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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,737 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Focus electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #104

Nov 042009


  • 94,726 miles


I went to my babysitters to pick up my child and I turn off my car which is a 2002 Ford Focus tot go inside. I come back out 5 mins later and try to start it and the ignition was stuck. So it was towed and fixed for 400 dollars. And just a big pain in the !@#$%.

- Rehoboth , DE, USA

problem #103

Sep 212009


  • 160,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus wagon, the key will not turn the ignition, therefore the car will not start. This has been going on for about a month. Today Oct 12, 2009 the key would not turn the ignition and the car would not start so my child missed school today because of this. This is getting frustrating I have only had the car since April of 2009 and this is causing me grief. I will not buy another Ford Focus due to this frustration.

- Smithville , MS, USA

problem #102

Oct 042009


  • 120,000 miles
Ignition is locked. Key will not turn, brakes are locked, gears are locked. Costs hundreds of dollars to be replaced and I was stranded for hours waiting for someone to help me. Ford replaces the ignition key with the exact ignition key as before, creating dejavu for most customers.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #101

Oct 012009


  • miles


The key in my Ford Focus will not turn in the ignition. This has happened once before and was fixed after hours of playing around with it. Now it has happened again, without as much luck. Luckily, I have been close to or at home when this has occurred. However, I am concerned that this could easily make me stranded one day. No warranty is available and my only option is to have the ignition replaced.

- Lansing, KS, USA

problem #100

Jan 072009


  • 87,000 miles
No hint the ignition was going to lock up. Stranded my wife in freezing weather until I get there. Thank god for cell phones. This ignition issue is well documented with Ford Focus vehicles 2000 to 2003.

- Pasco, WA, USA

problem #99

Aug 282009


  • 60,000 miles
A little over a month ago on August 23, 2009, we purchased a used 2002 Ford Focus from a Ford dealership on oahu, Hawaii. On the night of August 28, 2009, after filling the car with gas, we tried to start the car, but the key just wouldn't turn. We tried for about 2 hours to get the car started to get home (and to move out of the way of the gas pumps so other people could pump gas). We had several people help us, but the key just wouldn't turn, and we couldn't push the car because the wheels were locked. We finally called a tow truck, but luckily, my husband was able to whack the key real hard (for the umteenth time) and turn the ignition, at which time the car finally started. We got home, searched online and found out that this was a common problem with these cars. Now it'll cost us about $200 to get the ignition replaced at a locksmith. I will not return to Ford to do this as it'll cost double what the locksmith cost. What's sad is that Ford knows that this is a common problem, yet they won't do recalls to fix it. We used to be a Ford family (purchased at least three Ford Explorer), but I don't think we'll be buying anymore Ford cars.

- Mililani, HI, USA

problem #98

Sep 082009


  • miles


I own a 2002 Ford Focus. Last night I was at school, a very late class that ends at 10:15pm, and when I went to turn my key it was stuck. After many failed attempts in a parking lot that is basically empty by that time and being so close to downtown and the light rail I was very afraid of being stranded in alone as I did not have my cell phone on me. Finally security came around after about 1/2 hour and let me call my husband and also looked on the internet to see if this had been reported before by any car owners. Turns out that this is the most common problem in 90% of Ford Focus years 2000-2003. I am amazed that this is public knowledge and Ford themselves even acknowledge this and there has been no recall" maybe it will take something really bad to happen to someone before Ford realizes how dangerous this can be" I sure hope that someone will realize this is a huge issue because had that security officer not come buy I would have been stuck there since my husband works nights. The next day, today, I am not able to turn the switch once again but this time I am in the comfort of my own home. Please I hope you are able to see the safety hazard in this issue that Ford fails to see and ask that a recall be made.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #97

Sep 032009


  • 37,000 miles
Sudden onset, got in my car, put my key in the ignition and the key would not turn to start the car no matter what I did. Researched the problem, tens of thousands of complaints from 1999 to present, owners are stranded in diff. Situations, freezing cold, extreme heat, with babies/children, stranded without the ability to communicate, young women (as in my case), at night, etc. Cost to repair up to $750. Am trying to fix it on my own, can't afford a dealer repair! Ford is aware the problem is with poor quality metal used to make the part. I wrote to Ford, they say bring my car in to "have it looked at" but qualify, saying: It is not a warranty repair and to have it examined may cost me. Many other owners have posted temporary and lower cost fixes on-line as Ford is not willing to do a recall stating it is "not a safety issue". this is a safety issue. If someone is stranded in extreme heat or cold or a young woman is stranded because a key won't work, we are at risk and unsafe. A young child could die from exposure, become sick, a young woman could be raped or killed. Ford is risking our safety and is at fault particularly because they are aware there is a problem and can do something proactively to fix the situation. That this documented situation has gone on for years is outrageous. It's frightening to get in your car at night, not have your key work, not know what's wrong or be able to do anything! when we are stranded because Ford willingly put substandard parts in a vehicle, we are unsafe. Prior to owning this car I had a 1973 VW bug, my key always worked with the original parts. To be expected to pay upwards of $750 for a part and labor for something that should last the life of the vehicle, that's tied to safety is unacceptable. Our cars are unsafe, risking damage waiting for repair depending on where they are stranded! my safety is not important nor an issue for Ford, they don't care about my car, my trust was misplaced, my car was not built tough.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #96

