car brakes and steering wheel locked up while driving

Car Brakes And Steering Wheel Locked Up While Driving

by

Jeffrey
July 6, 2022
24 Views

It’s every driver’s worst nightmare: car brakes and steering wheel locked up while driving.

This can be a frightening experience, and it’s important to know what to do if it happens to you.

In this blog post, we will explain what causes car brakes and steering wheel to lock up, and we will provide some tips on how to handle the situation safely.

How Does Steering Wheel Lock Up When Driving?

The most common cause of steering wheel lockup while driving is a failure of the power steering system.

If the power steering system fails, the steering wheel will become very hard to turn.

This can be caused by a loss of power to the system, a leak in the hydraulic fluid, or a problem with the steering rack.

The failure also results in the vibration of your car at higher speeds.

However, there can be other reasons as well.

Take a look at the five major ones among all.

car brakes and steering wheel locked up while driving

1. Worn-Out Steering Column Bushing

If your car’s steering column turns but the car doesn’t, then it is an indication of a worn-out steering column bushing.

As car-parts.com points out, this part is what connects the car’s chassis to the steering wheel.

When it gets old and worn out, it can’t do its job as well, and you’ll feel a lot of vibration in the steering wheel.

2. Worn-Out Steering Rack

The steering rack plays an important role in making the steering wheel work smoothly.

Over time, it can get worn out and cause the steering wheel to lock up.

3. Failure Of Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump is what provides the hydraulic fluid to the power steering system.

If it fails, the car will be hard to turn.

You may also hear a noise when you turn the wheel if the power steering pump is failing.

This issue is mostly caused because of bad washing habits.

4. An Issue With The Lock Bar

The lock bar helps in locking the car’s steering wheel when you turn off the engine.

If it is not working properly, the car’s steering wheel may lock up while you are driving.

To check the lock bar, turn the car off and try to turn the steering wheel.

If it doesn’t move, then the lock bar is working properly.

If it does move, then you need to get it fixed.

5. Rash Driving

Rash driving can also be a reason behind the steering wheel locking up.

If you take sharp turns or hit bumps on the road too hard, it can cause the car’s suspension to fail.

This, in turn, can lead to the steering wheel locking up.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic.

The first thing you should do is try to assess the situation and see if you can safely pull over to the side of the road.

If you can’t, then slowly and carefully proceed to the shoulder.

Once you’re off the road, turn on your hazard lights and call for help.

6. Ignition Lock

The car’s ignition lock can also be a reason for the steering wheel to lock up.

If the car’s ignition key is not turned properly, it can cause the steering wheel to lock.

You will know that this is the problem if you can’t turn the car off even when you have turned the key to the “off” position.

If this is the case, then you need to get the car towed to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

7. Issues With The Engine Control Unit

The engine control unit is what controls the car’s engine.

If it fails, it can cause the car to stall and the steering wheel to lock up.

You will know that this is the problem if you hear a clicking noise when you turn the key in the ignition.

If you do, then you need to take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

If your control unit is not working fine, you can also face shaking issues in your car.

8. Damaged Steering Unit

If the car’s steering unit is damaged, it can cause the car to pull to one side.

This can make it hard to steer the car and may eventually cause the steering wheel to lock up.

You will know that this is the problem if you feel like you have to fight with the steering wheel to keep the car going straight.

If you do, then you need to take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

9. Damaged Ignition Wires

The car’s ignition wires can get damaged over time.

This can cause the car to stall and the steering wheel to lock up.

You will know that this is the problem if you see sparks coming from under the hood when you turn the key in the ignition.

If you do, then you need to take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

Few Things You Can Do To Prevent Your Car’s Steering

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your car’s steering wheel from locking up.

1. Get The Car’s Suspension Checked Regularly

You should get the car’s suspension checked regularly.

This will help you in identifying any problems with the car’s suspension before they become too big.

If you notice that your car’s steering wheel is vibrating, then it is a sign that something is wrong with the car’s suspension.

You should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

2. Avoid Driving On Bumpy Roads

You should avoid driving on bumpy roads as much as possible.

This will help in preventing the car’s suspension from getting damaged.

If you have to drive on a bumpy road, then you should go slow and be careful.

Avoid making sharp turns and hitting bumps too hard.

3. Be Careful When Making Sharp Turns

Another major issue that can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up is making sharp turns.

When you make a sharp turn, it puts a lot of stress on the car’s suspension.

This can eventually lead to the steering wheel locking up.

You should avoid making sharp turns whenever possible.

If you have to make a sharp turn, then you should go slow and be careful.

4. Don’t Drive Over Potholes

Potholes can also damage the car’s suspension.

If you drive over a pothole, it can cause the car to jolt and put stress on the car’s suspension.

This can eventually lead to the steering wheel locking up.

