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 1 of 7)

problem #124

Dec 292011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


Key would not turn in the ignition lock cylinder. Ignition key could be inserted all the way into the lock cylinder, but key would not turn forwards or backwards to either engage the starter or turn on accessories. Tried moving the steering wheel to free up the cylinder and made sure the car was in park to try and turn the cylinder. Nothing. Was told by the aaa mechanic that this is a common issue with early model year Ford focuses. The issue, per the aaa tow truck operator could be temporarily resolved by using some WD40 on the key and a couple of quick taps to the key while in the lock cylinder. This fix did not work at this time. Had to have my car towed to the dealer since this was not a fix I could make on my own (I could replace the cylinder myself, but the car's passive alarm would need to be re-set by the dealer). Resulting charge was $378.50 for a part I could have fixed for $60-70. My lock cylinder needed to be re-keyed by the local Ford dealer. Safety issue: Could have been stranded. Car failure occurred on very cold day.

- Kenmore, NY, USA

problem #123

Apr 122011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
I have had my 2002 Ford Focus for 2 months. The key has always gave me problems with not wanting to turn. Today though I went to go to my college classes and the key will not turn at all. I have tried to get it to turn for 2 hours. Untill I said [xxx] it before I break the key and that I had already missed my class that I couldn't miss because of a test. Now I get a zero. I like Ford vehicles but if they cant even fix a small igntion defect for thier customers[xxx] Ford. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Clarksburg, WV, USA

problem #122

Nov 262010


  • 80,000 miles
Complete ignition lock failure. Can not turn key in ignition to start the car.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #121

Nov 122010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


On Nov 12, 2010 my car would not start. I had to have my vehicle towed on Nov 13,2010. Per the tow truck driver the reason why my vehicle would not start was because of a defective ignition part. Later that night on Nov 13, 2010 my vehicle once again began to work. I called the local Ford dealership service department to inquire if the was any recalls pertaining to this part. They told me no. Again on Nov 17, 2010 the problem began again. I did not drive the car for several days until Nov 20, 2010. Today Dec 1, 2010 I was left stranded due to my car not starting again. This is a safety concern for me because I have spoken with several mechanics as well as tow truck drivers who all have informed me that recently many Ford Focus vehicles they have either worked on or towed have all had the same problem as mine. As of now I will have to pay all costs out of pocket for these repairs for a well known defective part that the Ford company refuses to put a recall on the vehicles that are affected by this problem. This company needs to own up to this problem that is a huge safety concern!!!

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #120

Nov 122010


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when the key was in the ignition, it would not turn the engine on. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the cylinder and the key switch at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was contacted who offered no assistance with the failure. The vehicle was being repaired by the dealer. The failure mileage was 22,000. Updated 1/21/11 the key would not turn the ignition. The dealer replaced the ignition lock cylinder updated 04/18/11

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #119

Aug 282010


  • miles
Key won't turn in the ignition of my 2002 Ford Focus -- it's locked.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #118

Jul 252010


  • 67,500 miles


I own a 2002 Ford Focus SE and for the past three weeks we've been forced to "entice" our key into the ignition and to turn in the ignition to start the car. Finally, today, 07/25/2010, we had to leave it while visiting a friend because it would not start, no matter what we did. We will be towing it and fixing the problem and, through research, we have came to the conclusion that it would cost $300+ to do so.

- Provo, UT, USA

problem #117

Jun 132010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
The ignition on my 2002 Ford Focus will not work and my understanding that this is happening to many people also. This issue will leave you stranded and unable to leave your current destination. In the event of an emergency it is unreliable. I work for a fire and rescue Agency which requires me to make quick response and with this defect I cannot. Imagine if a female is in a domestic issue and need to get away or is out shopping late and need to leave the area she is left vulnerable and alone with no way of leaving. This defect need to be addressed asap. I have researched this issue and found that after replacing the defected part you still will have the same issue because of poor design. Your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

- Blackstone, VA, USA

problem #116

Jun 092010


  • 130,000 miles
Key is stuck in ignition, vehicle will not start. My son was stranded.

