Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Damn Steering Column locked up ;(



Howdy !

I read another thread here that mentions a Recall on the C5's to fix the Locked steering column problem.

Well mine just locked up on me, fortunetly it happened in my driveway . But still very upsetting.

Is there a qwick fix for this problem ?? Just so i can drive it to the dealer ..Or do i need to call for a tow truck.

Thanks for your input ! This looks like a great Vette forum.


You will probably need to call a tow truck and have it towed. Once it locks up, I don't think there is any way you will get it unlocked to drive it. I am sure someone will let you know more information about it and if I am right or not. WElcome to CACC
Thanks Dan !

Guess i'll call the tow truck on monday..


Hi there,
well, you might try a few things here, as sometimes low battery voltage causes this condition.
First, disconnect the negative battery cable, for about a minute. Make sure that your key is not in the ignition, and then reconnect.
See if it unlocks, if not, you might also try the following.
While you are turning the ignition on and off, move the steering wheel back and forth, very firmly, and you may shock the lock actuator to move.
It does work under most circumstances.
Yes, there is a recall, and your dealer to check for this before they do the repair.
Let us know how you make out, c4c5:hb

You're lucky the column malfunctioned on your car while it was in your driveway.

Mine malfunctioned while my wife and I were out-of-state on vacation. We were stranded and the end of our vacation was ruined.

Chevrolet has been well aware of this defect for a long time. They chose to ignore the problem for some time, then finally issued a "satisfaction" campaign program. When the "fix" is applied by the dealer, it disconnects a significant safety and theft prevention feature of the car (a locking steering column).

Chevrolet should be required to repair every Corvette with this defective feature and install a reliable steering column locking mechanism (at no cost to the owners). Owners should be compensated for their aggravation and loss of time.
Does GM just disconnect the locking feature or do they replace the defective parts so it works as originally intended? Thanks Michael

I feel for you whiteC5 ..My GF and i were saying the same thing last night..The column could have chosen to lock up anywere.. I guess i should count myself lucky..Needless to say i was pretty ****ed that my column locked up on me..

I highly reccomend any C5's owners do not delay , take your car to the dealer before this happens..And it will happen ..The question is just when and were .

I read a posting on another C5 board that mentions the fix for the automatics disables the security feature and column lock..But on the Manual C5's they are able to enable the security feature.

Here is the FIX :

1997–2000 Corvette Column Lock Bypass Module from C5 Solutions !

The Column Lock Bypass is designed to defeat the factory Steering Column Lock while mimicking its operation to the car’s computer. Installing the Column Lock Bypass DOES eliminate the steering lock mechanism, which is a factory theft prevention feature. However, ALL other factory theft prevention features remain intact and function normally.

Installation of the Column Lock Bypass is simple using the factory connector to plug right in with no cutting! Expect approximately 45 minutes for installation. You will need a T15-Torx screwdriver and a small flat blade screwdriver.

Before beginning, be sure the car is turned off and the key is out of the ignition.

DO NOT turn the ignition switch on until instructed to do so!

1. From the left side of the steering column, pull/pry the Fog Lamp/Trunk Release switch plate out of the dashboard. Unplug the harness connected to this switch plate by lifting the connector retaining tab and pulling the connector off simultaneously. Remove the Torx screw behind this location.

2. From the underside of the dashboard knee pad, remove the two (2) Torx screws.

3. From the right side of the steering column, pull/pry the vented cover plate off the Interior Air Temperature Sensor located next to the ignition switch. Remove the Torx screw behind this location.

4. Gently work the dashboard knee pad away from the steering column being careful not to damage adjoining panels. The left side of this panel may need to be pulled slightly harder to unfasten a retaining clip next to the switch plate opening. The right side will require careful prying to get from under the overlapping panel.

5. Unplug the harness connected to the Interior Air Temperature Sensor by lifting the connector retaining tab and pulling the connector off simultaneously.

