Question about BMW 3 Series

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The ignition turn over the vechile starts but the steering will not unlock, I have filled he owners manual even with that it still didn't unlock it, I had also tryed reseting the battery still didn't succeed.

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  • BMW Master
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Hi this is not an answer but more of a clarrification, could you tell me what year the car is and what modle ie 325 330 etc, so i can help you thanks

Posted on May 30, 2010

  • jimmy_duenas May 30, 2010

    The car model is a 1997 BMW 328is

  • steve morris
    steve morris May 30, 2010

    hi well this is a common problem with this year of car in fact you have been most unlucky in the fact BMW were having allot of problems with the steering lock electronic module, after many car were having this problem of either the lock not coming off or the lock not locking, they stopped putting it on vehicles in late 1997, unfortunately yours may have been one of the last to have it, do you get the red steering wheel on the dash yet?, unfortunately there is only one fix for this and that is to get the column replaced, as you will be lucky to find a replacement lock control module there maybe a possibility of it being reset via the engine control unit, if that was remapped it could sort it, but if it is actual hardware and not electronic software, your only option would be to replace the unit, or column to stop further occurrences sorry to be the bearer of bad news....hope this helps

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Car was running fine. had battery disconnected & reconnected. Key will not turn in ignition switch. getting a reading that says steering lock malfunction, stop car safely


Hi Doug...

Not currently all up on Saabs...
Many years since I worked on one...

but reading the owners manual (ALL 288 Pages)... has convinced me your configuration is fairly close to the BMW ...
(with which I am FAMILIAR).

Even though you have a "chip" key...
the lock still ought to work manually.

Battery NOT your trouble...
That would definitely give you OTHER problems
(specifically key "NOT RECOGNIZED").

On other cars ... I have experienced a similar issue caused by the steering column holding the lock lever from releasing:
If the wheels are turned against a curb... or hard in any direction... TURN THE WHEEL HARD (just "hard"... as in steering... no Samsonite Gorilla here) in THAT SAME DIRECTION and try to wiggle the key in the lock as you attempt to turn it... then try against that direction... again "HARD".

Failing that... jack up the front of the car until you can see some free-play in the steering wheel... by pushing the front tire back and forth... then try the key.

Hope this helps


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Unless the vehicle has just a tremendous amount of sloppiness in the steering wheel or the ignition switch. It may just be in a bind and need a little more pressure than normal to allow you to unlock it. It may even take the help of a friend if it's in a bind or the steering is locked with the wheels turned severely one direction or the other. Have a friend grab the steering wheel and pull it down hard to the left or right while you try to turn the key. I mean a hard steady pull, not a quick ****. If it still doesn't release you most likely have an internal problem with the locking mechanism or the ignition switch itself.

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Great to hear the update, and that the car is up and running. Good luck with it,
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