Jul 222009


  • miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus, the key fails to turn in the ignition over and over again. I'm a young woman working late hours 45 miles away from home 5 times a week and I've been stranded several times. I've been dealing with this problem for years. To my knowledge, there are over 3, 045 complaints online. There is also a petition. This is a safety hazard and should be recalled. It's dangerous not being able to start your car late at night or anywhere at anytime for that matter. Even when you replace the ignition cylinder, it happens again and again. It's a defect. Please help us! it's really inconvenient, unsafe and very disappointing.

- Pomona, CA, USA

problem #95

Jun 272009


  • 53,000 miles
2002 Ford Focus, key would not turn in the ignition, stranding my son some distance from home. Had to have the car towed to a dealer and paid $285 to have this fixed (not including towing).

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #94

Jun 142009


  • 91,002 miles


On the 2002 Ford Focus, the key won't turn in the ignition switch and thereby locks the car in its present position. The car can't be moved so the driver is prone to be stranded and the car could be towed or vandalized if allowed to remain in a city street parking space. This could also be dangerous if there is an emergency and the driver needs to get somewhere quickly. Ford should issue a recall.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #93

Apr 182009


  • miles
The ignition lock on my 2002 Ford Focus is defective. It takes a lot of jiggling of the key to get it to turn. Sometimes it takes up to 10 minutes to get the key turned. I'm afraid at some point I won't be able to turn it period. I have read many reports online about Ford Focus between 2000 and 2003 having the same problem.

- Westbrook, ME, USA

problem #92

Apr 042009


  • 87,640 miles
Faulty ignition cylinder lock, fails without warning. I had it replaced 12/15/07 and it is now defective again on 4/6/09. I had it fixed last time for $200, but it can cost up to $400. How this isn't a safety issue is beyond me. Then again the pinto's exploding gas tank wasn't deemed a "safety issue" by Ford, either.

- Manhattan, KS, USA

problem #91

Mar 272008


  • 87,400 miles
2002 ignition locks up with key left in it. The failure occurs everytime I drive the vehicle. I am going to have to hire a locksmith and pay over $400.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #90

Mar 112009


  • 85,000 miles
The key does not turn in the ignition so the car won't start. My teenage daughter drives this vehicle which can be very dangerous if it occurs in an remote area especially on a cold day/night such as tonight. Fortunately, the car is in our driveway but it was pure luck that it happened there instead of somewhere else that could have left her stranded indefinitely in sub-freezing temperatures or in a secluded area.

- Hales Corners, WI, USA

problem #89

Jan 142009


  • 122,700 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus and my ignition has locked up and I have to leave my key in the ignition or it will lock up. I am presently searching for a mechanic or locksmith who can help in fixing this problem.

- Malone, NY, USA

problem #88

Jan 022009


  • 92,000 miles
The key ignition locks up and will not turn. There have been several complaints online. This should be considered a manufactured problem. The lock will not recognize the key and turn. I am stuck.

- Sunrise, , FL, USA

problem #87

Dec 312008


  • miles
My 2002 Ford Focus ignition is locking up with the key inside. Constantly occuring. I'm going to research repair costs but have heard its very expensive and I thought since there were many complaints with this, maybe there would be a recall.

- Otisco, IN, USA

problem #86

Dec 212008


  • 89,000 miles
Key is stuck in the ignition. It happened suddenly, with no prior warning of impending problems.

- Calumet Park, IL, USA

problem #85

Dec 162008


  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus. I replaced the ignition on 1/16/07 when I had 51,910 miles. I now have $80,000 miles and the ignition is locking up again. I was stranded at work and my 18 year old son is now using the car and I don't want him getting stranded in flint Michigan. Ford Motor Company is aware of this problem.

- Clio, MI, USA

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