How to Disassemble a Steering Column

person during the ignition key in a car
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Philips screwdriver
Steering wheel puller
Socket wrench
What You'll Need
Philips screwdriver
Steering wheel puller
Socket wrench

One of the important parts of your vehicle is the steering column. This essential piece of any vehicle is the part that connects the driver to the wheels on the ground. Without being able to effectively steer the car down the road you will not have control over where it eventually ends up. Not only is the steering column essential to being able to control the direction of the car, but it also houses other key components of the vehicles. When something goes wrong with the ignition system you will need to know how to disassemble the steering column in order to work on it. Here are the step by step instructions for removing the steering column in your car.

Step 1 - Disconnect Battery Cable

Before doing any work on your steering column you should disconnect your battery cables first. There are several electrical pieces you will have to disconnect in the process of disassembly, so disconnecting the battery will help to ensure safety throughout the process.

Step 2 - Remove Center Cap

In some cases you can use a screwdriver in order to pop off the center cap of your steering wheel. However, there are some vehicles that will require the use of a steering wheel puller. When you get the center cap removed from the steering wheel you will also need to disconnect the wire that operates the horn. This can be either held in place by a set screw, or through a small clip.

Step 3 - Remove the Steering Wheel

gloved hand on a steering wheel

Once the horn is disconnected from the steering wheel you need to remove the center retaining nut and washer. Once the center nut is removed, grab the wheel with both hands. With even force on both sides, pull the steering wheel towards you in an upward motion. If this does not work, then the steering wheel puller will remove the steering wheel.

Step 4 - Remove Steering Column Cover

The steering column cover is in two parts. There is an upper portion of the cover as well as a lower portion. They are held in place with a lock plate and some tabs. Remove the screws from the lock plate on each portion and loosen the tabs so you can slide them off.

Step 5 - Remove Signal Indicator

Steering wheel removed

Once the steering column cover is removed you can then get at the turn signal indicator. Remove the canceling cam as well as the screws that hold the turn signal in place. There are a few screws on each side that will need to be removed. Slide the turn signal upwards to remove it.

Step 6 - Remove Ignition Cylinder

Remove the ignition cylinder from the steering column by unscrewing the three screws around the collar. Push the tab located on the top right of the cylinder and pull the ignition out.

Step 7 - Final Bolts

After these are taken care of you can remove the other remaining bolts and springs on the lower steering column. If you need to remove the steering column, remove the main bolt that connects it to the shaft and pull it out.