Electric steering lock failure
A few years ago, most steering locks were mechanical devices which operated when the key turned in the lock, releasing the steering. Nowadays, quite a few models use an electric ally operated lock.
This 2008 Mercedes C220 has such an electrical steering lock and it is hidden down at the lower section of the steering column. It’s activated when the electronic key is placed in the receiver unit – except on this car this wasn’t happening. With the unit locked, it is impossible to remove it without damage, but luckily it had failed in the unlocked position.
Not only is the steering lock placed in a very awkward position at the lower section of the steering column, but it also needs to be activated when first fitted using a special workshop key which has been programmed. If the lock doesn’t operate, the ignition will not turn on. Apparently the three components of the steering lock – the lock, receiver and key – are all prone to failure and the first problem is to determine which part is at fault.