Ignition key stuck due to shifter? Help Please - Focus Fanatics
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:49 PM   #1
JoshCF
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Ignition key stuck due to shifter? Help Please

I have a 2007 Focus 4d coupe with 2.0 engine & Auto tranny. Today when I got to work I could turn off the engine with the ignition key, but not switch it to the "LOCK" position to remove the key. When I got home we started checking things out and have found out that if we remove the neg battery cable I can turn the key to the lock position and remove the key. I can insert, turn the key, go back to lock and remove the key OK as long as battery cable is off. As soon as it is connected then I can start the engine and drive the car OK, but I'm back to not being able to move the ignition switch to the LOCK position and remove the key again until I first remove the battery cable. I checked with a friend at FORD who says there is a sensor (or switch) in the shifter for the automatic transmission that will not let the ignition key move to the lock position until it senses the transmission has been shifted into "P" (park). I am putting the transmission in park before trying to turn off the engine and remove the key.

Of note, the transmission shift indicator (the little red line that moves when shifting gears) only moves to the "N" position when I put the shifter into park, but it has been this way since I bought the car last year and I never had this ignition switch problem before.

Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, how did you repair it? I'm new to this forum and tonight is my 1st time visiting. Any help will be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!


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Old 02-24-2009, 05:34 AM   #2
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i wold try tinkering around the area, try removing the center console to see if the sensor is visible. if its visible but still not working you could just do a swap yourself instead of taking it to the dealership.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
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Good news, the problem has been fixed - thanks to my dad. He removed the center console and did in fact isolated the trouble to the shifter position switch there. He was able to fix it saving me the $180 the dealer wanted for a new shifter assembly. The problem was a sticky mess under the console caused by spilled soft drinks (and maybe a beer or two, and no I don't drink and drive any more) and other crud. After a couple of hours of cleaning and re-assembly everything is working correctly again. Even the gear selection indicator (the little red line showing which gear the shifter is set to) works like it should again. The sticky mess must have been interfering with the gear selection sensor. I would never have thought this would have prevented the ignition key from moving into the lock position and preventing the key to be removed. But I guess it makes sense when you think about it. You don't want the steering wheel locking before the car is in PARK as the car could still be rolling. "Thanks, Dad!"
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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glad you quit drinking and driving. also glad you got the problem fixed.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
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> I would never have thought this would have prevented the ignition key from moving into the lock position and preventing the key to be removed.

Yup. I believe this "feature" was added many years back after some people sued the automobile companies when they got out of the car with the car not in park and they were knocked down by the door as the car rolled backwards. This "feature" provides a good court defense in these cases, since they cannot remove the key without having the vehicle in "Park."
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:06 PM   #6
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> I would never have thought this would have prevented the ignition key from moving into the lock position and preventing the key to be removed.

Yup. I believe this "feature" was added many years back after some people sued the automobile companies when they got out of the car with the car not in park and they were knocked down by the door as the car rolled backwards. This "feature" provides a good court defense in these cases, since they cannot remove the key without having the vehicle in "Park."
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:20 AM   #7
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Crap...i have this same problem this morning on my 01' Wagon. I was like freaking out as to why it wouldn't come out of the ignition. I just bought the car & the interior was pretty disgusting with soda spills so hopefully that switch is the culprit. No time to remove the console right now, so I just left the key in the ignition & am using the keyless remote to lock the doors & get back into it later.

Hopefully no one steals it lol.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:05 AM   #8
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when you in the car depress the shifter and just slide your finder away from the shifter button letting it pop out on its own eventually it will free the safety switch.. mine does that on my new car already '02 wagon.. as mentioned tho I just depress the button with the edge of my thumb and just slide it out of the way letting the button pop out with force
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshCF View Post
Good news, the problem has been fixed - thanks to my dad. He removed the center console and did in fact isolated the trouble to the shifter position switch there. He was able to fix it saving me the $180 the dealer wanted for a new shifter assembly. The problem was a sticky mess under the console caused by spilled soft drinks (and maybe a beer or two, and no I don't drink and drive any more) and other crud. After a couple of hours of cleaning and re-assembly everything is working correctly again. Even the gear selection indicator (the little red line showing which gear the shifter is set to) works like it should again. The sticky mess must have been interfering with the gear selection sensor. I would never have thought this would have prevented the ignition key from moving into the lock position and preventing the key to be removed. But I guess it makes sense when you think about it. You don't want the steering wheel locking before the car is in PARK as the car could still be rolling. "Thanks, Dad!"
I have an '07 Focus as well with the same issue. Where did you get your new shifter position switch and is that the actual name for it? I can't seem to find the part anywhere.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:50 PM   #10
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^Read carefully

He didn't get a new part, his dad took tools in hand, removed the console, and cleaned the mess created by spilled drinks.
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