How to Unlock the Steering Wheel on a Hyundai Sonata?

Many cars lock the steering wheel, but if it gets stuck, you need to know what to do to avoid being stranded. In this article, we’ll talk about the causes of steering lock and how to release it in a Hyundai Sonata.

Reasons Why Steering Wheel Lock

A sudden lack of steering wheel response can worry anyone, and it could become a serious issue. Luckily, these problems have affordable solutions. Below, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the most common reasons why your steering wheel locks up.

This can occur while you drive, but can even happen while your vehicle is parked with the engine off:

1. Ignition lock

Plenty of modern cars with turn-key ignitions have an ignition lock feature. If you want to activate this feature, you need to turn the wheel after the key has been removed from the ignition.

This will engage a primary locking bolt that keeps the car’s steering wheel from being turned in the absence of a key. This is a useful anti-theft feature, and even if someone could get the engine to work, they couldn’t operate the car, because the steering wheel won’t budge.

To deactivate the lock, turn the key in the ignition, you need to know that in most cases there will be a huge amount of tension on the lock cylinder, which can prevent the key from being turned.

If you want to release this tension, turn the steering wheel slightly. This should be able to move a little bit in at least a single direction. Then, the tension on the lock will be released, so you can turn the key and the lock cylinder to disengage.

Keep in mind, you could accidentally activate the steering lock if you utilize the steering wheel to enter or exit your car.

2. Steering linkage problem

While this is not a common issue, it’s possible that a sudden breakage in the steering mechanics like the steering arms could cause the car’s steering to suddenly lock up. If this happens, do whatever you can to take your car to a stop, and get a tow to a reputable Hyundai service center.

However, a lack of steering response won’t be easy to remedy. You will have to turn the wheel a bit with great effort, and due to a failure in the power steering system, you will need to push your car to its limits.

3. Low power steering fluid

In case the steering wheel locks up while your car is in motion, perhaps the cause is a lack of power steering fluid or dirty power steering fluid. Especially at lower speeds like parking lot maneuvers, the power steering system lets you turn the wheels easily.

When the system starts malfunctioning, you won’t feel much of a difference when cruising, but the vehicle could become hard to steer at lower speeds. If the damage causes the system to start leaking, it could lead to a lack of fluid pressure within the system.

In addition, the power steering fluid may need to be charged if it has excessive dirt attached to it. If the fluid is not circulating through the system correctly, you are going to need a new power steering pump.

4. Power steering issues

Another common reason why steering wheel locks are power steering issues. If the steering wheel locks up while you attempt to turn in a particular direction, it could mean that the car has power steering problems.

Nonetheless, this time since the system is working in a different direction, the power steering fluid may not be the problem. You may have a mechanical issue with the power steering system, due to a bad power steering rack or the internals of the rack are blocked.

What you can do is take your car to a dealership, where the mechanic is going to suggest a power steering fluid change before doing anything else like replacing a bad power steering rack.

What Happens If A Hyundai Key Doesn’t Turn On?

Using a key while moving the steering wheel is one of the most popular methods to resolve this problem, but if it doesn’t solve the issue, a faulty key or ignition lock could be the issue.

Car keys go through thousands of insertions and twists, which leads to deterioration, so your key might bend or break off entirely. Inspect the condition of the key and clean it with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol over it. Now try to insert the key and see if it works.

The dirt attached to the key will accumulate slowly inside the ignition lock, causing it to malfunction. To solve this problem, you can take a can of WD40 with a smart straw and give it a good shake.

Then, spray two short bursts into the ignition lock. Don’t overdo it or you will cause more damage to the ignition lock. Gently insert your key and move it around to spread the WD40.

What If There Is A Component Failure?

Lastly, if neither of the methods helps you unlock the steering wheel of your Sonata, there is nothing you can do without professional help. Before checking the ignition lock, you will need to remove the steering wheel airbag as well as the airbag, disconnect the cables and then remove the steering wheel.

Having done it on old cars without anything but a horn mounted over the steering wheel, we can tell you that it requires a lot of mechanical work. We don’t suggest you do anything without a mechanic present, because it could lead to other failures.

Unlocking the steering wheel on a Hyundai Sonata can be either simple or a process that involves taking your car to a mechanic and spending more than $200 in the process. Try to use the methods we provided for you before seeking the help of a professional because it could help you save money.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.