• shows Steering wheel light on orange every time you put the key in the ignition (with the engine not starting);
  • it starts and then cuts off after two seconds;
  • displays ‘Steering column lock defective’ message on the instrument cluster after it has started;
  • red warning steering light comes only comes on with no ignition;
  • it does not respond in any way when the key is inserted in the ignition switch;
  • it makes a clicking noise when you put the key in the ignition, but nothing happens?

The most likely cause of the issue is a faulty VW Passat steering column lock.


It could be that your vehicle is completely immobilised with the steering wheel in a locked position. It may also be that the steering wheel is close to becoming locked if the issue is not quickly resolved. If the problem is identified and resolved before complete failure of the ESCL, you will save yourself the hassle of being stuck with the car in a car park or while you’re shopping.

On the video below you can see a 2005 VW Passat steering column lock failure.



All vehicles are fitted with a steering lock as an anti-theft device. The lock for the steering is positioned below the steering wheel. This lock is working in combination with the ignition switch. The lock can be engaged/disengaged either mechanically via the ignition key or electronically from the vehicle’s electronic control unit locking steering column. This is to prevent the steering wheel from turning without the authorization required from the immobiliser system.
These locks were first introduced on many General Motors products in 1969, drastically reducing thefts. In essence, all vehicle manufacturers gradually introduced this as a standardised feature. Traditional mechanical column locks have since been replaced with an electric steering column lock (ESCL) to increase driver’s comfort and provide a safer lock of the steering column.



The column steering lock was first introduced by General Motors in 1969 as a theft deterrent, and gradually it was introduced by all manufacturers. The older models have a mechanical steering column lock and to unlock it the key has to be inserted into the ignition switch. On the newer models, the mechanical steering column lock has been replaced with an electric steering column lock(ESCL). To disengage the ESCL, the key has to be within the car in order to read the correct identification. If ESCL reads the correct identification from the key, it will automatically disengage.

When the ESCL is about to fail, there are usually advanced warnings which often gives time to have it serviced before it completely fails.



We can help you to get back on the road with a minimum inconvenience if you ever find yourself in the situation described above. Car Keys Solutions and OGS Mechanics mobile teams can be with you – replacing and programming your VW Passat steering lock at your location in London and surrounding M25 areas. If your vehicle is driveable, you can book your car with us to repair the steering column fault at our workshop.
Electronic steering column locks are prone to become defective since they are made of parts that are subject to wear and tear.

For more information about the electric steering column lock fix, you can visit our service page COMMON FAULT FIXING, or, if you have problems with the steering column lock, you can come to one of our locations in North Finchley – O.G.S. Mechanics, Units 9 – 14 Millers Yard, Rear of 28 Long Lane, London N3 2QG or in East Finchley – Car Keys Solutions, 142-144 East End Road, London, N2 , or you can call us on 0203 393 5669 or 0203 627 1771.

You may also be interested in reading more about our services here:


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