The steering wheel lock is a wonderful safety feature on your car that is designed to prevent the car from being stolen. However, what happens if the steering wheel lock becomes inactive and won’t lock? In conjunction, make it impossible to start the car, and can be a real hassle. Not to worry as this article is here to help.
Reasons Why Your Steering Wheel Won’t Lock and Car Won’t Start
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why your steering wheel won’t lock and the car won’t start without investigating the root of the problem by a certified technician. However, there are a few possible explanations for why this is happening:
The first thing that comes to mind is that the battery might be dead. This is one of the most common reasons for a steering wheel not locking and a car not starting. If the battery is not the issue, then perhaps the following might be the problem:
1. Worn Or Broken Detent
You might be wondering what detent is. The detent is a component in the steering column that is responsible for locking the wheel. The “catch’ mechanism you can say. It can wear down over time, leading to the wheel not locking. If you are is new, then this likely isn’t the problem but if a couple of years older, then this probably the first place to check for faults and issues.
To fix this, a mechanic will simply open up the column, replace the detent and lubricate it. This is a quick and easy fix that will likely not break the bank.
2. A Broken Cog
There are many small cogs in the steering column and if one of them breaks, it can prevent the wheel from locking. This is a slightly more complicated fix as it might require replacing the entire steering column. Even the cog itself that fits into the detent of your steering column may have broken due to old age or regular use.
For this too, a mechanic will have to open up the column, assess the damage, and replace the cog or cogs as necessary.
3. A Broken Actuator
An actuator is a small electric motor that is responsible for locking the wheel. If it breaks, the wheel will not lock. The actuator can be broken for a number of reasons such as impact damage, regular wear and tear or even corrosion. This is a very important part of the steering column and it is difficult to find a replacement. If this is the problem, then you are most likely looking at a costly repair.
This, again, is a more complicated fix and might require replacing the entire steering column.
4. You’re Not Turning The Steering Wheel Far Enough
We know this might sound silly but if you’re not turning the wheel far enough, it might not be activating the actuator and locking the wheel. The steering wheel must be turned at least 90 degrees for the actuator to lock it in place. It can happen to anyone so make sure to double-check before you take your car in for repairs. Just a quick and simple check should save you time and money so don’t dismiss it just yet.
5. Broken Electric Locking Mechanisms
Some automobile locking mechanisms operate in a manner that differs from the concepts presented here. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you could be utilizing an electric locking mechanism to keep your steering wheel in place. The problem may be caused by a faulty electric locking mechanism. If the locking mechanism isn’t operating correctly, it won’t be able to signal your steering wheel to lock.
This is something that might happen for a variety of reasons. There are times when the wiring in the locking mechanism fails or there is a fault in the electrical system. You won’t be able to tell what’s wrong with the locking mechanism until you take a look at it in person although, that is easier said than done.
There are no visible locking mechanisms where you can pull them out to inspect them. A professional is going to need to take out the steering column and wheel in order to access things. Most people shouldn’t attempt this, because it is more complicated than one may anticipate. If you notice a locking mechanism that is broken or not working properly, take it to your mechanic or dealer for repairs.
6. Computer Malfunctions
If your car’s computer system is malfunctioning, it might be preventing your steering wheel from locking. There are a variety of ways that the computer can malfunction and it can affect different parts of your car. The steering column is just one example. If the computer system is not functioning properly, it might be preventing your car from starting as well. This may be due to an issue with the wiring, the software or even the hardware.
This is a more complicated repair and it might require taking your car in for a diagnostic. The mechanic will need to look at the computer system and try to determine what’s wrong. There are many different things that can go wrong with a computer and it can be difficult to diagnose the issue.
7. Loose Steering Wheel
Last on this list, but not least, is the loose steering wheel. This can be caused by a number of things such as wear and tear, improper installation, or even an accident. If the steering wheel is loose, it might not be locking in place correctly.
A mechanic can tighten the screws or bolts that are holding the steering wheel in place. However, if the problem is due to wear and tear, the screws or bolts might not be enough. In this case, the mechanic may need to replace the entire steering column.
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, don’t hesitate to take your car in for repairs. It’s important that you get the issue fixed as soon as possible.
Steering Wheel Won’t Unlock
On the other hand, what if your steering wheel won’t unlock? This could be caused by a number of different things such as a faulty actuator, a broken electric locking mechanism, or a computer malfunction. If the computer system is not functioning properly, it might be preventing your car from starting as well. This may be due to an issue with the wiring, the software, or even the hardware.
This is a more complicated repair and it might require taking your car to a mechanic who will have to find a way to release the steering wheel from its locked position first to diagnose the problem. There are a few things that you can try if this happens to your car.
The first is to see if the key will unlock the steering wheel. If it doesn’t, try wiggling the steering wheel from side to side or up and down. If that still doesn’t work, you might have to take it in for repairs.
So, what can you do if your car won’t start or the steering wheel won’t lock? There are a few things that you can try before taking it in for repairs. The first thing to address is to see if the battery is in its optimal condition. If it’s not, try charging it or replacing it. If the steering wheel issue still persists, try checking the locks, the computer system, or the steering column. If none of these things work, it’s time to take your car in for repairs. Thanks for reading!
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