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  • Mon - Sat9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Sun11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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How To Unlock A Steering Wheel

Man with Hands on Steering Wheel

You’ve left home and you’re trying to get on the road, but when you open the front door and step into the driver’s seat, you realize that the steering wheel is locked into place! Don’t shake the steering wheel or try to jam it back into place! Instead, learn how to unlock a steering wheel with our quick step-by-step guide, and get back on the road in no time. Follow these steps to unlock your steering wheel in moments:

  1. First things first: test the key by trying to turn it in the ignition. If you’ve already been trying, take the key out and reinsert it, making sure that it goes in all the way. Sometimes, when an old key gets worn down, it doesn’t fit properly in the ignition slot.
  2. If the key doesn’t turn immediately, apply gentle pressure and see if that brings you better luck. Don’t force it, as you could end up breaking the key in the ignition slot, and making your problems a whole lot worse!
  3. If the key turns and your engine ignites, the steering wheel should immediately unlock. If the key doesn’t turn and the car stays off, turn to the next step.
  4. Carefully test the steering wheel. It should be able to move a small amount in one direction, but not at all in the other. Figure out which way it’s able to turn, and then apply gentle pressure to the key while you move the steering wheel in the freeing direction.

Still having trouble? It may be that part of your ignition system needs to be replaced, or you need a new key.  Although you can get immediate help by calling our service center at (855) 536-6444, you should check the following tips and tricks, and see if you can still work out the problem at home.



How to Unlock a Steering Wheel: Pitfalls and Dangers

While learning how to unlock a steering wheel is far from difficult, you need to be careful while you undertake the operation. There are several ways that things can go wrong, and you could very easily make the problem worse.  Take a look at these potential issues before you try to unlock your steering wheel in a hurry:

  • Avoid Excessive Force.
    • If you’d like to avoid the fees associated with a mechanic’s visit–or worse, with a tow truck–be careful when you’re trying to turn the key! If it gets stuck in the ignition, there won’t be much that you can do.
  • Be careful with your steering wheel.
    • If your steering wheel doesn’t want to move at all, don’t force it. Applying too much of your strength will only damage the steering column, and you won’t be able to unlock it unless you can get the key to turn at the same time!
    • Shaking or rocking the steering wheel will probably not help you either. If you start to feel frustrated, step back for a second.
  • It might pay to try another key.
    • If your key is older, make sure that it is able to go all the way into the ignition slot. There’s also a chance that it’s going in too far, so you should try to pull it out slightly and see if that helps, too.
    • Your ignition switch might have something jammed inside of it! Try using some canned air to blow out any debris, then start the unlocking process from the top.
    • If you’re ignition switch is on its last legs, it might not budge at all! Purchasing a new one might be your best option.

How Did I Lock My Steering Wheel in the First Place?

If you know how to lock your steering wheel, you can easily avoid this issue in the future. In most cases a driver will lock their steering wheel by accident, and it’s not hard to see why: all you need to do to lock a steering wheel is turn it sharply in one direction after you’ve killed the ignition. It’s the kind of thing that just happens if you’re in a hurry! In some cases, it might pay to lock a steering wheel on purpose. After all, even if a potential thief gets into your car, a locked steering wheel will prevent them from going anywhere at all. If you want to lock your steering wheel before you turn in for the night, simply:

  1. Turn off the engine.
  2. Remove your key from the ignition.
  3. Turn the wheel in one direction.
  4. Listen for the click!

That’s it! With a little practice, it’s easy to get the hang of locking or unlocking a steering wheel in no time.

Get More Service Tips with Mazda of Escondido!

Remember: if you need assistance with learning how to unlock your steering wheel, you can always schedule service at Mazda of Escondido! Our parts department can also help you get a new key or a new ignition switch, if you need one.

Interested in continuing your research? Find out how to open the Mazda key fob, check your oil levels, or get the details on the Mazda recommended service schedule.

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1560 Auto Park Way • Escondido, CA 92029

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Open Today! Sales: 9am-7pm

Open Today! Service: 7am-6pm

Open Today! Parts: 7am-6pm

Mazda of Escondido 33.1174397, -117.1069548.