Steering Wheel Locked

It just so happens that I've already had issues with my Focus, but today was baaaad. I was on my way out, got my kiddo strapped into her carseat and went to start the car. The steering wheel LOCKED into place
and I couldn't get it to un-lock. I'm not a whiz with cars but anyone can unlock the steering wheel, it's not that hard to figure out. So, I tried for about 10 mins., called a couple different people and nothing.
I have a 2004 base model automatic Focus. If I lift the tab that's on the gear shifter and get it into neutral, will this make the steering wheel unlock? (this suggestion comes from my husband, by the way) I have read a couple of threads where steering wheel locking = go to dealership. Lucky for us the quality care center is right up the street (we kind of live in the country and the dealership is about an hour away). So am I just looking at having it towed to the dealership or the care center?
Will the warranty cover this? We just bought this vehicle last year and got the extended warranty. This is so frustrating!
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Lifting the tab on the gearshift console and inserting a screwdriver in there will only allow you to move the gear shift selector into neutral. If the steering wheel is not pushing against the steering wheel lock, then the ignition switch has failed. A common problem on 2000 to early 2003 models but Ford assured everyone that they had fixed the problem with Ignition lock failures, guess not.
If its under 3 years old and mileage is less than 36,000 miles it should still be covered under the original bumper to bumper 3 year /36,000 mile warranty. You might want to call the local dealer and confirm that it is covered. If its not covered under warranty a locksmith would be a better alternative as he will install a more durable lock assembly than the dealer will.
Hope this helps.
It won't be long before you will be saying "we should have bought a Honda Civic".
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Henri wrote:

tapping it with your shoe (no joke) to get it to turn, but I'd get it to a dealer right away.......
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. " If you can't turn the key at all, your ignition is screwed. You can try tapping it with your shoe (no joke) to get it to turn, but I'd get it to a dealer right away.......
Yes it works when you thump it with the palm of your hand as well while juggling the key in the lock.
But if the car is still under warranty the dealer could refuse to fix it, using the excuse that you have abused the car by damaging the lock. If it is still under bumper to bumper warranty Ford will pay for the tow. If its still under warranty don't mess with it.
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The important thing to know is can you turn the ignition key in the lock. If not, you have a jammed key, common in early Focuses. You could try lock lubricant or simply wiggling or tapping it.
If the key does turn, the problem is in the steering column, or attached devices, probably simply needing lubrication and/or alignment. This reminds me of my 1998 Plymouth Voyager I bought used a couple of years ago. Amazing what some spray oil did to make everything work like butter.

It certainly should, and you have every right to complain if your dealer says otherwise. Good luck.
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Dave Gower wrote:

easier to remove the old cylinder with the key in and turned, when I replaced mine, my brother (a locksmith who did the work) told me to leave the key in, then he can turn the key, insert a pin and release the cylinder, other wise he has to drill out the cylinder. So for several days I just turned the key back half way, enough to open the electrical circuts, but not enough to release the key.
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