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Old 17th September 2023, 22:25   #1
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The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

Hello forum members, I am facing a peculiar issue with the steering wheel of my Carens.

Car - Kia Carens 1.4 Turbo 7DCT
Car age - 18 months
Mileage - 20k kms


The issue
There's a warning message popping-up on the MID - "Check steering wheel lock system". It appears when I unlock the car and open the driver's door. Then, when I press the Engine Start button, the message pops again and the car doesn't start. I try turning the steering wheel towards left or right, but it doesn't help.

First occurrence
July 2022 - I first saw this message in the car when it was 4 months old. The car refused to start while showing this message on the MID. I had to park the car outside over-night and got it towed to the service center in the morning. The service center folks scanned the car and reported some wire to be loose. I got the car back.

Second occurrence
Sept 2022 - I parked the car after a long drive and this message popped-up. The car refused to start again. I spent 10 mins toiling with the steering wheel - moving it right and left while pressing the Engine Start button. Finally got lucky and the car started.
The issue appeared again in a couple of days. I managed to start the car again after toiling with the steering wheel.
I took the car to the service center and explained the issue. But the issue could not be replicated in front of the service center folks. They asked me to leave the car with them as they would need some time to figure out the issue. Later on, they reported that it is a software issue and the BCM needs to be replaced. The part arrived after 10 days and was replaced under warranty. The service advisor assured that the issue won't occur again.

Further occurrences
Since April this year, the message is popping-up once a month. I get past this issue by doing hit and trail - moving the steering wheel left and right while pressing the Start button. Sometimes, I got lucky in a couple of minutes, while other times it took like 20mins of constant headbanging.
Recently, the issue has been more prominent and has been occurring 4-5 times a week. I took the car for the 20k service last week and explained the issue to the service center folks. The issue could not be replicated in front of them. I took the car back after the service. Next day the message popped-up again.

My observations
The steering in Hyundai/Kia cars gets locked when we turn off the engine and open the driver's door. There's a sound that can be heard when the driver's door is opened. That sound tells that the steering wheel has been locked normally. [This is based on my limited knowledge that I have gathered from forums and YouTube].
Hence, if this sound of steering wheel is heard while opening the driver's door, the car starts the next time without any issue. However, if this sound of steering getting locked isn't heard, the steering lock warning message will pop-up on MID in a few seconds.
I am convinced that this is a hardware issue and not related to the software. Moreover, the issue is severe as it may lead to the car getting stranded out on the road.
I will be taking the car to the service center again hoping this time the video that I recorded will help them understand the issue.

To the forum members - please share your insights or experience, if any, related to this issue.

Video -
Attached Thumbnails
The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens-img_3052.jpg  


Last edited by neeraj08 : 17th September 2023 at 22:27. Reason: Adding the video URL
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Old 19th September 2023, 11:30   #2
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Re: The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

I have a Seltos IVT Feb 2021 model and I have been getting this message since about 6 months after the purchase of the vehicle. In my case, it has been always just after turning the car off irrespective of the distance/time driven. It used to come up about once a week at that time but I consulted with the service centre 2-3 times and showed them photos of the warning on the MID. They used to say the same that it was a software issue and they have cleared the fault code.

During the last service in March 2023 I strictly told them to do something about it or I will have to escalate the issue. I don't think they changed any hardware because neither did they take any approval nor informed me of any part change under warranty but since then I haven't got any warning.


One difference between your issue and mine is that I faced no starting or steering issue. This warning came on the MID after turning off the car for 5 seconds and went away and the car starts normally the next time.
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Old 19th September 2023, 13:22   #3
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Re: The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

Please see if there is a recall for your batch, you can try Facebook or telegram group to ask owners of vehicle from similar manufacturing months.

Issue with Kia is that they will not do any mass recall or issue notification, I had a steering noise sound in my 2022 seltos IVT and the steering motor was replaced within warranty. The staff mentioned the issue is due to faulty component however Kia will only change these for vehicle owners who are raising a complaint.

I also got this message once while switching off the car. One point was that the steering was not centered however it went away after the car was restarted.

Try take it to a different dealer too, not sure about your location but i found the dealership in Kerala much better than Bangalore.
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Old 19th September 2023, 18:53   #4
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Re: The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

In Cars with Push Button start system, there is a SMK Module (Smart Key Module) which controls the Ignition. Steering lock in such cars is also motorised and is controlled by SMK. If there is a problem with SMK or Steering Lock, you will get an error and car wouldnt start.

We had a smiliar problem recently in our 2014 grand i10. Since it was out of warranty, instead of replacing SMK , we got it repaired from outside.

You should get it checked from service centre and may need to replace either SMK or Steering Lock.
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Old 19th September 2023, 20:54   #5
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Re: The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

I think that the steering wheel lock system will not allow you to start the car if any of your doors are open.

As per my limited understanding, steering lock means that you cannot start the car and not related to position of the steering per se. This could be due to an open door or a problem with key fob or an erratic battery input when you are trying to start the car. My apologies, I am not well versed with the modern car electronics.

First try with the other key and see if the problem goes away.

Last edited by MT_Hyderabad : 19th September 2023 at 20:59.
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Old 19th September 2023, 21:33   #6
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Re: The notorious steering wheel lock system of my Kia Carens

Quote:
Originally Posted by neeraj08 View Post
There's a warning message popping-up on the MID - "Check steering wheel lock system". It appears when I unlock the car and open the driver's door. Then, when I press the Engine Start button, the message pops again and the car doesn't start. I try turning the steering wheel towards left or right, but it doesn't help.
There is a solenoid which activates the locking and unlocking of steering wheel. It could be either an issue with the solenoid or the tyres are exerting more twisting force on the steering and solenoid is not able to unlock.

Are you parking with the tyres rotated in any direction? If so can you try parking with straight tyres. Before switching off, free the steering and drive a meter or so.

I have a KIA Sonet DCT, and had got this issue few times, while parked at an incline and tyres rotated.
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