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3.5

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,988 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 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #78

Jan 042008

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

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

My mother purchased a new 2003 Ford Focus from lofink's Ford in carthage, NY late in 2003 several times over the first three years she had the car, there was a problem with the ignition switch/steering column. She was unable to turn the key to start the vehicle. She repeatedly tried the key/steering wheel and was eventually able to get the key to turn. When she reported this to the dealership within the warranty period, she was told that sometimes this happened, that she should just jiggle the key/etc. She relocated to belton, tx in Jun 07 to be near me, her daughter. On 30 Sep 07 the car had the same issue, except that no amount of jiggling the key/steering column would allow the key to turn. The car was towed to johnson brothers Ford in temple, tx. The dealership diagnostics read as follows: Ignition system diag found ignition switch binding replaced ignition switch, retest sytem ok. The ignition switch would not turn had to drill out ign lock cylinder to remove. This cost: $474.67 which was not covered because the car had 16,505 miles on it at that time and was out of warranty. I pursued this issue with the repairing dealership, the selling dealership, and Ford Motor Company (in writing) to no avail, requesting a good faith reimbursment. Today the switch failed again and the car is now being towed for repair.

- Belton, TX, USA

problem #77

Dec 202007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Ignition switch lock barrel failure. This is an ongoing well-known problem about the Ford Focus that Ford seems happy to ignore.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #76

Jan 062007

Focus

  • miles
Key gets stuck in ignition.

- Mooresville, IN, USA

problem #75

Nov 212007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,951 miles

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

Ignition key would not turn. I was stranded away form home, had to call a tow truck and have the care towed to the dealer. Internet research shows that this is a common problem with the 2000-2003 Ford Focus cars and Ford has not issued a re-call, although they have issue a tsb 05-21-17 in reference to the ignition switch problems.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #74

Nov 122007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,256 miles
When I put my key into my car it will not turn. While this may not be an "obvious" safety risk, it can lead to serious problems if you are stranded somewhere. Ford knows about this problem with Focus, yet has done nothing to correct it. I ended up stranded for over an hour as I waited for someone to pick me up, finally I banged the key out of frustration and I was able to turn it. This is a serious safety matter to me, as I am a single woman. Ford needs to take responsibility and recall their defective ignition cylinders. I will now have to spend at least $400 to fix this, and it's something that there is no guarantee won't happen in the future, as it will be replaced with the same defective mechanism.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #73

Aug 302007

Focus 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus.

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #72

Oct 152007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,500 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 key would not turn when it was inserted in the ignition. He had to shake the steering wheel and move it for 15 - 30 minutes before the vehicle would start. He took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the ignition cylinder switch needed to be replaced at the cost of $512. The current mileage was 93,000 and failure mileage was 92,500.

- Hopkins, SC, USA

problem #71

Oct 182007

Focus 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
In July 2007 the ignition key locked up and could not be turned to start the engine. I managed to get it to turn (no, it was because the steering wheel was holding) and drove it to the Ford dealership. They had to replace the key cylinder for nearly $400. Despite numerous complaints and a 100,000-mile warranty, this service was not covered. The mechanic suggested that the keys were worn out and that I needed to make a new key to prevent future failure. I did so and only use the new key to start the car. Now, only 3 months later, the ignition periodically sticks as if it is about to start locking up again. If I push the key in firmly, it will turn normally. This is a poor quality mechanism and Ford should recall this before it happens to someone on a 40-below winter night. I will never buy another Ford because of this issue.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #70

Sep 252007

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Without warning, and with no prior occurrence, the key would not turn in the ignition of my 2003 Focus. A friend rescued me and drove me back to work the next morning. I contacted my local Ford dealer, where I had purchased this car brand new - along with a 7 year extended warranty. First, the service department rep tried to play "dumb' when I stated that I'm having the "ignition problem" and he later told me that it's not covered by my warranty. I have pulled out and read the warranty. Ignition switch is covered by my basecare policy. (I will bring it in hand when I have the car serviced in 2 days.) meanwhile, another person at the service desk hinted that I may be able to tap it with a hammer so that it will turn and could drive to the dealer and not have to be towed. Sure enough, a tap of the hammer allowed me to turn the key. I will leave the key in the ignition through the weekend and am struggling with the thought that a replacement from Ford will be another defective part. Whether my warranty covers it or not, I don't want another bad ignition switch! from all that I have read, it seems that a locksmith would replace it with a better quality device than Ford dealers service departments are using.

