How to Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key? – 3 Methods

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

how to unlock steering wheel without key

Starting up your car and finding out that your steering wheel locks all of a sudden can be a frustration.

This is due to the fact that steering wheels lock for safety reasons such as to prevent car theft or prevent a car from moving when the ignition is turned off.

But did you know that there are ways on how to break steering wheel lock even if you don’t have the primary key needed to unlock it?

Without further ado, let’s get on with the ways and steps on how to unlock steering wheel without key.

Ways to Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key


In order to remove steering wheel lock without your ignition key, you will need the following tools:

  • WD40
  • Screwdriver
  • Canned Air

Method 1: Unlock by Using Spare Keys

  • Using a Spare Key


The most common way to disable steering wheel lock is by inserting and turning your primary key while simultaneously turning the steering wheel in both directions with the right amount of force.

If your primary key fails, you can always go for a secondary key if you have a bent or damaged key due to being worn out.

Take note that not all car manufacturers provide an extra car key. So if an extra key is unavailable or your spare key fails, you can check out other methods in this article.

  • Lubricate the Key Slot


Your key slot may have accumulated some dirt or moisture if your keys won’t unlock your car’s steering wheel locks.

You can use a WD 40 Spray, which is a lubricant to clean any dirt or loosen any solidified locking mechanism.

After using a lubricant into the keyhole, you can try turning the keys in the same direction or both ways to unlock a steering wheel.

Method 2: Ignition System Replacement


You can unlock a locked steering wheel by following a more technical method in replacing your ignition system.

1. Unlock Steering Column Covers

Remove the screws with a screwdriver which is located in the side or bottom of the steering column panels.

Unlock the cylinder lock by pressing the tab to remove the column panels while turning the wheel lock until it is completely released.

2. Removing the Cylinder Lock

Most modern cars have a metallic clip that covers the lock cylinder. Use your screwdriver to remove it.

Insert the key and press the release tab until your lock cylinder starts moving backwards before taking it off.

3. Ignition Replacement

Install the new ignition lock in the same shaft where your lock cylinder was removed. Secure all locks in place. Insert your key to unlock your new ignition cylinder lock.

Check the owner’s manual for any particular setup in installing your new ignition lock system. Some cars have a lock tab to press to avoid the ignition cylinder being tied up to the latch.

4. Reinstall the Column Panels

Upon successfully using your key, you can now reinstall the panels and secure all screws to keep it in place.

Method 3: Applying Loosening Sticky Locks


  • Electrical Cleaner

Another method to unlock steering wheel lock is by using an electrical cleaner to remove any dirt out of the way as it acts as a lubricant for loosening sticky locks.

Don’t spray in too much to prevent any damage to your keyhole. Insert your ignition key halfway a few times in order for the lubricant to spread out evenly.

  • Use a Canned Air

Spray canned air into the ignition port. Use its nozzle to carefully insert it in the ignition port and press to spray air to remove any stuck hazards or small debris.

  • Use Your Key

Insert your key gently in and out of the slot until your steering wheel locks get released. Make sure that your key doesn’t have chipped teeth to avoid ticklish situations.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Causes the Power Steering Wheel to Lock?

The reason for your steering wheels’ lock up could be coming from a faulty vehicle’s hydraulic or electric steering systems.

The hydraulic steering system powers your driving wheel by using pressurized power steering fluid which helps control your car and gives you enough power to boost up your steering.

So a leakage of power steering fluid, or a worn out hydraulic pump can cause your steering wheel to lock up.

Another cause is a faulty electric steering system. Without the regular maintenance and car servicing, the electric steering system and ignition lock can malfunction.

What Happens if My Steering Wheel Locks Up?

Without starting car’s engine with locked-up steering wheels, you won’t be able to turn your wheel and drive your car. You won’t be able to jumpstart your car unless you unlock ignition without key.

Can a Steering Wheel Lock While Driving?

A wheel lock-up can happen anytime which can be dangerous and can cause accidents while driving especially when your ignition locks start to show signs of deterioration such as screeching sounds.

As a responsible car owner, regular car servicing is important to maintain the safety mechanism and efficiency of your vehicle and to keep it in a good and working condition.

How Much Does it Cost to Unlock a Steering Wheel?

Having a professional car mechanic to unlock your steering wheel can cost you around $100 – $200. When it comes to cylinder lock replacement, it can cost you around $330.

How to Unlock Subaru Steering Wheel?

If your Subaru steering wheel suddenly locks, you may have to get a new steering pump or replace your power steering system.

There is also another method you can try without turning the key of your Subaru. You have to turn your steering wheel in either direction depending on how it was before.

Then step on your brake pedal, and if your Subaru is equipped with push button start function, press it at the same time you hit the brakes.

How to Purposely Lock the Steering Wheel in My Mercedes Benz?

So to remove the anxiety of car theft and you want to lock your steering wheel, first you have to turn off your vehicle and remove its key.

Second, is to turn the steering wheel left or right all the way until you hear a click which will indicate that it is already locked.

Is it Unsafe to Use a Steering Wheel Cover?

Steering wheel covers act as an accessory to your driving wheel, especially if the user is more into the aesthetic aspect of a car.

However, it is not necessarily unsafe when it comes to driving performance as it can lessen hand stiffness and give a better grip on the wheel.

As long as your wheel cover is not made out of slippery material, then it won’t cause any problems.

Also, make sure that the wheel cover is securely fitted so that the airbag can function properly during a crash or collision.

How Much Will it Cost for the Replacement of Honda Steering Wheels?

Honda vehicles such as Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and Honda Cr-V models can cost around $240-$355.

The price varies depending on the quality of components used such as black leather and the type of material for its grips.

Is there a Car Lockout Service?

It usually comes in the form of an insurance policy add-on called roadside for maintenance and support services 24/7 to policyholders.

For instance, BMW has roadside assistance during car emergencies such as battery failure, changing of flat tires, and steering locks.

Nissan car models have a key replacement plan and provide emergency roadside assistance to its users which covers the usual car breakdown problems and the like.

For newer Toyota vehicles, they have a plan called ToyotaCare that comes with roadside assistance and maintenance to prevent issues like starting up a car with dead battery and ensure the safety of its users.

How Much Does a Car Insurance Cost?

Car insurances cost about $148 per month and could cost up to $1,771 per year for a full coverage of benefits.

The cost may vary as it is dependent on what kind of premium and benefits you would choose for your car’s needs.


Now that we have reached the end of the article, you should be able to unlock GM steering wheel without the master key in a breeze.

There are certainly different methods to unlock the steering wheel. You can try whichever would suit your case in the event of a locked up steering wheel.

You can use a spare key if ever the car dealership provided you with one or replace a faulty ignition lock system. You can also loosen sticky locks by using an electrical cleaner or canned air.

We hope that we were able to provide you useful information on how to unlock steering wheel without key.

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