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.

8.4

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$306.00
Average Mileage:
83,497 miles
Total Complaints:
249 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (84 reports)
  2. replace the ignition (37 reports)
  3. insert the key and lightly tap the key with a hammer (28 reports)
  4. must go to dealership for high priced repair (28 reports)
  5. call a locksmith (25 reports)
  6. replace ignition lock cylinder (19 reports)
2003 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 3 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #209

Nov 232012

Focus ZX5 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Put the key in the ignition and it won't turn. Wheel is not locked and tires are not touching anything.

According to my friend's dad, who sells cars, this is a pretty standard issue for the Focus. Luckily, I was at a friend's house when this happened but I can only imagine how dangerous this situation could have been had I been alone at night. Yikes!

I'm opting to have a friend put in a new ignition switch and I just purchased the part. They run around $80. The horrible thing about this is that Ford KNOWS that they put an inferior part in the ignition but have chosen to ignore it. Simply ridiculous.

The locksmiths and mechanics I called all quoted the repair at close to $300 which is just ludicrous, given what an easy fix it is once you have the part.

- , Bryan, TX, USA

problem #208

Jul 282012

Focus 89000

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The ignition key wont turn back on if I remove the key. So for about a half a year, I've been leaving the key in the ignition and turn it off all but the last click. If I turn that last click, it will not turn on again. I will definitely call the suggested phone numbers that the previous person suggested, and file complaints. I have always bought fords or Chevrolet, and this is definitely my last ford. I have had so many problems with this car, and the ignition is the last straw. The air conditioner doesn't work and never really did, replaced fuel pump, repaired auto windows, had to disconnect the radio because it turns on and off repeatedly, even when the car is off, which drains the battery. Had to replace the springs which busted on the highway. Talk about scary. Exhaust clamps had to be welded, and the ignition and fuse relay wires had to replaced.

- , Berea, OH, USA

problem #207

Sep 272012

Focus ZX5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,000 miles

I can't believe this crap! First it was the springs broke...VERY COMMON WITH A FOCUS, Then it was the overdrive in the transmission VERY COMMON WITH A FOCUS Now the key won't turn AGAIN VERY COMMON!!!

FORD should own up to these problems....THIS WILL BE MY LAST FORD!!!

- , Cumberland, WI, USA

problem #206

Sep 252012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My steering wheel wouldn't turn when I put the key in the ignition. This has happened many times but it has always been easy to fix. This time I couldn't do it to save my life. I was pissed. Almost called a dealership and had it towed there then I decided to look it up first on the internet and found this place. Just wanted to let you all know that hitting the hammer did the trick for me. I know this isn't going to fix it, but for anyone who is out there stuck and can't get the damn key to turn...tap the end of your key with a hammer to get the steering wheel free and it will work. After reading everyone else's problems it looks as if I will end up going to a locksmith to have it permanently fixed. But thanks to those of you who put the trick with the hammer out there to keep me from almost paying to get it towed to a dealership...I'm sure I saved a ton a money...hope this will help someone else out there save some money also.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #205

Sep 162012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Last weekend, as I was leaving Nags Head, NC (180 miles from home), my key would not turn in the ignition. This had happened before and jerking the steering wheel to and fro had always done the trick. Not this time. I jerked the wheel, I wiggled the stick shift to make sure the car was fully in park, nothing worked. Luckily, my friend was able to get it unstuck by hitting the key. When I got home, I checked it out online and found this site. I took the advice of several people and went to a locksmith and got it fixed for $127. They informed me that they replace the ignitions on Focuses all the time. In fact, while I was sitting there waiting for the repair to be done, someone called with the same problem with a Ford Focus! This has been a good car up until the last 5 months.

- , Henrico, VA, USA

problem #204

Sep 252012

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Couldn't turn the key in the ignition. A few weeks ago the dealership changed the ignition switch which they claimed was the cause of why my new starter would, randomly, not start. They eventually confirmed that the starter they installed had an internal fault and replace it. Not sure if the ignition switch they installed is the problem.

- , East Hartford, CT, USA

problem #203

Sep 042012

Focus Pez

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Ignition key will not turn. Unable to start the car .

