This common feature on vehicles is causing people problems! Here’s how to fix it.

Most vehicles have a steering wheel lock. While this feature does have its useful purpose, it’s been the cause of frustration for many drivers who return to their parked car to find they can no longer turn their key to start the engine.


685 × 782When you turn into a parking spot and don’t bother to straighten your wheels, you could be unknowingly engaging your steering wheel lock. With the steering wheel lock engaged, you will be unable to turn your key to start your vehicle. This is why some people have found themselves needing emergency service from AAA. 


To try to disengage the steering wheel lock, insert your key into the ignition. Now turn the steering wheel as far as it will turn (turning it in the same direction that your wheels are pointed), and hold the wheel in this position. Don’t let go! While holding the wheel in place, you should be able to turn your key and start the engine. If this doesn’t work, try turning (and holding) the steering wheel in the opposite direction while also turning your key. It may take several tries in both directions to get your steering wheel to unlock, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

When this feature has been the cause of panic for so many people, you may wonder why manufacturers would use it. The primary purpose is to help prevent your vehicle from rolling into the street or down the road if the parking gear or parking brake fail. With the wheels turned toward the curb, if your vehicle does lose its ability to stay put while parked, the car will bump into the curb instead of rolling into the street.

Categories: Tech Tips, Service