Car Steering Wheel Buttons Not Working: 10 Common Issues Fix

Have you ever attempted to adjust the volume of your car radio and discover that the car steering wheel buttons not working? If so, don’t panic. There are several frequent causes and you can fix many of them using simple troubleshooting.

Having control over your car’s functions at your fingertips is a convenience we often take for granted. The steering wheel buttons serve as a vital component of this seamless experience, allowing drivers to access various features without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. However, it can be frustrating when these buttons suddenly stop working, leaving you with limited control over important functionalities.

Car Steering Wheel Buttons Not Working
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

In this article, we will explore eight common issues that can cause car steering wheel buttons to malfunction and provide practical solutions to get them up and running again. Whether you’re dealing with unresponsive audio controls or non-functioning cruise control settings, understanding these problems and their fixes will help you regain full command of your vehicle’s steering wheel functions efficiently and effectively.

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Common Issues With Car Steering Wheel Buttons

Sometimes, you can fix the problem by replacing the fuse controlling the system for audio. It is essential to test this fuse prior to making any other changes, as it’s often the most straightforward and fastest solution to fix a problem with the steering wheel audio control.

If switching the fuse does not work, you might need to inspect the wiring of your vehicle to make sure there aren’t missing connections or damaged wires.

In this blog we’ll look at possible causes for a malfunctioning wheel, and the best way to restore it to working in a matter of minutes.

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

1. Loose Connection:

One common issue that can cause the buttons on a car steering wheel to stop working is a loose connection. Over time, the wires that connect the buttons to the main control module can become loose or frayed, leading to intermittent or complete loss of functionality. This can be especially frustrating for drivers who rely on these buttons for important functions such as adjusting the volume, changing radio stations, or answering phone calls while keeping their hands on the wheel.

There are several potential causes for a loose connection in this system. One possibility is that the connectors themselves have become worn out or damaged due to regular use and constant vibrations while driving. Another potential cause could be improper installation of aftermarket accessories, such as an aftermarket stereo system, which may have resulted in loose connections between components.

Fixing a loose connection in the steering wheel button system typically involves locating and inspecting all relevant connections and wiring harnesses. If any loose or damaged connectors are found, they will need to be repaired or replaced. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove certain parts of the steering wheel assembly in order to access these connections more easily. Once all repairs are made and all connections are secure, functionality should be restored to these important controls on your car’s steering wheel.

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2. Check Wiring And Connections For Looseness

One of the common issues that can cause car steering wheel buttons not to work is loose wiring and connections. Over time, the wiring and connections in the steering wheel can become loose due to wear and tear or vibrations while driving. When this happens, it can disrupt the flow of electrical signals to the buttons, causing them to malfunction or stop working altogether.

To check if loose wiring or connections are causing the problem, you will need to remove the steering wheel cover and inspect the wires and connectors. Look for any signs of frayed wires, broken connectors, or loose connections. If you find any issues, tighten any loose connections and replace any damaged wires or connectors.

Photo by: Pixabay

Additionally, it’s a good idea to check other areas where wires connect within your vehicle, such as under the dashboard or near the fuse box. Loose connections in these areas could also be responsible for your steering wheel buttons not working. By thoroughly checking all wiring and connections related to your car’s steering wheel buttons, you can identify and fix any looseness issues that may be causing them to malfunction.

3. Faulty Buttons:

Faulty buttons on a car’s steering wheel can be a frustrating issue for drivers. There are several common reasons why these buttons may stop working, and fortunately, many of them can be easily fixed. One common problem is a loose or disconnected wire connection. Over time, the constant use of the buttons can cause the wires to become loose or disconnected from their terminals. This can prevent the signals from reaching the appropriate components, resulting in non-functional buttons.

Another common issue with faulty steering wheel buttons is dirt and debris accumulation. Dust, food particles, and other debris can find their way into the crevices around the buttons and interfere with their functioning. Cleaning out these areas thoroughly with compressed air or a small brush can often solve this problem. It’s also worth noting that excessive moisture exposure, such as spilling liquids onto the steering wheel or driving in heavy rain without proper protection, can lead to button malfunctions as well.

In some cases, faulty buttons on a car’s steering wheel may require professional assistance to fix. If all wiring connections appear intact and there is no visible debris causing interference, it could indicate a more complex electrical issue within the vehicle’s system. In such instances, it is best to seek help from an experienced mechanic who can diagnose and repair any underlying problems correctly. Regular maintenance and gentle handling of steering wheel buttons can help prevent future issues from arising.

4. Test Buttons For Responsiveness or Damage

One common issue with car steering wheel buttons is a lack of responsiveness. To test the responsiveness of the buttons, start by pressing each one individually and observing if there is any delay or unresponsiveness. Additionally, try pressing multiple buttons simultaneously to ensure they all function properly without interfering with each other. If any buttons are not responding or have a delayed response, it may be necessary to clean or replace them.

