Elec­tric steer­ing lock fail­ure

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Tales From The Workshop -

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.

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