Steering column and ignition locked


Asked by Jan 18, 2016 at 12:35 AM about the 2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The steering wheel column on my 2003 4Runner is locked.  Neither the ignition
key nor the steering wheel will turn.  The car is parked on a slope with the front
wheels angled into the curb, so the weight of the truck is likely part of the
problem.  Is there a release or other way to unlock the steering column?

5 Answers


You can try wiggling the steering wheel while gently turning the key, if there is enough play in the locking mechanism then it might work its way free, but be very careful as Toyota keys are not very substantial and you don't want to break it off in the ignition. Another thought would be if you have towing insurance they could come out a possibly get it pulled back just enough to take the tension off the unit so it will unlock.

Best Answer

Thanks -- there was almost no give in the steering wheel, so although I tried several times to free the ignition, it was stuck. When my neighbor got home and I asked for a tow (just to relieve the pressure on the front wheels) she got in and as luck would have it managed to turn the wheel enough to start the engine. I was dumbfounded but glad she got it started! S.F. ordinance requires turning the wheels into the curb when parking on a hill, but I'll be much more aware of this problem going forward. Thanks again.


One way to help is to set the park brake very firmly then take your foot off the brake pedal to make sure it is set, then put it park. Note: your park brake must work properly for this too work.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks again -- good advice. I noted that I had neglected to set the parking brake, which probably caused the problem given the slope. It would be useful to know whether there is a way to disable the steering column lock; there truly wasn't much give, and I was stuck.


you won't find any one that will do it cause it violates Federal law

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