6. Continue gently working the dashboard knee pad away from the steering column until it is completely removed.

7. On the upper-left side of the steering column, locate the 4-wires routed together that go to the steering column lock assembly. The wires are Black, Green, Orange, and Purple in color. Follow them down to the black connector under the dashboard.

8. Disconnect here by prying up on the connector retaining tab of the larger connector portion while simultaneously pulling the smaller portion of the connector out. The larger portion of the connector will remain attached to the support panel.

9. You must now release the steering column lock using the supplied Lighter Plug Adapter. Strip approximately ¼” of insulation from each wire of the Adapter. Identify the HOT wire as the one with the stripe. Being careful not to short the stripped wires together, plug the adapter into a 12V outlet on the car. Hold the female black connector of the actuator in one hand. Touch the HOT (striped) wire of the adapter to the PURPLE wire female pin of the connector while simultaneously touching the GROUND (no stripe) wire of the adapter to the ORANGE wire female pin. You should hear the actuator motor move. Remove both wires from the connector and unplug it from the lighter socket. The steering wheel should be free to move at this point. If not, you MUST somehow get the actuator unlocked or replaced before proceeding.

10. The column lock assembly harness will no longer be used, so position it aside by tucking it into a nearby harness.

11. Plug the Column Lock Bypass module into the open male connector you worked with in Step #8.

12. Secure the module to the dash support panel or other object with the supplied adhesive tape.

With the module installed and the steering column unlocked, you can verify your installation.

1. Start the ignition. The DIC should not display any abnormal messages. The steering wheel should turn freely.

2. Turn off the ignition and completely remove the key. Turn the steering wheel, it should not be locked in place.

Reinstall the dashboard knee pad in reverse order of disassembly. Be sure to reconnect the Interior Air Temperature Sensor and Fog Lamp/Trunk Release harnesses.

NOTE: The metal clip-nuts used to help secure the knee pad to the bottom metal rail may be loose in some cars. Before installing the knee pad, be sure these two clip-nuts at the bottom of the knee pad support are aligned correctly over the holes. You may need to squeeze them tight with pliers.

What did you do with your car? Did you have it towed to the dealer?

When I returned home after my breakdown, towing, and repair, I purchased and installed the column lock bypass. This was before the "satisfaction campaign" issued by Chevrolet.

The column lock bypass ensured that I would not be stranded with another lockup. I had been reading about the problems with the column lock malfunction, but thought "it wouldn't happen to me". Boy, was I wrong.

Good luck.

1999 White C5 Coupe
I guess i lucked out

WhiteC5 , i actually got lucky..I tried to start the car again late yesterday and the steering column unlocked..So i drove it to the dealer this morning.

It was a scary feeling driving it to the dealer..wondering if it was going to lock up while i was driving.

Made it there safe and sound..Can't wait to get my baby back ;)



I'm glad to hear your column unlocked without towing. Good luck with your car. Have you had any of the other "common" defects with your car? I have had a variety of problems, and most seem to be very common after following posts on this and other forums.

1999 White C5 Coupe
I heard somewhere that most of the time ,it happens when the car is parked with the wheels turned sharply , in either direction . I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had this happen. We're your wheels straight or turned .
steering /lock-up

hi blu-don't let them charge you for the fix they know the problem exists-mine was towed 4 times and the last time they told meit should be the last as they replaced with an updated switch-make sure they use the updated version not just a new one-don't let them get stupid on you!!!:(
No steering lock???

Correct me here if I'm wrong, the fix is to disable the column lock on the auto, fix it on the 6 speed. Mine was fixed by the dealer without a recall, done during one of the 2 times I had it in for service. Never paid any attention to it until I got my Seville, it has no column lock ether. Both cars now have the ignition on the dash. Has something changed in the PITA laws?

Corvette Forums

Not a member of the Corvette Action Center?  Join now!  It's free!

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Supporting Vendors


MacMulkin Chevrolet - The Second Largest Corvette Dealer in the Country!

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Double Your Chances!

Our Partners

Top Bottom