Hello folks,

Here is a thread that has been closed, but you can still view that seems to address a problem similar to mine, a problem no one seems to believe! Please read it.

Here's my particulars:
I bought my dad’s not so old car and gave my 1990 Honda Accord LX to my daughter. Also, at that point, the Honda was no longer be parked overnight in the garage. Sometime soon thereafter, when the night-time temp dropped to around 45 degrees (this is LA, so it doesn’t get that cold, but apparently cold enough) or so, we started to see the problem the next morning. After about a 5 minute drive in the morning, we cannot remove the key from the ignition. We can turn it from position II to position I. Then, you are supposed to push the key in a little, allowing it to turn to the off position. When we have this problem, on cold mornings, it will not push in and therefore, we cannot turn it the rest of the way to remove it.

The car is fine after it warms up. If my daughter would just sit in the car for another 5 minutes, then it seems to then allow you to push the key in and complete the rotation but, as you can imagine, she doesn’t want to do that every early morning! Sometimes jiggling the wheel and/or key seems to help but mostly not and, when it does help, I think it is related more to the passage of time as the now-warming car becomes no longer cold.

Everyone tells me it is strictly a mechanical problem but the above thread (please read it), at least for a Honda Civic, suggests there is an electrical component, two solenoids that could be temperature sensitive. Can anyone tell me if this is true for a 1990 Accord also? If so, which solenoid is likely to be temperature sensitive? Is either of the solenoids easy to replace/fix? The problem is absolutely gone when the car is a little warm. Doesn’t it make sense that something like a solenoid would be the likelier cause, rather than something mechanical?

By the time I take the car to any locksmith or mechanic, it is usually warmed up enough that the problem is not there. One locksmith sprayed WD-40 twice and it did not help. Is it too late to use a silicone lubricant now? Is graphite better? I guess this all assumes it is, after all, a mechanical problem, as unlikely as that seems due to the temperature sensitivity issue.

The dealer wants to replace the entire lock assembly, which is about $450 US in parts and labor; too much for this old car and he won’t even guarantee that this will fix the problem. A locksmith started to remove just the lock cylinder itself, but after watching him struggle for 20 minutes, and when he said I’d have to leave the car – he said the screws that hold the cylinder onto a post don’t have heads (perhaps he doesn’t have a wrench that seems to fit it?), so he’d have to tap heads into them (scary) – also, the only replacement cylinder available was$20 from Pep Boys (Honda won’t sell just that) and it seemed to turn with difficulty even brand new – I told him to stop. I was afraid he might not get it back together again. And if this might not really be the problem, what a waste that would be!

I saw some things to try in that thread above, such as jiggling the gear shift. One mechanic said he saw a similar problem where, on the dash board both the park and drive light were lit and that, shifting it back into drive, then park again helped! But I don’t think it was due to temperature. I will try this, if jiggling the automatic gear shift position doesn’t help.

The spare key is a clever potential solution, but my wife insisted we put an alarm system (cheapie) in the car for my daughter and I don’t think the alarm will arm with the key in the acc position, which I think may be this very position roman numeral I, though I don’t have the car right now and the acc position may be a different position, one that is beyond the off position – I don’t recall.