- , Staatsburg, NY, USA

problem #202

Aug 222012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Daughter at college and is required to do internship. Went to start her 2003 Ford Focus and key would not turn in ignition. Tried everything and looked in owners manual - nothing. Went on line and found this is a re occurring problem with Focus's. Either key will not turn or key gets locked ignition. Called car dealership and they were well aware of the problem. - ignition tumbler bad. Advised to tow to dealer. At dealer tumbler replaced and coded keys needed to be rekeyed. Approx $500 later (not including tow). There are multiple forums complaints and info on this problem and dealer was aware of it. No recall?? THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE FORD!!!!!! My daughter has been assigned to a school in a not so nice area for internship and with the way the world is going - IT DOES NOT MAKE ME OR HER FEEL COMFORTABLE TO BE STRANDED, BE LATE FOR WORK OR SCHOOL> OR INCONVENIENCED OVER A DEFECTIVE PART!!! AND TO PAY OUT THE COSTS OF REPAIR AND KEYS RECODING!! FORD FIX THIS!!!!! FORD Focus owners unite and overflow Fords email and mailbox because this is not right!!!

I will write FORD and I have already called to file a complaint. THIS SHOULD BE A SAFETY RECALL AND WE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED.

- , Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #201

Aug 242012

Focus

  • Manual transmission
  • 140,000 miles

For the past 8 or 9 month, I have been wiggling and shaking the key and get it to turn to start the my 2003 Focus. Today a (Saturday), I went to the Post Office, came back and the key is completely stuck. I tried wiggling, shaking, and tabbing the damn thing for an hour and it won't turn. I called my wife to pick me and left the damn Focus at the Post Office. Will probably give it another try later today. Everything is close since I live in a small town. Please help.

- , Milan, MI, USA

problem #200

Aug 292012

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Left stranded late at night, key refused to turn in ignition, everything else seemed to be working fine. Read other complaints from people with same problem, will try some of their solutions!!

- , La Grange Park, IL, USA

problem #199

Aug 142012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I am a young mom who was stranded for two hours with my infant because I could not get the key to turn in the ignition. Ford Customer relations acknowledged the problem and offered a 10% reimbursement. Which does not help me very much. My daughter has a genetic disease. How am I going to take her to her hospital appointments with out my vehicle?? I will never ever recommend ford to anyone unless ford mans up and goodwill repairs my vehicle or recalls the ignition cylinder. I have read that I am not even close to the only person that has this problem and have found petitions online to try and get the problem recalled.

- , Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #198

Jul 272012

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,000 miles

The key in wife's focus ignition would no longer turn. I looked online to see if this was a common problem, and found hundreds of similar complaints. I was lucky to find the following website. http://www.safeandlockstore.com/products/Strattec-707592-Ford-Focus%7B47%7DExplorer-%26-Others-Ignition-Kit.html

I took some pictures of the key and for $46.00 shipped they sent me a new strattec ignition that was set up for our old key. It arrived and took me no longer than 20 minutes to install. It has been working great since. It is really sad that there is no recall on this problem. To replace the ignition lock all you have to do is remove the two screws on the black plastic underneath the steering wheel (they are #20 torx screws). Use a flat head screwdriver to push in the small tabs on the upper black plastic enclosure at the top of the steering column. Both of the panels should release and expose the ignition cylinder. Our key was able to turn still after spraying some wd40 in the slot and tapping it a bit. So I turned the key to the Accessory #2 position and depressed the small round tab on the ignition cylinder. This frees up the cylinder and I was able to pull it out. I put the key in the new cylinder and turned it until the extended end lined up in the cylinder slot and the tab lined up. I pushed it into place and the tab locked in. I replaced the black plastic panels and everything worked. If you know someone mechanically inclined save money and order a new cylinder and replace it yourself. Don't spend $300 at the dealership.

- , East Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #197

Jul 102012

Focus

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have a 2003 Ford Focus SE with 103,00 mi. no major problems The ignition lock up for no apparent reason. This should be repaired by Ford not the consumer.

