Why Are the Steering Wheel and Brakes Locked Up While Driving

Car drivers control the car using the steering wheel and brakes, and they are the most significant part of a motor vehicle. If the steering wheel and brakes are locked up while driving, then you can not control the car at that moment, and it can cause severe accidents. Failing these two parts can be terrible for you, so you should rapidly settle down this problem.   

Since locked steering wheels and brakes are very risky, you must be careful about it, and you shouldn’t take the car in traffic. Reading this article, you will know about why the steering wheel and brakes locked up while driving and the right solution for this problem. 


Why are steering wheels locked up while driving?

Usually, a locked steering wheel is a common safety feature. When the driver put the key in the ignition and the steering wheel unlocked. If the steering wheel is locked up while running, it is a matter of concern. Here are the common reasons for locked starting wheels while driving. 

1. Power Steering issues

If the steering wheel is locked while driving, one major reason is power steering issues. You may find that the steering wheel is locked up when you want to turn the vehicle in a particular direction or other particular points. 

Today’s most cars have a power steering motor pump that operates the steering smoothly. Since the pump has valves, it can be jammed with road debris over time. This causes the steering wheel locking up problem. 

The older models have arm muscles for controlling rather than power steering. But the power steering is more acceptable by the drivers. The power steering is clogged up easily, and there are also other issues that occur for this reason: whining noises from the hood of the car, locked assembly problems, or slower responsive time.

2. Sharp turning 

Making a sharp turning tendency can impact the steering wheel lock. If you make sharp turns frequently, there is a high chance of locked steering. Excessive sharp turns in a short period influence the engine and need lots of power. As a result, the steering wheel eventually locked up. So you have to avoid making sharp turns frequently. 

3. Steering Column Failure 

The steering wheel connects with the steering system through the steering column. It leads the motor vehicle in the intended direction.  This is the major device for controlling the car and placed at the top of the steering system. 

The steering column is attached to the steering wheel directly. If the steering column has any fault, the steering wheel is locked up. Then it is very hard to operate and turn on the potential path. 

4. Engine Control Unit fault

The Engine Control Unit (ECU) monitors every activity of a car engine. It is a significant part that can control any sensor as well as the steering wheel. Because of the ECU fault, the steering wheel can lock up while driving. 

Why are the brakes locked up while driving? 

There are two kinds of car brakes: anti-lock brakes and non-anti-lock brakes. The non-anti-lock brakes are often locked up while you make hard brakes. Most vehicles have an anti-lock system, and it doesn’t look up until any underlying fault. 

ABS (anti-lock braking system)

When the ignition system detects ABS issues, the brakes locked up. The advanced models have ABS detect light on the dash. If the light turns on, understand there is a potential problem. Never ignore the light and immediately consult a professional mechanic. 

Hydraulic System

When pushing the brake pedal, it discharges hydraulic fluid to operate the brakes. If the master cylinder doesn’t have enough fluid, the brake can lock up. So check the cylinder to see the fluid level. If there is any leakage, then the brake may lock up. 

Brake Calipers

The brake calipers are a part that helps to slow the car. When you push the brakes pads on rotors the calipers slow the vehicle. The calipers work together with the pins and pistons. If there is any damage on the pins or pistons, it can lock the brakes. 

Brake Overheating

Break overheating is a probable problem that causes brake lock up. The break overheats for wear-out or low fluid. As a result it gets too friction, and the disc melts. When the disc melts it locks the brake while diving. 

How to disable the locked steering wheel and brakes?

As you know, the common reasons for the locked steering wheel, so you have to be careful about these issues. Like many sure, you are using the right key, stop making sharp turns frequently, and be aware of the fuel efficiency. 

If the car doesn’t have these issues, then find the root cause. It can be an underlying problem like  the ignition lock, steering column defect, or others. So don’t drive the defective car on the road and consult a mechanic as soon as possible. 

Again, in case of brakes locked up, it can create terrific accidents. Since the anti-lock brake is locked for the underlying problem, you may not find out the cause yourself. So you need to go to a service center immediately. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How to unlock the steering wheel?

The steering wheel is related to the ignition system. If you want to unlock the steering wheel, wiggle the steering wheel left or right using your left hand and turn the key that is in the ignition lock position. Now you can unlock the lock. If there is another issue then take the car to a mechanic. 

  1. Can ABS lock up the brakes?

ABS is designed to reduce locking brakes during heavy brakes. But if there is an issue with the ABS system, it can lock the brakes frequently. 

Final Words

The steering wheel and brakes locked up while driving is very dangerous for you. When you are facing these problems, you shouldn’t go for a drive and consult a mechanic immediately. Moreover, you should check for regular maintenance and make sure all the parts are working perfectly.

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