I have an 07 escape and have trouble from time to time of not being able to get the ignition to lock and get the key out. It does not appear to be related to the steering wheel position. I can move the wheel around a good bit and it remains in the off position next to the lowest position where the steering wheel locks and I can remove the key. I am also having an issue at times with the transmission stick release lever sticking. I think these two issues may be related. It appears to be worse on cold days and I experienced this last winter (a year ago) and then it did not reappear until the last two months. Any ideas? Also, does anyone know if this is a warranty repair. The vehicle is 4 years old and about 75k miles. Thanks!!
MORE INFO...Today I think I figured out this issue is definetly tied to the gear shift lever and whether it is in park or not. I tried to remove the cover on the gear shift console (where it says P R N D etc) and when I popped off a little cover which I expected to find a screw under, there was a metal clip looking thing. When I moved this around with a screw driver, it would correct the ignition key being stuck. What in the world is going on here?? What is this clip? Please help.
You may have found the emergency 'shift interlock' release. The transmission is not allowed to be removed from Park position unless the key is on the ON position and the brake pedal is depressed. There is a solenoid under the console cover that moves a lock out of the way so that you can move the shift lever. The emergency release is to allow you to manually work the release to be able to move the lever in case the solenoid, wiring or switch fail. If the mechanism gets dirty, it is possible the solenoid does not have enough power to move the release pin[?]. I haven't taken one apart to see if it is a pin exactly or a piece of plastic linkage that gets moved.