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 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Oct 062006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


After the key is inserted into the ignition, it will not turn despite any wiggling of the steering wheel, stepping on the brakes, begging, or pleading. It has been difficult to turn before and we have successfully made it turn, but has never left us stranded until now. My husband is stranded as I write this waiting for someone to come pick him up from a restaurant. We have no way of operating the vehicle. We will have to have it towed to the dealership.

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #43

Sep 132006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,754 miles
Starting having difficulty turning my key in ignition for 2 days. On the third day the key would not turn at all. Had to have car towed to a repair facility and the estimated bill is $350 due sometime today.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #42

Sep 082006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles
: the contact stated without warning, the vehicle would not start and was towed to the dealership who determined the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle worked properly for two years, and then the vehicle wouldn't start. After an hour of trying, the vehicle started and was taken to an independent repair shop for inspection.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #41

Sep 072006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,000 miles


Ignition lock cylinder failed for a second time since 9/16/04. Had to be replaced by dealer.

- Berryville, VA, USA

problem #40

Sep 052006


  • miles
Faulty ignition; had to call locksmith mobile and get whole cylinder replaced. Just like many other occurrences I've read up on, key would not turn. Was told this was a very prevalent problem with this model. In the weeks leading up to the replacement, I found the key was increasingly harder and harder to turn and start the car; it would take an extra little tug to start.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #39

Aug 202006


  • miles
My problem is with my 2002 Ford Focus. The ignition and steering wheel constantly lock up and make it impossible to start the car. This has been happening frequently for the past 4 months.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #38

Aug 122006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles


2002 Ford Focus, the vehicles ignition cylinder will not turn. I can place the key in the ignition but it will not turn to start the vehicle. This happened three or four times but I was able to get the key to turn, but this time I couldn't and I am towing it to the dealer to have the ignition cylinder replaced.

- East Boston, MA, USA

problem #37

Jul 122006


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Focus sedan manual transmission with 80,000 miles. With no warning the engine acts as if it is going to stall, vehicle hesitates, jerks and sputters. This literally causes the vehicle to jolt forwards and backwards and shakes the passengers inside the vehicle. This is a very scary event, especially at 70+ mph speed or when in traffic. Highly concerned that the vehicle is going to simple shut off while on interstate 95 which could be deadly. The Ford dealer where the vehicle was purchased and maintained has run a diagnostic test that showed no abnormalities. The following week the key would not turn and the vehicle had to be towed with ignition/steering repairs. The vehicle was re-examined while again in the shop and driven again by the service team and they were unable to provide a useful diagnosis of the engine hesitation problems. We need a resolution to this problem and it appears that no one can appropriately diagnose the problem.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #36

Jul 092006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,010 miles
Ignition lock was jammed on my Ford Focus 2002 and I had to replace it twice so far. It cost me close to $400 Canadian. I only have 40,000 miles on it. This has been such a frequent event. Ford is not taking any responsibility yet.

- Halifax, 00, USA

problem #35

Jun 232006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
: the contact stated that while the vehicle was parked the ignition switch locked up. The key fit in the key slot but key and steering wheel could not be turned. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where they determined that the ignition switch had to be replaced. The invoices for the repairs to the ignition switch are available.

- Hudson, NH, USA

problem #34

May 172006

Focus 2-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


I was leaving work late one night and could not get my 2002 Ford Focus ZX3 to start. The ignition was locked and so was the steering wheel. No amount of turning the wheel or jingling the key worked. The car recognized that there was a key in the ignition as it began to 'ding' but no matter what I did the key would not turn in the ignition. Luckily there was a company car available that I could take home. I commute over 50 miles one way to work. Walking, bus and taxi are not available options for me. I am a young woman working in downtown phoenix and I no longer feel secure in my vehicle. I have researched this extensively on the internet. It could be a worn key tip, the keys are microchipped for anti-theft security so a new one can only be made at the dealership and must be the same number as your key. It could be faulty tumblers, Ford created their own ignition to save money and the tumblers may not fall correctly, or fall to far in to allow the key to fit! there is no current recall, a P05 is in progress, and there are no technical service bulletins listed. If my car is no longer under warranty, despite my purchase of the extended warranty it will cost anywhere from $35 for a new microchipped key, to $500 for drilling a new ignition and new keys, a tow, and labor. has been the most helpful website so far, but I wanted to add my voice to the list in order to get a recall rolling and have Ford pay for this cheap ignition that fails repeatedly. I will refuse to pay for the replacement cost on this obviously poorly engineered part.

