What Does It Mean When Your Steering Wheel Locks?

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What Does It Mean When Your Steering Wheel Locks

It’s dreadful for the steering wheel to lock up when driving around a dangerous cliff. It’s even worse if you are at high speed on a roundabout. Before taking the right path, the steering wheel locks, and you crash with other motorists causing people to die. Fortunately, it’s not common, but when it does happen, you come face to face with death.

So, what does it mean when your steering wheel locks? Note that, when your engine is off, your car steering wheel should remain locked for safety precautions. Your car can’t move, and thieves can’t steal it easily unless they have your key. When you want to unlock your steering wheel, you can only use a key.

You are wondering why should my steering wheel locked up while driving. There are many reasons. Below are the major ones and the solutions.

Causes and Solutions of The Steering Wheel Lock

After knowing why your steering wheel lock while driving, finding the solution becomes easy. Below are the steering wheel lock causes and how you can solve the problem. They include;

1. Power Steering Pump

Advancement in technology has made steering of the car easy and convenient. All thanks to the invention of the power steering pump that is common in modern vehicles. Unfortunately, as you travel, debris may sneak in and clog the valves. As a result, linkage occurs, resulting in a sudden steering lock.

Luckily, before this occurs, it will give you warning signs. You need to handle them immediately, to avoid danger. The first sign is that you will realize that your steering wheel’s response is slow when you try to operate it. The hood of the car will start producing some whining noises. If you detect any of these symptoms, call the mechanic.

He can consider replacing the power steering pump. If you are used to repairing cars, you can replace the steering pump on your own to avoid unnecessary expenses.

2. Making Sharp Turns

Some drivers like showing that they are pro when it comes to making sharp corners. When trying to popularize themselves, they interfere with the transmission resulting in the steering wheel lock. You could also be driving on the road full of sharp corners. If you make sharp turns frequently, you may also result in the steering wheel getting stuck.

Does that mean you should not travel on such roads? If you have an alternative route, then use it. But if not, reduce your speed when making a sharp corner and be gentle to your steering wheel. Chances of steering wheel lock will lower.

3. Lock Assembly Issues

So, why does my steering wheel lock without giving me a warning? Lock assembly issues could be the main culprit. You can imagine how dangerous it can be on a busy highway. It becomes worse when the cylinder fails to follow the command.

Note that the debris may enter the cylinder and cause it not to receive the command correctly. That means you can fix it by removing that debris. Alternatively, if the cylinder is damaged, you can consider replacing it. Regular car servicing will protect you from some of these problems.

4. Engine Stalling

If your engine has issues, you may start experiencing power steering failure. Unfortunately, you may not know much about where to check. There are many reasons for engine stalling. They include faulty/damaged crankshaft, defective spark plugs, or even defective camshaft position sensors, among other reasons.

If you suspect that the steering wheel lock is due to engine stalling, call the mechanic. He will examine the engine and repair or replace the defective parts. Lubricating the right parts and regular servicing are good preventative measures.

5. Steering Lock Bar

The manufacturer designed the steering lock bar to be locking the steering wheel when the engine is off. Though it’s a safety measure, it can become a pain if it gets cracks. As the cracks expand, you will start having problems with your steering wheel.

Don’t assume that your carelessness caused the steering lock bar to crack. It’s not your fault. Maybe it’s a factory defect. The solution is to call the mechanic immediately to deal with the steering lock bar. He will help you fix the issue.

6. Faulty Steering Column

Have you ever wondered how the steering wheel works? The steering column acts as a link between the steering wheel and the steering system. It also has a function of energy dissipation management in case of collision. So when you want to change the direction, it will make it easy. Unfortunately, when it becomes faulty, operating the steering wheel becomes very complicated. Changing the direction or even taking corners is not easy, and that can be dangerous.

What can cause it to become faulty? When driving your car, dust, dirt, and debris can interfere with the steering column. The solution is easy; don’t let dust, debris, or dirt to accumulate on the steering column. Keep on wiping it regularly. Regular servicing can also help.

7. Engine Control Unit Problems

You can also call it the engine control module. It helps the engine to perform in an optimum way by controlling a series of actuators. It’s also responsible for managing the steering lock mechanism. If it develops problems, then you will have issues with the steering wheel. Park the car aside and let the mechanic deal with the issue.


Driving a car with a locking steering wheel not only poses a danger to you, but it’s a threat to everyone on the road. You may not diagnose the problem on your own, but your mechanic can help you. If you get the sign, get the solution right away before the matter worsens. When taking sharp corners, be gentle on your steering wheel and turn slowly. Have regular car servicing and keep on lubricating the right parts. If there are some faulty parts, don’t delay in replacing them. Remember, this problem may not be common, but you don’t want to experience it.

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