The Steering lock feature in such a way to ensure that whenever the car door is opened, and the ignition is not turned on within a few seconds, the steering refuses to turn. This feature is meant to deter criminals from attempting to drive away your car. It’s better still they may end up locking themselves in. Any attempted move of the front or the rear wheels will release a lever that disengages the steering wheel lock mechanism. Instead of you struggling to try to force the ignition in it is a good idea to know what other reasons may cause this and probably know the possible solutions.

The Causes

Apart from the security features, there are some reasons why your car’s steering wheel refuses to move.

Steering Pump

Modern cars are controlled using the power steering. Every steering wheel has a pump that is used to make it easier to steer the vehicle. The pump is linked to levers and springs which may fall out of place when you try to turn the tires without the ignition key. In some cases, debris may accumulate inside the pump.

Problem with the Ignition Switch

Inserting the correct key to a worn out ignition system or cylinder may force the steering wheel to lock. As the electronic system may interpret this as forced entry. When this happens, you may not be able to start the car at all. Sometimes using a worn out key will present the same problem.

Lock Pin

When driving the lock pin that links the steering column to the driving wheels may fail to release when attempting to change direction. When the pain cannot release, there will be no contact between the pin and the lock plate making it impossible for you to control the vehicle to the desired direction.

Tire Pressure

Car controls the wheel pressure by trying to balance them after parking your car, however, if you are fond of packing your car with the driving tires (usually the front ones) are not straightened may lock the steering wheel. When tires are facing away from each other, it will cause a pressure loss on one side of the car.

Turning the Wheels When Engine is off

This may not be a problem as such, but it can qualify as a reason why your steering wheel may be hard to turn on either side.


The causes explained above are considered to be the primary reasons why your steering wheel is locked up. Who knows there could be other reasons? Anytime you encounter steering lock problem make sure to contact your trusted mechanic for further assistance. You can also try some of the basic DIY remedies to get your car back on the road. If self-diagnosis fails, tow your vehicle to the garage for problem resolution.