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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,976 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.

2003 Ford Focus electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #109

Nov 022012

Focus

  • 109,000 miles

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

While driving, an odd odor could be smelled, but went away after a minute. Came back once briefly. 20 minutes later, as I was about to turn into my work's parking lot, my car turned itself off. When I tried to turn it back on, it would not turn over and all the gauges went haywire. After I stopped trying to start it, I took the key out of the ignition and the car attempted to start itself. Immediately after this, the inside of the car filled up with smoke. The fire originated near the battery. An officer showed up less than 2 minutes after this all occurred, and he sat there and watched my car burn. He pulled out a fire extinguisher 10 minutes later so my car wouldn't create visibility issues for the cars driving past (it died in the middle of a four lane road). They told me it was most likely an electrical fire. Two weeks prior to the incident, I had my alternator replaced. The new alternator was a Ford manufactured part.

- Newberry, MI, USA

problem #108

Jan 062014

Focus

  • 130,000 miles
TL - the contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the key failed to turn in the ignition preventing her from turning the vehicle on. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 130,000.

- Rochester , MI, USA

problem #107

Dec 012010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Key cannot turn - vehicle cannot be started. Unacceptable and hazardous condition with a poorly designed and/or low quality part on all Ford Focus and likely other Ford products. I got around this by pounding on the key with a small hammer I keep in the glove box - I had lived with this for more than 3 years. Same thing happened to my brother-in-law's car (he removed all the tumblers so any key can start his car). It is obvious from reading through the complaints that this is a very significant percentage (>50%?) of all of the numerous complaints against this vehicle. Dealerships want $400 to fix it - that's bs. Actions by NHTSA or a class action lawsuit against Ford is appropriate. It appears that Ford is using this design defect as an opportunity to profit after having put 1000S of consumers in dangerous situations.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #106

Dec 092013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles

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

Ignition lock cylinder stuck leaving us stranded.

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #105

Nov 062013

Focus

  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parked with the key in the ignition, the key failed to turn. After two hours of repeated attempts, the key was finally able to be turned to the accessory position. The vehicle was no longer being driven due to the safety hazard the contact stated was involved with the failure. The vehicle was neither diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 102,000.

- Conway, AR, USA

problem #104

Oct 312013

Focus

  • 170,000 miles
Steering wheel/key lock. The key doesn't turn in the ignition.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #103

Aug 092013

Focus

  • 72,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the ignition switch could not be engaged. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic for inspection. The failure was located at the ignition switch. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 72,000.

- Baton Rouge , LA, USA

problem #102

Jul 292013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 188,500 miles
In past week and a half, 90% of the time I attempt to start the car, the ignition is locked and won't release. I have to attempt to rock the key back and forth many times before it finally releases. This is of great concern because it is the only vehicle I own and my teenage daughter drives it as well. I feel like this should be classified as a safety issue because I or my daughter could end up stranded some where at night. Ford has been made aware of the problem because it is rampant on Focus between 2000 and 2003.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #101

Apr 032013

Focus

  • miles
This vehicle has been plagued with electrical issues since the day it was purchased. Now last night the engine, steering and brakes lost all power. The result is now 4 people getting injured and 2 cars damaged. No fatalities but all 4 experienced their first car accident. They are all sore and bruised. I cannot believe that Ford has not recalled these cars to fix this obvious issue. I guess someone may have to lose their loved one before Ford will acknowledge that they made a lot of bad cars! better not be my loved ones!!! I'll make someone pay dearly!!!!

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #100

Mar 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
The key won't turn in the ignition - apparently a notorious Ford Focus problem. The car left me stranded miles from home in freezing weather. I will never buy a Ford again because they have not issued a recall.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #99

Sep 122012

Focus

  • 55,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that all attempts to start the vehicle failed. The contact also mentioned that the ignition failed. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 55,000 and the current mileage was 61,000.

- Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #98

Nov 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Ignition switch will not turn preventing you from starting the car. My daughter got stranded at work at 11pm for 45 minutes until someone was able to help her get the key to turn. I took to a repair shop and they said a Ford dealer would need to replace as the 2000-2003 focuses have a lot of ignition switch problems. The dealer wants $350 and will only warranty the part for 1 year!!

- Plantsville, CT, USA

problem #97

Oct 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 69,900 miles
The ignition key fails to turn. Keys are fine and hitting the key worked a few times to get the key to turn. With this problem, a person can easily become stranded in unfavorable conditions. Also, should anything happen where the engine dies while driving, the steering could become locked with no way to turn key.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #96

Sep 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I went to start the car and the key will not turn. The steering wheel is locked and will not move. I was unable to got to my doctors appointment..

- Staatsburg, NY, USA

problem #95

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Ignition key will not turn in lock. Unable to start car. Wife stranded. Brought her other keys, same problem. Finally got lock to turn by viloently wiggling and pounding on key. Drove car home. Internet search seems to indicate this is a very common problem. We are the original vehicle purchasers.

- Huntley, MT, USA

problem #94

Aug 232012

Focus

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. While parked, the contact inserted the key into the ignition but was unable to start the vehicle because the ignition cylinder would not turn. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #93

Jul 142012

Focus

  • 133,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that she inserted the key into the ignition but could not start the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the steering wheel was locked and she verified that the vehicle was shifted into park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 133,000.

- Godfree , IL, USA

problem #92

May 122012

Focus

  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the key was not able to operate in the ignition switch and the key got stuck. The dealer was not notified. The manufacturer was notified and was aware of the failure. The manufacturer stated that they had received numerous complaints about the failure, but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000 and current mileage was 98,000.

- Goleta, CA, USA

problem #91

Mar 152012

Focus

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the key could not be turned in the ignition. The dealer was notified of the failure who advised the contact that there were no recalls for the failure. The manufacturer was also contacted who offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 114,000.

- Grandville, MI, USA

problem #90

Nov 242010

Focus

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parking, the steering wheel seized while the power steering warning chime sounded. In addition, the key would sporadically fail to turn when inserted into the ignition. The contact stated that the vehicle would start after approximately thirty minutes of repeated attempts. The dealer was made aware of the failure but the vehicle was neither diagnosed nor repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 140,000.

- Big Bear City , CA, USA

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