How to Unlock a Locked Car Steering Wheel

by Lauren Wise
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steering wheel and dash of british sports car image by Bo Widerberg from

Car steering wheels can lock up for a variety of reasons, but you have a few ways to try to unlock them. They require few tools, if any, to execute, and may ensure that your steering wheel won't lock up again.

Step 1

Put the key in the ignition, and turn the wheel hard in each direction while turning the key.

Step 2

Take off the steering wheel using a screwdriver. Look for a plate with a small rod that's no larger than 3 inches long--this is the lock.

Step 3

Pull the rod out as far as it will go. Replace the steering wheel using the screwdriver.

Step 4

Remove the steering wheel if you have no key. Remove the steering column and possibly the airbag with a screwdriver. The specific process can vary by vehicle.

Locate the ignition hole and see what plastic tabs within the ignition are sticking. This shows that it is experiencing the steering wheel lock. Force this down with a screwdriver. Keep in mind that if you do this method, it could damage your steering wheel function if it is handled too roughly. You may have to bring it into a dealership.

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