Another issue that can arise with car steering wheel buttons is physical damage. Over time, these buttons may become worn out or damaged due to constant use or accidents like spills or impact. Inspect each button carefully for signs of wear such as peeling paint, cracked surfaces, or loose connections. If any damage is found, it may be necessary to replace the affected button(s) to restore functionality. Additionally, check for any debris that may have accumulated around the buttons and clean them using a mild cleaning agent and a soft cloth if needed.

In conclusion, testing car steering wheel buttons for responsiveness and damage is essential for maintaining proper functionality while driving. By checking the responsiveness of each button individually and inspecting them for signs of wear or damage like peeling paint or loose connections, drivers can identify potential issues early on and take appropriate action such as cleaning or replacing the affected button(s).

5. Dead Battery:

Dead battery is one of the most common issues that can cause car steering wheel buttons to stop working. When the battery is dead, there is not enough power to supply the electrical components in the car, including the steering wheel buttons. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as leaving lights on overnight or an old and worn-out battery.

How do I know my Battery is Damaged
Photo by Unsplash

To fix this issue, you will need to jump-start your car using jumper cables and another vehicle with a good battery. Connect the positive (+) cable clamp to the positive terminal of your dead battery and then connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the working battery. Similarly, connect the negative (-) cable clamp to the negative terminal of your dead battery and then connect the other end of the negative cable either to a grounded metal surface in your engine compartment or to a designated grounding point.

Once connected properly, start up the vehicle with a good battery and let it run for a few minutes while keeping your own vehicle turned off. After some time has passed, try starting your own car by turning on its ignition. If everything goes well, disconnect all cables in reverse order and make sure not to touch any metal surfaces with them while doing so.

In conclusion, if you find that your car steering wheel buttons are not working, it could be due to a dead battery. Jump-starting your car using jumper cables is usually an effective way to resolve this issue quickly and get back on track with functioning controls.

6. Replace Battery In Steering Wheel Control Module

One common issue that can cause the buttons on a car’s steering wheel control module to stop working is a dead or dying battery. The steering wheel control module relies on a small battery to power its functions, such as controlling the audio system and cruise control. Over time, this battery can lose its charge and need to be replaced.

To replace the battery in the steering wheel control module, you will first need to locate it. In most cars, the control module is located underneath the airbag in the center of the steering wheel. Once you have located it, carefully remove any screws or clips holding the airbag in place and disconnect any wiring harnesses before removing it from the steering wheel.

With access to the control module, you can now open it up and locate the old battery. Remove it carefully and replace it with a new one of the same type and size. Make sure to insert it correctly according to its polarity markings. After replacing the battery, reassemble all components in reverse order and test your steering wheel buttons to ensure they are functioning properly again.

Overall, replacing a dead or dying battery in your car’s steering wheel control module can be a relatively simple fix for an otherwise frustrating issue with non-responsive buttons. By following these steps carefully and ensuring proper installation of a new battery, you can restore full functionality to your steering wheel controls without needing professional assistance or expensive repairs.

7. Software Update Needed:

If you are experiencing issues with your car steering wheel buttons not working properly, it may be time for a software update. Software updates are essential to keep your car’s systems functioning smoothly and efficiently. Over time, manufacturers release updates that fix bugs, enhance performance, and add new features to your vehicle’s software.

Photo by: Pixabay

One common issue that can arise when the steering wheel buttons stop responding is outdated or incompatible software. If your car is running on an older version of the software, it may not be able to communicate effectively with the steering wheel buttons. By updating the software, you can ensure compatibility and resolve any issues related to outdated programming.

Another possible cause for non-functioning steering wheel buttons could be a glitch in the system. Sometimes, minor glitches occur within the software that can affect specific functions of your vehicle. Running a software update can help identify and fix these glitches, allowing your steering wheel buttons to work seamlessly once again.

In conclusion, if you’re facing problems with your car’s steering wheel buttons not working correctly, consider getting a software update. Updating the software ensures compatibility and resolves any issues related to outdated programming or minor system glitches. It’s important to stay up-to-date with these updates as they improve performance and functionality while enhancing overall driving experience.

8. Steering Wheel Control Module Malfunction:

One common issue that can cause the steering wheel control module to malfunction is a loose or disconnected wiring harness. Over time, vibrations and regular use can loosen the connections between the wiring harness and the control module, leading to intermittent or complete loss of functionality. To fix this issue, it is important to inspect the wiring harness for any signs of damage or looseness. If any issues are found, re-secure or replace the wiring harness as necessary.

