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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
81,044 miles
Total Complaints:
232 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (75 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 (27 reports)
  5. call a locksmith (25 reports)
  6. replace ignition lock cylinder (18 reports)
2003 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 12)

problem #232

Sep 122014

Focus LE

  • Manual transmission
  • 161,000 miles



- , Westland, MI, USA

problem #231

Oct 292014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

If you know that something is faulty why would you not recall it. I know that you have wear and tear but this is ridiculous! Ford you have to do better. Replace and program keys, $300 bucks. How many folks have had to deal with having to replace the ignition cylinder at a unexpected time?

- , Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #230

Aug 292014

Focus ZX5 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,500 miles

My key wasn't turning in the ignition on and off for a week but now it just doesn't turn unless I tap it with a hammer. I just ordered a new ignition cylinder and when it comes I'm hoping to fix it or get a locksmith to install .

Ford, really need to do a recall or fix on this problem.

- , townsend, ma, USA

problem #229

Aug 122014

Focus 4D Sedan 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,707 miles


The ignition is locked, I put the key in and turn it and nothing happens. This is not covered under warranty and Ford will not offer a good will repair. I cannot afford to call a mobile locksmith, but I guess I will have to.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #228

May 212014

Focus LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

With this many complaints about the ignition, this should be recalled.

- , Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #227

Dec 142013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

Key will absolutely not turn in the ignition. While looking for solution to problem. Find out this is common with 2000-2003 Ford Focus. What the ....? And Ford won't recall....

- , Clio, MI, USA

problem #226

Mar 192014

Focus ZX3 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


After calling Ford Customer Service and getting no help, I have a call into a locksmith to see if they can fix it.

- , Columbia, MD, USA

problem #225

Oct 262012

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,694 miles

I had around 108,500 km on my 2003 Focus when my key started getting stuck trying to turn it in the ignition. It sometimes took me a good 20 minutes to get it to turn and start the car. Eventually though it would not turn at all. Left me stranded in a parking lot.

I also want to note that a family member had a 2002 Focus and had the same issue about a year after it happened to me. For the ignition repair, I paid $414, they paid $573. Should have taken it to a locksmith instead. Emailed Ford and got nowhere. How is there not a recall on this when it is clearly a very widespread and serious problem? I have since replaced this car with a non-Ford. Good riddance.

- , Vancouver, BC, canada

problem #224

Nov 112013

Focus ZTS V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 91,500 miles

Ignition will not turn when the key is put in. I understand now that this is a problem pretty common for Ford Focuses. Fortunately it happened at work, so for 3 days now, my car has been sitting in the parking lot. Good thing this didn't happen at a gas station or a car wash. My husband went online and tried to find some information on how to fix this. Tomorrow he is calling a lock smith to see if maybe they can figure it out. He figures they will have the correct tools to deal with this. We are not happy about this at all. I read that there is a class action lawsuit being filed. I will look into this further. Shame on you Ford!! I was thinking about getting a new car here as soon as my house was paid off. I might be looking at Chevy's or Dodges now.

- , Rock Springs, WY, USA

problem #223

Nov 152013

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

focus won't turn- ignition cylinder crap! What can be done?

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #222

Apr 022012

Focus 4D Sedan SE 2.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


car is a LEMON! .............................................................................................................................................................

- , Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #221

Jul 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

It's amazing to me that this problem has been chronic enough to be reported time and time again by owners of these vehicles BUT Ford has YET to consider a recall. I am not happy with this company and the multiple issues encountered with their vehicles. I think it's time to purchase from a different company!

- , Independence, MO, USA

problem #220

Jun 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I've been living with this problem for over a year because the Ford dealership quoted around $700 to replace the starter. I've been tapping the key about 6 times with the bottom of my cup holder to get the key to turn. Usually, this works after a few times, along with wiggling the steering wheel.

Today, none of the usual tricks worked and I ended up leaving my car in the driveway and borrowing someone elses' car to get to work.

