I drive a 1983 300SD Mercedes that has its lock on the steering column to lock the steering wheel and "ignition" (its a diesel.) Mercedes furnishes the owner with several keys all cut from steel. These locks tend to fail at somewhere over a 100,000 miles and sooner if you have lots of weights on the key ring. Recently one of the group on firstname.lastname@example.org disassembled a lock and took some pics that are available at
The reason for this they say a lock lasts longer with a steel key and if the lock fails while in use it can cost close to $1000.00 to drill it out and replace it. The lock is supposed to be made of very hard steel alloy and its very labor intensive to drill it out. A new lock is about $135.00 and steel key another $35.00 from the MB dealer. You have to give them a copy of your car title and driver's license before they'll order it.
If any locksmiths in this group have experience in this area I sure would like to understand this issue better. Does Mercedes sell only steel keys instead of brass so they can sell more locks and get to drill some out? tnx