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Key on but steering locked

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This is on my mom's 2006 Outback sedan. She knows how to free the key & steering when the steering is locked and key won't turn. This time she is saying the car starts and goes into gear fine but the steering lock is still engaged. I've always thought the steering lock was somehow mechanically tied into the position of the ignition switch. Is there a solenoid or some other assembly in there that could be not working or jammed?
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More details. She now describes it as not totally locked but she can move it back and forth a few inches. Sounds like a PS belt is off to me. She is having it towed to the local repair shop...
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