Why Is My Toyota Steering Wheel Locked?

Unlock your Toyota steering wheel by pulling it in both directions while turning the key in the ignition. For the complete steps, check out this Jerry guide.
Written by John Davis
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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If your Toyota steering wheel is locked, first try pulling it back and forth—it should move slightly in one direction. Then, firmly pull the steering wheel in that direction while turning the key in the ignition. If this doesn’t work, you may be dealing with a mechanical failure. 
Toyotas are excellent cars known for their reliability and safety. One of the safety features that each Toyota is equipped with is a steering wheel lock mechanism designed to prevent your car from being stolen. While this feature is great for deterring thieves, it might cause some alarm if you enter the vehicle and find the steering wheel locked.
If this happens, don’t worry;
Jerry
can help you unlock your Toyota steering wheel. As a
trusted super app
and
car insurance
broker, Jerry is committed to helping you stay safe and informed behind the wheel. 
In this guide, we’ll cover the steps to unlocking your steering wheel—and provide some tips on how to save on
Toyota car insurance
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How to unlock your Toyota steering wheel

If you find your Toyota steering wheel locked, it’s probably because you or someone else accidentally triggered the anti-theft locking mechanism. 
Don’t worry if this happens. It’s actually really easy to lock the wheel inadvertently by turning the wheel while the car is parked or while the key is out of the ignition. Thankfully, unlocking the wheel is also a simple process.
First, move your wheel back and forth until you figure out the direction in which it moves slightly. Then, firmly pull the wheel in that direction while turning the key in the ignition. If your car is equipped with push-button ignition, press the brake while pulling the wheel and press the start/stop button.
Completing these steps should release the locking mechanism. However, if your steering wheel is still locked, you may have a more severe mechanical problem. 
MORE: Toyota paint codes

Why your Toyota steering wheel lock might engage

In addition to the anti-theft device, there are several things that might cause your steering wheel to lock up. If your Toyota steering wheel is locked and the steps listed above don’t work to fix it, your car could have anything from a faulty ignition lock cylinder or frozen tumblers to a power steering system failure.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons your steering wheel might lock. 

If the steering wheel locks while parked

If your steering wheel doesn’t turn when the car is parked, your first step should be to try the steps listed above to unlock it. However, if this doesn’t work, it could be a sign that your car has an ignition failure
Your car’s ignition system works together with the anti-theft wheel lock mechanism. If the steering wheel is stuck, you may need to replace the ignition cylinder or the
ignition switch
.

If the steering wheel locks while driving

While it’s incredibly rare (thankfully), your Toyota’s steering wheel might lock up while you’re driving down the road. If this happens while you’re driving, your car probably has a severe malfunction of the power steering system, steering column,
steering rack
, or suspension system.
If you experience this catastrophe, try not to panic. Keep your hands firmly on the wheel, and try to gradually press the brake to slow the vehicle. If you’re able to move the wheel at all, do your best to safely pull to the side of the road and then call for help.
If your automotive coverage plan has roadside assistance or towing insurance, this is the time to use it.

If the steering wheel is usable but stiff

If your Toyota steering wheel still moves but is getting harder and harder to turn, you probably have a problem with your car’s power steering system. 
The power steering system in your car is made up of several different components. Each one of these parts must be in good condition and free from damage for your steering wheel to turn properly. If your Toyota is hard to turn or the wheel feels stiff, you might be dealing with a faulty
power steering pump
, dirty
power steering fluid
(or a low fluid level), or a power steering system leak
To determine the exact cause of a power steering system problem, you’ll probably need to take your car to a mechanic to have the issue diagnosed and repaired. 
MORE: Why does my steering wheel shake, and how do I fix it?

How to save on Toyota insurance

Although your Toyota might not be the most expensive vehicle on the road to insure, it never hurts to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal. That process used to be tedious and time-consuming, but that was before
Jerry
.
Now, you can download the car owner’s super app and let Jerry take care of the hard work for you. All you need to do is provide a few pieces of information, like your phone number, accident history, and vehicle identification number, and Jerry will take care of the rest. 
With the app, you can instantly view and compare rates from top competing insurers, enroll in a new personalized plan, and even get help canceling your old one. But that’s not even the best part—you can join the satisfied group of users who average more than $800 per year in savings after switching companies with Jerry’s help. 
“I just had to buy a new car, and I needed quick help to get insurance before I could get my plates. Because I work so many hours,
Jerry
was the ideal choice for getting things done without long phone calls and waiting periods.” —Rosa G.
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