The steering wheel gets locked when the key has been accidentally detached from the ignition. The car reacts this way because it was designed to ensure safety to the driver and its passengers. Part of the car’s unique functionality is its ability to halt even if the key is not inserted in the ignition socket. This amazing technology prevents your car from moving if the brakes are messing up or when your car was parked in an inclined position.

Here’s what you can do to unlock your steering wheel without a key successfully:

Things you will need

  • WD40 Spray
  • Screwdrivers (double-check if it fits your car screws)
  • Socket sets

Step 1: You will need to turn the steering wheel and ignition key altogether at the same moment.

Step 2: After you turn the steering wheel and ignition key, you should hear a little click sound after a few tries. The steering wheel will then unlock by itself, and the key will automatically attach itself to the ignition slot. If you don’t hear the sound, make another attempt again until you do this part successfully.

Step 3: If the key you used doesn’t do its job very well, you might as well use your spare key. With your spare key, try another attempt to finish step 2. Most cars nowadays come with two sets of keys upon purchase. Before proceeding to do this task on your car, make sure you bring your spare key with you.

Step 4: Use a lubricant like WD40 Spray to moisturize and penetrate the ignition socket. You can check with any auto shops or hardware stores and ask for their recommendations on what brands are the best to use.

Most locking incidents happen due to deep clogging due to rust and gunk forming over time. This quick remedy will help you unlock the steering wheel after a few sprays. Insert the key again and start it over again. Continue doing this for a few attempts until it’s clean until it starts working again.

Another way to unlock the steering wheel

Step 1: Using your screwdriver detach the screws that are holding the lower part of the steering wheel. Set aside the screws and place them somewhere safe that you can easily access once you return them.

Step 2: Unlock the lower part by slowly pressing the cylinder tabs.

Step 3: Take away the column cover and set aside for later. Then, detach the upper column cover as well.

Step 4: Check the cylinder of the ignition’s lock system and remove all the covers.

Step 5: Have the ignition cylinder to move backward by continuously pressing the lock release tab and turning the key up.

Step 6: Carefully take away all the parts inside the lock cylinder. Be careful not to drop it and lose other important parts of the car.

Step 7: Try inserting the key from its old lock to the new. Then, insert the lock cylinder into the steering column. Double-check if the lock tab is situated correctly in the lock cylinder.

Step 8: And lastly, reinstall the column panel back from its location and ensure that all the clips are completely locked and secured. Put back the screws and lock them tightly. Check for loose screws and if there’s any tighten it again. Never finish the job until you ensure that you have installed all the parts in the steering wheel properly. It might create future problems if you made a mistake in finishing this last important part.

Important reminder

  • Before doing any steps above, make sure to refer to the Owner’s Manual first. This way, you’ll see a better solution appropriate for the car model you have. Each car’s model has different mechanisms and procedures to undergo when troubleshooting. Make sure you don’t do anything outside the Owner’s manual rules.
  • If you’re in a tight spot on the road, call and seek help from the road assistance. If you can’t unlock your steering wheel, just have it towed by professionals. It’s better safe than sorry.
  • Always do a maintenance check for your car. You never know when mishaps happen when you’re on the road. It’s better to be prepared than be sorry later. Be diligent and disciplined enough to care for your car and follow regular maintenance schedules. This way, you’ll know the exact condition of your car, and you can remedy minor problems before it gets worse.
  • Although “do-it-yourself” is cool these days, never attempt to fix it on your own if the problem of your car is something else. Always call for an accredited mechanic or send your car to an auto shop for inspection. You will bring more harm than good to your car if you’ve mistakenly fixed it.
  • Never unlock someone else’s steering wheel. If a family member or a close friend own it, then yes, you can. But stay out of other people’s cars unless they ask for your assistance and you’re an expert for the matter.