Most often, it becomes frustrating for people when their steering wheel gets locked. The frustration continues to increase when you don’t know how to unlock it. In general, people lock their car’s steering wheel to protect it from stealing. When it gets stuck, then it becomes a problem. It means you can’t start the car. We will talk about different methods in this article to help you unlock it. Read on!
Unlock a steering wheel – method 1
Let us tell you the step by step procedure on how you can accomplish your objective. First, you need a few tools, such as screwdrivers, socket set, and WD40 lubricant.
Most often, people turn the key to solve the problem. You will turn it in the ignition cylinder and turn the wheel right and left. In most cases, it will free the wheel, which has become locked.
While doing this, you will see that the wheel is not turning. The important thing is that you have to turn the key and the wheel simultaneously. You will hear a click sound. It indicates that you have freed up the wheel.
If the turning of the key does not work, then you can use a different key. In some situations, the cause of locking is the worn-out key. So, compare it to another key and find a good match. Then, you can use it in the ignition cylinder to see if it is working.
When you compare the worn out key to a key that has good ridges, you will see that the first one does not match its pattern with the second one. Experts recommend that a good driver always keep two keys for the same car.
So, you can use the spare key. Thus, when you turn it in the cylinder, it will unlock the wheel. Sometimes, the ridges are the problem that leads to the worn-out key. In new vehicles, the key chip may not function properly, which leads to a locked wheel.
You can use WD40 to free up the lock cylinder. In most situations, the issue is due to frozen lock tumblers that results in locking of the wheel. WD40 is a lubricant or spray that you can on the locked cylinder.
Then, you can insert the key gently and give it another try. If you see that the tumblers are loosening, you are good to go. Even if the WD40 frees up the cylinder, you will have to replace the cylinder because it is not a permanent solution.
Unlock a steering wheel – method 2
The second method is all about replacing the ignition lock assembly. You will use this method when you have tried all of the above steps but failed to achieve the results. In some situations, you will call a professional service to unlock the wheel. In other cases, you will need to replace the entire lock assembly. Follow the steps given below.
First, you need to remove the column panels of the steering wheel. You can start by loosening the screws of the wheel. Make sure you hold the lower column in place. After you have removed the cover, press the tabs a few times.
Doing so will release the lower part of the wheel. Now, remove the column cover and keep it on the car’s seat or somewhere safe. Once you have removed the lower half, it is time to remove the top column cover.
Now, press the release tab and turn the key. You will see the cylinder clearly. So, the next thing you will do is to find the release tab, which is on the side of the ignition cylinder. When you depress the release tab, make sure you turn the key. It allows you to move the ignition cylinder backwards. It may take some time to free the lock ignition cylinder.
Remember, some cars have specific methods regarding the removal and installation of the cylinder. Also, the method for one may differ from another. It depends on the locking mechanism of the car and its model. You can call a professional car mechanic to get instructions. On the other hand, you can seek help from mobile vehicle repair services.
Now, you have the new ignition cylinder. It is time to install the lock cylinder. You can do this by removing the key from the old cylinder. Also, make sure you install that key into the new cylinder.
Next, you have to install the new lock cylinder in the column of the steering wheel. Again, you have to ensure that the lock tab is completed seated. It is an important step in the installation process. Now, test the key and ensure if it is turning fully and you can free up the steering. If it is turning, then you are good to go.
After you have checked and confirmed about the unlocking of steering, reinstall the panels of the column. You must do it in the same order that you had removed them. Install the top part of the column cover to the steering column. Then, install the lower part. Make sure that you engage all clips as well as lock them together.
Then, install the screws and use the screwdriver to tighten them. So, you have not unlocked the steering wheel. Most often, a simple turning of the key will solve the problem. However, in some situations, you will replace the lock cylinder. If you need to replace the cylinder, then you can either do it yourself or call the mechanic.
A locked steering wheel is indeed one of the common issues faced by drivers. Those who are experienced will unlock the wheel right away. On the other hand, if you don’t have any experience, then you can try the first method.
Make sure you don’t force the key. Otherwise, the chances are that the key will break in the ignition cylinder. Thus, it leads to a much bigger problem. For example, you have to buy a new cylinder and also bear the cost of the mechanic. So, we recommend you to do it carefully.
On the other hand, if you have tried the first method and failed, then you can use the second one. However, we advise you to rely on the first one because 90% chances are that you will fix the problem through it.
If you have no other way to solve the problem, as a last resort, you should call the mechanic. Although the mechanic will cost you money, you have no other choice. Make sure you choose a qualified and experienced mechanic.