How To Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key: Steps To Take

How to unlock steering wheel without key, especially your primary key, might seem like a frustrating and impossible process, but you might be surprised to learn there are many other ways you can use it. If you misplaced your primary key by chance or do not have it on you now, you can still easily unlock your steering wheel using other techniques.

How To Unlock Steering Wheel Without Key

While the wheel is locked, your car will not be able to move in any way, making it undeniably essential to unlock it so you can use the vehicle. Read the following sections carefully to learn more about unlocking it without a key, as we have designed them with detailed instructions to help you through this issue!

How Can You Unlock Your Steering Wheel Without the Key?

You can unlock your steering wheel without the key by using a Slim Jim, hammer, or paperclip. You can also spray a bit of WD-40 on the keyhole and use a secondary key if you have lost the primary key.

– Utilizing a Slim Jim

One of the methods that you can use if you want to unlock your wheel without a key would be by utilizing a Slim Jim. A Slim Jim is an elongated metal tool that may be used for opening locked car doors. It is also helpful when it comes to unlocking steering wheels.

However, you must remember that attempting to unlock a wheel with a Slim Jim will take up a lot of effort. To start this procedure, first you must take the metal strip and go to the steering wheel. After that, you must put the metal strip inside the keyhole, a process you must follow slowly and cautiously.

The keyhole will be located on one of the sides of the wheel, so you need to look for it carefully. As soon as the metal strip has been inserted in the keyhole, you have to twist it, again taking care to be slow. Once you turn it, the wheel should unlock itself with no further problems.

Therefore, as you can see, you can unlock your car’s steering wheel by using this technique in no time. Furthermore, once you open the wheel, you can use your vehicle like you usually would and see its optimal performance again!

– Using a Secondary Key

You can also use a secondary key to help unlock the steering wheel if you do not have your key with you. To begin, you have to take the other key and place it in the keyhole. Ensure that you have inserted the key properly in the keyhole so it does not fall out.

After that, you must carefully twist it to your right and left. When you do it in the right way, the lock of the cylinder will fall out. Right after that happens, you can remove the steering wheel.

It is also important to remember to try this kind of key only if you do not have the original key. Ensure you do not damage any part of the keyhole during this process.

– Grappling With a Paperclip

The steering wheel can also be unlocked by using a paper clip. This is the second-best option if you do not have a Slim Jim. It is important to remember that this technique requires plenty of strength; you must not break the steering wheel by using too much force when unlocking it. To open it with a paperclip, you first have to take any paperclip and straighten it out completely.

Grappling Steering With Paperclip

Once you have straightened it, you must find the wheel’s keyhole. It will be located on one of the sides of the wheel. You must insert the paperclip in the keyhole when you find it. As soon as you have fixed it, make sure to gently twist it and you have unlocked the wheel.

– Spraying WD-40

Often, when anyone tries to unlock the wheel, they have a lot of difficulties. Spray WD-40 on the keyhole beside the wheel to unlock the wheel more comfortably. By spraying WD-40, opening the steering wheel will be much easier. It will grease the lock in a way so that you can unlock it more quickly.

When spraying the WD-40 on the keyhole, spraying just a little bit is essential. If you spray too much of it, it could cause the wheel to be extremely slippery and even slip out of your hands. On the other hand, if you utilize the spray with no side effects, you will need to go over to a professional. They will help you to get your steering wheel unlocked without damaging it.

– Using a Hammer Carefully

Using a hammer is also suitable if you have locked your wheel and no longer have its key with you. However, you have to be quite careful when using the hammer not to damage anything.

To start up, you have to find another key or get it from somewhere and then put it in the keyhole. The keyhole will be located right beside the steering wheel.

Once the key is fixed, gently tap it with your hammer. Doing this will force the key to turn around and unlock the wheel for you. Nevertheless, you must carefully tap on the key so neither the key nor the steering wheel gets damaged.

How Can You Unlock Steering Wheel by Replacing the Ignition System?

You can unlock your steering wheel by replacing the ignition system by first removing the steering columns, then unplugging the negative cable. After this, you must remove the retaining ring and install the new system. Make sure to do this process carefully.

– Removing the Steering Columns

One of the methods that you can use to do this is by removing the steering columns. For that, removing all the steering column covers, the ignition switch, and the lock cylinder is essential.

Removing Car Steering Columns

All three of these must be removed entirely if you want your old ignition system replaced by a newer one. You can make a new ignition system as soon as these are removed.

– Disconnecting the Negative Cable

You can also use the method of disconnecting the negative cable to replace the ignition system. The way of replacing the ignition lock system on your car is quite easy to do. The process is relatively easy, and once you begin it, it can be finished in around an hour.

There are no complicated steps during the procedure. However, it can be tiring for those not used to doing this. The only important thing you need to ensure is to remember not to lose any small parts or screws while you are busy replacing them.

If you lose any of the small details, fixing everything back in its original place will cause a lot of trouble, so you have to be extremely careful.

To start, firstly, you have to disconnect the negative battery cable. As always, the battery cable will be attached to a battery. The easiest and only way to remove it will be by using a wrench. You have to be careful while removing it and not damage anything.

