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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
82,371 miles
Total Complaints:
238 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (77 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 #238

Nov 272015

Focus ZTW

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


this is a major safety concern. I have children and we got stranded in the cold due to this issue. had I known ford had this problem with the ignitions I would never have purchased a ford. I will NEVER buy another ford again seeing how they refuse to make this a recall!

- , Greenfield, ME, USA

problem #237

Jul 082015

Focus ZX3 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I am really overwhelmed because this is not safe. I work nights and this has gotten me stranded late on a very unsafe road. This needs to be addressed! I called Ford and they are not willing to do anything to help this is unacceptable.

- , Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #236

Apr 262015

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

Key won't turn again! Why no recall yet for this VERY common problem?!

- , Punxsutawney, PA, USA

problem #235

Feb 102015

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


The ignition switch didn't turn well for quite some time, then I had to hit it or bump it to turn the key. Sometimes it was really hard and time consuming. I checked at Ford dealership and they said they would have to do it because of the reprogramming.

(This might not be true Check out the video for DIY-- http://fordfanatic.com/ford-focus-ignition-tumbler-tutorial/ )

Anyway I made an appt. and it took dealer 3 hr 15 min. See the video and it looks like 1 hour for a first time shade tree mechanic. But once the car went into the shop, I didn't see it again until it was driven to the front.

The worse part was the $452 cost in March 2015!! It can cost about $45 --see the video. I know there is a rate book for each repair. I guess it was put together using people off the street to get the time it took to do the work.

I wish I had seen the video before I took it in to the dealership.


problem #234

Mar 132015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Was stranded for 4 hours in a parking lot. The wrecker that was sent was not able to get the car on the flat bed because the steering wheel was locked and front wheels were slightly right facing. No tire lift wreckers available. Wrecker operator felt so bad for me he drove me to the dealership in the wrecker with my $40 of spoiled chicken and ground beef.

This is quite an expensive repair. I have now read that this is a large problem for 2000-2003 Ford Focus'. It's a safety issue and Ford has refused to recall this cylinder. California has apparently filed a class action lawsuit. I asked for a courtesy assist. Ford refused. I just had cardiac surgery, was due for my medication and could not get to it. This situation could has been life threatening for me. I guess that's the good news in all of this, 1, that I didn't keel over and 2, that at least there were a few people that tried to help me. So disgusted.

- , Holland, PA, USA

problem #233

Mar 032015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles

I had older cars and was used to my steering wheel locking and just having to jiggle the key to get the car to start but this was ridiculous. The steering wheel locked from day one and I've replace the ignition lock twice and the problem still exits. If this is a common problem then recall it and Ford should fix it free of charge!!!!

- , Hawley, PA, USA

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

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