Sometimes it may happen that your car’s steering wheel will just not turn when you try to start your car! Before rushing to a car mechanic immediately, here’s what you need to know about steering wheel lock.

Why does the steering wheel lock?

Steering wheel lock system is incorporated into a vehicle as part of its safety feature and is usually turned on to prevent any vehicle movement when a wrong key is inserted, or when there is no key. Technically, this can also happen when your car reserved some force because you probably didn’t turn off your engine the right way, for the last time you drove. One of the most common reasons why steering wheel gets jammed is when people use the steering to get off the vehicle and therefore, that is exactly the reason why the steering wheel often gets locked towards the Right-hand direction.

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How do you unlock the steering wheels?

  1. If your steering is locked, you will feel a bit harder to turn your steering in one particular direction and the other one would have a springy feel. To unlock the steering, you would need to slowly turn the key so that the wheel gets unlocked with the ignition cylinder. Turning the key helps to generate some ignition to unlock your steering wheels. In most cases, you would require turning your wheels to the ‘right’ to unlock the steering. Before applying pressure, it is essential to first determine which direction the steering needs to be moved in order to unlock it. The wheel only moves in direction opposite to the pin and never in the wrong direction.
  2. On another note, if the key and the wheels, both are jammed, you would need to apply a tiny bit of pressure to kick start the wheels. However, be careful not to turn it with too much force as it can break the body of the key. Apply firm and gentle pressure to swiftly unlock the key.
  3. Your steering may also get jammed due to accumulation of dirt or debris which doesn’t allow the ignition lock cylinder to function properly. Since ignition cylinders are extremely fragile, you must never make an attempt to poke instruments to clear off the dirt. You may also call upon your car mechanic who may spray an electric cleaner to clear off the dirt (however, this method doesn’t works on vehicles with high security key).
  4. Your steering wheel may also get jammed if your key is bent, worn or damaged. In such cases, it’s wiser to go for a second key (or ‘Code’ key), or otherwise there may be chances that your ignition may fail. Also keep in mind that most lock cylinders have a lifespan of about 90,000 km after which you would be required to compulsorily change your keys to avoid steering lock.

Always approach a car mechanic or your local car service workshop to correct a key that may have chances to get damaged. The cost of repairing a broken key inside the keyhole could be very high. Never ever apply too much pressure to the key to unlock the steering wheel.