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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,949 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 4 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #201

Jul 072009


  • 59,000 miles


On my 2003 Ford Focus the ignition is gone it won't work. I was told by yankee Ford that this is a regular problem with this type of car. It's something to do with the locking chamber it cost 400.+ dollars to fix. It I think this is a safety recall because something bad could happen be it on the road or in a parking lot late one night..........say if someone is getting out of work and there sitting trying to start their car and it won't and then they get mugged robbed of raped...all because of Ford faulty ignition lock chamber.....

- Buxton, ME, USA

problem #200

Nov 232009


  • 147,000 miles
The ignition cylinder will not turn.

- Twin Falls, ID, USA

problem #199

Nov 092009


  • 119,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Focus zts left me (a female) stranded last night for two hours at night while waiting for a friend to give me a ride home because when I came out of the store my key would not turn in the ignition. I tried a number of things for two hours and finally had to leave it at the store overnight. I tried again this morning, but same thing, key would not turn at all no matter what I did! this morning I went on the internet to and found that this is a major problem with the Ford Focus. There are over 100 complaints from other Focus owners of also being stranded. This is a serious safety issue!!!!! some woman/teenage girl is going to get abducted/raped and murdered because she is left stranded because the dumb key won't turn in the ignition!!!! of course, first thing I did was go to Ford to see if there is a recall on the ignition and found out no, there is no recall on this stupid car part!!! the Ford dealership said it would cost me probably between $300 and $500 to fix it!!!! and it's a manufacturers defect!!!!! I will never, ever buy another Ford vehicle of any type and I will tell everyone I know that Ford makes piece of !@#$% cars and to never buy one!!!!

- Aledo, TX, USA

problem #198

Nov 102009


  • 139,000 miles


I own a 2003 Ford Focus zts that has 140,000 miles. I know my vehicle is out of warranty. The ignition has been giving me problems that scare me from time to time that I may get stranded. You put the key in, go to turn the key to start and the ignition acts locked. You try again and again but still nothing. This has left me trying to turn my ignition for up to 10 minutes so far. This started about 2 months ago, once a week. Now it happens everyday, not every time, but at least 2 out of 5 times I go to start my vehicle it happens. This is definitely getting worse very quickly. This seems to be a common problem with the 2000-2003 Ford Focus models. I have heard that even if I take my vehicle to a Ford dealership to have the ignition replaced which will cost up around $500, that the new ignition will probably do the same thing due to Ford not correcting the problem in the design of the ignition. I will try calling a locksmith due to the cost being less. I just wanted to let you know this is a common problem occurring and should be checked into as a recall matter. I do not have the patience to wait for that to happen nor do I have the confidence that I will be able to continue to get my vehicle started so I will get this problem fixed.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #197

Nov 012009


  • 91,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Focus stranded me on 11/1/2009 because the key would not turn in the ignition. This is a known issue with this car for years 200 - 2003 and Ford has done nothing about it. It cost me $300 to get the lock changed out in order to drive the car. This should have been recalled as it is very dangerous to strand owners like this.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #196

Oct 302009


  • 112,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus ignition wont turn resulting is a stranding situation, possibly in dangerous areas.

- Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #195

Oct 282009


  • 92,000 miles


Upon leaving work last night, I put my key into the ignition and it would not turn. 4 people tried to turn the key, still without success. I tried to wiggle to steering wheel, the gear shift and lock and unlock the car before trying again. Finally, my car had to be towed. The towing man stated that this is the most common complaint on all the Ford focuses he tows, as do many websites I have recently located. Overall, it seems that once I finished paying off my Ford Focus, it has been needing mechanic work ever since on various parts. I always get my routine oil changes and mileages check-ups. My car is now at the mechanic and I am awaiting an estimate.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #194

Aug 162009


  • 98,000 miles
I bought a 2003 Ford Focus from an auto dealer in August, 2009. I am having constant problems with the ignition cylinder - the key keeps getting stuck in it. I was told by the Ford dealership here that they would charge $450 to have it repaired. Researching this online, I've found that it is a common problem with the 2003-2004 Ford Focus cars! please consider a recall for the defect.

- Chesapeake, VT, USA

problem #193

Oct 092009


  • 72,000 miles
Ignition locks and I am unable to turn the key to start my Ford Focus 2003. I was left stranded with my sixth mo. Old son while running errands at a gas station. I had to have my vehicle towed and had to have the ignition replaced for $290 in addition to towing fees. This is the first time it has occurred, but was informed that this is an ongoing problem with the Ford Focus and was warned by the tech that replaced the ignition, that there is a very good chance it would happen again. I live in a Minnesota where winters are very cold, and am concerned I will be stranded again with an infant because of a manufacturing default.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #192

Oct 072009


  • 57,000 miles
On Tuesday my car operated normally. Wednesday morning I went to leave for work and my key would not turn. Fortunately I was at home, however I could have been stuck somewhere. I could have had an emergency and not been able to use my car. I had to have it towed to a dealership, miss 3 days of work and am out $510.

