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Just curious to see if anyone else has had this problem and/or any luck gettting a resolution from Ford concerning this: On Friday afternoon I went out to my car and I couldn't get the key to turn in the ignition. It absolutely would not budge. I checked the internet and found this was a common problem among 2000-2003 Ford Focuses and the only resolution was to drill out the cylinder and replace it with a new one. I've had my car towed to a shop and the mechanic has confirmed my suspicions. I'm just wondering who else has had this happen and what their resolution was.
 

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Often its the tumblers that get siezed... sometimes you may be able to fix the problem by putting some precision oil on the key and moving it back and forth slowly, it'll work in there and sometimes free up the tumblers, it works for a lot of stubborn locks, just make sure to use precision oil, not wd40 or other crap like penetrating oils, they will make it worse over time, but the precision oil is a bit heavier and has no water content, so it will stay put and not cause corrosion.
 
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my wife tried to take the key out of my 03 the other day and had trouble. i find that if the steering wheel is locked against the key you have to take the steering wheel off the lock just a bit and the key moves again.
 

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Worn out ignitions are not limited to any particular car I can name. I've seen this problem in luxury european imports and japanese rice burners as well...

...But its always a pita when it happens. I attribute part of the problems in fords to their unusual, semi-hidden manual lock on some models which has to be lifted out of the way before the car can be unlocked and started. People FORGET about it, and jam the key trying to unlock it, causing eventual problems.

366's advice is spot on. Try the oil.

Some cars that have been in an accident or two require pulling the steering wheel AWAY from the lock while turning the key to relieve stress to allow the ignition to work. I attribute this to distortion of the steering column caused by the impact and/or the deployment of airbags. If you look at your center pad on the steering wheel which covers the air bag and the horn, and it is lop-sided or sits up too high, this is a clear sign.
 

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Thanks for the advice guys. If it happens again I'll try that. I was semi lucky in that a friend of mine had triple A, so the tow was free. The shop went ahead and drilled out the old cylinder and replaced it with a new one. $270 in parts and labor. Still not happy about it but at least I know what to do next time.
 
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