how to unlock steering wheel

How to Unlock Steering Wheel? (Quick & Easy Methods)

It is highly important to study how to unlock the steering wheel since your vehicle will not run with a locked steering wheel. Sometimes, your general knowledge might not be enough when it comes to unlocking the steering wheel if it is firmly locked.

With the right techniques, preventative measures, and understanding the underlying mechanics, turning this ordeal into a simple task is within reach. So, join our comprehensive blog post in order to ensure you’re never left wrestling with your steering wheel again!

How to Unlock the Steering Wheel?

Unlocking a steering wheel typically involves gently turning the wheel while turning the ignition key simultaneously. This common procedure resolves the issue in most scenarios.

  1. Sit comfortably in the driver’s seat, ensuring you have proper posture and a clear view of your car’s dashboard.
  2. Gently turn the steering wheel left and right. You’re checking to determine the direction it’s offering slight give.
  3. As you’re lightly turning the wheel, attempt to turn the ignition key. Avoid forcing the key; this could lead to breaking it inside the ignition.
  4. As soon as the key turns, the steering wheel should also unlock, allowing you to drive.

What to do if the Steering Wheel Won’t Unlock?

If the standard method that we explained above for unlocking a steering wheel doesn’t work, there are alternative approaches you can try. 

Check the Key and Ignition Cylinder

Sometimes, the issue might be with a worn-out key or ignition cylinder. Use your spare key to see if it unlocks the steering wheel. If the key turns but the wheel remains locked, the ignition cylinder might be the issue and may need replacing.

Lubricate the Lock

Apply a lubricant, such as WD-40, to the key and gently insert it into the ignition. We have seen this tends to work when the lock mechanism is stuck.

Jiggle the Wheel and Key Simultaneously

While this is a part of the standard method, applying varying degrees of pressure and speed while jiggling can sometimes yield results. Perhaps, the initial pressure and the jiggle you applied might not be enough to unlock the steering wheel.

Battery Check

Although this is not common, if the car has an electronic locking system and the battery is dead, charging or replacing the battery might help unlock the steering wheel.

Read our article on “Does steering wheel lock when battery is dead,” to know more about this.

Disconnect and Reconnect the Battery

Sometimes, resetting the car’s electrical system by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery can help.

If none of these methods work, we recommend to seek assistance from a professional mechanic. They can diagnose if there’s an underlying issue with the steering mechanism or locking system.

How Does Steering Lock Mechanism Work?

The steering wheel lock mechanism works by locking the steering wheel in place when the ignition is turned off and the key is removed. Inside the locking mechanism, a spring-loaded pin or bolt engages with a slot or notch on the steering column.

When you insert the key and turn it to the “on” position, it disengages the pin, allowing the steering wheel to move freely. In modern vehicles with keyless start systems, the mechanism is electronically controlled and disengages when the vehicle is started.

Does the Steering Lock Every Time When the Engine is Turned off?

Yes, in most vehicles, the steering lock engages every time the engine is turned off. This is a standard security feature that is available to prevent unauthorized access to the vehicle.

As explained above, when the key is removed from the ignition or, in the case of keyless systems, when the engine is shut off, a pin or bolt within the steering mechanism automatically locks the steering wheel in place. 

How to Unlock the Steering Wheel in Keyless Vehicles?

To unlock the steering wheel in keyless vehicles, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the Vehicle is in Park: Make sure the vehicle is in the ‘Park’ position for automatic transmissions or in neutral for manual transmissions.
  2. Apply the Brake: Press down on the brake pedal. This is a standard safety measure before starting the engine.
  3. Press the Start Button: Gently press the start/stop button found in most keyless vehicles while maintaining pressure on the brake. This action should power up the vehicle’s electrical systems and engine.
  4. Wiggle the Steering Wheel: Simultaneously with the above step, gently wiggle the steering wheel back and forth. This motion can help disengage the locking mechanism.
  5. Check the Dashboard: If the steering wheel remains locked, check the dashboard for any warning lights or messages indicating an issue with the steering lock system or battery.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *