You could find yourself with the steering wheel locked for no apparent explanation as you prepare to take the wheel of your Toyota Corolla. This occasionally happens, and in most situations it is not very serious. Having said that, be sure to follow the steps we will speak about with you in in an attempt to find the remedy as simply and quickly as possible.
Before answering the question, we will first help remind you how the starter mechanism works.

steering-wheel-stuck-toyota-corolla

How the steering wheel of my Toyota Corolla works

First, the starter switch consists of two components.

  • The cylinder of the lock in which you insert the key to turn it
  • The electronic switch behind it. It will provide the electrical impulse to start your Toyota Corolla’s engine from the moment you turn the key.
    When should it be changed?
    Three cases may explain the need to change the switch on your Toyota Corolla:
  • The switch on your steering wheel was damaged or forced, in most cases because someone tried to steal your car.
  • The switch instantly failed and no longer functions at all.
  • The switch on your Toyota Corolla reveals signs of weakness, there is a small delay between the time the engine starts or you need press the key very hard.
    Check carefully your steering wheel with your Toyota Corolla’s manual to see if the switch is made of one piece or if the two elements (lock cylinder and switch) are distinct. Indeed, it is possible to replace only the out-of-service element, which is more economical. You will likely need to spend about a hundred euros if you use a garage, between 20 and 50 € if you change it yourself.
    Now to the points:

How do I unlock the steering wheel of my Toyota Corolla?

On a car, locking the steering wheel when stationary is a safety feature against theft. The steering wheel can only be unlocked by inserting the corresponding key into the vehicle.
Insert the key into the switch. Your steering wheel has probably been locked since the last time you removed the key from the switch.
To unlock the steering wheel, simply turn the key to the right and you can start the engine of your Toyota Corolla. Try without forcing, in mechanics, it is never good to force so act smoothly on the steering wheel and the key until you find the unlocking point.
Maneuver the steering wheel, if your key is locked, turn the steering wheel in the direction it wants to move and your key will then turn. Be careful, you must be more or less coordinated when you turn the steering wheel and the key of your Toyota Corolla.
Do not move the steering wheel too hard. If you force too hard, you may damage the switch pinions, which will definitely block the steering wheel on your Toyota Corolla. If this still doesn’t work, try to remove the key just a little. The plan is to find a position that would allow it to turn. Try one or two millimetres less depressed.
If you can start, your key is worn out. It would consequently be wise to change it quickly.
It is also likely that your switch may be gripped. In the event of a blockage, it may necessitate a little specific anti-seize agent. Send one or two splashes into the slot of your Toyota Corolla’s switch and then try to insert the key again. Play it gently to use product all over it.
Also, simply check that your key is not damaged or blunt; if the teeth are no longer as they were in the first place, they will no longer be able to move the pinions of the cylinder on your Toyota Corolla’s steering wheel.
If the problem comes from your key, remember to take your duplicate in order to make another copy and thus have two keys that are in working order for your Toyota Corolla.

Conclusion :

As you have read earlier, the main motives for a steering wheel lock are a damaged key or a jammed cylinder. In automotive mechanics, the majority of breakdowns or malfunctions are due to units that are poorly or not maintained. Keep them in good condition by simply cleaning them regularly and also by taking care of them to optimize their life span.

If you want more tutorials on the Toyota Corolla, go to our Toyota Corolla category.