How To Unlock A Steering Wheel Without Key?

You know how frustrating it can be when your steering wheel locks and you can’t move it or turn the ignition ON.

The problem may happen for several reasons but you should know how to unlock a steering wheel on your own as there might not be help available near.

This article will address what you have to do when your steering wheel is locked up. It is in two parts. The first part is about doing it yourself, as it doesn’t include technical stuff.

The second part is where you get technical and dive deeper, preferably having a mechanic.

Materials Needed

You can fix your steering wheel lock in two ways. For that, some tools you need are:

  1. Screwdrivers
  2. Socket Set
  3. WD40 Spray

How To Unlock The Steering Wheel?

Let’s see about two ways to do the job, one by one.

Option 1: Unlocking It On Your Own

There are three ways you can unlock it on your own;

1. Try Turning The Key - Insert the key into the ignition and try turning the key while moving the steering wheel both sides at the same time. If the lock happened accidentally, this will solve the problem easily. But make sure that you do the actions concurrently.

Caution: Don't put extra force on the key, This will permanently damage the lock mechanism. Depending on the movement, increase or decrease the amount of turn to each side.

2. Use Different Key- If the first step fails then go for this option. If you got a second key, try unlocking with that. Do the same tasks stated in step 1. But a second key is not an option always, so you need to make sure to get the first one.

You should try to keep your keys in proper shape otherwise, they lose their optimal size and doesn’t fit in the lock.

3. Finally, Try WD40 - If the case of locking is because of the lock cylinder, then spraying with WD40 might be the thing you need. Spray it into the ignition opening, if the lock numbers are frozen, this will help you clear the cylinder up.

Option 2: Replacing Ignition Set

If the previous options couldn’t work out, then this is the deeper, more technical option. You’ll need a mechanic for this and read your car guide manual well before you attempt to handle the technical stuff.

1. Separate The Panels Of The Steering Wheel Column- Start with loosening the screws of the bottom part of the steering wheel while holding it carefully. Once you remove those, press the cover tabs and the lower half part comes off easily, follow the same process for the top part.

2. Press The Release Tab To Clear Lock Cylinder- After step 1, the lock cylinder comes into view. Now press the release tab and turn the key till the cylinder can move. It may take some turning to get the cylinder to turn backward and clear itself up.

3. Install New Ignition Lock- After setting up new lock cylinder, try using the key again. Install the cylinder in the steering column and check the key by turning in full. If you can do so, only then get the columns back to set again.

4. Reinstalling the Columns- Now reinstall the columns, do the top part first and follow the same with the bottom part afterward. Make sure the clips are engaged and end it with getting the screws tightened.

Some Advice

  • Keep the level of power steering fluid checked, less amount of it can worsen the situation.
  • You’ll see many people online telling that it doesn’t take a key to unlock the steering wheel and they know it. But the reality is there’s a high risk that your car can get damaged beyond measure, and only you’ll have to pay the price for it.

Now that you’ve unlocked the vehicle wheel, sit back and relax for a while. You’ve done a good job. Keep in mind that, the key turning works as a temporary solution. But oftentimes, if you want a permanent result, then you need to replace the lock cylinder.

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