Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2002 Ford Focus 2.0L SOHC engine has a defect where the intake valve seat fails. The valve then falls into the cylinder, destroying the engine & most owner relationships with Ford in the process.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,777 miles
Total Complaints:
44 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (28 reports)
  2. replace the ignition (8 reports)
  3. new tumbler (4 reports)
  4. complain to the federal trade commission (1 reports)
  5. hold down on shifter and turn key (1 reports)
  6. inject 'PB blaster' into ignition cylinder (1 reports)
2002 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Aug 192010

Focus V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Ford wanted me to bring in my Focus so they could put a new ignition switch in to it, i called my local Locksmith. He was there in 10 minutes it took him 20 miniutes to swap the Focus ignition switch with a Ford Escape ignition switch it fixed the problem completely and it cost me 300$ LESS than what they wanted at the dealership! I can't belive this hasn't been recalled yet. Ford dissapointing, kinda liket the team they own the Detroit Lions.

- , Menifee, CA, USA

problem #23

Jul 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I just bought a used Ford Focus 2002 2 months ago and everything was fine until last Sunday I got in and the key wouldn't turn. I had no idea what was wrong with it. We had to call a tow truck, they didn't know either so they took it to my mechanic who charged $466 to fix it. They said they had to reprogram the alarm system as well. My father had said I should research it and see if this is a common problem with the Ford Focus. Now I see that it is, I wish I would have looked it up before I took it to the mechanic. Oh well, if it happens again at least I won't be surprised and I'll know what to do next time.

- , College Station, TX, USA

problem #22

Jul 252010

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,500 miles

Ford seems to think this is not a problem, but I have never heard of needing to replace an ignition before on a car. Now, as I look on the Internet, I see a lot of other Focus owners with the same problem. I smell a class-action lawsuit!

- , Provo, UT, USA

problem #21

May 032010

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,313 miles


Key would not turn had to pay for tow truck to get the car to a dealer. First time I have ever seen or heard of anything like this. This is definitely poor quality and a safety issue because it can leave you stranded anywhere at any time.

- , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

problem #20

Mar 042010

Focus ZTS 2.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

One more case of being unable to turn the key in my ignition lock cylinder. Followed the advice of others by tapping it firmly but carefully on the head of the key and it worked. When I got back to the office it seemed as though the reason the key was no longer operable is because automotive locks occasionally need to be lubricated. It seemed as if the tumbler pins weren't allowed to fall back into position and therefore could not be lined up as needed.

With the engine off, shoot a moderate amount of PB Blaster directly into the cylinder and have a napkin ready to clean up the excess as it might mar the surrounding plastic's finish. Insert the key a few times and do the hammer trick so it'll turn in the ignition a few times and it SHOULD release. Been a few days now and it seems to be working. Remember, ALL locks need to be lubricated occasionally and not nearly as many locks we have get used as often as our ignition cylinders. Tip: Tape a wad of gauze underneath the cylinder's hole for a little while to catch any rogue drippings as you'll begin to find random greasy stains on your right knee. =)

- , Ferndale, MI, USA

problem #19

Jan 202010

Focus SE

  • Manual transmission
  • 136,000 miles

Came out of Dr appt. Had backed into the parking space in the parking garage. Could not turn the key. Have had problems w/Fords and knew I had do mess with the steering wheel and turn key at the same time. This time nothing would work. Called my boyfried, and my mechanic. They offered advise, all of which I had tried. Called a tow truck, then work, as I knew I'd be late. Tow truck driver came. Told him what the problem was and he took a small ratchet wrench and tapped it around the ignition (with the key inserted) and was finally able to start the car. He said it was a problem that Ford is aware of. I drove to my mechanic and he sprayed something like WD40 into it and tried to start it. Again, it froze. He called a parts place and was told he could replace it, but probabley wouldn't work because of the anti-theft thing. He was able to unlock it and I took it home. Did not turn key all the way off, just far enough to keep all lights off.

