You may find yourself with the steering wheel locked for no apparent cause as you prepare to take the wheel of your Toyota RAV4. This sometimes happens, and in most cases it is not very serious. Having said that, be sure to follow the steps we will discuss with you in in an attempt to find the option as simply and quickly as possible.
Before answering the question, we will first remind you how the starter mechanism works.


How the steering wheel of my Toyota RAV4 works

First, the starter switch consists 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 Toyota RAV4’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 Toyota RAV4:
  • The switch on your steering wheel was damaged or forced, in most cases because someone tried to steal your car.
  • The switch instantly failed and no longer works at all.
  • The switch on your Toyota RAV4 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 carefully your steering wheel with your Toyota RAV4’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 need to spend about a hundred euros if you work with a garage, between 20 and 50 € if you change it yourself.
    Now to the points:

How do I unlock the steering wheel of my Toyota RAV4?

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 corresponding key into the vehicle.
Insert the key into the switch. Your steering wheel has most likely 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 Toyota RAV4. Try without forcing, in mechanics, it is never good to force so act smoothly on the steering wheel and the key until you come across the unlocking point.
Move the steering wheel, if your key is locked, turn the steering wheel in the direction it wants to move and your key will then simply turn. Be careful, you must be more or less synchronized when you turn the steering wheel and the key of your Toyota RAV4.
Do not move the steering wheel too hard. If you force too hard, you may ruin the switch pinions, which will permanently block the steering wheel on your Toyota RAV4. If this still doesn’t work, try to remove the key slightly. The plan 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 likely that your switch may be seized. In the event of a blockage, it may require a little specific anti-seize agent. Send one or two splashes into the slot of your Toyota RAV4’s switch and then try to insert the key again. Play it gently to use product all over it.
Also, simply 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 have the capacity to move the pinions of the cylinder on your Toyota RAV4’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 Toyota RAV4.

Conclusion on my Toyota RAV4 :

As you have read earlier, the main motives 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 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.

To get more tips on the Toyota RAV4, take a look at the Toyota RAV4 category.