Steering wheel lock can be a useful feature for most vehicles, but it has some downsides, which is why it can be useful to know how to disable it when needed.
How do you disable steering wheel lock?
To disable steering wheel lock with the key, insert the key into the ignition and wiggle the wheel back and forth with enough force. While doing so, turn the key, like starting the car, and the wheel lock will disable. Without the key, it’s difficult to disable steering wheel lock without damage.
We have dealt with situations in the past where we could not move the wheel unexpectedly because of the steering wheel lock. It can be a hassle and sometimes dangerous, so these tips will help drivers disable the feature.
How To Disable Steering Wheel Lock
The steering wheel lock is a safety feature and anti-theft feature that helps prevent the driver from accidentally or intentionally moving the car without the key in the ignition.
Because of the purpose of this feature, most vehicles don’t allow drivers to disable the lock permanently. This is because it’s required when the vehicle turns off and provides too many benefits.
However, the wheel can be unlocked temporarily in two different ways depending on whether the key is handy or not. Follow these steps.
With The Key
The easiest way to disable this lock feature is with the key. The key should be inserted into the ignition and turned so the vehicle turns on.
Many vehicles have a steering wheel lock release button located at the back. If so, use this button with the key in the ignition to disable the lock.
If there is no release, wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while the key is in the ignition. While doing so, turn the key like trying to start the vehicle.
This should trigger the wheel lock to disable. Once the wheel comes unlocked, the car can be turned on or off. For any vehicle using electronic steering, allow a few minutes for this to take effect.
Without The Key
Because the steering wheel lock is used for theft prevention, it’s extremely difficult to get around without the key. This is an advanced feature; there is no hack besides breaking the lock or installing a replacement ignition.
Typically, the ignition needs to be replaced when it’s jammed, and no key is available to try and fix it. This is complex and requires a complete disassembly of the steering wheel and ignition set.
If this doesn’t seem like something that can be done, the only other option is to break the steering lock with force. This can be done by violently turning the wheel or using a hammer to break the lock.
We recommend avoiding this method because it can result in unexpected damages, which could be expensive to repair.
Why Does The Steering Wheel Lock?
This feature locks the steering wheel to the car, preventing it from being turned. But not many people are aware of why it happens.
When driving, the wheel can rarely lock up unexpectedly because of power steering issues, a faulty car ignition, or steering linkage failure. The wheel can also lock when the car is parked to prevent theft.
Power Steering Issues
If the wheel locks while driving, this can be scary and likely gets caused by power steering issues. This can be due to low power steering fluid levels or the steering wheel unexpectedly getting bound in one direction.
Fixing the fluid level issue is easy. Simply add more fluid to restore wheel mobility. But when turning in one direction, the wheel should never lock up; if it does, this indicates a mechanical problem.
Faulty Car Ignition
Car ignitions have become less common because of the push to start vehicles. However, dealing with a faulty car ignition that causes the steering wheel to lock is still possible.
It’s possible to manually activate a wheel lock by putting the key in the ignition and turning the wheel into a locked position. However, some older cars can get activated by accident when driving too.
If this happens, pull over as quickly as possible and put the car in park. It should be easy to deactivate by turning the key again and the wheel to release the tension.
Steering wheel locks are primarily used to prevent car theft. They are usually activated when the driver leaves their vehicle unattended. If a driver wants to disengage the steering wheel lock, they must know how to disable it.
When a car is turned off, the wheel automatically locks. This means unless a thief can turn the car on, the wheel remains locked no matter what.
In modern vehicles, the wheel can still remain locked even when started without the key. The vehicle shouldn’t move unless it recognizes the key inside the vehicle.
How Does Steering Wheel Lock Work?
A steering wheel lock is a safety feature that is found in many cars. It prevents the driver from being able to turn the steering wheel and move the car until the key enters the ignition.
Assuming nothing is wrong with the vehicle, the wheel comes unlocked once the key is recognized in the car. Nowadays, many cars are pushed to start, so the key acts as a sensor.
When this key gets recognized, the steering wheel lock releases and allows drive mobility. However, without the key is a different story.
This is a way to prevent theft because breaking into a car without a key makes it even harder to steal. The wheel will stay locked, so it’s nearly impossible to drive the car anywhere.
The electric solenoid works with the vehicle’s computer to turn the lock on and off. They also have an automatic shift cable to recognize when to unlock the wheel.
- To disable steering wheel lock with the key, insert the key into the ignition and move the wheel left and right while turning the key on.
- If no key is available and the steering wheel lock is enabled, the only way to disable it is by installing a new ignition or breaking the lock with a hammer.
- The steering wheel locks because of power steering issues, a faulty car ignition, and as a theft prevention method.