I also own an RX350. About a year ago the steering wheel and ignition were locked. Had it towed and after 2 days, my mechanic put powdered graphite into the ignition and it started. No problems until a few weeks ago.
The steering and ignition were locked again! After two days of trying to get it to start - no luck. I had to have it towed to the dealership.
They concluded that the ignition was worn out and needed to be replaced -$700 later. All fine for two weeks, then it happened again! Got it started after an hour and drove it to dealership. They checked the new ignition and said it all looked fine and they could not get it to duplicate! I was also instructed NOT to touch the steering wheel when I get out of the car because then the steering wheel will lock and that can cause the ignition to lock! So, for a week, I make sure I don't touch my steering wheel when I get out of the car! Today, as I was standing outside the driver's door of the car, I leaned in to get something off of the passenger seat. I touched the steering wheel and you guessed it! - The steering wheel and ignition locked again! 15 minutes later, got it started! I call Lexus and they say just don't touch the steering wheel and it should be fine!!! REALLY! I just can't believe that is the only solution?!!!!
Lexus is aware of this problem and have corrected it in the newer models but won't do anything about older models? I want to get rid of it now but really can't afford to! I love the car otherwise and would like to be able to keep it without having to worry about NOT touching the steering wheel when I get out of the car!
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When it goes into this security mode, you have to wrench the steering wheel back and forth VERY HARD and simultaneously keep attempting to turn the ignition key on, may require a second person to assist.
and it's the second time it has happened to us since we've owned it (2 1/2 years). It ONLY happens on really cold mornings. We live in CO and it doesn't usually get below 0 here like it does in the midwest/great lakes area but when it does that's when this has happened. We have a 2007 GX470 with 95K miles on her.
The first time it happened we had to just let the car sit in the Sun for awhile and then voila!
Today we were trying to get it going without the benefit of Sunlight because it was too early. I tried all the old tactics (giggling the key, turning hard on the steering wheel in either direction, pressing hard on brake pedal and even disconnecting the battery cleaning the posts and connectors and reconnecting it all...NO DICE).
We had just about given up on it and thought we would need a new ignition when I decided to try the same things for the 10th time. Wouldn't you know it, it worked this time. I don't understand why it worked on the 10th time and not the 1st-9th but it worked and what finally did it was this:
1. Put foot on the brake pedal
2. Crank and hold steering wheel all the way to one side or the other
3. Place just the tip of the key in the ignition and giggle it like there's no tomorrow (flat side to flat side) I was giggling that key like it was vibrating and slowly slid the key all the way into the ignition
4. Once it was all the way in I continued to giggle the key (flat side to flat side) and then tried turning key to ON it cranked right over.
Conclusion: Who the hell knows but the smart money is on the combination of COLD COLD weather and tumblers inside the ignition being a little sticky. The other posts mentioned a product that works for keeping these well-lubricated (graphite spray I believe).
I just had this exact problem. It's done this before, but as others stated I'm usually able to jiggle the locked wheel a little and get it to "click". This time it wasn't budging. I finally adjusted the steering wheel angle a little and it clicked right away -something else to try I guess.
Had cold sweats, flashbacks etc while reading through all these posts. I have a 2006 RX 350, but it didn't happen yet. Once had an Isuzu pickup truck and the key started acting like it was welded to the ignition, while a guy on a caterpillar chose the same track I was in (no amount of waving and shouting seemed to attract his attention). Afterwards (yes there was an afterwards fortunately) I used silicone spray in the lock with good results. Can I use silicone spray in the RX 350's lock as well?
My wife has mistakenly used the key from my 2002 ES 300 to start her 2001 RX 300. When she does this the ignition locks. Lexus recommends using the correct key to unlock and lock the driver door 3 times to reset the security system. Then, pushing with both feet on the brake try to start the car. This has worked in the past but this time it did not. I followed the suggestion of tapping on the key in the ignition with the handle of a screwdriver. I used the emergency key that comes with car because it is bare metal. I gave it a few firm taps and the ignition turned right away. It does seem as if it is the tumblers that are getting stuck.