It may have just been a coincidence that this just happened after the accident. Does not seem possible that the accident caused it. I could see that if the vehicle had front end damage with the ignition off that could cause some damage to the steering lock, but not rear end.
Normally if there is a problem with the key turning in the ignition, it is always caused by a faulty ignition lock cylinder and NOT to steering lock. The steering lock is just a piece of metal that locks the steering shaft when the ignition key is off/out (mechanically). Since this vehicle uses a electric power steering motor inside the column, anything is possible. Normally if there is pressure on the ignition lock, you will not be able to turn the key on unless you release the pressure from the steering wheel by turning it slightly while turning the key.
I guess there is a first time for everything and nothing ever surprises me.
I did find this TSB for steering lock failure but does not sound like related to your concern.
|Steering - Key Chime ON/Column Not Locking, Key Out |
Bulletin No: 06-001/09
Last Issued: 2/3/2009
KEY-IN-IGNITION WARNING CHIME AND/OR STEERING WHEEL
NOT LOCKING - WITH IGNITION KEY REMOVED APPLICABLE MODEL(S)/VINS
2008 Tribute and Tribute Hybrid
Some 2008 Tribute and Tribute Hybrid vehicles may exhibit an ignition key chime that continues to chime with the door open and key out of the ignition and/or steering wheel that will not lock.
Customers having this concern should have their vehicle repaired using the following repair procedure.
1. Verify customer concern.
2. Replace the steering column lock module with an updated part. Refer to Workshop Manual section 06-12 - STEERING COLUMN LOCK MODULE REMOVAL/INSTALLATION.
3. Verify repair.