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chris, Ford Mechanic
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3521
Experience:  ASE Master -Ford senior master-20 years experience
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2003 Ford Focus: steering is locked and key wont unlock it.It looks

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My Daughters 2003 Ford Focus, steering is locked and key wont unlock it.
It looks like she may have turned it to far to the right and its locked at a weird angle.

Hi there


Yes if the steering wheel is moved with the key out of the car then you can lock up the steering wheel so hard the you will not be able to turn the key ,,, but you can take the pressure off the steering wheel and tying to move the key at the same time


But I must also warn you that this car has a very poor rep with its key tumblers getting locked up and will not turn on there own ,, this may have happened and on top of that she turned the steering wheel and got the system all locked up


so try moving the steering wheel a little and wiggle the key and see if you ca free it up ,,, if this does not work ,, then you will need another person to help you ,, to hold the steering wheel and then to mess with the key ,, I can do this with my knee , and then with the key in the ignition ,, use a channel locks and grab the key from the side of the key ,, use the channel locks to slightly wiggle the key back and forth and at the same time tap the top of the key with a hammer ,, this will jar the tumblers in the ignition tumbler and as you wiggle the key with the channel locks it will brake loose ----this will take some talent if you are going to do this on your own ,, holding the steering wheel with your knee ,,useing one hand on the channel locks and the other hand on the hammer ,, give it some time and it should work


now if you get the tumbler loose ,, and it turn then DONT turn the key off all the way again until you replace the tumbler and also have a new key made ,, what happens is the key and the tumbler ware out then it does not work anymore ,, if she has a spare key that she never uses ,, then its most likely that this one will work ok ,, due to its not worn out ,, then you just have to go to your local ford dealer and get a ignition tumbler ,,,,


Now the new tumbler is sold in a kit that you have to build ,, to match your key ,,, a good ideal is to going the key with you and a $20 bill to bribe the parts guy to have a tech in back put the tumbler together ,,


then when you have your new tumbler , its easy to install ,, turn the key in the old tumbler to the run position , the position before crank ,,, then turn the key back one notch ,, pop off the top cover from the steering column ,,, and the wiper switch is in the way ,, the wiper switch has a tap you can depress and slides out and out of the way ,, then useing a 90 deg pick there is a access hole to remove the tumbler,, use the pick to press into the hole and slide the tumbler out ,, then slide your new tumbler in




any more info on this ,,just ask , we can go back and forth on this page



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks Chris,
When I get the tumbler to loosen and in turn get the car driving I was planning on leaving one key in the ignition switch ( She has very dark tinted windows) and using the second key for access to the vehicle.
As far as replacing the cylinder set (we have a non factory extended warranty) should we go to the dealership or use a locksmith?

Go to the dealer ,, they deal with after market warranty plans all the time ,,and I do not think a lock smith does ,, I do not know if they will cover the tow bill or not ,,, you may want to call to see, and then you dont even have to mess with getting it unstuck ,,, also call the dealer and tell them what extended warranty plan you have to even see if the part is covered or not ,,, the tumbler,



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