How to Unlock a Steering Wheel

Steering Wheel

Climbing into the driver’s seat of your vehicle only to find that the steering wheel is locked can be one of the most frustrating and inconvenient things about driving. This is especially true if you find yourself stranded far away from Martinsville. What should you do if this happens to you? Don’t panic! We love to share service tips, so we explain below how to unlock a steering wheel using a few different methods. Toward the end, we’ll also explain how to lock your steering wheel. Why on earth would you want to do that? We explain that, too!

How to Unlock a Steering Wheel Using Five Methods

You may have to try more than one of these methods (or all of them) to unlock your steering wheel. If none of them work, don’t despair. The service technicians at Gunter CDJR Martinsville located in the greater Danville area know how to unlock a steering wheel, and will be happy to help.

  • Try to turn the key while attempting to turn the wheel at the same time.
      • Apply varying amounts of pressure to the key while it is in the ignition, while at the same time working the wheel back and forth. Even when locked, the steering wheel should turn slightly. Keep this up until the steering wheel unlocks. Caution: Do NOT try to force either the key or the steering wheel by applying too much pressure. You don’t want a bent key or, even worse, one that is broken off in the ignition.
  • Try a different key.
  • Your usual key could be worn, which is why it’s not working.
  • Clean out any debris in the ignition.
  • Slide the key in and out of the ignition to clear any trapped debris that might be keeping the ignition from turning. If this doesn’t work, take the key out of the ignition and spray some puffs of canned air (available from most electronics and office supply stores) into the keyhole.
  • Lubricate the ignition.
  • You can do this using electronics cleaner or a lubricant like WD 40. Just use two or three squirts, though. Note: this is a temporary solution. You will need to replace the ignition cylinder eventually.
  • Replace the ignition cylinder.
  • If none of the above methods work, this is the last option. But most amateur mechanics are capable of this, and instructions on how to do this are easy to find.

How to Lock Your Steering Wheel

Why on earth would you want to know how to lock your steering wheel? Because even if a thief is able to hotwire your vehicle, they will not be able to steer it if the steering wheel is locked. How to lock your steering wheel is simple: Just turn the wheel all the way in either direction before turning off the car.

Stop by Gunter CDJR Martinsville Today!

Whether you’re in the market for your next vehicle or just want to schedule service, the friendly folks at Gunter CDJR Martinsville are here to help! We’re located conveniently near Reidsville, NC, so stop on by or contact us today! Our certified technicians can help with everything from unlocking your steering wheel to changing your brake lights to programming a Dodge key fob and much more.


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4750 Greensboro Rd • Ridgeway, VA 24148

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Gunter CDJR Martinsville 36.6291585, -79.8595327.