I called Ford and they want $190.00 for the part, and roughly $250.00 for labor. Like I have that $ just hanging around waiting for Ford to rip me off. Anyway, a friend brought me a print out of the part we could buy on line for $52.00. Same thing as Ford is charging me $190.00 for. The information also provided me a link to NHTSA , I called the hotline number and provided all the information they required. Took a little bit to reach a live person, but it is worth it. They will post my complaint, send an email confirmation and also send me a hard copy of it. Gave me a confirmation nbr as well. Who knows, if enough people complain to them something might be done about the problem. There is a class action suit in California on this problem as well. Maybe we could jump on the bandwagon. Ford Cust service nbr is: 800 392 3673. Call them! They wouldn't even give me a 'goodwill repair', cause I have no extended warranty anymore. Isn't that what goodwill means? That you don't need a warranty? DUH! Good luck to you all. I LOVE MY FOCUS..This is the first problem I've had with it.

- , Raymond, NH, USA

problem #18

Dec 082009

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,312 miles


I own a 2002 ford focus which ignition locked up and had to call a locksmith. After a 212.00 dollar charge thry replaced ignition . Locksmith told me he does at least 1 or more a week. I called ford dealer here by me and was told it wasn't a recall or problem and for 350.00 they could fix it. I talked to federal trade commission about my car ignition locking up. filed complaint . they need to have everyone who had problem contact them at 1-877-382-4357 so they can try and get our out of pocket expensiveness back. thanks you if you call I WANT OUR MONEY BACK FROM FORD AS THEY KNEW IT WAS A PROBLEM. SO PLEASE CALL FTC.

- , Sanford, FL, USA

problem #17

Sep 032009


  • Manual transmission
  • 37,000 miles

First - sign the petition for a recall - Ford needs to take care of this, it's a safety issue!

Save time and money - Read about various options for repairs - don't go to Ford if you can . . .

Ford Focus section 2003 #98 for one fix

Another web site shows exactly how to remove the column to access the part to repair

Yet another shows pics, offers tips and advice:

The hammer trick worked to get the car started, we're getting the cylinder cleaned and hope that will hold until we can buy a cheaper replacement - hopefully NOT through Ford. In writing to Ford they want us to bring the car in to have it "looked at" - but "there may be a charge" just to have it looked at? . . .we already KNOW it's broken - and THEY know it's a problem - if you sign the recall petition perhaps we can get Ford to do the right thing.

- , Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 152009

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

you see that this is a problem...... why is it not taken care of by Ford..... Definitely something wrong with the manufacturing of the vehicle... this has happened prior to the current problem... again why should you have to beat on the key to make it turn over...

- , Sheffield Lake, OH, USA

problem #15

Apr 032007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The ignition on the Focus is infamous for just locking up all of a sudden. It locks the steering wheel and no amount of banging, hitting, swearing, or prying will release it. The only thing you can do is replace it. Of course mine went out on a Sunday evening during a rain storm. Thank God for Auto Club but it still cost me a bundle to have it replaced in my own driveway in the rain on a Sunday Night. When I asked people about the problem, everyone I talked to knew of the Focus Ignition problem and said that it was inevitable. It will freeze up on you if you haven't replaced it. Oh, and one more thing, when you have it replaced, don't take it to a Ford dealer. They will replace it with the same lousy ignition. Take it to a locksmith or mechanic. They will know all about the Ford Focus.

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #14

Mar 112009

Focus 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


This problem has happened dozens of times. Pounding on the key while in the ignition is only a temporary fix and you can also break off your key if you're not careful. It's unbelievable that Ford is unwilling to take care of its customers and fix this without a recall or a class action lawsuit. It makes it easy to understand why they're in financial trouble. I won't be buying another Ford anytime soon.

