how to unlock steering wheel without a key

How To Unlock The Steering Wheel Without A Key? 3 Methods

One of the crucial parts of any vehicle, the steering wheel system is responsible for controlling direction. On occasion, the car’s steering wheel locks up and you are unable to turn the ignition. Numerous factors could be to blame for the issue. Please read this article thoroughly if you want to learn how to unlock the steering wheel without a key.

What Causes The Locking Of Your Steering Wheel?

Coming out to a locked steering wheel can be quite annoying, especially if you don’t remember any warning signs. You may want to check for an underlying cause even though it might be brought on by common safety features like the auto-lock system. You may be interested in Why Is My Steering Wheel Locked: 3 Occasions


One reason why steering wheels are built to lock up is safety. The steering wheel locks when the power is turned off, preventing the vehicle from moving on its own. Your car will remain secure and in its spot if you do this.

Steering Auto-lock Feature

Modern steering systems frequently have an auto-lock function that is engaged by turning the wheel after turning off the ignition. This acts as a theft deterrent by making it harder for a thief to enter and drive the vehicle away.

Running Out Of Power Steering Fluid

Your steering effort is increased and made easier by the power steering system. However, this system needs power steering fluid to function as it should. If your steering locks while you’re in motion, you may be running low on power steering fluid.

Materials Needed

However, this does not mean you can’t attempt to resolve the issue yourself. Locked steering may require professional assistance. For instance, if dirt or other debris causes a steering wheel to become stuck, that problem is easier to resolve.

However, unless you can recharge a dead battery, steering issues brought on by battery failure are difficult to fix.

Read More: Why Is My Steering Wheel Locked: 3 Occasions

How Can A Steering Wheel Be Unlocked Without A Key?

The steering wheels can be unlocked without a key in three different ways. Let’s examine these various approaches.

Method 1: Try Unlocking The steering Yourself

This approach has four steps that must be taken.

Try Inserting The Key

Try to turn the ignition while also inserting the key. You can attempt to turn the wheel on the side that you last did so before it locked. Try it on both sides if you have trouble remembering. This tip will provide an immediate fix if your steering locks as a result of an accident.

Tip: do not apply too much pressure while turning the wheel. To prevent further harm to the locking mechanism, use moderate force.

Try Out Another Key

If the primary key fails, try using another key. In most cases, the ignition key could be the issue. If the car was previously owned, the previous owner may not have handled the key properly if you purchased it used.

It’s also possible that you’re not handling it well. Try the spare key if you have it. It might work, in all likelihood. Retry using the primary key if the backup one doesn’t work. You might not receive spare keys for the majority of newer vehicles, though.

Try Spraying In Wd40

Spray some WD40 into the ignition key port if steps 1 and 2 above don’t work. Dirt, debris, or solidification in the lock tumblers may be the cause of the wheel’s lock. You might be able to escape the stress you’re experiencing by spraying WD40.

Spray WD40 on the key, then try turning it back and forth after inserting the key. You’ll need to get a new lock cylinder if this trick works.

Slot In The Key And Tap It With A Hammer

this method might sound odd, but it works. Insert the key several times. The key should be tapped with a hammer after being inserted partially. To prevent the key from being bent or broken, make sure you strike it straight.

how to unlock steering wheel without a key

Method 2: Replacing Ignition Set

Take a somewhat technical approach if the above-discussed steps fail to free a stuck steering wheel. We must acknowledge that not all car owners have the necessary skills or are at ease using a DIY method.

Therefore, if the aforementioned approach fails and you really need help, we advise getting professional assistance.

Disassemble The Column Panels

The steering wheel and column covers must first be separated. To do this:

  1. Start by loosening the screws on the bottom of the steering column and work your way up.
  2. When adjusting the wheel, press the tabs on the panel cover to release the panel.
  3. The upper part of the column cover can be separated by repeating the same procedure.

Clear The Lock Cylinder

Once you’ve taken the panels off, you should be able to see your lock cylinder. Locate the release tab, insert your key, and depress it to make it active. Press the tab while turning the key, then wait for the cylinder to start moving before removing it.

Fix The Replacement Ignition-lock System

Put the replacement ignition-lock system in place at this point. Before you remove the cylinder, slide it back into the same spot. Before inserting your lock tab, make sure it is firmly seated inside the cylinder.

Reinstalling the column is the next step, but first, you need to make sure the key turns all the way.

Reinstall The Columns

The lower and upper column panels should be installed again after making sure the key turns completely in the cylinder. The screws should be securely fastened, and all clips should lock as they did prior to disassembly.

Method 3: Try Unlocking By Loosening Sticky Locks

Spray Electrical Cleaner

Using an electrical cleaner is one way to unlock a steering wheel without a key. This will aid in removing the glue holding the wheel in place. When using this technique, be sure to use gloves and eye protection because the cleaner can be harmful if it gets into contact with your skin or eyes.

Spray Canned Air

Spraying canned air is another method for unlocking a steering wheel without a key. The air can should first have its cap removed, and it should be held upside down. Next, place the can’s nozzle inside the steering wheel’s keyhole and spray briefly. The lock cylinder will be forced out of its position by the compressed air, allowing you to turn the wheel.

Even though it’s less common, this approach can be useful occasionally. Aiming the air can at the lock and spraying it until the lock opens is the secret.

Insert The Key In And Out A Few Times

If the spare key is ineffective, you can try repeatedly inserting and removing the key to unlock the steering wheel. You will hear the key click into place if it has been inserted correctly. If it still doesn’t seem to be working, try jiggling the key around inside the lock.

You’ll be able to turn the wheel after the lock cylinder slightly moves as a result.

Make Sure Key Is Not Damaged Or Bent

The key may be broken or bent, making it challenging to unlock the steering wheel. You will need to create a new key if this is the situation.

Typically, a pair of pliers can straighten a crooked key. However, if the key is seriously harmed, you will need to take it to a locksmith to have a new one made.


Without a key, it can be difficult to unlock a steering wheel that suddenly locks, but it is doable. I hope this article has clarified the various approaches you can take to unlock your steering wheel without a key. Depending on the severity of the issue, there are additional relatively complex solutions to try. When necessary, don’t hesitate to get professional assistance.

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