If you've been in this situation before, you may just need a quick reminder. But for the rest of you, dealing with a stuck or locked steering wheel while stuck in an Oshkosh parking lot or Waupaca pit-stop can provide a moment or two (or more) of panic. How do you get your steering wheel unlocked? First, don't worry. 

Automatic steering wheel locking occurs on most Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and RAM vehicles as a security feature; if someone tries to steal your vehicle, the steering wheel locks up so they can't. You can also lock your steering wheel intentionally for this same reason when parking it. But regardless, if you find yourself asking how to unlock a steering wheel, read on or contact us because we here at the Kolosso CDJR service center have the answers you seek!

How to Unlock a Steering Wheel in 5 Simple Steps

Fortunately, unlocking a steering wheel is usually very easy. Here's what to do: 

  1. Pull the wheel down in the same direction you did when the wheel was first locked. 
  2. Not sure which direction to pull in first? No worries. Just try both - you'll know you're pulling the right way when the wheel moves slightly rather than completely locking up. 
  3. While holding your steering wheel in the right direction, put your key into the ignition. You may need to jiggle the wheel a bit as you insert the key to get it in. Just don't force it. Once your key is in, start the engine as normal.
  4. Are you experiencing issues starting your engine and/or moving your wheel? Try turning your wheel in the opposite direction and repeat step 3.
  5. Your steering wheel should now be unlocked! Congratulations (and safe travels)!

What to Keep in Mind When Unlocking a Steering Wheel

Follow these tips to unlock your steering successfully without making the cure worse than the initial issue itself: 

  • DO NOT USE BRUTE FORCE: It's in CAPS because we mean it! Do not force your steering wheel unlocked. You could seriously damage parts of the steering column! Apply pressure, but do not try to jam it. The amount of pressure you use when pulling should be similar to the amount of force you apply when, say, buffing out your car -- it will be a little strenuous to pull the wheel but should not be ridiculously hard. You'll feel some resistance, but there should also be some give if you're doing it the right way. If the steering wheel is completely locked, schedule service now at our Manitowoc area CDJR service center.
  • Try a Different Key: If you can't turn the key, the problem may be the key itself - Old or worn keys may have trouble making contact within the ignition, thereby losing the ability to engage the car's tumblers. If you think your key is the issue, try to use a different one!

How to Lock Your Steering Wheel for Security Purposes

If you're on the other end of the spectrum -- that is, if you'd like to lock your steering wheel on purpose for security reasons, we will walk you through it in 3 simple steps below:

  1. Turn off your car and remove the keys from the ignition. 
  2. Turn the steering wheel one way or the other until you hear a clicking sound, indicating it has locked in place.
  3. Your steering wheel will remain locked until you return, and follow the steps above to unlock a steering wheel. 

The Kolosso CDJR is Here to Help with All Your Service FAQs

From learning how to lock your steering wheel and unlock it to learning how often to change your oil or how to change your brakes, we here at the Kolosso CDJR service center in Appleton are here to help you! In fact, a wide range of Kaukauna and Neenah drivers looking for expert answers to their service questions just like you get access to all the best tips and tricks every day by relying on our service center! Plus, it helps that we're centrally located and have convenient hours that fit within your busy life. So get in touch today online or by phone!