How to Unlock Your Steering Wheel

car dashboard
It’s easy for most drivers to miss the fact they’ve locked their steering wheel until they start trying to get somewhere, but that’s probably what’s happened if you’re having trouble starting your vehicle and the key won’t turn in the ignition. That can be a little frustrating if you’ve never experienced it before, and yet learning how to unlock your steering wheel is simple.

We’re always happy to share service tips and tricks, so read on for everything you need to know.

How to Unlock Your Steering Wheel

If you suddenly find yourself stuck in the middle of Columbia or Lexington with a locked steering wheel, you need to take the right steps to avoid damaging any internal components.

Simply follow these tips:

  • Don’t Use Excessive Force: You can’t muscle your way out of a locked steering wheel, and trying to force the issue can damage key parts of the steering mechanism. Instead, turn the key to the ‘on’ position, then use varying pressure while moving the wheel steadily back and forth.
  • Try Slowly Turning theKey: If you can’t get your key to the ‘on’ position, slowly turn it while adjusting the wheel back and forth to help realign things.
  • Use a New Key: The team at our Irmo service center can always have a new key made. The old one’s shape may have deteriorated over time, so it may simply be that it is no longer able to engage the tumblers. Just make sure you visit an authorized Toyota dealer instead of a random Chapin auto shop.
Driving a car

What Causes a Steering Wheel to Lock?

Now you’ve learned how to unlock your steering wheel, you should learn what makes it lock in the first place so you can avoid such issues in the future.

It’s actually a security feature. If someone without the key attempts to move the wheel too much, it locks to keep the vehicle from being stolen. However, the wheel may sometimes lock if you accidentally knock it with something heavy or bump it as you’re climbing in and out.

Learn How To Lock Your Steering Wheel and More from Jim Hudson Toyota

Whether you need to schedule servicing or talk through vehicle maintenance issues, our team can help. For any further assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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