How To Unlock Your Steering Wheel – A Comprehensive Step-By-Step Guide

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when you put your key into the ignition, and your steering wheel won’t budge? It can be frustrating and scary. Especially if you’re in a hurry or in an unfamiliar area. But fear not! In this blog, we’ll show you how to easily unlock your steering wheel and get you back on the road in no time.

First, insert the key in the ignition and try turning it. If it doesn’t work, turn the steering wheel left and right and gently twitch it. If it still won’t turn, remove the key and try applying pressure to the brake pedal while turning the key. 

However, there are other potential causes of a locked steering wheel, such as a faulty ignition switch or a damaged steering column. In this post, we’ll explore these other causes and their solution. Also, we’ll provide additional tips for unlocking your steering wheel. So keep reading to learn more!

How to Unlock Your Steering Wheel: A Step-by-Step Guide

A locked steering wheel experience can be frustrating for any driver. Most of the time, it’s just a minor problem you can fix yourself. The most common reason is when the wheel is turned too far to the left or right before the car is turned off.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to unlock your steering wheel.

Step 1: Insert the Key in the Ignition

The first step to unlock the steering wheel is: Insert the key into the ignition. Insert and try to turn the ignition. Ensure that the key is in the “on” position. If the key doesn’t turn, do not force it; move on to the next step.

Step 2: Turn the Steering Wheel

Now, try turning the steering wheel left and then right. Sometimes the steering wheel can be locked in one position, preventing the key from turning the ignition. You can release the lock by turning the steering wheel and allowing the key to turn.

Step 3: Use a Different Key

If the key still doesn’t turn, try using a different key. Sometimes, a worn or damaged key can prevent the ignition from turning.

Step 4: Wiggle the Key Gently

Gently wiggle it back and forth by applying a light amount of pressure to the key. This motion can help unlock the locking mechanism, allowing the ignition key to turn. Ensure that you refrain from shaking the wheel from side to side. This action can damage the locking pin and reduce the chance of your wheel becoming unlocked.

Step 5: Remove the Key

Finally, remove the key from the ignition and test the steering wheel to ensure it is unlocked. If the steering wheel is still locked, repeat the above steps again. If you fail to unlock the second time, move to the next step.

Step 6: Apply Pressure to the Brake Pedal

If the above instructions don’t work, try applying pressure to the brake pedal while twisting the ignition key. This can release the locking mechanism and allow the key to turning.

Step 6: Call a Professional

If none of the above steps work, avoiding trying any other technique on your own is recommended. It is time to call a professional. The mechanic will diagnose the problem and fix it for you. If you’re having trouble finding a good mechanic check out How To Find a Mechanic You Can Trust.

Tips to Avoid Future Locking of Your Steering Wheel

To avoid having your steering wheel locked again in the future, follow these tips:

Regular Maintenance

Frequent car maintenance is essential to keep the steering wheel from locking. Ensure that the brakes are operating properly, the oil is changed regularly, and the filters are clean. Maintaining your car in good condition will help prevent mechanical issues that could lead to a steering wheel lock.

Proper Tire Inflation

Ensure that your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can cause abnormal wear and affect your vehicle’s steering and performance. An overinflated tire can also cause a loss of control and lock up the steering wheel. For more information on tire pressure see this article: When and how to check your tire pressure.

Careful Starting

While starting your car, be gentle. Turning the key too quickly can cause the steering wheel to lock. Instead, turn the key gently until the engine starts, then slowly release it.

Avoid Forceful Turning

Avoid making sudden and forceful turns with your car. These actions can put undue pressure on the steering system and cause it to lock up. Instead, turn slowly and gradually, and always keep your hands on the wheel.

Safe Driving Practices

Safe driving practices can also help prevent your steering wheel from locking up. Avoid driving at high speeds or making sudden stops, as these actions can cause the steering system to fail. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you and stay alert while driving.


Can a locked steering wheel drain the battery?

The battery cannot be discharged by a locked steering wheel. However, a dead battery may result in the steering wheel locking.The battery cannot be discharged by a locked steering wheel. However, a dead battery may result in the steering wheel locking.

How do I know if my ignition cylinder is damaged?

If your key didn’t turn in the ignition or the steering wheel is locked. It can be a sign that your ignition cylinder is damaged

How do I prevent my steering wheel from locking while driving?

The steering wheel shouldn’t lock during driving. If you experience it It might indicate a serious issue with your car’s steering system. Stop driving immediately, and go to the mechanic for a car inspection.

Can I drive my car with a locked steering wheel? 

No, you should not attempt to drive your car with a locked steering wheel. It can cause serious damage to your car’s steering system and may result in losing control of your vehicle.


So, this is how you can unlock the steering wheel easily. You can follow the steps above and unlock your car’s steering wheel in minutes. If you can still not unlock the steering wheel while following these steps, it is recommended not to try any technique on your own as it can make it worse. Instead, call the mechanic to fix the issue.