- Wallkill, NY, USA

problem #115

Jun 082010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
2002 Ford Focus ignition problem. I purchased this car two months ago and it works great. Problem is sometimes ignition switch get stuck and wont turn. Now my husband is stuck in another state and stranded due to this problem. Very disappointed with Ford.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #114

Jun 042010


  • 117,164 miles


2002 Ford Focus SE: The key will not come out of the ignition.

- Richford, VT, USA

problem #113

May 292010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
Key sticks in ignition. 2002 Ford Focus, 83,000 miles. We just purchased this car used on Saturday and have already experienced this problem.

- Woodstock, IL, USA

problem #112

Feb 122010


  • miles
Faulty ignition in 2002 Ford Focus was stranded for five hours have not yet fixed the problem due to Ford high cost to fix there defect.

- Lakewood , CO, USA

problem #111

Feb 272010


  • 130,000 miles
Ignition locks up, will not turn regardless of effort, pushing, pulling, beating, or twisting your tongue just the right way. However, one tap on the edge of the key while it is in the ignition works. No amount of wd-40 or parts cleaner fixes the problem though.

- Reidsville, NC, USA

problem #110

Jul 242009


  • miles
Ford Focus 2002 zts key ignition failed at 80,000 miles for over a year before the total failure there were at least 12 times that the ignition failed but finally worked after a few tries. I was left stranded on more then on occasion due to this failure and last time had to have my car towed to the dealership. The problem was fixed at the Ford deal ship and cost me $450. I had to get a new key and a new ignition. I can feel that once again the key is rubbing the ignition the way it was before this problem was fixed and am sure that in the future I will have to replace the part once again. I just hope this time I won't be stranded.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #109

Feb 012010


  • 67,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Focus key will not turn in the ignition! I see that this is an ongoing problem with thousands of people. It should be a recall as it could be a safety issue especially when you are stranded with young children in the car on a blustery winter day! I called Ford Motor Company and they basically said it was my responsibility to fix it.

- North East , PA, USA

problem #108

Feb 012010


  • 70,000 miles
Key stuck in ignition, unable to remove it. This is a huge problem for the Ford Focus cars, resulting in not being able to lock you car having to leave the key in the ignition. Replacement ignitions don't fix the problem, they fail also.

- Molalla, OR, USA

problem #107

Jan 302010


  • 99,500 miles
The ignition in my 2002 Ford Focus is locked up and I cannot turn it over at all. This is the second time this has happened in the past year now! the first time this occurred, my husband bought a new ignition online from an authorized Ford dealership, drilled out the old one and installed the new one himself. The new ignition we bought was supposedly free of the defect that was causing the ignition failure. We have thoroughly researched the issue and the amount of Focus owners affected by this is widespread. The second time this happened I was left stranded on one of the coldest days of winter with my 4 year old son. Ford will not cover these repairs because my car is obviously out of the standard warranty period, however, I'm left to pay for the same costly repair time and time again. Meanwhile, remaining constantly worried all the time if my car will leave me stranded. Please help us Ford Focus owners and push Ford to recall this apparent and immediate safety defect!!!

- Berwick, PA, USA

problem #106

Dec 282009


  • 90,000 miles
I drove my car (a 2002 Ford Focus) to a restaurant on Dec. 28th, 2009 at 7:15 pm. When I got back into my car, the key would not turn in the ignition. I turned the wheel to release it from the "locked" wheel position, but the key still would not turn. I waited in my car for several minutes, then attempted to turn the key once more in the ignition with the same results. I was forced to call a friend and wait in my car with no heat. The temperature was approximately 27 degrees Fahrenheit as I waited for nearly half an hour to be picked up, then dropped off at home by a coworker. He will have to pick me up for work tomorrow as all repair facilities are closed for the evening. I did some research online once I got home and found that this is a common problem with Ford and specifically Ford Focus models from 2000-2003 yet there has been no recall posted and I will have to pay for repairs to an inferior part that is out of warranty.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #105

Nov 172009


  • miles
The ignition on my 2002 Ford Focus locked up. It happened out of nowhere. I was completely stranded and it took me a while to get someone to come help me. After some investigation on the internet, it became clear that this problem is well documented and known about. I would hope this would be considered for a recall since it poses the potential to strand people in less than desirable conditions when the only problem present is the ignition.

- St. Paul, MN, USA

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