8 Methods to Unlock the Steering Wheel without a Key
You can unlock your steering wheel by simply inserting the key into the ignition. But, what do you do if the key isn’t handy? What if the key isn't handy? Many solutions are available, thankfully.
This guide will explain why your steering wheel locks. We also outline your options if you don’t have the key on hand. At the end of this article, we also look at if it’s possible to have a steering wheel lock up while you are driving.
- What causes the steering wheel to lock?
- How to Lock the Steering Wheel without Key
- With a keyless car, unlock a steering wheel
- Can a steering wheel lock while driving?
- FAQs concerning Steering Wheel Lock
What causes the steering wheel to lock?
If you aren’t used to the steering wheel locking, you may believe that something has gone wrong when it happens, but it’s a normal part of the vehicle operation. The steering wheel lock is meant to be a basic safety feature, keeping people from taking your car if the key isn’t with them.
After turning off the car and removing the key, the steering wheel should be locked. This safety feature also ensures that the car can’t go anywhere without you.
Aside from these main purposes, the steering wheel can also lock if you’ve been too forceful with it or the battery dies. The key should be able to open the door once it is operating properly. If you don’t have the key or are having trouble getting it to work properly, you need to move on to one of our other options.
How to Lock the Steering Wheel without Key
Mechanically removing the ignition lock is the best method to unlock your steering wheel. Older models can be broken by pressing down on the steering knob or by using a wrench to open the ignition lock.
1. The Ignition Lock must be removed
It is possible to unlock a steering wheel using a key, but without damaging the parts. This will require basic mechanic knowledge and tools.
Remove the cover around the steering column to reach the ignition switch. Below the covers, there are bolts holding the ignition button in place.
2. The ignition lock can be damaged
You can also use a large screwdriver combined with a mallet to disassemble the ignition lock. Once you have removed the pins from the ignition lock you will be able turn it to unlock the steering lock. You may need to use another technique as this could cause damage to the ignition switch.
3. Take out the steering wheel mechanism
For older models of cars, you can remove the steering column. Pulling hard on your steering wheel will cause the steering mechanism pin to come loose.
However, this option isn’t good for modern vehicles and may not even be possible because they enforced the pins. The steering column can be more damaged if this option is chosen. This is a good option for older cars.
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4. Select the Lock
An alternative method to unlock your steering wheel lock is to grab the lock by turning the ignition. This method is not easy, however, it can be done.
Most vehicles manufactured after 1990 have electronic systems which prevent you from starting the vehicle. Without the proper key, an engine immobilizer can prevent you from turning the ignition to turn the vehicle on. You will need to change the ignition in order to operate the car normally, even if the lock can be picked.
Although these methods are best used if you have no key at all for your car, let’s take a look at what you can do if you have the car key, but can’t unlock the steering wheel lock.
RELATED: I Lost My Car Keys & Have No Spare (What To Do?)
5. A spare key is useful
If the regular key isn’t working or you lost it, you could try out another key. Multiple keys should have been provided to you when the car was purchased. While you don’t use one every day, don’t overlook the value of having a spare on hand.
If you don’t have the spare, you may have to move on to one of our other steps. You don’t want to attempt to put a key in the ignition that isn’t meant to be there, as it could lead to more damage.
6. Use WD40
What do you do if the key won’t fit in the ignition? In some cases, there’s dirt built up in the ignition that needs to be cleaned out. Sometimes, the ignition could be contaminated by solidification. This can cause the key to not work properly. The problem might be resolved by WD40.
Use WD40 to spray the ignition port. You can then insert the key into your ignition port again after it is sprayed.
7. Canned Air
We have previously discussed the use of WD40 to lubricate locks and clean them out. However, if the key won’t enter the ignition simply because there is contamination inside, compressed air might be a better option.
Some of the condensed water can be sprayed directly at the lock mechanism. It is possible to see debris and dirt flying out of the lock mechanism. After cleaning the key, try inserting it again. If you don’t have a can of air, you could also use your air compressor.
8. Buy a new key
If you can’t get your key to work or you have misplaced it, you might need to get a new key. When it comes to getting your key, you have many choices. If it’s a simple key, a locksmith might be the best option. A majority of locksmiths can be cheaper than dealerships and they are able to complete jobs faster.
On the other hand, today’s keys can be complicated and advanced. To work with your car, smart keys and transponder keys need to be programmed. It may be more beneficial to take your car to the dealership in certain cases.
Related: What Does it Cost to Replace a Car Key?
With a keyless car, unlock a steering wheel
If you drive a car with a smart key, there’s no ignition port to become contaminated. The engine is started and stopped by a push button. If you have a locked steering wheel, you might be confused about how to release it, but it’s not that difficult.
Try using your left hand to gently move the steering column while pushing the stop and start buttons. Repeat this until you unlock the steering wheel. You can push the brake pedal, but it may be stubborn.
Can a steering wheel lock while driving?
It can be very dangerous to have your steering wheel locked up as you drive. But is this possible? It is possible for the steering to lock up in certain cases while driving.
However, today’s automatic locking steering systems aren’t meant to be activated unless the vehicle is in Park. It should not activate unless it is necessary to prevent theft or provide extra safety.
It’s more probable that you are having trouble moving the steering wheel, not because it’s locked up, but because the fluid is low or there’s another problem. You must immediately fix this problem so that your steering wheel can work normally once more.
FAQs concerning Steering Wheel Lock
Is it possible to remove a steering-wheel lock?
The car makes and model of your vehicle will determine if you are able to break the steering wheel lock. Older cars could be broken by simply pulling on the steering wheels. Modern cars are equipped with an automatic lock that is difficult to manually break.
What can I do to manually unlock my steering column?
If you have the key but can’t unlock the steering wheel, try wiggling it a little while turning the key. If you don’t have the key, you can unlock the steering wheel by mechanically removing the ignition lock.
What is the best way to pop an ignition?
You will need to use a screwdriver with a hammer and the screwdriver to pop the ignition lock. The screwdriver can be used to open the ignition lock if the pins have been damaged. It depends on which car you have, and it might not work in all cases.
Why is my steering wheel locked and the car won’t start?
The immobilizer cannot recognise your key if your steering wheel locks and the car won't start. It could also be caused by a bad key fob or battery, or an immobilizer that is not working properly.
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