Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Our 4th of July contest is live! Enter HERE for your chance to win a $400 Walmart gift card.
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Outback of the Month Challenge!

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
17 OB Premium, White w/black
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
17 OB 2.5

Searched, found nothing. My wife called me a little while ago, out of town, and said "When I try to turn the key, it won't turn. This is the second time it has happened".

I told her to gently try to turn the steering wheel a little left or a little right, even though its locked, and see if that helps. The key turned and car started.

I also thought of whether or not she had her foot on the brake but forgot to ask.

Has anyone heard of this or experienced it?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
2016 OB 3.6R - Carbide Gray
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
17 OB 2.5

Searched, found nothing. My wife called me a little while ago, out of town, and said "When I try to turn the key, it won't turn. This is the second time it has happened".

I told her to gently try to turn the steering wheel a little left or a little right, even though its locked, and see if that helps. The key turned and car started.

I also thought of whether or not she had her foot on the brake but forgot to ask.

Has anyone heard of this or experienced it?

Thanks.
It's pretty common that the car won't allow the ignition switch to turn if the wheel is locked. If I recall correctly, my 2005 Legacy is this way.
https://support.compustar.com/hc/en...and-my-steering-wheel-is-locked-what-do-I-do-
 

·
Premium Member
2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
Joined
·
7,532 Posts
Has anyone heard of this or experienced it?
It's pretty common that the car won't allow the ignition switch to turn if the wheel is locked. If I recall correctly, my 2005 Legacy is this way.
The ignition/steering column interlock on every car I've owned since 1968 ... foreign or domestic ... has worked this way.
 

·
Registered
2017 Outback, 2.5L, Auto; 2018 Forester, 2.5L, Auto (for Mama); 2005 Baja, 2.5 Turbo, Manual
Joined
·
795 Posts
What ammcinnis said. Might be a little more sticky if the car is new, just like trying to shove the new key into a new lock.
 

·
Registered
17 OB Premium, White w/black
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the input. I'm hoping it happens to me so I can confirm.
 

·
Registered
2010 2.5 CVT Limited
Joined
·
1,798 Posts
For anyone that cares to understand why this can happen, read on.

The steering lock is an anti-theft feature implemented decades ago as stated by ammcinnis. The intent was to prevent a car to be driven away simply by hotwiring the ignition.
These days, with all the other anti-theft features in the ignition, the steering lock is one of the easier deterrents to defeat.

The steering lock is implemented by a simple design. A plate within the steering column with multiple slots cut into the outer edge interfaces with a spring-loaded rod that is activated by the physical motion of turning the ignition key.
When the rod engages thru one of the slots, the steering is locked. To unlock, the rod is retracted when the key is turned to the "on" position.
The rod is spring loaded since the slots may not always coincide with the position of the rod. So, when the ignition is turned off, the rod sits ready to engage if the steering is turned in either direction until an available slot comes into position. The rod pops into the open slot and locks the steering.

Thus, most of the time, the rod is either not engaged or is engaged "neutrally" thru a slot; meaning it is free to move freely in or out of the slot.
But if the front wheels are cut in either direction, there is a resistance transmitted back thru the steering due to the caster angle in the steering geometry (force that causes the front wheels to return to forward on their own). This can result in a resistance to turning the ignition key if the rod is engaged against the side of the slot. The resulting friction is too great to overcome by the puny leverage the key offers. The key won't turn and feels "locked".

Turning the steering one way or the other will off-load the friction and allow the key to turn. Typically a rocking motion while simultaneously trying to turn the key is the easiest solution to unlocking.

Perhaps more than you wanted to know.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top