How to Unlock A Steering Wheel – Best DIY tips

If you own a car or you are a driver, you must have faced several car problems among which the problem of a locked steering wheel is common. If you have faced this issue for the first time, you must be wondering the reason behind this happening. Let us tell you that the most common reason that your steering wheel gets locked is that an authorized person tried to access or drive your car.

After knowing the reason, your next concern is to know how to unlock a steering wheel. It is because if the steering wheel will be locked, you will not be able to drive your car. You can unlock your car using your keys and keep on trying till it’s unlocked. If you are not successful in unlocking it using a key, there are many other ways that help you to unlock your steering wheel.

This guide provides you with detailed information about the reasons why your steering wheel gets locked. You will also come to know about different ways that could help you to unlock it. You need some important tools if you want to unlock the steering wheel without using an ignition key. These tools may include a chisel, hammer, screwdrivers, WD40, and canned air.

Why Does The Steering Wheel Gets Locked? – Reasons

Let us first discuss why your steering wheel gets locked before explaining how to unlock your steering wheel.

1. Ignition Lock Feature

Modern cars are enriched with an ignition lock feature that does not let you move your steering wheel in the absence of a key. If this feature is turned on, you need a key to unlock your steering wheel. The purpose of this feature is to let your car be accessed just by you. We can say that it is a handy anti-theft feature that protects your car from thieves.

2. Steering Linkage Failure

If your steering mechanics have been damaged, you will see that the steering wheel has been locked. For example, the steering arms or steering column may have been damaged lock up your car’s steering wheel.

3. Low Power Steering Fluid

When there is a lack of power steering fluid, you will see that your car stops suddenly and the steering wheel gets locked even if you are driving. Moreover, it also gets stuck if there is dirt and debris in this power steering fluid.

4 Ways you can Unlock Your Steering Wheel

Now, let us come towards our major topic that discusses how to unlock the steering wheel. There are several methods that can help you unlock your steering wheel where some of them have been explained below:

1. Use The Key

The easiest and simplest method to unlock your steering wheel is to use a key by inserting it into the ignition and turning it at the same time. You should try to move the wheel on the side where you turned it before it got locked.

2. Spray in WD40

If you see that the method mentioned above is not working, you can spray WD40 in the ignition key port. This spray will remove all the dust and debris from the key port. Moreover, this spray is also helpful for you to get out of the stress you are into. Thus, if your steering wheel is locked due to dirt and debris stuck in it, this spray can solve your problem in no time.

3. Replace The Ignition Set

If you want to know how to unlock the steering wheel without a key, let us tell you that there is a technical method in which you have to remove the existing ignition set and install a new one to free your steering wheel. If you do not have technical knowledge, it would be best to hire a professional mechanic to get this work done for you efficiently.

3. Loosen The Adhesive Padlock

You can unlock the steering wheel of your car by loosening the adhesive padlock. You need to be careful while performing this task where you need to check the liquid level of the power steering pump carefully. You need to spray the cleaner on your car’s lock and remove all the dust from it. Then, use the key for opening the lock. If the key is not connecting to the steering wheel, you should replace it.

Tips To Follow When Unlocking A Steering Wheel

  • Make sure you do not apply too much force while turning the key that could damage the ignition port.
  • Do not use brute force that could damage the key as well as the steering mechanism.
  • If your key is not working, you can use a different key for unlocking the steering wheel.
  • If the key is damaged or broken, you should get another key instead of trying to unlock the steering wheel with the damaged key.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to unlock a steering wheel?

The best method is to use your key to unlock it. Otherwise, you can use the push to start method for this purpose.

2. What happens if the steering wheel is locked?

You will be unable to move the wheel of your car for navigating out of the road if the steering wheel is locked. It can also result in a road accident.

3. How much does it cost to unlock your steering wheel?

If you hire a professional to unlock your steering wheel, it will cost you about 100 dollars to 400 dollars.


This guide has explained to you why your steering wheel gets locked. It is not necessary that its locks suddenly but some people lock it intentionally so that no other person could have access to their car. They unlock it when they come back to their car.

So, there are different methods that can be used to unlock your steering wheel. You should use these methods carefully without damaging the ignition system of your vehicle.

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