, release the steering wheel, put the transmission in PARK, and shut off the engine. Then, don’t touch the steering wheel until you’re ready to start the engine again.
Causes of a locked car steering wheel
Most of the time, a locked steering wheel does not mean there’s a problem with your vehicle, but simply that you have engaged one of its safety features. The lock only activates if the vehicle is turned off and you turn the wheel a few degrees left or right, at which point the lock will engage with one of the lock slots, preventing it from moving any further.
There are two good reasons for the steering wheel lock to engage.
First, it’s an anti-theft device: if someone breaks into your car, the steering wheel will be locked in one direction.
Second, it’s a safety device: when you park on a hill and turn your wheels toward the curb, the locked steering wheel will keep the vehicle from steering down the hill if the parking brake fails.
How To Deal With A Locked Steering Wheel?
- First, insert your key into the ignition switch and turn it without too much force. If the key turns, then the steering wheel will be unlocked. Should you have difficulty turning the ignition switch to the ACC position, turn the key while turning the steering wheel right and left to release the tension.
- When the steering wheel is locked with a pin on one side, you will only be able to move the wheel in the other direction. As you turn the key, give pressure to the steering wheel in the direction the wheel moves.
- Do not keep shaking the wheel from side to side. Such an action can harm the locking pin, therefore lowering the chances of your wheel becoming unlocked.
- If your key is worn and does not seem to make it through the process, draw out the key inserted in the ignition a little, and then turn it.
Once the unlock a steering wheel, you are now good to go! If the problem persists, we highly recommend a visit to one of our Kia Service Centers as soon as possible.
How to unlock a car steering wheel?
Follow the steps below for unlocking steering in no time:
- Pull the wheel down in the same direction you did when the wheel was originally locked.
- Try both ways if you are unsure which direction is correct. You will notice that the wheel moves slightly when you pull in the right direction.
- Hold your steering wheel in the right direction, and insert your key into the ignition. Try to start the engine.
- If the wheel doesn’t unlock and the engine doesn’t start, repeat the step above while turning the wheel in the other direction.
- You should have now successfully unlocked your steering wheel!
Helpful tips when unlock a car steering wheel
You do not want to cause any damage when unlock a steering wheel, so it can be beneficial to follow the tips below:
Be Careful: Brute force will not unlock a locked steering wheel. All it will likely do is damage parts of the steering mechanism. Instead, follow the steps above while applying pressure.
Try a Different Key: If you can’t turn the key, it may be the key that is the issue. A worn key may no longer engage the car’s tumblers. If you think that your key is to blame, bring it to the service center at The Autobarn Volkswagen of Countryside, and we can get you a replacement.
How to lock your steering wheel intentionally?
Did you know that locking your steering wheel could be beneficial? It can provide an extra level of security for added peace of mind. If you would like to lock the steering wheel intentionally, all you need to do is follow the steps below:
Turn off your car and take the keys out of the ignition. Turn the steering wheel one way until you hear a click. Your steering wheel will lock until you return. Follow the steps above to unlock the steering wheel, and start your car. Ask the Team at The Auto barn Volkswagen of Countryside
If you still have any questions about how to unlock a steering wheel or any other vehicle maintenance task or issue, like strange car noises, do not hesitate to reach out to The Autobarn Volkswagen of Countryside team. You can also set up an appointment to have your vehicle looked at by a professional who knows the brand.
Steering wheel lock-up can occur on older cars. However, it is uncommon. Most common causes of a steering wheel locking up while driving are problems with the power steering system or steering rack/column issues, steering rack/column or suspension issues, and a car ignition lock issue or sharp turns.
The ignition cylinder is directly connected to your steering wheel lock. Use your left hand to move the steering wheel up and down with considerable force. Your right hand should be used to move the ignition key from the LOCK to the ACC (accessory), or START positions.
The problem could be dust or dirt in the cylinder that causes the pins to remain in an partially raised position . It may be possible to fix the problem if that is the case. Spray the keyway with lubricant and insert it a few times until the lubricant works.