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How to unlock steering wheels

A steering wheel locking into a set position is part of a vehicle’s safety features. The main purpose of a steering wheel locking is to prevent vehicle movement when no key, or the wrong key, is inserted into the ignition. However, it’s slightly irritating when your steering wheel has locked when you need to use it, or you’re in a rush for work. So how do you unlock a steering wheel?

How to unlock a locked steering wheel

Steering wheel won’t unlock? We’ve got some handy tips for you to follow to unlock your wheel:

Tips on how to unlock steering wheel

  1. Turning the key – begin by inserting the key into the ignition and see whether the wheel will turn. If the key turns into the ignition and starts the vehicle, the wheel should unlock with the ignition cylinder. If your steering wheel has locked, it’s likely because there was slight force on the wheel when the car was last switched off, causing it to activate the safety feature of locking the wheel.
  2. Gentle pressure - wheel still won’t unlock? Try and turn the key gently in the ignition, applying pressure to the key in the direction it would usually turn. Apply firm but gentle pressure until the ignition becomes unlocked – however, be sure to not apply pressure too far up the key, as this could cause the key to twist or even break in the keyhole.
  3. Simultaneous pressure to key and wheel - another top tip is to wiggle the steering wheel while turning the key. Establish which side of the steering wheel is locked (so essentially, which direction the wheel cannot move), and then apply pressure in the other direction. If you have previously struggled to unlock your steering wheel, this process should work – as it’s combining the action of turning the key with the pressure of the wheel simultaneously. Apply steady pressure to the wheel, and don’t be tempted to shake or rock it to unlock – as this will likely not work, and could damage the locking pin.

Now you’ve learnt how to get a steering wheel to unlock from our handy tips, discover the range of motoring services we offer here at your local PTA garage. Any other motoring queries, get in touch with a member of our helpful team today.