It’s terrifying and annoying at the same time. Having your steering wheel locked up while parked is too irritating. There have been complaints about it for various models. The ignition or replacement of the ignition chamber is a standard solution. However, there is a catch:
It isn’t always the case that your car will start after applying the standard solution. By switching off and on the electronic power steering of Ford or Tesla, for example, the steering can sometimes get back on track. In this guide, you will learn about steering wheel locked up while parked.
Why do steering wheel locked up while parked?
This question can be answered in several ways. There are several reasons why the steering wheel locks while parked, both common and unusual.
Binding of the steering wheel in one direction (power steering issues)
It tells us you have power steering problems if your steering wheel locks up when you attempt to turn in a particular direction or at a specific point along with the steering wheel’s travel. The power steering fluid is not likely to cause the problem since the system seems to be working in the opposite direction. There may be a mechanical problem with the power steering system itself. Perhaps the power steering rack is damaged, or the rack’s internals is clogged.
A mechanic may recommend changing the power steering fluid before replacing the power steering rack, which is more extensive work. By flushing the power steering system with clean fluid, you will often be able to free up crucial parts.
Binding of the steering wheel while driving (low power steering fluid)
You are most likely to experience steering wheel lock-up while driving when you are low on power steering fluid or the fluid is dirty. At lower speeds, such as parking lot maneuvers, the power steering system makes turning the wheels easier. It might not seem like there is much difference when cruising, but you may have difficulty steering the car at lower speeds if this system malfunctions. There could be a lack of fluid pressure if damage has caused the system to leak.
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Furthermore, it is possible that the power steering fluid needs to be replaced if it has become filthy. The fluid may simply not be circulating through the system properly, in which case you may need to replace the power steering pump.
Driving with a locked steering wheel (failure of the steering linkage)
Even though it’s sporadic, it’s possible for a sudden malfunction of the steering mechanics, such as a broken steering column or steering arms, to cause the vehicle’s steering. When this occurs, try your best to stop the car safely and have it towed to a Subaru service center that is reputable and authorized. However, it is rare for a sudden lack of steering response to be complete. Despite the power steering system failure, you’ll still be able to turn the wheel a bit with great effort, but it won’t be easy.
While parked, the steering wheel has locked up (ignition lock)
Modern cars equipped with turn-key ignitions often have an ignition lock. After removing the key from the ignition, turn the wheel to activate this feature. You’ll engage a locking bolt that prevents the vehicle’s steering wheel from being turned without a key. This feature keeps the car from being stolen. Although a would-be thief might be able to start the engine, they couldn’t operate the vehicle as the steering wheel won’t budge.
If you are unfamiliar with the steering lock and accidentally activate it, it can create a potentially dangerous situation. If you want to deactivate the lock, turn the key in the ignition, but be aware that there is usually a great deal of tension in the lock cylinder that prevents you from operating the key. You can release this tension by turning the steering wheel slightly. The object should be able to move a little bit in at least one direction. Turn the key, and the lock cylinder will disengage, releasing the tension on the lock.
How to unlock the steering wheel locked up while parked?
If you follow a step-by-step procedure, you’ll get your car running in no time. Let’s start with the process. We need to clear something out first. If you feel that you’ve already applied a method, move on to the next.
Step 1: Try through the ignition.
Some people wonder, what is manual disabling steering wheel lock? The answer is this method. It involves turning both the steering wheel and key at the same time.
- Insert the ignition key into the cylinder. Be gentle when turning it. A hard twist may result in the key breaking. If you have a broken key in the ignition lock cylinder, it will cost you 2-5 times more than usual to remove it.
- Try turning the key gently if your car doesn’t start, and then find out which side the locking pin is on. Determine if the steering wheel moves in any direction when you turn it. If it does, that side is locked.
- While on the free side of the steering wheel, you’ll apply pressure to the steering wheel while gently turning your key.
- Hopefully, your car will start.
Step 2: De-jam the ignition cylinder
- Ensure you have WD-40, a pressurized air sprayer, and an aerosol cleaner because this step requires you to clear the key lock.
- Apply pressurized air mixed with the aerosol cleaner to the lock chamber.
- Apply WD40 or liquid graphite to the inside of the ignition cylinder next.
- Keeping the key in the chamber for a few seconds, slide it in and out.
Step 3: Working on the key
Due to the failure of the previous methods, the key needs to be focused on. There’s a possibility that your key is worn out. To solve this, we’ll go through another process.
- First of all, separate the key from the other ornaments.
- You can try the first method by pulling out a small piece (about the thickness of a nickel).
- You can also gently turn the key while wriggling it. If this works, there is good news and bad news. Your car will run for the time being, but your key is damaged.
Step 4: The ignition lock cylinder should be replaced.
- This is the best solution. In light of the failure of the previous methods, we can say that you have severe problems with your key or ignition lock cylinder.
- Call up a locksmith and order a new cylinder if you are stuck in the parking lot.
Can low oil cause steering wheel to lock up?
Low oil levels can indeed cause a steering wheel to lock up. The power steering system in a vehicle relies on a hydraulic pump that is powered by the engine. If the oil level in the engine is too low, the pump can become damaged or even seize up, which can result in the power steering system failing.
When the power steering system fails, the driver may notice that the steering wheel becomes difficult to turn, especially at low speeds. In severe cases, the steering wheel can become completely locked, making it nearly impossible to steer the vehicle. This can be a dangerous situation, as it can make it difficult to maneuver the vehicle, especially in an emergency.
To prevent the steering wheel from locking up, it is important to regularly check the oil level in the engine and to ensure that it is at the proper level. If the oil level is low, it should be topped off immediately to prevent damage to the power steering system.