Image by thisguyhere from Pixabay

Another possible cause for a malfunctioning steering wheel control module is water damage. If water enters the interior of your vehicle through an open window, sunroof, or leaky seal, it can potentially reach and damage various electrical components including the control module. To address this issue, thoroughly dry out any affected areas and inspect for signs of corrosion on both the control module and its connectors. If corrosion is present, clean it off using contact cleaner or a wire brush and consider applying dielectric grease to prevent future water damage.

Overall, a malfunctioning steering wheel control module can be caused by loose wiring connections or water damage. By checking and securing all wiring connections as well as addressing any potential sources of moisture in your car’s interior, you can resolve these issues effectively.

9. Replace Or Repair The Control Module

One common issue that can cause the steering wheel buttons in a car to stop working is a malfunctioning control module. The control module is responsible for receiving and interpreting the signals from the buttons and sending commands to the appropriate systems in the vehicle. If it becomes damaged or fails, it can result in a loss of functionality for the steering wheel buttons. In some cases, the control module may be repairable by a trained technician who can diagnose and fix any issues with its internal components. This can be a cost-effective solution compared to replacing the entire module.

malfunction control module
Photo by: Unsplash

However, there are instances where replacing the control module may be necessary. If the damage or failure is severe and cannot be repaired, getting a new control module installed might be the only option. Additionally, if there are recurring issues with multiple buttons on the steering wheel not working properly despite attempts at repair, it could indicate an underlying problem with the control module that cannot be rectified. In these situations, investing in a replacement control module can ensure that all functions of the steering wheel buttons are restored effectively and reliably.

Overall, whether to replace or repair the control module will depend on factors such as extent of damage/failure and cost considerations. A professional diagnosis should always be sought to accurately determine which course of action would best address any problems with car steering wheel button functionality caused by issues with this component.

10. Check Clock Spring

One common issue that can cause the car steering wheel buttons to stop working is a faulty clock spring. The clock spring, also known as the spiral cable or coil, is a crucial component in the steering wheel system that allows for electrical connections between the steering wheel and the rest of the vehicle. It is responsible for maintaining continuous contact with various components such as airbags, horn, cruise control, audio controls, and more.

Over time, wear and tear can occur on the clock spring due to constant use and turning of the steering wheel. This can lead to problems such as broken wires or loss of continuity in the electrical connections. When this happens, it can result in non-functional steering wheel buttons or intermittent operation.

Fixing a faulty clock spring usually requires replacing the entire unit. It’s best to consult a professional mechanic who has experience with steering systems and can properly diagnose and replace any damaged parts. Regular maintenance checks are also advisable to prevent any potential issues with your car’s clock spring before they become major problems that could affect your safety on the road.

Other Possible Causes:

Other possible causes for car steering wheel buttons not working include faulty wiring connections, a malfunctioning control module, or a blown fuse. In some cases, the wiring that connects the steering wheel buttons to the control module may become loose or damaged over time, resulting in a loss of functionality. This can be resolved by checking and tightening any loose connections or replacing damaged wiring.

Additionally, if the control module responsible for interpreting the signals from the steering wheel buttons malfunctions, it can cause them to stop working. This can be due to wear and tear or electronic failures within the module itself. In such cases, replacing the control module may be necessary.

stuck buttons
Photo by: Pexels

Furthermore, a blown fuse can also result in non-functioning steering wheel buttons. Fuses are designed to protect electrical components from damage caused by power surges or short circuits. If a fuse related to the steering wheel buttons blows out, it will need to be replaced with a new one of matching specifications.

Overall, when troubleshooting why car steering wheel buttons are not working properly, it is important to consider these other potential causes besides those mentioned earlier. By addressing issues such as faulty wiring connections, malfunctioning control modules, or blown fuses promptly and appropriately, drivers can restore functionality to their steering wheel buttons and ensure safe operation on the road.


In conclusion, it is important to address the common issues and fixes related to car steering wheel buttons not working. From our discussion, we have identified eight common problems that can cause this malfunction. These include damaged wiring, loose connections, faulty buttons, software glitches, worn-out switches, water damage, blown fuse, or a dead battery.

Fortunately, most of these issues can be easily fixed by following some simple steps. Firstly, checking the wiring and connections should be the initial step to identify any damages or loose connections that may be causing the problem.

Additionally, checking for software updates specific to your vehicle model and installing them as necessary could resolve any underlying software glitches affecting your steering wheel buttons’ functionality. In some cases where water damage has occurred due to spills or leaks inside the car cabin area near the steering wheel console, proper drying and cleaning could rectify the issue.

If these troubleshooting steps do not resolve the problem with your car’s steering wheel buttons not working properly, it is advisable to consult a professional mechanic who specializes in automotive electronics. They will have access to advanced diagnostic tools and expertise required for more complex repairs or replacements of components if needed. Overall, addressing these common issues promptly will ensure a safe and hassle-free driving experience while utilizing all functionalities provided by your car’s steering wheel buttons.

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