Help! My steering wheel keeps locking


I have a recurring problem with my 1996 Toyota Camry. Every now and then, for no apparent reason, I am unable to turn the key in the ignition because the steering wheel seems to lock up. I have to keep jiggling the steering wheel back and forth and after 10 minutes or so it’s freed. Last night, however, I was unable to free it and had to leave my car overnight in my work parking lot. The next morning, when someone drove me to work, the steering wheel released immediately and I could start it. Any ideas? This is driving me crazy! I’ve brought it in a couple of times but the repair place can’t figure out what’s wrong with it and is unable to duplicate the problem.


Try straightening the wheels when you park so that there’s not the pressure on the lock. If it does lock up, try just gently turning the wheel in the direction of straight to take the pressure off.

Post back and let me know the results.


When the steering wheel is locked, it will usually turn a little in one direction. Turn it that way and turn the key and you can usually start it. It’s not always easy. Don’t park against the parking blocks.


Have a locksmith or the dealer cut a new key from the key code (don’t get a copy made) and see if that helps. Also, you may need to replace the key lock cylinder, that could be worn also. Again, locksmith or dealer can do that.