– Removing the Retaining Ring

After that, you must move on and remove the wheel. To remove it, you will have to unscrew the nut that will be located at the base. Keep in mind that this nut will only be removed with the help of a wrench.

As soon as you remove the wheel, you will notice the retaining ring right before you. Now that you can see the retaining ring, you must get a screwdriver.

It will help you to remove the retaining ring from its place. Once you remove it, the whole lock system will be pulled right out of the car. Then, you can work on adding a new ignition system.

– Installing the New System

After pulling out the retaining ring, you will have to install a new ignition lock system for your car. First, you must put the shaft in the wheel to start up. Once the shaft is inserted, you must slowly screw the nut on at the base. When the nut has reached the top, you can tighten it using a wrench so it does not fall out.

Installing New Steering Wheel System

Now, you must take your retaining ring and attach it to the top of the ignition lock system. Doing this will ensure that the system is entirely secure. Lastly, you must go to your negative battery cable and carefully attach it back to the battery. To ensure everything is ok, it is best to test the new ignition system.

To test it, you have to start your car. If your car starts without any problems, then it means that everything is perfectly fine. This method is suitable to be used if you are looking for ways to get a new ignition system for your car.

How Can You Unlock Steering Wheel by Loosening the Sticky Locks?

You can unlock the steering wheel by loosening the sticky locks by using an electrical cleaner or canned air. You should fidget with the spare key and ensure that your second key is not damaged or broken, as it might not work then.

– Using an Electrical Cleaner

You can also use an electrical cleaner to unlock your steering wheel without a key. It is easy to use and helps dissolve all the dirt holding the wheel in just one place. When you are using an electrical cleaner, it is essential to keep wearing gloves and eye protection at all times.

This is because when you are using the cleaner, it could reach your skin or eyes, and that could be harmful. In this case, gloves and eye protection will keep you from danger.

– Using Canned Air

You can also use canned air to help you out if you do not have a key and need to unlock your wheel. To begin, you have to take the can and remove its lid. Once you remove its lid, you must hold the can of air upside down.

Using Canned Air on Car

After that, you must carefully make the can nozzle face the keyhole by the steering wheel. After the can is put in the correct position, you must spray the air for a few seconds before stopping. The compressed air can dislocate the locking cylinder; once it is dislocated, you can turn the wheel around. Now, the steering wheel in your car will be unlocked.

Even though this method is not used commonly, it is essential to remember that it works quickly and efficiently. If you want the steering wheel swiftly unlocked, this is just the right solution. When trying this method, the main point is to spray the air directly onto the lock. When the lock opens up, you can stop spraying.

– Tinkering With the Keys

When you cannot unlock your steering wheel using a secondary key, you should still try since there could be problems in handling the key. To do so, you must put the key in the keyhole and then take it back out. You must do this at least two to three times.

Now, the key could get inserted in the keyhole just as needed when you are putting the key in and out of the hole. If it fixes in the right place, you will sense it. However, if the key is not set in its place, you will carefully have to wriggle it forward and backward.

Ensure that the key is still located in the keyhole when you do this. Wiggling the key will only cause the lock cylinder to move a bit. When it moves, you can turn the wheel and use your car as you want now.

– Ensuring the Key’s Condition

It is vital to ensure the condition of the key you are using to unlock your car’s steering wheel. If the key is bent or damaged, it could cause you a lot of trouble when trying to open the wheel.

These types of keys cannot help you; you have to throw the key away into any dump. Now, if you try to force them into the keyhole, it can cause the keyhole to get damaged as well, so it is best not to use these keys for the steering wheel.

If you are pretty desperate to use the key and it is bent, you can also try to straighten it by using any pliers. To do so, you must place the bent key between the pliers. Once you put the key there, you must gently press onto the pliers’ handles to finish your work. Now, it is most likely that the key will be completely fine after using the pliers.

On the other hand, if the key is highly damaged, you cannot do anything with it. In this case, you must take your key and go to a locksmith. The locksmith will see your key and create a new one for you. You can use the new key that is made to unlock the steering wheel.

Can I Unlock a Steering Wheel Without a Key if I Install an Aftermarket Heated Steering Wheel?

Yes, installing an aftermarket heated steering wheel does not allow you to unlock the steering wheel without a key. The main purpose of an aftermarket heated steering wheel is to provide warmth during cold weather, but it doesn’t affect the functionality of the key locking system. To unlock the steering wheel, you will still need the original key or an authorized alternative.


The general method of unlocking the steering wheel in your car is through the primary key, but if you don’t have a key with you now, our guide above must have helped you understand that there are still other methods you can utilize. To help you review the most critical parts of the article,

it would be wise to take a look at the list we have organized below:

  • Without your primary key, you may use a Slim Jim, paperclip, or hammer to unlock the steering wheel.
  • Another thing you may do is use compressed air or an electrical cleaner to unstick the locks.
  • If you don’t have your primary key, you may use a secondary key if you have one available, but you need to ensure it is not bent or damaged.

A locked steering wheel without the key at hand can sound like a difficult, and even impossible, task, but you will have understood that you can still unlock it in other ways without a key or a professional’s help. While you should consider going to a mechanic if none of the techniques bear the result, you will hopefully be able to get all the help you need by reading our extensive guide above!

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