- Loveland, CO, USA

problem #191

Oct 022009


  • 100,789 miles


I have been driving this car for almost 2 years with no ignition problem. I drove to work, and ran a few work related errands throughout the day. As I was preparing to leave work for the day I put my key into the ignition and it felt as if it were completely locked. More than 3 people tried to turn the key and offered different ideas as to what the problem was. Triple a was called out and he explained this is a common problem with this model. He informed me the tumblers in the ignition have suddenly stopped dropping and recognizing my key. He then placed the key in the ignition, tapped in a few times to release the tumblers and it started. We then turned the vehicle off and struggled a bit to get the key out. It is now 2 days later and the situation has gotten worse and is affecting my transportation. I do not understand how it worked fine all day without a "sticking" feeling or a resistance to turn and now it is completely impossible to get in and turn the key with ease. It is simply stuck and no one can really explain why, other than poor quality within the Ford Motor Company.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #190

Sep 252009


  • 75,000 miles
We drove our 2003 Ford Focus to the grocery store. Upon returning to the car, the key would not turn in the ignition and stranded my wife, 4 year old and 6 month old children and myself wondering what we could do.

- Derby, KS, USA

problem #189

Sep 222009


  • 35,000 miles
With no warning, the key will not turn in the ignition. This happened immediately after I purchased the car, and it's happening again five years later.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #188

Sep 222009


  • 50,000 miles
Key won't turn in ignition of 2003 Ford Focus. This happens fairly often, but after several tries the key will usually work. Now the key won't work at all. Had to leave the car behind.

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #187

Sep 162009


  • 70,000 miles
Ford Focus key/ignition problem. The key won't turn in the ignition. After doing some research on this problem I found that this is a common problem for the years 2000 - 2003. Also found information that the oem parts used to fix this problem have the same defect. Luckily my daughter was in the parking lot at her apartment. But this could have happened anywhere, I.e. highway, road, isolated area, etc... bottom line is that Ford is aware of the defective part and has made no effort to correct the defective part, other than making the owner pay $400 plus dollars to put in another oem defective part. Someone needs to investigate this part at Ford.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #186

Aug 012009


  • 62,000 miles
The key was starting to stick then I could not get the in the ignition switch to start the car so my son that works for Ford said to tap on the key then it should start so I did and it worked it is an on going thing I think that if Ford knows there is a problem they should do a recall on it the car is a 2003 Ford Focus and is not under warranty like the other owners that have complained about the same problem so now I have to pay to get it fixed like all of the other owners it happens almost every day I go to get my car started it is very annoying.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #185

Aug 252009


  • 70,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Focus. I just hit 70K miles yesterday, and starting today my ignition is completely locked up. My car is in park, the tires are not turned, etc. I went back in the house to try and find a solution and upon searching I found site after site, complaint after complaint about 2000-2003 Ford Focus' locking up like this after 70K miles, and that it costs $500 to fix. My car is no longer under warranty. This is clearly a manufacturing defect but is not covered by Ford and has not been recalled yet. I do not have the money to replace this and now my car is useless and can't even be moved. I can only move the steering wheel about an inch and a half either way and the key in the ignition does not move at all.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #184

Aug 162009


  • 147,500 miles
I have a Ford Focus 2003 in which the ignition key will not turn and everytime I need to start the car I have to rock the steering wheel real hard right to left. One occasion the car locked up on me while back but fortunately I was able to stop it as I was moving very slow. This ignition problem is a very real safety issue and steps need to be taken to make Ford fix the problem before someone gets killed. You only have to go to the internet and put in the search window "Ford Focus ignition problems" and it will tell you all you need to know. In fact I found out in California there is a clss action suite against Ford for this very same problem. I will probably have a locksmith fix the ignition as I don't want topay double to the Ford dealer.

- Effingham, KS, USA

problem #183

Aug 072009


  • 123,000 miles
The key won't turn in the ignition and I was stranded at a walmart parking lot.

- Columbia, IL, USA

problem #182

Aug 062009


  • 106,380 miles
The Ford Focus 2003 problem, the key won't turn in the ignition, or the key gets stuck in the ignition.

- Oakland, CA, USA

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