- , Safford, VA, USA

problem #196

Jul 262012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

2003 Ford Focus key wont turn and thus wont start. Wow, who knew, so a bunch of us proud "Escort" owners are experiencing the same problem. And of course Ford Motor Company won't accept responsibility for the problem. Good old short sighted American business model. Who cares about customer good will. Make a fast buck. Replace the part with a similarly defective part and create a customer base for your service department. Huh (scratching head thoughtfully) Wonder why American car companies are in trouble?

Possible Solutions: 1. Call a locksmith 2. Never shut off vehicle engine 3. Carry several spare ignition sets (I keep mine next to the spare tire) 4. Call Ford's customer service to complain (More frustrating than solution #2 above) 5. Instruct all future generations to NEVER BUY A FORD PRODUCT. They do not stand behind their poorly engineered product even in the face of compelling evidence. Well wait a minute, do we really want future generations to have to bail out Ford with their tax dollars? (See Chevrolet case study: Cars designed to last 100,000 miles vs Japanese imports providing reliable service to 200,000 miles) Japanese invested in long term customer good will, Chevy didn't, word got around, customers started buying Honda and Toyota, taxpayer bail out, etc. P.S. Has anyone else noticed all the recalls and problems with Toyota since the "Obama Chevrolet" dealerships opened their doors?

- , Golden, CO, USA

problem #195

Jul 042012

Focus ZTS 2.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

just that quick the key won't turn now i find out that the locking cylinder must be replaced by a authorized service dealer or a locksmith because of the security chip. since ford knows this they should help fix the many cars that has this problem

- , Swanton, OH, USA

problem #194

Jun 112012

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,500 miles

Key goes in and out, but the ignition won't turn. Hired a locksmith before I knew there was a chance the dealership might fix it for free.

- , Germantown, TN, USA

problem #193

Mar 182012

Focus ZX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I was in Hannaford parking lot with my 17 months old daughter when the key would not turn. After trying everything for about 45 minutes I googled the problem on my cellphone. Come to find out there are 1000's of people with the same problem. I called the dealership, I was told they have had this problem with many ford focuses. I called the Ford manufacturer and filled a complaint. There phone number is 1-800-392-3673 or 1800-232-5952. The woman took my complaint and said there have not been enough complaints filed for a recall. I then called the National Highway of Safety and filled a complaint. There number is 1-800-424-9393. Everyone needs to call both companies and file a complaint in order for there to be a recall. I hope this is helpful.

- , Watervliet, NY, USA

problem #192

Apr 222012

Focus

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,000 miles

If the internet is full of stories about this same problem and the fact that FORD has know about it for many years and has done nothing to fix the problem it is time for a RECALL OF THIS so it will be fixed with the correct replacement part made by STRATTEC part # 707592 and not the orginial part made by the HUF company. if the cylinder can be removed and the end part that locks the cylinder when it is in the lock housing once removed it will work as it should and not lockup then FIX IT NOW be for My Daughter is hurt do to the cylinder causing the steering wheel to lock and then have the car crash what would you like to pay me for the loss of a child in the millions of dollars ? insteed of 1`00.00 to 150.00 for the fix of the lock cylinder? you do the math FIX THE DAMN PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Kenmore, WA, USA

problem #191

Mar 072012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,490 miles

2ND TIME TO HAVE KEY NOT TURN IGNITION CAUSING DELAY IN LEAVING FOR HOME FROM WORK AND GETTING TO WORK! NOW I HAVE TO KEEP A HAMMER IN MY CAR TO HIT THE KEY FAR ENOUGH IN THE IGNITION TO START MY CAR. FEEL LIKE ONE OF THE CLAMPETTS! THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY FIX, I KNOW.....BOTH TIMES KEY PROBLEM BEGAN WITH MOVING STEERING WHEEL POSITION. WILL CALL A LOCKSMITH TO REPAIR ASAP. NEVER WILL WE PURCHASE ANOTHER FORD!

- , Kodak, TN, USA

problem #190

Feb 142012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Found out that if you own a 2003 Ford Focus, more than likely you will have this problem! Ford is aware of the problem but refuses to do a recall! What most people don't know is that a locksmith can repair this at a fraction of the cost that a dealer will charge you! We were quoted a price of between $400 TO $500 from a dealer! A locksmith repaired for $160!

- , Campbell, NY, USA

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