Steering wheel does not lock and key will not turn in either direction. Jigging the steering wheel does not help. I removed the plastic steering column cover and key will turn if I gently tap on the switch with a hammer. No heavy weight on key chain other than a few keys.
Does this sound like a tumble switch problem or could the problem be caused by the steering wheel locking mechanism?
Is this something that a mechanically inclined individual should attempt or leave the repair to the dealer?
I used a combination of the above on my 2003 Town and Country but I did it the easy way. I simply placed a screwdriver in the ignition where the key goes and I tapped the screwdriver with a hammer (LIGHTLY). Apparently, this freed the stuck pins and everything works fine now. I then sprayed WD40 into the ignition so it will, hopefully, not stick again.
I have not taken my steering column apart yet in my 2000 T&C. I have taken my ignition out in my prior vechicle (1991 Plymouth Voyageur). On that van, the ignition was locking up because there were tiny little "stubs" that were already broken when I took it out. What happens is the stubs would enter tiny grooves when the key was pushed into the igniton slot and turned...these tiny stubs would also move and were aligned with their corresponding grooves. If broken, it locks the steering wheel as they would prevent things of being lined up properly.
I am sorry for not knowing the techical names of everything. I just learned by doing, and not asking. Not one of my best traits. (haha) but I am on here now asking questions to avoid doing things the hard way.
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If the key won\'t turn it suggests the steering wheel is pressing hard on the stop that locks it. Try twisting the steering wheel left and right while attempting to turn the key. That happened to me once when I parked on a hill and turned the wheels so it would bump the curb and not roll away. I had to jerk the steering wheel pretty hard before it let go. If that doesn\'t fix it you may have a real problem inside the switch where something came loose and is blocking the switch from turning. I sure hope jerking the wheel with fix this for you.
By far the most likely reason that one can't turn the key in the ignition is because the car was parked with the wheels turned. There is a security feature that locks the steering when the key is removed to prevent a thief from driving the car.
When the car is parked with the front wheels other than strait, the weight of the car will cause the wheels to try to straiten, If this engages the steering lock pressure is put on the ignition switch.
To start the car, look to see what direction the wheels are pointing. grasp the steering wheel and turn it TOWARD the direction the wheels are turning and now start the car.
Other causes may include wrong key, damaged ignition or other causes that may require a professional.
turn your steering wheel in laft or right directions they lock automatically turn it it will unlock and allow you to turn the key but do both at same time turn wheel little bit then turn key while holding wheel in that possition. if not then push key inward while turning maybe it has one of them goofy switches. last but not least replace ignition switch if those dont work.
Are the wheels turned all the way left or right? If so: insert the key in the ignition. and pull down hard on the steering going in-the-same-direction that they are already turned. Turn the ignition ket at the same time. If not: then you will need to take the steering column covers off and check on this mechanism which locks the wheel and the cylinder when the wheels are turned this way. it is located up adjacent the ignition key cylinder. There is a spring and a plastic mold piece inside this mechanism which may have failed. Another possibilty is: Does your vehicle have a Security System? Is the key you are using a Security Key?
You may have bound the steering wheel up against the locking mechanism.
Put the key in the ignition, and try to turn, while attempting to rotate the steering wheel to the left or right. When you rotate it the right direction, the key will turn fully and you can start the car.