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How a Mechanic Can Fix the Electronic Steering Column Lock on Your Car

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A bad electronic steering column lock will stop you from starting your car. Normally, to start the car, all you have to do is stick your FOB key into the ignition slot and press down on the start button on the dashboard. If the car doesn't start, the electronic steering column lock may have to be replaced. Here is how your mechanic can determine if the electronic steering column lock is bad and how to replace it.

Test the Control Unit

The first sign that the problem is the electronic steering column lock is that other electronic mechanisms will still work. The dashboard will light up, the power windows will go up and down, and the door locks will work. 

Another method a mechanic can use to determine if the control lock is bad is to tap on the underside of it to loosen the gears up inside the unit. What often happens in an electronic steering column lock is that over time the gears inside the unit get jammed and they won't spin around. The gears move a shaft up and down inside the column lock. The shaft goes into the steering column when the car is turned off, and it drops down into the control lock to disengage the steering column when the car is turned on. The shaft dropping into the control lock also establishes the electronic circuit in the ignition system that is needed to start the car.

A mechanic can take a small hammer and tap the bottom to shake up the gears inside the unit while continuously pressing down on the start button. If the car starts up after a couple of taps, the mechanic knows the gears are sticking and that it's time to replace the column lock on your car.

Replacing the Column Lock

The mechanic will have to remove the plastic cover on the underside of the steering column. This is normally held in place with a few clips. The column lock is typically located about halfway down the steering wheel shaft. Two bolts usually hold the column lock to the underside of the steering wheel shaft. The bolts can be removed using a Phillips head screwdriver. The mechanic will remove a single electrical plug going into the column lock and take the lock out of the car.

The mechanic will take a new column lock and insert the electrical plug into it. Then they will bolt the lock back onto the steering column and replace the plastic cover. Your car should start up without any problems. To learn more or receive more assistance, contact services like Steven & Francine's Complete Automotive Repair Inc.