You could find yourself with the steering wheel locked for no apparent reason as you prepare to take the wheel of your Mini Cooper. This sometimes happens, and in most cases it is not very serious. Nonetheless, be sure to follow the steps we will examine with you in order to find the remedy as simply and quickly as possible.
Before answering the question, we will first point out you how the starter mechanism works.

steering-wheel-stuckmini-cooper

How the steering wheel of my Mini Cooper 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 Mini Cooper’s engine as soon as you turn the key.
    When should it be changed?
    Three cases may justify the need to change the switch on your Mini Cooper:
  • 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 functions at all.
  • The switch on your Mini Cooper shows signs of weakness, there is a little delay between the time the engine starts or you need press the key very hard.
    Check properly your steering wheel with your Mini Cooper’s manual to see if the switch is made of one piece or if the two elements (lock cylinder and switch) are different. Indeed, it is possible to replace only the out-of-service element, which is more economical. You will have to spend about a hundred euros if you use a garage, between 20 and 50 € if you change it yourself.
    Now to the points:

How do I unlock the steering wheel of my Mini Cooper?

On a car, locking the steering wheel when stationary is a basic 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 almost certainly been locked since the last time you removed the key from the switch.
To unlock the steering wheel, simply turn the key to the right and you can start the engine of your Mini Cooper. Try without forcing, in mechanics, it is never 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 synchronized when you turn the steering wheel and the key of your Mini Cooper.
Do not shake 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 Mini Cooper. If this still doesn’t work, try to remove the key just a little. The plan is to find a position that would allow it to turn. Try one or two millimetres less depressed.
If you can start, your key is worn out. It would consequently be wise to change it quickly.
It is also possible that your switch may be seized. 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 Mini Cooper’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 beginning, they will no longer be able to move the pinions of the cylinder on your Mini Cooper’s steering wheel.
If the problem originates from your key, remember to take your duplicate in order to make another duplicate and thus have two keys that are in working order for your Mini Cooper.

Conclusion on my Mini Cooper :

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 parts that are poorly or not maintained. Keep them in good condition by simply cleaning them regularly and also by taking care of them to optimize their life span.

If you need more guides on the Mini Cooper, go to our Mini Cooper category.