You may find yourself with the steering wheel locked for no apparent explanation as you prepare to take the wheel of your Fiat 500. This occasionally happens, and in most cases it is not very serious. Nonetheless, be sure to follow the steps we will speak about with you in order to find the remedy as simply and quickly as possible.
Before solving the question, we will first help remind you how the starter mechanism works.

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How the steering wheel of my Fiat 500 works

First, the starter switch is made up of two components.

  • The cylinder of the lock in which you insert the key to turn it
  • The electronic switch behind it. It will provide the electrical impulse to start your Fiat 500’s engine from the moment you turn the key.
    When should it be changed?
    Three cases may justify the need to change the switch on your Fiat 500:
  • The switch on your steering wheel was damaged or forced, most often because someone tried to steal your car.
  • The switch suddenly failed and no longer works at all.
  • The switch on your Fiat 500 reveals signs of weakness, there is a small delay between the time the engine starts or you have to press the key very hard.
    Check properly your steering wheel with your Fiat 500’s manual to see if the switch is made of one piece or if the two elements (lock cylinder and switch) are separate. Indeed, it is possible to replace only the out-of-service element, which is more economical. You will likely need to spend about a hundred euros if you use a garage, between 20 and 50 € if you change it yourself.
    Now to the facts:

How do I unlock the steering wheel of my Fiat 500?

On a car, locking the steering wheel when stationary is a safety feature against theft. The steering wheel can only be unlocked by inserting the matching key into the vehicle.
Insert the key into the switch. Your steering wheel has probably been locked since the last time you removed the key from the switch.
To unlock the steering wheel, just turn the key to the right and you can start the engine of your Fiat 500. Try without forcing, in mechanics, it is hardly ever good to force so act carefully on the steering wheel and the key until you find the unlocking point.
Maneuver the steering wheel, if your key is locked, move the steering wheel in the direction it wants to move and your key will then turn. Be careful, you must be more or less coordinated when you turn the steering wheel and the key of your Fiat 500.
Do not move the steering wheel too hard. If you force too hard, you may damage the switch pinions, which will definitely block the steering wheel on your Fiat 500. If this still doesn’t work, try to remove the key just a little. The idea is to find a position that would make it easy for it to turn. Try one or two millimetres less depressed.
If you can start, your key is worn out. It would therefore be wise to change it quickly.
It is also possible that your switch may be gripped. In the event of a blockage, it may necessitate a little specific anti-seize agent. Send one or two splashes into the slot of your Fiat 500’s switch and then try to insert the key again. Play it gently to apply product all over it.
Also, just check that your key is not damaged or blunt; if the teeth are no longer as they were in the first place, they will no longer have the capacity to move the pinions of the cylinder on your Fiat 500’s steering wheel.
If the problem originates from your key, remember to take your duplicate in order to make another copy and thus have two keys that are in working order for your Fiat 500.

Conclusion on my Fiat 500 :

As you have read earlier, the main causes for a steering wheel lock are a damaged key or a jammed cylinder. In automotive mechanics, the majority of breakdowns or malfunctions are due to units that are poorly or not taken care of. Keep them in good condition by simply cleaning them regularly and also by taking care of them to maximize their life span.

If you want more tutorials on the Fiat 500, go to our Fiat 500 category.