How to Unlock Steering Wheel – Mechanics Point of View

How to Unlock Steering Wheel - Mechanics Point of View

How to Unlock Steering Wheel – Mechanics Point of View

HomeAutomotiveHow to Unlock Steering Wheel – Mechanics Point of View

As a mechanic, you might be coming across people who barge into the garage stating their car is not working and need to be towed this very instance. This might not disturb you until the problem turns out to be the locked steering wheel. Many times, in such cases, the car steering lock get jammed in such a way that you are not able to even turn the ignition key. This problem can be the result of a moving wheel with a jerk in a certain direction or the fault in the ignition system or broken lock. As a mechanic, you need to have all the tools and information on unlocking the steering wheel as the reputation of the garage usually depends on the service provided by you to the customers.

Tools needed to Unlock the Steering Wheel:

If you’re new to steering locking problems, understand that you don’t require the entire tool kit to solve this problem. Just collect –Screwdrivers
Socket Set

Ways to Unlock Steering Wheel:

Unlocking steering wheel is a tricky job as you cannot see the damage, don’t know how the steering got in this position but most importantly, you don’t wish to damage the car further. There are few easy ways to unlock the Steering in a few minutes.Trick 1 – Inserting Key in Right Way: Most car owners tend to force the key inside the lock in a hurry. The wrong angle often locks the steering wheel. To unlock the wheel, insert the key in the correct angle and turn the steering to left and right in simultaneous motion. This will release the locking mechanism and the wheel will be fixed. Remember while performing the work, never exert pressure as you will accidentally break the locking mechanism.
Trick 2 – Use of Spare Key: One mistake which can lead to locking of the steering wheel is the use of a damaged and dirty key. Prolonged use of one key can dull the edges which often don’t work with locks. If the car key is dirty and damaged then ask the owner for the new key. If luck favors you, the car steering will unlock immediately. However, if the car is a used one, it might not have a spare key. In that case, clean the key and use the #1 trick.
Trick 3 – Use of WD40 Spray: If both the trick doesn’t work, try spraying WD40 directly on the ignition slot. One or two sprays will be enough to clean dirt and debris and free the lock cylinder. Wipe the area clean and insert the key to turn back and forth. This will release the locking mechanism.
If none of these tricks work out then you need to replace the Ignition set.

Tips to unlock the Steering Wheel through Ignition Set Replacement

Every brand car is a bit different but the ignition system remains the same. If you are new to the steering lock problem, go through the car’s owner manual to know before you open that part. With the help of these steps, you will be able to solve the unlock steering wheel by replacing the ignition set. Release the Column Panels: Take the screwdriver and remove the column panels on the lower part of the steering wheel. Just lightly press the tab on the cover to dislodge it. Remove the upper column is a similar fashion.
Removing the Lock Cylinder: To free the lock cylinder you need to identify the release tab in the ignition lock system. Once you locate one, press it and turning key simultaneously will set the cylinder free.
Reinstall the Columns: Now you have unlocked the wheel, it’s time to reinstall the columns. Start with the upper part first and then fix the lower. Check if every clip is correctly placed and is locked well.

How to Install the New Ignition-Lock System

When not a single trick works for a locked steering wheel, it’s time to replace the entire lock system. Once you open the ignition panel as mentioned above, insert the new lock cylinder in the steering column. Make sure that the lock takin the lock cylinder is correctly placed before you insert the key. Check if the key is turning to full. Once every part of the steering wheel is working and ignition is happening, close back the columns again.

Points to Remember:Do check the power steering fluid. If it is low or empty, this can elevate the steering lock problem.
Never use excessive force on closing or opening the lid as it can damage the part of the vehicle for which you can be blamed and charged.


Steering Wheel problem can occur because of many problems. Try to unlock it by using simple tricks mentioned above. Only when all the ideas fail, you need to open the lock panel to determine if needs some repair or replacement work.

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