What do I do When my Steering Wheel Locks Up Service FAQ serving Sacramento, CA
Subaru steering wheel lock service FAQs

Car Steering Locks Up - Frequently Asked Auto Care Questions at Shingle Springs Subaru

Get answers about steering wheel lock up

The steering wheel lock feature on modern cars is a helpful anti-theft measure. When the ignition key is removed, you'll only be able to turn the steering wheel so far before hearing a click. Then, the wheel won't turn, as it's been "locked" into place. This means that, even if a car thief did manage to get the engine running, without the key, they won't be able to steer it. In rare cases, the steering wheel lock can engage while the key is in the ignition, or even while driving the car! Below, we'll give you some tips on how to handle a malfunctioning steering wheel lock.

Schedule service to fix a steering wheel lock at Shingle Springs Subaru
Learn why your steering wheel locks up and how to repair it

If you Can't Disengage the Steering Wheel Lock

To engage the steering wheel lock, simply turn the wheel a bit after taking the key out of the ignition. You'll feel and hear a click, and you won't be able to turn the wheel anymore in one direction. In the other direction, you'll be able to turn the wheel a bit before spring tension makes turning it any further too difficult.

When it's time to disengage the steering wheel lock, insert the key and attempt to start the car. Don't force it! If the key won't turn, simply rotate the steering wheel in the direction that it still has a small range of motion. With the wheel rotated slightly, you should be able to turn the key with ease. This deactivates the steering wheel lock. Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with push-button start, it should work the same. If it doesn't, your vehicle may have a problem sensing the proximity key.

Schedule your service appointment at Shingle Springs Subaru

You might feel that the steering wheel lock is not disengaging. If the steering wheel is difficult to move even with the engine on, but it can be moved in both directions, you may have a problem with the power steering system, like a failed power steering pump. If the wheel is truly stuck, you might need to call us to connect you with a local towing company. We'll bring your vehicle in and repair or replace the bad steering wheel lock, or the car's anti-theft immobilizer.

If the Steering Wheel Lock Engages at Speed

In extremely rare cases, a defective steering wheel lock could engage while you're driving - making it so that you cannot steer. With both hands firmly on the wheel, even if they seem pointless there, slow the vehicle safely to a stop. To get the wheel lock to disengage, you'll have to turn the engine off and back on again. If you experience a steering wheel lock while driving, be sure to let us know so we can ensure it doesn't happen again.

Order parts online for your vehicle at Shingle Springs Subaru

We hope this information helps you on your Subaru ownership journey! If you have additional questions, you can connect with a factory-trained Subaru expert at the Shingle Springs Subaru Service center by calling the phone number at the top of your screen, or just by visiting our service department at 4045 Wild Chaparral Drive, Shingle Springs, CA 95682.

Shingle Springs Subaru

4045 Wild Chaparral Dr
Directions Shingle Springs, CA 95682

  • Sales: 530-677-8771
  • Service: 530-677-8771
  • Parts: 530-677-8771


  • Monday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Tuesday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Wednesday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Thursday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Friday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Saturday 09:00am - 07:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 06:00pm