I want to know what to do for cheep - the car has 186,000 miles on it, but runs great. It's not a pretty car - had it valued at around $700. How can I DIY this problem? Or will Ford recall? Today I am out $$$ because I couldn't get to work.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #219

Mar 292012

Focus SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Ford refused to help in any way. Rude customer service rep.

- , Wilmington, MA, USA

problem #218

Aug 012013

Focus SE 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

Obviously this is a common problem with the Focus...Ford needs to do a recall or reimburse owners for the repair. Mine is to the point now that I HAVE to get it fixed...to the tune of about 350.00. NOT COOL, FORD!!

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #217

Apr 282012

Focus ZX3 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

This car is probably one of the worse purchases I've ever made. In the almost 3 years I've had this vehicle, it's been in the shop for substancial work. I just had the window regulator replaced, a coil and thermostat housing. Two days ago I was shopping with my young daughter and as I tried to start my car, the key wouldn't turn in the ignition. Several bystanders tried everything we could think of but I ended up having to have it towed to a nearby Ford dealership. A 4 mile tow cost me $100. I still haven't heard if this is covered by my warranty. It amazes me after reading all of these complaints that Ford has not issued a recall. Quality is job one? What a load of crap. Since I have had a license, I've always had a Ford. Leaving me stranded an hour away from my home for 6 hours in rainy 40 degree weather with my child while I tried to find a ride home makes me rethink why I should stay a loyal Ford buyer.

- , Canton, OH, USA

problem #216

Jan 022013

Focus SE

  • Manual transmission
  • 169,634 miles

Can't start the car because the ignition key won't turn.

After research on internet, using a hammer to tap a few times on the key makes it turn.

Since this is happening every time I needto drive, I'm afraid something will brake because of the taping.

- , Whitby, ON, canada

problem #215

Oct 032012

Focus LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,900 miles

Tried to go to work one morning and the key would not turn in the ignition. I got frustrated and hit the key. It then turned and everything worked fine for a while. I looked online to see what was going on, and after finding a couple of sites that showed NUMEROUS complaints for the same problem, I tried some of the "fixes". I tried lubricant and kept having to hit the key every time I wanted to start the car. These worked for a couple of days until this morning when even those "solutions" ceased to work. I almost missed work because of the problem. Thank goodness I wasn't camping in the middle of nowhere when this happened. I called Ford and all they would say is that they didn't have any information about this being a problem for the Focus. I called their bluff, and they were still unbending in offering any type of assistance in fixing the car. How can there be so many complaints and the company not know??? I'm definitely getting this fixed by a locksmith so that Ford (or their associated dealership mechanics) doesn't get any money off of this repair!

- , Meridian, ID, USA

problem #214

Jun 112013

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,800 miles

We parked on a quiet residential street for dinner with relatives. Wanted to drive back home but couldn't start the car. Luckily we had driven two cars, so we went to retrieve another key from home but that didn't work either. Next day I called AAA for a tow back home, and was hit with a small additional charge after the 5th mile. Tried all remedies on web short of spraying WD-40 and drilling out the cylinder. Ford dealer wanted $150 just to look at the problem then another few hundred dollars to fix, and who knows how long that would take.

No problems to date with this student car, except for a non-functioning cigarette lighter socket and a flimsy side view mirror screwed in place after a brush with a brick wall.

Ford Motor Co. -- This issue really should be a safety recall. I can imagine horrible consequences if my kid stalled the car on a busy road or highway and a forced restart is impossible.

Update from Jul 2, 2013: Local auto shops wanted too much just to look at the problem. So I ordered a $25 Strattec replacement ignition cylinder (IC) from Amazon and called a locksmith to install it for me. They came out to my house, made a regular non-PATS key, then used Vise-Grips to turn it in the ignition while they beat on the end of the key with a hammer.

- , Lafayette, CA, USA

problem #213

Jan 072013

Focus SE 2.0L 14 Spi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,650 miles

Great Car except for this ignition snafu. Ford GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND DO A RECALL!!!

- , Parma, OH, USA

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