How to Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key

Is your car having a problem with a locked steering wheel? Then you need to read what we have for you. We are going to teach you how to unlock a steering wheel without a key, so you better read it carefully.

Reasons Why The Steering Wheel Locks

There are a few reasons why the steering wheel locks up while you drive your vehicle, and one of the most common reasons is that it ran out of steering fluid, or the fluid has gone dirty. 

This can usually happen in low-speed maneuvers like parking the vehicle, and it’s going to feel like the wheels are heavier as you move your car. You can prevent this from happening by taking your car to inspection. 

Another possibility of your steering wheel failing while driving is that one or more components in the steering mechanism are malfunctioning. Even though it is not very common, it does happen. 

If your car is experiencing this, then it’s probable that the steering arms or column are damaged. A steering wheel can lock up while your vehicle is parked. 

This can happen because plenty of modern vehicles are equipped with an anti-theft feature that is able to lock it. Then again, the system could be inverted due to a locking pin or a different component. 

Materials Needed To Unlock Steering Wheel

To unlock the steering wheel without using a key, you are going to need some tools: 

  • Screwdrivers.
  • Socket set.
  • WD40 spray. 

Ways To Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key

You have two ways, let’s see the first one.

1. Unlock it by yourself

Insert your key into the ignition and try turning it carefully while you move the steering wheel to both sides simultaneously. If the lock happened by accident, you will solve the problem with this technique.

Make sure you do the steps concurrently. Don’t put extra force on the key. If you do it, the lock mechanism will be permanently damaged. Depending on the movement, try to increase or decrease the number of times you turn to each side. 

2. Use a different key 

If you don’t want to give the first technique a chance, then you might find these next steps useful. If you have a second key, try to unlock it with that. Keep in mind that a second key is not always an option, so you need to make sure you try the first method. 

You should try to keep the keys in perfect shape. Otherwise, they will lose their original size and won’t fit in the lock. 

3. Try the WD40 

If the locking happened due to the lock cylinder, then you need to spray it with WD40. Spray the ignition opening, and if the lock numbers are totally frozen, it will help you clear the cylinder. 

Replace Ignition Set

For this method, you are going to need professional assistance. These are the main steps: 

  1. Loosen the screws on the bottom part of the steering wheel while you hold it carefully. 
  2. Press the tabs and grab the half part.
  3. Follow the same steps for the top part. 

After this, you need to:

  1. Press the release tab and turn the key until the cylinder moves. 
  2. Try to use the key again. 
  3. Install the cylinders in the steering column.
  4. Check the key by turning in full. 
  5. Get the columns back to set. 
  6. Reinstall all the columns.
  7. Start at the top and work your way down. 
  8. Make sure every clip is engaged.
  9. Get the screws tightened to finish the process. 

Extra Advices 

Lastly, we wanted to include some extra advice on how to prevent your steering wheel from locking. Always check the power steering fluid level. If you don’t have the right amount, you can compound the damage.

Many people online will tell you that you don’t require a key to unlock a steering wheel. But the reality is completely different. If you do it without a key, your car can get damaged without repair. 

Use these advices to keep your steering wheel safe, and we guarantee that it’s going to last many years. Don’t forget that a replacement of the lock cylinder will have permanent results.  


Hi, I'm the initiator and writer of this blog. Cars were and will be my first love, and my favorite hobby, that's why I decided to start this blog and write about my discoveries and techniques to improve my cars or repair them.