You should avoid driving over potholes whenever possible.

If you can’t avoid them, then you should go slow and be careful.

5. Check The Car’s Tires Regularly

You should check the car’s tires regularly.

This will help you in identifying any problems with the car’s tires before they become too big.

If you notice that one of the car’s tires is low on air, then you should fill it up as soon as possible.

Driving on a low tire can damage the car’s suspension and eventually lead to the steering wheel locking up.

6. Check For Derbies On The Road

You should also be on the lookout for debris on the road.

If you see something on the road, then you should avoid it.

Driving over debris can damage the car’s suspension and eventually lead to the steering wheel locking up.

Debris on the road is one of the most common causes of car accidents.

So, you should always be on the lookout for it.

7. Take The Car For A Spin Every Once In A While

You should take the car for a spin every once in a while.

This will help keep the car’s suspension in good condition.

If you notice that your car’s steering wheel is locking up, then you should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

8. Check For Car Wiring Problems

Another common problem that can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up is a wiring problem.

Over time, the car’s wires can get damaged.

This can cause the car to stall and the steering wheel to lock up.

You will know that this is the problem if you see sparks coming from under the hood when you turn the key in the ignition.

If you do, then you need to take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

9. Replace Your Power Steering Pump

If your car’s power steering pump is not working properly, then it can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up.

You should replace the power steering pump if it is not working properly.

You can usually tell that the power steering pump is not working properly if you hear a whining noise when you turn the car’s steering wheel.

10. Check The Car’s Alignment

If the car’s alignment is off, then it can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up.

You should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

You will know that the car’s alignment is off if you notice that the car is pulling to one side when you are driving.

If you do, then you should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

11. Check The Car’s Suspension

If the car’s suspension is not working properly, then it can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up.

You should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

You can usually tell that the car’s suspension is not working properly if you feel like the car is bouncing when you are driving.

If you do, then you should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

12. Maintain Power Steering’s Fluid

Another thing that you can do to prevent the car’s steering wheel from locking up is to maintain the power steering’s fluid level.

You should check the power steering’s fluid level regularly and top it off if it is low.

You can usually tell that the power steering’s fluid level is low if you hear a whining noise when you turn the car’s steering wheel.

If you do, then you should add more fluid to the power steering system.

13. Check The Car’s Steering Wheel

When it comes to maintaining your car, one of the most important things to keep an eye on is the steering wheel.

Check the steering wheel regularly for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, tears, or discoloration.

These signs can indicate that some part of the steering mechanism may be broken or worn out, which can compromise your safety and put you at risk when driving.

Additionally, be sure to inspect the bolts that hold the steering wheel in place on a regular basis.

Tightening loose bolts as soon as possible can prevent further damage and also ensure that you maintain proper control over your vehicle while driving.

Overall, by taking the time to thoroughly check your car’s steering wheel on a regular basis, you can help ensure your safety and enjoyment on the road for years to come.

14. Check The Ignition Switch Cylinder

If the car’s ignition switch cylinder is not working properly, then it can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up.

You should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

You will know that the car’s ignition switch cylinder is not working properly if you notice that the car is hard to start.

If you do, then you should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

How To Unlock A Locked Steering Wheel?

If your car’s steering wheel is locked, then you should follow these steps to unlock it:

car brakes and steering wheel locked up while driving

1. Turn The Car’s Ignition Off And Remove The Key

If the car’s steering wheel is locked, then you should turn the car’s ignition off and remove the key.

2. Press And Hold The Car’s Brake Pedal

After you turn the car’s ignition off and remove the key, you should press and hold the car’s brake pedal.

Doing this will prevent the car from moving and will allow you to unlock the car’s steering wheel.

3. Turn The Car’s Steering Wheel From Side To Side

Once you press and hold the car’s brake pedal, you should turn the car’s steering wheel from side to side.

Doing this will help to unlock the car’s steering wheel.

4. Try Starting The Car Again

After you have turned the car’s steering wheel from side to side, you should try starting the car again.

If the car’s steering wheel is still locked, then you should take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

5. Call A Tow Truck

If you can’t unlock the car’s steering wheel, then you should call a tow truck.

The tow truck will be able to take the car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem.

6. Drive The Car To A Mechanic

If you are able to unlock the car’s steering wheel, then you should drive the car to a mechanic.

The mechanic will be able to fix the problem and will prevent it from happening again.

Conclusion

There are many things that can cause the car’s steering wheel to lock up while driving.

Some of the most common causes are a car’s suspension, power steering, and ignition switch cylinder.

If your car’s steering wheel locks up while driving, then you should follow the steps that are listed above to unlock it.

If you are unable to unlock the car’s steering wheel, then you should call a tow truck so they can take the car to a mechanic.

Jeffrey

Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.