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Steering Column Repair/Key Won't Go Into 2002 Mazda Protege


Originally my problem was this:

The key to my 2002 Mazda Protege (with tilt column) wouldn't insert into the ignition switch.

I never had this happen before and the car is of very low mileage (11,000 miles).

This problem occurred while a very responsible family member had the temporary loan of the car.

On close examination, I saw that the key seemed to have somehow been removed while still in the "On" position (I didn't believe that was even possible and I am sure it wasn't forced). In said position there were two opposing lugs visible in the key hole that completely prevented the key from entering.

When I was not present, a tow truck driver came by to remove the car to a repair shop and he apparently was able to turn the collar surounding the key hole so that the key could be again inserted. By phone, this person told me that this kind of thing happens often and to many other makes of car as well. However, the servive manager at an independent foreign car repair shop and the service manager at my Mazda dealer both said they had never heard of such a problem.

Have you heard of this problem before? Can you take a guess as to what caused this problem and what might be the odds of it happening again?

I too am unaware of any common issue of a housing moving around the ignition lock.  It may be possible, but as my expertise is more with domestic vehicles, I cannot say whether this corrective measure is possible.

Thanks for asking.  If you want a more definitive answer, I suggest you re-post this question directed towards a Mazda technician.

Good luck

Steering Column Repair

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Douglas Gan


My specialties are stolen vehicles, steering column and ignition locks repair, airbag service and installation and diagnosis. My work includes both domestic (USA) vehicles and foreign designs.


30 years owning a company that specializes in steering columns, ignition & airbag related problems

GM certified, ASE certified, 4 yrs college, Mech Tech degree
I own multiple auto repair companies and can help you professionally through any of our websites at: ---- we stock many older steering column parts and can rebuild your column if you ship it to us --- we sell airbag replacement information (no parts) -- we perform investigations for many types of vehicle claims
Please feel free to contact us through any of our websites for more information or help

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