How To Unlock A Steering Wheel With/Without Key?

Robert Herrera-COR-Wheels

By Robert Herrera

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A locked steering wheel can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s a safety feature that prevents the car from being stolen, but sometimes it can cause problems for the owner.

Luckily, there are simple ways to unlock it that anyone can do, whether you have a key or not. I’ll show you step-by-step instructions to help you get back on the road quickly and safely.

Why My Steering Wheel Is Locked?

When you experience a locked steering wheel, it can be alarming, especially if you’re in a hurry. However, it is essential to understand that this safety mechanism is designed to prevent theft and accidents.

The steering wheel can become locked in place when the ignition is turned off and the wheel is turned simultaneously. This causes the locking mechanism to engage and prevents the tire from turning. 

Steering Wheel Is Locked

The primary purpose of this feature is to prevent someone from stealing your car by making it difficult for vehicle movement.

Another reason for the locked steering pin is to avoid accidental movements of the steering wheel when the car is parked, which could damage the vehicle or cause an accident.

How To Unlock Steering Wheel With Key


Unlocking the steering mechanism with a key is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Sit in the driver’s seat and make sure the wheels point straight ahead.

Step 2: Insert the key into the ignition slot and try to turn it. If the key doesn’t turn, don’t force it, as this could damage the ignition switch.

Insert the key into wheel lock

Step 3: Turn the steering wheel gently back and forth. You may need to use some force, but be careful not to turn it too hard; this could damage the steering system.

As you turn it, you should feel it start to loosen up.

Step 4: Turn the key in the ignition port while holding the steering wheel in place. You should feel the key turn easily now that the steering wheel is unlocked.

Step 5: If the key still doesn’t turn, try turning the steering wheel back and forth again while turning the key.

Step 6: Once the key turns, start the engine, and you’re good to go.


Remember to not inflict any damage to the adjustable steering column when unlocking a wheel. Following are some pointers for extra safety.

  • Avoid utilizing brute force: You can’t open a locked wheel with physical strength; doing so could harm the steering system. Instead, carry out the previous procedures while exerting slight pressure.
  • Attempt a different key: If you are having trouble turning the ignition, the issue may be with the key itself rather than the steering wheel. There is a chance that the key is worn out and can’t operate the tumblers on the automobile.

How To Unlock A Steering Wheel Without A Key

Solving locked steering wheel problems without a key can be a bit tricky but still doable.

Step 1: Sit in the driver’s seat and properly position yourself to face the steering wheel.

Step 2: Take a close look at the steering column, and find a small lever or button located near the wheel. This lever is typically hidden behind a small plastic cover or panel.

Step 3: Push the lever or button while gently turning the steering wheel back and forth. You may need to use some force, but be careful not to turn the wheel too hard, as this could damage the steering system.

Step 4: You should feel it loosen up when turning. Keep turning the wheel until it moves freely.

Step 5: Once this convenient car steering wheel is unlocked, you can start the engine and drive the car.

Let’s say you have tried both methods, but it still doesn’t work. In this case, the best thing you can do is either call roadside assistance or tow the vehicle to a qualified auto repair shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Won’t The Key Turn In My Car?

The key may not turn in your car due to a locked steering wheel, a worn-out key, a damaged ignition cylinder, or a dead car battery. It’s best to seek professional help from a mechanic or locksmith to diagnose and fix the problem.

Why Won’t My Car Unlock With a Remote Or Key?

Your car may not unlock with a remote or key due to a dead battery in the remote/key, a faulty remote/key, a damaged car lock or ignition system, or a problem with the car’s central locking system.

The Bottom Line

Opening a locked steering wheel is not rocket science, but it does require patience and a little bit of effort. Remember, never force the wheel to turn, as this could cause damage to the car’s electric steering system. If you’re still having trouble with your locked-up steering wheel, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a mechanic or locksmith.

For more: Loose Steering Wheel

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Robert Herrera

President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels

Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.

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