Cars are awesome! To some people, their vehicles are their identity!
However, an issue like having the steering wheel locked up while parked is embarrassing and a reason for headaches. Worse still, you will not get any signs before it happens.
The steering wheel lock system is a component for safety in vehicles. Modern automobiles have a variety of safety features to avoid theft. The steering wheel lock is one of the features to deter theft.
When your car is not on the move or is parked, it is best to lock the steering wheel. With a locked steering wheel, no one can start your car, and the ignition will not turn so that you will avoid issues like theft .
However, the steering wheel may work inaccurately. Sometimes, you leave the car at the parking without locking and, on return, find the steering wheel parked. It can be scary and irritating at the same time.
So what do you do when this happens?
Why Does My Steering Wheel Lock ?
It is essential to understand what causes steering wheel lock when parked. Here are the common causes;
1. A Safety Feature
Mostly, you will find your steering wheel lock when parked if, for instance, you have tried moving your vehicle’s wheels a bit either on the right or left with the car engine off.
As a result, one of your car lock slots will block, causing the car to get stuck. It happens mainly when your car has an anti-theft steering wheel lock.
2. Dirt and debris entering the steering wheel lock chamber
If dirt enters your car’s ignition chamber, it will contaminate it and cause the engine to stop automatically locking up your steering wheel.
3. A bad or worn out key
The steering wheel might lock up when your key is worn out or maybe bent. The ignition steering lock cylinders may also wear out, affecting their performance and locking up.
4. Internal wearing
Although this is not very common, wearing out of internal components can cause the ignition cylinders to lock.
Other causes of steering wheel locked up while parked include;
- The engine control unit has a problem; hence its sensory has issues.
- There could be insufficient delivery of fuel which might result in engine stalling and causing the steering wheel lock.
- Sharp turnings can also cause your steering wheel to lock. When you take sharp turns habitually, you increase the possibility of the steering wheel lock.
How to Unlock a Locked Steering Wheel?
Before you start this process, ensure your vehicle is parked on neutral ground, and then follow the following steps respectively;
Insert your car key in the ignition to turn your vehicle on. If this trick works, good for you, It is your lucky day.
Primarily, this is the most popular solution to the issue. Since mainly, you might have put pressure on the wheel unintentionally when you were turning off your car, and the steering wheels got locked. If the ignition key does not work, let’s go to the second step.
If, after inserting the key, it does not move gently and the steering wheel is still locked, put more pressure than usual. As you turn the key, ensure you turn the wheel in every direction as hard as you can.
However, you should note that too much pressure will break your key, making it even more, worse, so be careful.
Also use a screwdriver to help you pull out the steering wheel.
You should lookout for a plate with a small rod about 3 inches long; that is the lock.
Now pull the rod out and then use the screwdriver for replacing the steering wheel.
In case you lack a key, try removing the steering wheel. First, remove the steering column and if you find an airbag system, remove it first. The process might be different depending on the cars.
Now you can locate the ignition hole. Look for plastic tables in the ignition. If they stick, use the screwdriver to remove them. However, be careful enough not to damage your steering wheel.
I hope this helps you unlock the locked-up steering wheel.
However, if the above steps do not help, here is a process for unlocking exceptional cases;
- You can push-start your car to unlock it. Here, you push your start or stop button as you depress the brakes and try moving your steering wheel.
- For cars that use a hydraulic power steering system, add up fluid if it requires a change. Also, check if your steering pump has issues and take it to the service centre for fixing.
- If your car is electric like Tesla, the vehicle might shut down. So, if you experience this, try powering it on and off. If it does not work, take your car to the service centre.
What Happens When The Steering Wheel Locks?
What follows after the steering wheel locks will depend on various situations of your vehicle. Incidents that may occur are;
The steering wheel might lock when you drive because of steering arm failure. In such a case, you will not be able to turn to the right or left. This type of lock makes the car lose direction, and you might lose the ability to turn a corner.
The steering wheel might also lock up when you have parked your car. When it locks up at parking, the ignition button fails to turn, and you will not be able to start your vehicle. Some vehicle models have a warning light that indicates that your steering wheel is locked up.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is The Steering Lock Worth It?
Steering wheel locks are worth every penny because they act as an anti-theft feature for your car.
However, sometimes they can malfunction, as discussed in this article.
Steering locks are effective in protecting your car in that if a vehicle attempts stealing your car they won’t be able to steer it.
That means the thief will not be able to drive your car.
Do Steering Locks Lower Insurance?
As thieves use more sophisticated ways to steal your vehicle, car technology finds a way to advance even more.
That means the steering lock system is an excellent method that has been tested and proven to prevent theft, hence keeping your car secure, which reduces your vehicle’s insurance premiums.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix The Steering Lock?
The cost for fixing the steering lock depends on the part, labour and the cause for a replacement since the steering system consists of many components.
However, most of the repairs will range from $150 to $1000
Final Thoughts on Steering Wheel Locked Up While Parked
Steering wheel lock has a vital role in the car, just like any other car component.
In this regard, the steering lock is an anti-theft feature in your car, which is essential in protecting your vehicle from theft while in parking.
However, sometimes, the steering wheel might get locked while parked when you don’t want it to, and you have not initiated it. Meaning the steering wheel might work inaccurately and lock up when not needed. Therefore, if the situation happens, try using the steps in this article to unlock the steering lock.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.