Close up of a Toyota steering wheel

Why does my Toyota steering wheel lock up?

Sometimes when drivers enter or exit their Toyota vehicle and grab the steering wheel to steady themselves, the steering wheel can become locked. Then, when they re-enter the vehicle and try to start it the wheel will only move a few inches and the key-based ignition or push button start will not operate. If this has happened to you, don’t worry. It’s totally normal and part of Toyota’s steering wheel lock anti-theft system. Getting your Toyota steering wheel unlocked is fairly simple. Find our how-to instructions below. 

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How to Unlock a Toyota Steering Wheel with Push Button Start or Key 

Push Button Start 

Owners with push button start systems will notice a few things occurring when they try and start their vehicle with the steering wheel lock engaged. First, after depressing the brake and pressing the start/stop button the vehicle will not start as normal. The start/stop button will then begin flashing and a message will appear on the dashboard screen alerting the driver that the steering wheel is locked. To unlock the steering wheel, depress the brake pedal and push the start/stop button while simultaneously turning the steering wheel left and right. This should unlock the steering wheel and the vehicle should start as normal. 

Key-Based Ignition 

Owners with key-based ignition systems will notice their steering wheel is locked if the steering wheel only moves a few inches and the key won’t turn in the ignition. To unlock the steering wheel, turn the steering wheel from left to right while turning the key in the ignition. This should unlock the wheel and the vehicle should start as normal. 

To prevent your wheel from getting locked in the first place, don’t grab on to it when entering or exiting the vehicle as this habit can wiggle the steering wheel and cause the locking system to engage. Keep following the Ackerman Toyota blog for more automotive tips and tricks and the latest Toyota news.  


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