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Roger, BMW Master Tech
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 5895
Experience:  10 yrs. experience as BMW Master Technician, shop foreman and dealer.
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1998 BMW 328i: Sedan..Call starts fine and drives well..steering wheel

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Have 1998 BMW 328i Sedan. Call starts fine and drives well. After car is started, the steering wheel will not immediately release and stays in a locked position. Have to move it back and forth several times and then it will eventually release and turns and seem to works fine and does not bind etc. A local guy said that it was $500+ to fix. Is there a simpler solution like making it so that the steering wheel does not lock? I do not care if the steering locks in place when it is turned off. Though it seems to be is it okay to drive car in this condition?



This is actually a common problem. The steering lock is part of the ignition tumbler holder. It is common for them to fail internally. Unfortunately it cannot be removed and the only fix is replacement of the housing and often a new key tumbler is needed due to it cannot be removed for the same reason. 500 is a good price for this repair actually. Just make sure he is replacing the housing for the tumbler as well or it will not fix the actual problem. You can drive the vehicle without damaging anything. Most often you can just wiggle the wheel to free it up. I have seen though that over time you might not be able to shut off or start the vehicle as the internal piece fails. We had one recently that would not shut off because the key would only spin in the holder and not actually shut off the vehicle as the internal rod had broken.


I hope this is helpful to you. If you could please accept it would be greatly appreciated. That is the only way we are compensated for our work. Thank you and I hope you enjoy your BMW.

Roger and 4 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the answer. I am not sure that I explained the situation correctly, but I think that your answer may still be right. The key is fine and does not spin or anything like that. The car cranks right up, but the wheel will not release. The car turns off fine and that has never been an issue. When I took off the cover, the steering wheel appears to catch just past the base of the wheel at the back of the wheel. When you twist the wheel you can feel it just catching. Is there a relase pin that can be taken out or anything else done so that the steering will not lock at all. I really do not want to spend another $500 on this car.

Thank you for accepting.


I am going to see if I can find any diagrams of the unit for the steering wheel lock. Can you post the last seven digits of the vehicle id number? This will help me look up some diagrams that might help.


I am pretty sure that the housing needs to be replaced to fix your problem but I will do some research using the VIN to make sure. I will also check with some of the other techs at my dealer to see if they might also have a solution for you.


Thank you. I hope I will be able to find you some more information.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The last 7 digits are 2WAV586.

Thanks for the help, but don't go to to much trouble. It will probably just have to be replaced as you indicated.

It is no trouble. If it can be done I want to see if I can figure it out.


Can you double check the vin number. Normally it is two letters and the rest numbers.


When I inputed it into the parts catalog it did not like the the vin number provided.


I hope I can find you a solution or at least explain in detail why it can't be done.


Best Regards,


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sorry that I did not get back to you sooner, and if I sent the # XXXXX the first time.

Try these last 7 numbers are: AV58633.

Let me know if this help.

No problem. I want to make sure I can give you all the options.


02INTERLOCK STEERING LOCK106/199832321093266$149.42


05LOCK (WITH KEY CODE)USA106/199832320002723$100.78


This is the listing for the parts needed. Today I will review this with a colleague that recently dealt with the same problem to see if there are any other options besides a full replacement.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sounds good. Let me know if there may be any other options.

Thank you for your patience. I did check with an older tech that has dealt with this problem many times. He assured me that my advice was correct. Which means that the housing will need to be replaced.


If you decide to wait, he explained that the lock cylinder can start spinning and then the vehicle will not start or shut off. At that point the lock cylinder cannot be swapped into the new housing and the lock cylinder will need to be replaced as well. That would mean the lock with key code for aprox 100$ would also be needed.


I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify anything or try to help you further.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for your help on the matter. It looks like it probably just needs to be replaced.