Steering Wheel Locked Up While Driving Toyota – Fixing Is Easy

Why did my wheel lock up while driving?” It’s one of the common queries of Toyota users. The engaged anti-theft units are the major reason for the steering wheel lock.

The steering wheel locked up while driving Toyota also may happen for some other reasons, including low levels of power steering fluid, dirt in the fluid, and many more. As a Toyota owner, all the causes, symptoms, and fixings are worth knowing.

The situation may appear especially when the vehicle is at low speed, such as parking time. Getting a locked steering wheel is a severe driving issue. But you can easily manage yourself if you know how to do it.

We’ll help you overcome such hard circumstances by providing you with essential information. After reading this post, you must be all set to manage the steering wheel locked up while parked or any time it happens to you. So, let’s start learning more without further argument!

Steering Wheel Locked Up While Driving Toyota – Reasons, Symptoms & Solutions

An automotive expert on the Toyota Nation Forum wrote about the reasons for the steering wheel locked up while driving Toyota, “auto locking of the steering wheel while driving your car typically happens for the ‘auto-theft’ feature.”

It means that the steering wheel auto lock is an exceptional characteristic that may take place when you make a sharp turn in your vehicle. Also, you may face this situation for some other reasons.

So, let’s learn what causes a steering wheel to lock up while parked or turning your car. Get a quick look at the table that will give you a concise view of the entire story:

Faulty steering pumpRecurrent belt slippageRepair the leak/replace the pump
Issues With The Steering RackHydraulic hose failureChange the steering rack
The ignition is engagedCan’t move the steering wheelInsert the key to turn the ignition on
Abrupt TurnsStiffed steering wheelInsert the key to turn the ignition on
Insufficient Steering FluidHard steering wheelRefill with a compatible fluid
Polluted steering fluidLocked up the steering wheel Replace/Flash the fluid

Steering Wheel Locked Up While Driving Toyota – A Comprehensive Discussion

Faulty Power Steering Pump

A leaked power steering can lock the steering wheel of your Toyota. Also, it’ll make an odd noise whenever you try to turn its wheel. When you face the steering wheel locked up and car won't accelerate, try hard to wiggle the steering wheel and slow it down by pushing the brake pad.

After reaching a safe place, push your car’s all brakes altogether to stop it completely. And don’t do anything else; call an auto mechanic to resolve the issue.

How To Fix It

Find out the leaked power steering pump. And before you consider replacing it, try the below steps to fix the issue:

  • Take a closer look at the fluid levels and check them for air bubbles.
  • Look into the hoses and fluid tank and detect any potential misuse.
  • If there is a leak, replace the steering pump, which will fix the issue.

Issues With The Steering Rack

Some old vehicles face issues with their pressure rack for tear and wear. The problem of a bad steering rack also may happen to leaked fluid. Besides, broken bolts and incorrect fluid levels can make the steering wheel locked up and car turned off while driving.

How To Fix It

You can fix the issue by repairing or replacing the steering rack. Try to replace the rack's defective parts and loose bolts to solve the problem. Otherwise, you must replace the complete steering rack.

The Ignition Is Engaged

When the ignition gets engaged, it can make the front wheel locked up while driving. After taking the car’s key out, you may face this situation, but you forget that and try to move the steering wheel. It mistakenly may happen as removing the key activates the anti-theft locking system.

How To Fix It

It’s an easy fix. Insert the key on your car’s ignition and switch it on. This should unlock the steering wheel lock. 

Abrupt Turns

The Toyota manufacturer has designed their vehicles to keep them safe for users. Sudden or strong turns are suspicious of the system. As a result, it activates the antitheft lock that prevents moving the steering wheel.

How To Fix It

It’s almost the same issue, and the fix is also identical. Insert the key in the whole and turn the ignition on. You may do it several times to get the steering wheel back in normal condition.

Insufficient Steering Fluid

Getting fluid level down is another cause of the steering wheel and brakes locked up while driving with a screeching noise. The engine is designed with this feature to keep it away from potential harm in lack of steering fluid.

How To Fix It

Simply refill with compatible steering fluid to fix the problem.

Polluted Steering Fluid

The steering fluid becomes contaminated over time by collecting dirt from the fluid particles. Thus, it gets dirty regularly, which can cause a locked steering wheel.

How To Fix It

Replacing the old fluid is an easy fix for the issue. Also, you can flash the reservoir to change the fluid with accumulated residuals entirely.

Steering Wheel Locked Up While Driving Toyota – How Much Does It Cost?

Fixing the steering wheel locked up issue may take around $100 if there are no other problems. A mechanic will perform a detailed checkup to prepare a report with essential fixes. The below table will help you get an idea about related repair costs:

Unlocking steering wheel$70 – $100
Power steering leak$500 – $1000
Steering Rack$500 – $100
Steering fluid$100 - $200

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What Are The Reasons For Steering Wheel To Lock Up While Driving?

A faulty steering pump, the steering rack concerns, and the engaged ignition are the leading causes of steering wheel lock up. Moreover, the problem may happen with abrupt turns and insufficient and dirty steering fluid.

How To Unlock The Toyota Steering Wheel?

Before you fix the locked-up steering wheel issue, you must stop the vehicle. Insert the key in the whole and try to restart the engine several times. If it fails, try to start with the key and turn the steering wheel reverse side simultaneously.

How To Unlock The Steering Wheel Without Using The Key?

Locate the push button and turn it on. Then, move the steering wheel to the right and left sides softly. Trying this several times should fix the issue.

Can I Drive A Car With A Locked Steering Wheel?

You must avoid driving when you get the steering wheel locked. Just bring the vehicle to the safer side to fix the issue. Driving a car with a locked steering wheel may lead to fatal accidents that harm the car and the drivers.

Does Power Steering Affect By The Battery?

The battery in your car can impact the power steering as it’s an electrical component run by battery power. However, you can steer your vehicle without getting help from the battery power.

The Bottom Line

The steering wheel locked up while driving Toyota isn’t a very common car issue. Even if it happens to you, it’s nothing tough to resolve yourself. But driving your vehicle with this problem can be extremely dangerous as it can trigger deadly mishaps.

So, don’t take it lightly whenever you get this problem. Instead, try the abovementioned fixing tips to make the steering wheel normal to move easily. Although it’s a rare car issue, it can happen to you. If you go through this problem, simply take your car to the safe side, and fix it before you start riding.

Hopefully, the above said fixing tips will help you solve the locked-up steering wheel. However, if you fail to resolve the issue, call a technician, but don’t drive your car with this problem.

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