- Fountain Hills, AZ, USA

problem #33

May 092006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,849 miles
: the contact stated while attempting to start the vehicle the ignition locked up, after multiple attempts the vehicle started. This problem continued intermittently, but the vehicle was not inspected by a mechanic. The vehicle then stalled without warning at an intersection and the ignition locked up, a locksmith was contacted to replace the ignition. The ignition locked up a final time and the vehicle was towed the contact's residence. The dealership was alerted and an ignition switch was ordered, but the vehicle has not been repaired.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #32

Mar 252005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,602 miles
55,000 miles on the vehicle. On 3/25/05, while parked & locked, the ignition malfunctioned on its own, resulting in a fire that burned the steering column. The fire caused other damages and heavy smoke within the sealed passenger compartment. The fire extinguished itself with the lack of oxygen. Pictures of the wiring harness, steering column and interior are available with the insurance company claim file.

- Shamokin, PA, USA

problem #31

Apr 262006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Focus has a ignition lock problem. The key is impossible to turn. I had to call a tow truck and also pay $400 plus tax to fix this problem that I have found out is widespread.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #30

Jan 102006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 46,000 miles
On 01/10/06 the ignition of my Ford Focus ZX3 (2002, 46000 miles)) locked up. I was unable to turn the key and start the car, blocking the entrance to a parking garage. An automotive technician was able to hot-wire the car so I could drive it to the closest dealership. I have contacted Ford over the phone because I did purchase the extended warranty with the car. Ford does not feel responsible for this incident and will not cover the repair cost under the extended warranty. I have researched this issue online and was able to find several thousands of other Ford owners with the exact same problem. The locking of the steering column seems to happen over and over again, as the locks that are being used as a replacement are of the same bad quality as the originals.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #29

Jan 092006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles
Ignition will not turn. Clutch master cylinder leaks.

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #28

Sep 142005


  • miles
This is the second time in less than one year that we have had to replace the ignition in our 2002 Focus sedan. The key will not even turn in the ignition. We have had to pay for towing and the rental of another vehicle during the time of replacement of the ignition. Please issue a recall!

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #27

Jul 182005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,500 miles
Key will not turn in ignition cylinder

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #26

Jul 102005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 39,000 miles
2002 Ford Focus, the vehicles ignition cylinder will not turn, consumer states that you can place the key in the ignition but it will not turn to start the vehicle, this occurs during any weather, the consumer has had the ignition cylinder replaced once already by the dealership. In Nov. 2004, the consumer was having the same problem again, this time the problem happens sometimes other times it does not, the consumer had the vehicle towed to the dealership because he could not get the vehicle to start, when the consumer arrived at the dealership the vehicle would start, the dealership was not able to replicate the problem, the dealership does not want to fix the problem at this time, the vehicle is no longer under warranty but the part is because it was recently replaced.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #25

Apr 132005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
I have been having problems with my 2002 Ford Focus ignition. Every time I put my key in the ignition it will go in, but the key will not turn. I need to see what I need to do to keep this from happening again. I have not replaced anything yet because I was hoping they would consider a recall on this part. So far I have just been forcing my key to turn and on April 13, 2005 it happened so I went and got some keys made and it still would not work. The next day about 45 minutes of work it finally turned and got started up. For right now I am leaving a key in the ignition to keep up from getting stuck again.

- Fitzgerald, GA, USA

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