- , Hales Corners, WI, USA

problem #13

Jan 162009

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have a 02 lx and this has happen several times. i am not the one currently driving the car I have been letting my brother use it as i have another car.. thank goodness its not another ford. so he calls me today and tells me that once again it has locked up the steering wheel is also locked in place. this only happening to me once before i went to see if i could get it to work.. YEAH UMM NO.. i shook shaked and all kinds of other things to get it to work.. not happening.. so my car is currently sitting in a bar parking lot where my brother left it last night.. My dad who is retired military mechanic tells me all kinds of stuff that mighty be wrong with it.. telling me it could be this or that.. simply gives me the spare key saying maybe the key is worn.. if not he will have to come tomorrow and tar it apart.. seeing how he cant just pop it out because it will not turn to get to the ignition.. so my car might be torn apart yay.. i dont have the money to fix it right now.. i was trying to fix the windows first.. BECAUSE OF COURSE ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH FORD FOCUS the windows break.. I have 3 that currently do not work and it will cost 1000 to have them fixed if not more.. so im reading about this whole tap the key and leave it in there thing.. well YEAH i would if the windows worked and weren't wedged up.. I know i sure as hell will never ever get a ford again... so now i guess i will have to drive my brother around until this problem is fixed YAY ME

- , Lawton, OK, USA

problem #12

Jan 012009

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I just had this problem and the AAA tow truck driver told me about hitting my key while in the ignition to get it to start. It works and I drove my car to my mechanic who was going to order a new ignition cylinder for me which would have cost $60, but the parts store told him the dealer needs to program the new key to get it to work. But I'm reading about getting a locksmith to fix it, but I'm wondering how the locksmith can program the new key. I really do not want to take this to the dealer because I know they will charge several hundred dollars.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #11

Dec 232008

Focus SE 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Several instances of ignition problem with key not working, which seems a common occurrence with any Ford Focus. And Ford wants taxpayers to bail them out! The suckers! They won't be around to fix this problem, even after so many complaints that go 'way back to earlier models and continues right through to latest models. At least a California judge held Ford accountable. It won't help current Focus owners, but it will stop us from ever buying Ford again!

- , Athens, AL, USA

problem #10

Nov 072008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Happened to my son late last night as he finished his work shift. Had to get out of bed and pick him up. Went this morning & tried WD-40. Didn't work. After seeing these previous posts on the same problem, it gets me p o'd that Ford doesn't seem to address this. I'm gonna go try the WD-40 thing (and a hammer) again before I call a locksmith. Thanks everyone for posting your experiences with this.

- , Duluth, MN, USA

problem #9

Aug 152008

Focus LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I love my car. I do not want to get rid of it. Lately the key will not turn to start the car. Have to play with it quite a while to get it started. Read where several people have the same problem. So I am not alone. May think about talking to a locksmith.

- , Summerdale, AL, USA

problem #8

Aug 192008

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,000 miles

I missed work last night, and so I lost about $90 in wages, because the key wouldn't turn the ignition. I spent most of the night looking for solutions on the internet. Found one that suggested hitting the key while in the ignition and that worked for me. I'm going to get this fixed when I can because who knows how long the above solution will work.

How can we get Ford to listen? I have read so many complaints about this problem. When does it become an issue with Ford? Keep your receipts, you never know if Ford will own up to crappy parts.

Ford. Fix One.

- , Mn, 56278, USA

problem #7

Apr 262008

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,500 miles

This is a very common problem I have noticed here.... Im glad I found this website because if I didn't, I would have paid the 350 dollars my dealership quoted me, instead I learned here that this can easily be fixed by a locksmith, I got it done for 145 dollars.. it works perfectly, and he didn't put in the same defective tumbler that FORD is putting in.. my car is back to normal now for HALF the cost...

- , Huber Heights, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 012008

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

I see I'm not alone in this. I just don't know if I am willing to spend 300 bucks on this.

- , Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #5

Dec 132007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,410 miles

This started out as a minor complaint, now it is a big problem. I just hit it on the key and it turns. I shouldn't have to start the car that way. It is now in the shop, since it is almost time for the oil change anyway. The Ford Dealer is going to be calling me to tell me the damages (price tag). I had called a tow truck driver out on Thursday, after about 15 minutes of trying to turn the damn thing over. When he showed up, he told opened the door, and what do you know it turned right away for him. He told me that it is a common problem in Focus. He also said that hitting the key makes it turn over. He recommended I get it fixed, and said that it is probably an ignition switch. The tow truck drivers know what they are talking about, so I drove it over last night, and am awaiting a phone call from my local Ford Dealer!

- , Tustin, CA, USA

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