1998 Buick Regal steering wheel randomly locks up while I am driving


I have a 1998 Buick Regal where the steering wheel randomly locks up while I am driving it. I usually stop the car and start it back up with success. The last time this happened was after I had the supercharge engine replaced. Once it locked up it I tried to start it up. The first time it did not restart, but the second attempt worked. I have taken it two really good mechanics and neither were able to diagnose the problem. I cannot remember if I am running the air conditioner when it happens. I know that sometimes I am. Does anyone know what could be causing my car to randomly lock up like this? I appreciate your help. Thank you.

Is it truly locking up as in when you park it and the steering wheel locks, or are you just losing power assist so it is very hard to steer. Losing power assist is either from the engine stalling, a belt problem, steering pump problem, or a problem with the steering rack valve. If the wheel is actually locking up as in park, there is a button that retracts from a plate with holes in it when you turn the key. When you turn the key off, then the button pops into one of the holes and locks the wheel. If this is what’s happening, then you’ve got a problem with the key mechanism not keeping the button retracted.

This seems like a very serious problem, and dangerious to you and others. Take it to a good shop asap and have them give an opinion. You may need a new key/ignition switch mechanism installed. Don’t delay in getting this looked at.

I can add this, might help after the problem is resolved, to prevent it from happening again. I had a similar problem on my Corolla, not that it would lock up when driving, but sometimes it would be hard to return it to the free position after parking. The steering wheel locks when parked, I guess to help avoid theft. But it is supposed to return to the free position with the key in “on”. But it sometimes would balk. Esp if parked on a hill or if the wheels were turned to extreme positions or up aginst the curb. I was able to minimize the chance of this happening by making sure to keep the key clean as a whistle, keep as many things off the key chain as possible, so it wasn’t weighted down when in the ignition and driving, and the other thing I do, every time I go golfing I keep that little golf pencil with the soft lead and use it to lube the key surfaces.