Why Is My BMW X3 Steering Wheel Locked?

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John Davis
Updated on Oct 4, 2022 · 4 min read
If your BMW X3 has a locked steering wheel, try firmly pulling it to one side or the other while turning the key to start the engine. If that doesn’t work, there may be a deeper problem, like a faulty ignition system.
For years, BMWs have been known as one of the most desirable German luxury cars. So desirable, in fact, that BMW manufactures their vehicles with steering wheels that lock to prevent theft. While this feature is great for keeping your car safe, it can cause some concern if you get in the seat only to find you can’t turn the wheel.
has a guide to unlocking your BMW X3 steering wheel. As a
licensed broker
car insurance
and expert on car maintenance, Jerry is here to answer all your questions and concerns about locked steering wheels—and help you save on your
BMW X3 insurance cost
down below. 
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How to unlock your BMW X3 steering wheel

If your BMW X3’s steering wheel is locked, it’s probably because you or someone else accidentally activated the mechanism that BMW installed in your car as an anti-theft device. 
This is relatively easy to do by accident. Simply turning the wheel too far while parking or while the key is out of the ignition can trigger the anti-theft device, so don’t be surprised or frightened if you find your steering wheel locked. 
Luckily, unlocking the wheel is also fairly easy. First, press the brake while trying to turn the steering wheel in both directions—it should move a little either to the left or right. Then, firmly pull the wheel in that direction while turning the key in the ignition
Doing this should unlock your steering wheel. But if it doesn’t, you might be looking at a more serious mechanical problem.

Why your BMW X3 steering wheel lock might engage

Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that can cause a steering wheel to lock apart from the anti-theft device. If your steering wheel is locked, it could be anything from a faulty ignition system or frozen tumblers to a power steering failure
Here is a list of some of the most common causes of a locked steering wheel.

If your steering wheel locks while parked

If your
steering wheel is stuck
while parked and the above method doesn’t work to free it, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with an ignition failure
The anti-theft device that locks your wheel is part of the ignition system. If your steering wheel won’t turn and it won’t unlock, you might need to replace your
ignition switch
or the ignition cylinder. 

If your steering wheel locks while driving

Although this is a rare occurrence, your Bimmer’s steering wheel might lock up while driving. If you experience this issue, it’s likely the result of a catastrophic failure of the power steering system, steering column,
steering rack
, or suspension. 
Try your best not to panic if this happens to you while driving. Keep your hands firmly on the wheel and gradually press the brake to reduce your speed. If you can move the wheel at all, try to navigate to the side of the road safely and then call for help. Roadside assistance or towing coverage can be a huge help if you experience an issue like this.

If your steering wheel is usable but stiff

If your steering wheel isn’t exactly locked up but is getting increasingly
difficult to turn
, you probably have an issue with your BMW’s power steering system.
The power steering system consists of several components, and any one of them failing can cause a stiff steering wheel. If your wheel is hard to turn, you could be dealing with a faulty
power steering pump
, dirty
power steering fluid
(or a low fluid level), or a leak in the power steering system
If you suspect that your car has one of these issues, you’ll probably need to visit a professional mechanic to have the problem diagnosed and repaired. 

How to save on BMW X3 insurance

As a luxury car, your BMW X3 will usually be more expensive to insure than your average
Honda insurance cost
Toyota insurance cost
. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great rate to protect yourself and your vehicle. 
Luckily, the days of tedious searches for the best insurance companies and policies are over. Because when you download the car owner’s super app,
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Just download the app and provide Jerry with a few basic pieces of information—like your phone number, accident history, and vehicle identification number—to gain instant access to personalized quotes from some of the country’s top providers. 
When you download the app, you’ll be joining an exclusive group of Jerry users who average more than $800 per year in savings after switching providers with Jerry’s help. 
“Because I have a luxury car, I was more interested in finding better coverage than the exact price.
helped me upgrade my policy, and when my record is cleared next year, I will be using Jerry again to choose an even cheaper plan!” —Paige W.
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