There are few things as frustrating as getting behind the wheel only to find that the steering wheel is locked. A locked steering wheel will keep you from starting or moving your car, and if you’re in a hurry, it’s the last thing you want to be dealing with.
But how exactly are you supposed to unlock a steering wheel? Because while jamming the key in and wiggling everything around might get the job done eventually, it’s incredibly frustrating and can take a ton of time.
The good news is that unlocking your steering wheel is easy – as long as everything is working the way it should. We’ll break this down into two sections, first for vehicles with a keyed ignition and then for vehicles with a keyless ignition.
Unlocking a Steering Wheel With Keyed Ignition
If you know which way you turned or pulled the steering wheel to lock it, you’ll need to pull or turn the steering wheel in the same direction to unlock it. If you’re unsure how you locked the steering wheel, simply work your way through all four options while trying.
Each car does it differently, so you might need to try and turn the steering wheel to the right or left, or you might need to push up or down on the steering wheel.
While maintaining pressure in the appropriate direction, turn the key in the ignition, jiggling it around a little as needed. That’s all you need to do – you should now have an unlocked steering wheel, and your vehicle should start!
Unlocking a Steering Wheel With Keyless Ignition
Unlocking a steering wheel on a vehicle with keyless ignition is a little different since you don’t have an ignition to jiggle the keys in. But in many ways, it’s similar.
First, you’ll need to apply pressure in the appropriate direction on the steering wheel. This means either turning the steering wheel left or right or pushing it up or down. If you know how you locked the steering wheel, you’ll need to do it the same way if you’re unsure, work your way through all the different options.
From there, press the start button without putting your foot on the brake. This should turn your vehicle on in accessory mode, which should unlock your steering wheel. Once the steering wheel is unlocked, all you need to do is depress the brake and hit the ignition button again to start your vehicle!
Why You Can Lock a Steering Wheel
When you’re struggling to unlock your steering wheel, it’s normal to ask yourself why the steering wheel locks to begin with. The truth is that it’s the anti-theft measure, and if you know what you’re doing, you can lock your steering wheel intentionally or prevent it from locking in the first place.
All you need to do to lock your steering wheel is to turn the wheel either to the right or left after you’ve shut off the engine and removed the key. You’ll hear a click, and this means that the steering wheel is locked.
Locking the steering wheel acts as a deterrent for potential thieves since when they get in the vehicle, they won’t be able to unlock the steering wheel without the key!
How To Unlock a Steering Wheel Without the Key
If you’re in a pinch and trying to figure out how you can unlock the steering wheel without the key, you’re out of luck. The entire purpose of the steering wheel lock is to prevent you from unlocking the wheel without a key.
But, if you need it unlocked and you can’t get a key, you’ll need to tear apart the entire steering column. It’s not easy, and it’s incredibly time-consuming – but of course, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, so a thief can’t make off with your car!
We’ve all been there, and it’s easy to get frustrated, but jamming things around isn’t going to fix the problem, and it can make things worse.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t need to use a ton of force when unlocking your steering wheel, and trying to jam everything into place can result in broken components. Also, avoid spraying anything into the ignition or steering column thinking it will help.
The steering wheel is supposed to lock, so spraying things into the wheel or ignition isn’t going to help anything – and it can result in damage. Finally, if you suspect a broken steering wheel lock, it’s time to get a professional to look at it.
Otherwise, you’ll need to tear apart the entire steering column to diagnose what’s going on. It could be a problem with the ignition, or it could be a problem with the locks themselves.