How to Unlock a Steering Wheel

Most Cary drivers have experienced the shock and dismay of a steering wheel that’s suddenly immobilized and a key that won’t turn in the ignition no matter what you do. Your first reaction is likely to be frustration — and you’re not alone! It’s a problem we hear about a lot from Raleigh drivers. Fortunately, a locked steering wheel doesn’t signify any underlying problems with your vehicle.

Learn the steps for how to unlock a steering wheel in the guide below, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions!

How To Unlock Your Steering Wheel: Tips & Tricks

Learning how to unlock a steering wheel is actually a simple process once you understand why it’s happening! There are a few different methods you can use to get your wheel(s) spinning again:

  • Try a Different Key — If you’ve used the same car key for years, it may have become worn or bent, which can cause a misalignment in the ignition. Try your spare key if you have one, or have one made while you wait at Hendrick Buick GMC Cary. All we need to make a brand new key for your make and model is your vehicle’s serial number. Don’t forget to check out our service and parts specials for Charlotte drivers!
  • Avoid Excessive Force — Although it’s tempting to think you may be able to move your steering wheel by force, this is a situation where applying force could damage internal parts. To avoid damage to your vehicle’s steering mechanism, take a strategic approach: turn the key to the “On” position and apply varied amounts of pressure and wiggle it back and forth.
  • Try Different Techniques — Sometimes the reason for a locked steering wheel is that your key can’t find the “On” position in the ignition. If that’s the case, it may help to slowly turn the key in the ignition with your right hand while you wiggle the steering wheel with your left. The goal here is to nudge the key-turn and steering mechanisms to realign — which should allow you to start your car and get back on the road in Raleigh!

How To Lock Your Steering Wheel

Why would you want to learn how to lock your steering wheel? Part of learning how to unlock your steering wheel is understanding why and how it happens in the first place! Learning how this mechanism works backward and forward will ensure you’re confident in the event of a locked steering wheel, and will give you the tools to troubleshoot similar problems if they arise.

There’s another great reason to know how to lock your steering wheel: preventing theft. That’s especially important if you plan to leave your car unattended for an extended period of time during a long trip. Even if someone is able to break into your vehicle and hotwire the engine, they won’t get far with a locked steering wheel! Locking your steering wheel is simple: just turn the wheel all the way in either direction before you turn off the car.

When you’ve intentionally locked your steering wheel, all you need to do to unlock it is insert the key in the ignition and start the engine, which should cause the wheel to unlock on its own.

Rely On The Hendrick Buick GMC Cary Team For Expert Auto Maintenance Advice!

Questions on how to unlock a steering wheel? Contact our service center to speak with our dedicated staff and highly trained service team, or visit us in Cary. We have you covered whether you need replacement parts, routine maintenance, or auto service tips on any topic. Get in touch and schedule service today!