If you have ever had a problem starting your car, especially when you are in a hurry and ready to start the day, then you know how frustrating it can be. You have tried everything you know, and yet it just wouldn’t start. We are publishing here expert suggestions on how to unlock steering wheel for you to acquire knowledge on this subject.
The funny part is that you have turned the key several and it just won’t give. The thing is, the key isn’t the issue – your steering wheel is. Now that you know where the problem is coming from, it means there is help on the way.
And that is why today’s article will be focusing on how to unlock steering wheel. At the end of this piece, you will learn the two basic ways you can unlock it without a key.
You will also learn about other issues that can affect your car unexpectedly and how to be prepared.
Why Do Steering Wheels Lock?
I know you may wonder why your steering wheel will all of a sudden lock when you didn’t do anything to it. The simple truth is that every time you turn off the ignition and remove your car key, the steering wheel locks.
It is not magic, but a simple safety feature that the manufacturers put in place so that your car doesn’t accidentally move on its own.
Another thing for such is to prevent car theft from mischievous people who might want to power your car using hotwire technique. Now that you know why your steering wheel can lock up, it’s time to learn how to unlock it.
3 Major Reasons Steering Wheels Lock Up While Driving
Issues with power steering pump
If you have experienced steering wheel lock, the reason may be as a result of the power steering pump jamming expectantly.
In the past, there were no such issues as power steering pump failing because vehicles didn’t have much in the past.
Those days, all that was required was your arm muscles when turning the car. But with the invention of the power steering pump, cars can be now be steered conveniently and easily without stress.
Even though it is a very useful innovation, it is also quite delicate. This is why whenever your car engine dies without warning, especially while you are on the wheels, you find that the power steering pump even dies.
Taking sharp turns
If you always form the habit of making sharp turns, this may be the reason you are experiencing steering wheel lock.
It may seem unharmful at first, and you may have gotten away with it several times. However, your car’s transmission system pays for it in the long run.
You may enjoy the sharp turns, which make you look like a superstar, but your engine frowns deeply at it. And this is why your steering wheel can lock. If your power steering pump gets stuck, it can lead to a steering lock.
Now that you know sharp turns aren’t right for your car to try to take turns gently and slowly as this is a good lesson when learning how to unlock steering wheel. This reduces your chances of your steering locking up as a result of this.
Car ignition lock
Sometimes, you may find that your car key won’t turn even when you have tried it several. It is worse when you are trying to turn on or even turn off your car engine.
You may have heard car mechanics refer to such a situation as a “sudden lock up.” This is a very risky thing that can happen, especially when you are at high speed.
Don’t wait for a sudden lock-up to happen to your car before you do something about it. Once you notice anything off with your ignition contact, make sure you reach out to a mechanic as soon as possible.
How To Unlock Steering Wheel And Tools Needed
You must know of the tools you will need for this task. Before you start getting scared, these are things you probably already have in your home. They are just three of them:
- A screwdriver
- Socket sets and
How to unlock steering wheel – Option 1
Step 1 – Insert key and turn wheel concurrently
In some cases, the reason the steering wheel got locked in the first place is that you mistakenly did so without meaning to.
If this is the case, all you need to do is to insert the key in the ignition switch, and then turn the steering wheel simultaneously.
Turn the key from side to side while turning the wheel and observe if you get a clicking sound. If this happens, it means your steering wheel has been successfully unlocked.
But be careful not to exert too much force when turning the key in the ignition so that you don’t damage the lock mechanism.
Step 2 – Get the spare key
I know this article is mainly on how to unlock steering wheel without a key, but the reason we are still bringing in these steps that involve the key is to solve the issue if the problem is from the key.
For this second step, the reason you need to try out the second or spare key is in case the key you have been using is worn out. Yes, the key can lose its shape over time.
This is usually the case with cars that are bought second new. But that isn’t a problem. Just get the spare key, put it in the ignition and see if works. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Spray some WD40
A WD40 is a lubricant spray that helps with preventing rust, easing penetration, and replacing moisture. Now that the steps above do not seem to be working, its time to try spraying some of this lubricant into the ignition spot.
It will melt out any solidification and help with the lock cylinder by easing the way for the key to turn in the ignition and start the car. Just insert the key in the ignition and gently turn it sideways.
How To Unlock Steering Wheel – Option 2
This section involves more technical stuff. So, you should get in touch with your car mechanic to help you out with it if it sounds very professional to you. If you want to try it out yourself, ensure you go through your car manual before attempting this.
Step 1 – Separate the column panels located in the steering wheel
While we are still on the topic of how to unlock steering wheel, the next step is to carefully loosen the screws in the lower part of the steering wheel.
Once you are done, go ahead and press the cover tabs to reveal and unlock the lower half of the part. Set aside the column cover and then remove the upper part of the column cover.
Step 2 – Clear the lock cylinder
Now, you can see the lock cylinder in the ignition compartment. The next thing is to press the lock release tab continuously as well as turning the key until the cylinder moves.
When the cylinder lock moves back, you have succeeded in this step. But do not be in haste to remove any part in the lock cylinder.
Step 3 – Install a new lock cylinder
Get the old key and insert it into the new lock cylinder and insert it into the steering column lock. Once this is done, make sure the lock cylinder is sitting properly, and then turn the key in full. If this is successfully done, you can then set back the columns again.
Step 4 – Reinstall the columns
The final step is to reinstall the column panel for the upper part and then the lower part. Ensure that the clips are properly engaged and then screw in the locks.
Quick Reminders On How To Unlock Steering Wheel
Your steering locking up while you are driving can be a scary thing. Here are some quick tips and tricks to remember when such happens:
- Clean the steering pump as this can free up the solidification that may be causing the steering wheel lock
- Get a new ignition switch system as the old one may be the reason your wheel is locking up
- Spray some power steering oil in the ignition slot for some lubrication
- Get a new power steering pump because the old one may have worn out
- Clean up the steering wheel column
- Avoid making sharp turns as much as you can
We hope that this article has helped in teaching you how to unlock steering wheel with or without a key. While you are trying out the steps listed in this article, remember to routinely take your car to a mechanic for routine check-up and maintenance.
It is also a good idea to get a mechanic to have a look at your car to find out what the real issue is. This is very important if you have tried everything you safely can, and nothing seems to be working.