How Do You Repair a Locked Steering Wheel?

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Determining the reason why the steering wheel is locked is the first step in repairing it, and somtimes repair is as simple as jiggling the wheel while turning the key. A locked steering wheel could be caused by dirt in the ignition, a bent or broken key or a damaged or broken ignition. Also, the type of steering lock mechanism will affect the type of repairs that are necessary.

Before considering repair:

Some steering wheel issues do not require repair. Many cars have a theft deterrent feature that locks the steering column when the key is removed from the ignition. This feature causes the steering wheel to become almost immobile and is normal. Adjusting the position of the steering wheel and trying to turn on the ignition may allow the wheel to unlock.

Dirt in the ignition:

If moving the steering wheel within its slight locked radius is possible but the key will not turn, there could be dirt in the ignition. Dirt can be removed by spraying small amounts of electrical cleaner into the ignition. This method should not be used in vehicles with high security keys.

Bent or broken key:

If the key is broken in the ignition, then a locksmith's services are required.

Damaged or broken ignition:

Removing a broken ignition is a detailed job that requires disconnection of the battery ground cable, removal of the steering wheel, and replacement of the ignition.