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Grinning
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Just had a bit of a "moment" - got in my Cooper after work, put the key in the ignition, and tried to turn it, but it was locked, and wouldn't turn in the slightest. Took key out, turned it round, same.

In the end I rang MINI emergency services, who immediately told me what to do:-

It was to do with the steering lock being jammed. He told me to see which side it was locked at, so I turned the wheel to the right and it wouldn't move at all, but it moved a bit to the left. So it was locked to the right. He told me to pull the wheel so it locked on the opposite side, ie. the left, then turn the key.

Hay presto.

Just in case anyone else has any trouble and has visions of being stranded at work for 2 hours waiting for someone to come out - as I momentarily did.

I even had a 10 second doubt of what did I do buying a MINI??? Numerous rattles, creaks on both window seals, passenger window usually doesn't go up/down and so bangs on side - if my MINI had made me lose my evening for such a simple thing, what I have been able to forgive it.......

.....Of course I would!! All these little quirks add up to make it the characterful car it is :p Sure, I'd like it to be perfect, but sometimes perfect is boring. Oh, the power steering whine, the stumble...

Pleasure doesn't come without pain!

:)
 

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Grinning
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Discussion Starter #3
Yep me too! Well, the girl who first answered said "hold on i'll get someone to get out to you and assist you".

So I was like "grr here we go". Luckily he was clued up though! :)
 

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When I bought my 325i back in 1994, I couldn't get the keys to turn on the dealer's lot. The delivery was at the end of the day, and everyone had already left when I got into my brand new car and try to drive away. Luckily, I went with a friend who has driven BMWs all his life, and he showed me how to "properly start up a BMW".........

It never did get easier, and I call that my "anti-theft device". None of my friends could start up my car without me telling them the trick.
 

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I'm always surprised when I run across someone who has not experienced this before, since steering locks have been fitted to pretty much all cars since 1968 (at least here in the U.S.). This has certainly happened to me multiple times with every car I've ever owned, not to mention other peoples' cars.

It's not a BMW thing, it's not a MINI thing, it's an every car thing.

So yes I would expect it to happen again :)

When you turn the key off and remove it, the steering lock is set but it is not actually engaged yet. If you try to turn the steering wheel, or even nudge it as you are getting out of the car, you can turn the wheel just enough for the lock to catch (usually with an audible click).

of course when you come back to the car you can't turn the key because of the pressure being exerted on the lock mechanism by the steering. So you simply wiggle the steering wheel a little to take that pressure off and then you can turn the key like normal again.

The point of the steering lock of course is as an anti-theft device. Steering locks were introduced well before things like immobilizers existed, the idea being that if a thief got into your car and hotwired it to try to steal it, he wouldn't be able to steer, which would hopefully prevent him from driving off with your car.
 

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www.totalmini*****
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It's true! Been on every car I've ever owned. Slight turn of the wheel away from the steering lock catch and Tada!! :D :)
 

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I experience this in my S, about every fifth start. I do think it happened in my last car, but maybe five times in three years, not once every three days.
 

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It could be that all other cars have the steering lock, but only BMW's steering lock makes it difficult to turn over the key sometimes.

How else could you explain the mechanic at the local garage where I just got an alignment done had a hard time turning the key over!? The mechanic certainly drives multiple cars everyday.

I am almost certain our 1990 Canadian spec Honda Accord doesn't have the steering lock though, but we sold that car last year so I am unable to confirm it.
 

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All steering locks I've ever experienced behave the same way as the one in the MINI, that is if it is engaged it makes it hard to turn the key unless you wiggle the steering wheel.

This includes MINI, Volkswagen (many models across a 30 year range), Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Dodge, Plymouth, Volvo and others. So I'm not sure how that mechanic could not be familiar with a steering lock.
 

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i agree with sjbartnik, this is common occurence on all cars with steering locks. i would go further to say it is "normal" and you should expect it.

before i got to his post i was chuckling at how silly it was to call this a fault as i have seen it on every car i have owned with a steering lock.

if you find that this hasn't happened to you often even though you have had locking steering wheels in the past it may be b/c you don't always set the steering wheel to the locked position when you leave the car.

cheers,
averyocooper
 

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I used to get this regularly happening on my Saxos and it was not a problem.

However it happened for the first time on my MINI last night (after almost a year) and it did baffle me for a while because there was so little 'play' in the steering wheel with the lock on so I had difficulty wiggling it to get it unlocked.
 

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Thanks so much to the original poster of this thread! I got in my MINI yesterday and the key wouldn't turn in the ignition. I could tell the steering wheel was locked, but no amount of regular wiggling would unlock it. I called my MINI dealer but it was Sunday and no one could advise me. They gave me the number for MINI roadside assistance but those folks told me they don't help with this sort of thing. I ended up leaving my car and taking a bus and streetcar home (San Francisco). I knew if I couldn't move my car by morning it would be ticketed or towed. Anyway, I got online and found this post. Armed with the new instructions, I took the bus and streetcar back to my car and very deliberately turned the wheel away from the locked side (instead of wiggling) and the key turned. I was so relieved!

So thanks Mark, if you are still around. I've been away from this forum for a while now, but boy am I back!
 
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