what does it mean when a Subaru steering wheel locksA locked Subaru steering wheel can pose a serious, and sometimes fatal threat to drivers, especially when it happens unexpectedly. Although this incident doesn’t happen all that often, if it does, it is important to identify and resolve the problem as quickly as possible to get your Subaru back to functioning both properly and safely. Here’s what it means when a Subaru steering wheel locks, some common reasons why this occurs, and how you can fix it.

What It Means When Your Subaru Steering Wheel Locks

All steering wheels are designed to lock in particular circumstances. For example, your steering wheel always locks when there is no key found in the ignition to prevent the car from moving in the absence of a key. This serves as a safety precaution and helps to prevent car theft.

When your steering wheel is functioning properly, the only way to unlock the steering wheel is to insert your car key into the ignition and crank your car. Once this happens, your steering wheel is able to rotate freely. So, when your Subaru steering wheel still remains locked, this signals a mechanical malfunction of some sort. If this is the case, and your key will not unlock your steering wheel, you will need to visit a mechanic as soon as possible.

Possible Reasons Why Your Steering Wheel is Locked

Excessive Sharp Turning

Do you make sharp, abrupt turns frequently? If so, this may be the cause of your Subaru’s locked steering wheel. Basically, the abruptness involved in a sharp turn can affect your car’s transmission system and engine, which can lead to a malfunction and subsequently locked steering wheel while driving. That is why it is extremely important to slowly complete a turn to avoid the jamming of your steering wheel.

Your Power Steering Pump is Jammed

Your power steering pump is what makes turning your steering wheel so easy. Before it was invented, individuals used pure muscle to rotate their steering wheels, which required a lot more work. Now, steering wheels rely completely on a power steering pump to make them much easier to maneuver. If your steering wheel is locked, your Subaru’s power steering pump may be jammed. Whether the result of a sharp turn, an unexpected malfunction, or some other occurrence, a jammed power steering pump quickly causes your steering wheel to lock up. Or, if your engine dies, the same thing applies, as this pump operates off your car’s engine.

Your Key Ignition is Locked

Since your key ignition is what normally signals your steering wheel to unlock, your Subaru’s locked steering wheel could be the result of a locked key ignition. A locked key ignition results from a fatigue failure of the ignition system, which causes your ignition to be practically worthless. You will know if your car ignition is locked if your key fails to turn your engine on and off.

How to Fix a Subaru Locked Steering Wheel

Before assuming an expensive part needs to be replaced, it is a good idea to try a quick trick. Sometimes, if you turn your steering wheel too much to one side while parking your car, you may accidentally cause your steering wheel to lock.

Don’t Panic! Try to Unlock your Steering Wheel

Insert your key into your car’s ignition. Gently turn the key as far as it’ll go without having to force it (your key ignition will probably be locked as well, so don’t force it to avoid breaking the key). Then, gently wiggle your steering wheel from right to left or vice versa. Do not force it. Keep doing this while also jiggling your key back and forth as well. Eventually, both parts should unlock once certain components within your car and around your tires become unjammed.

If this trick doesn’t work, one of the reasons listed above is probably at play.

To resolve these issues, one or more of the following must be performed:

  • Replacement of the power steering pump
  • Replacement of the ignition switch system
  • Cleaning of steering wheel column
  • Application of power steering lubrication oil

Your mechanic should be able to diagnose the exact problem and most likely perform one or more of these tasks to ultimately get your Subaru back to normal.

If Your Subaru Steering Wheel is Locked, We Can Fix It!

Our Raleigh certified auto repair technicians are experts when it comes to Subaru maintenance and repair and can resolve your locked steering wheel with ease. If your Subaru’s steering wheel is locked, or if it simply needs maintenance, visit our professionals at Triangle Imports for superior, speedy service. Call today at (919) 828-7900 or complete the online contact form below to schedule your appointment.