How to Unlock Steering Wheel Subaru: Expert Tips and Tricks

Unlocking a steering wheel on a Subaru can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re in a rush to get somewhere. However, there are a few simple steps you can follow to unlock the steering wheel and get back on the road quickly and safely. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of unlocking the steering wheel on your Subaru and provide some tips to prevent it from happening again in the future.

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Why Does the Steering Wheel Lock?

Before we delve into the steps to unlock the steering wheel, it’s helpful to understand why it locks in the first place. Most modern vehicles, including Subarus, are equipped with a steering wheel lock as a security feature. This lock engages when the key is removed from the ignition, or when the vehicle is turned off and the steering wheel is turned to one side. The purpose of this feature is to prevent the wheel from being turned and the car from being driven without the key.

Steps to Unlock the Steering Wheel

When you find yourself unable to turn the key in the ignition or unable to move the steering wheel, follow these steps to unlock the steering wheel on your Subaru:

Step 1: Ensure The Vehicle Is In Park

First, make sure your Subaru is in the “Park” gear if it’s an automatic transmission, or in neutral if it’s a manual transmission. The steering wheel lock may engage if the vehicle is not in the correct gear, so double-check this before proceeding.

Step 2: Insert The Key And Apply Pressure

Next, insert the key into the ignition and try to turn it while gently applying pressure to the steering wheel in both directions. Sometimes, the steering wheel lock can be released by turning the wheel slightly in the same direction it’s already turned or by applying light pressure in the opposite direction.

Step 3: Jiggle The Key

If the key still doesn’t turn, try gently jiggling it while continuing to apply pressure to the steering wheel. Sometimes, the tumblers inside the ignition cylinder can get stuck, and a little jiggling can help free them up.

Step 4: Check The Battery

If the key and steering wheel are still locked, it’s possible that a dead or weak battery could be causing the issue. A low battery can prevent the steering wheel lock from disengaging, so check the battery voltage and, if necessary, jump-start the vehicle.

Step 5: Seek Professional Assistance

If you’ve tried the previous steps and the steering wheel and key are still locked, it’s best to seek professional assistance. A qualified mechanic or locksmith will have the tools and expertise to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively. Attempting to force the steering wheel or key could cause further damage and lead to expensive repairs, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals at this point.

Preventing Steering Wheel Lock

Once you’ve successfully unlocked the steering wheel on your Subaru, you’ll likely want to prevent it from happening again in the future. Here are some tips to help you avoid steering wheel lock:

  • Always ensure the vehicle is in “Park” or neutral before turning off the ignition.
  • Try to straighten the wheels before turning off the engine, as this can reduce the likelihood of the steering wheel locking.
  • Regularly check and maintain the battery to prevent power-related issues that could contribute to steering wheel lock.
  • If you notice any stiffness or difficulty in turning the key or steering wheel, have it inspected by a professional to address any potential issues early.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Unlock Steering Wheel Subaru: Expert Tips And Tricks

How Do I Know If My Subaru Steering Wheel Is Locked?

To check if your Subaru steering wheel is locked, try turning the key while gently moving the wheel.

What Are The Reasons For A Locked Steering Wheel In A Subaru?

A locked Subaru steering wheel can be caused by the vehicle’s anti-theft system or by turning the wheel while the ignition is off.

Can I Unlock My Subaru’s Steering Wheel Without The Key?

Yes, you can unlock your Subaru’s steering wheel without the key by gently jiggling the wheel while turning the ignition key.

Is It Safe To Force The Subaru Steering Wheel To Unlock?

Forcing the Subaru steering wheel to unlock can potentially damage the vehicle’s steering mechanism, so it’s not recommended.


Unlocking a steering wheel on a Subaru doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide and taking preventative measures to avoid steering wheel lock in the future, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free driving experience. Remember, when in doubt, it’s best to seek professional assistance to avoid causing further damage to your vehicle. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to handle a locked steering wheel should you encounter it.

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