Indeed, I think you've hit the nail on the head. That's exactly how I understood it when I removed mine. Seems to be how it 'springs' up to lock the wheel when not aligned when it enters the 'locked' mode.I wonder if it's acting as a spring, designed to move the locking bar into the slot in the steering column. If you park, and lock the column, at some non-straight angle of the steering wheel, presumably the locking pin cannot go into the slot in the steering column, as the two don't line up. If someone attempt to steal car and turns the wheel, there has to be some kind of spring tp push the locking bar into the steering column, even if there's no power anywhere. Perhaps that's what this is for, and why there's a magnet. That alloy bit seems to have a large amount of backlash play in it, which would fit this theory.