I'm curious as to why the Solara's steering wheel doesn't lock with the ignition OFF and key removed. You say it isn't supposed to -- why would this model be different from all other cars. At least, all other cars I've ever driven? I thought steering locks were standard-issue and considered to be a primary theft deterrent. 'splain, Lucy!
Well for one, my Solara doesn't have the ignition on the steering column, it is on the dash board, so there is no mechanical linkage between the ignition and the steering column like there is on other cars.
The 2008 Camry doesn't lock the wheel either. I would know because I have extensively driven a 2008 Solara, two different 2008 Camrys (a XLE and a LE).
What is the point in the steering wheel lock as an anti-theft device when the cars have standard anti-theft keys and alarms?
The Fords I used to drive all had a steering wheel lock. Every time you took the key out you would hear a loud click and the wheel would move a little one direction or the other, then it was stuck in that position.
The new Toyotas I drive now allow you to turn the wheel after the keys are removed. The only way to keep the wheel "locked" is to turn it so the Toyota logo in the middle is upside down and take the key out while holding it there. That feature is not the lock you speak of, as it requires you to do something outside what you would normally do when turning off the car to activate it, but it meets FMVSS, so it is allowed to be that way.