- Centerville, MA, USA

problem #69

Feb 032005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start when he turned the ignition. She called her insurance company and they advised her to strike the ignition with something, however, the vehicle was able to start moments later. The failure began in 2005 and has occurred six times. The contact took the vehicle to the mechanic and they stated that the ignition switch needed replacing. The current mileage was approximately 60,000 and failure mileage was 40,000.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #68

Aug 302007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,900 miles

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

Ignition cylinder total failure. Key would not turn at all. Search term "ignition cylinder""Ford Focus" on the net and you will be amazed how big of a problem this. Why a safety issue. Well, what would happen if I stopped the car somewhere and was stuck in the desert in the 112 degree heat, which by the way is the temperature that existed when it happened in mesa AZ. I was lucky the car was home. Updated 12/12/07

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #67

Aug 272007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
My car was running fine then suddenly the ignition switch won't turn. Tumbler broke $350 at dealership. Common problem with these cars, yet dealer won't warranty.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #66

Sep 192006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Ignition switch failure.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #65

Dec 042006

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Ignition key switch would not turn to start key. I had to replace the lock assembly on 2003 Ford Focus I bought brand new 12/31/2003. Told by scott reynolds of reynold's Ford that even one of his mechanic's wife had same problem as a number of people have.

- Hampton, IL, USA

problem #64

Jun 302007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 76,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus ignition switch failed, causing the tires, steering wheel and ignition to lock. Therefore, car became inoperable. A subsequent tow damaged the car before being taken to repair shop.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #63

Mar 012006

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
One evening stopped at the store, turned car off, went back to start car, ignition would not turn over. Called towing company, they were able to turn it over. Informed me I needed to get the ignition switch replaced. Looked around found an lock smith that could do it, charged an arm and leg. The problem is recurring and will need to be replaced again. Ford is not responding to the problem, I am not the only one, a petition has been issued with over 900 signatures with the same problem. Ford needs to resolve this issue with a recall.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #62

Jan 052007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the ignition switch would lock up and the key was unable to be turned. A mechanic diagnosed the vehicle as needing a new ignition cylinder. The ignition cylinder has been replaced. The engine size was unknown. The current mileage is 39,035 and failure mileage was 25,700.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #61

May 072007

Focus

  • 43,000 miles
The ignition won't work. I cannot turn the key in the ignition. I have had trouble turning it before, but usually after turning the steering wheel or jiggling the gear shift it would work. Nothing is working today.

- Liberty, MO, USA

problem #60

Dec 012005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The key stuck in the ignition switch on my 2003 Focus pzev. When it finally released it would no longer turn. I had the veihicle towed by aaa and had a aaa locksmith come to repair the ignition which I was told is not covered under my warrenty, at a cost of $300. The locksmith said it is a common problem on the Focus. One month later the locksmith had to come back out to repair it again. A year later I must turn the key back a notch to remove it from the ignition. It will cost me another $300 to have the repair repeated. The locksmith says that the problem is with the part itself and will continue to happen.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #59

Feb 162007

Focus 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,500 miles
I have owned 3 Ford Focus: One 2000 and two 2003. All three vehicles have had an ignition cylinder failure which cost in excess of $300 each time. The key will not turn in the ignition and this happens without warning. On three occasions I have been stranded and had to call aaa to get be to a garage for repair. I have cited only the most recent incident in this complaint. This is a known problem and I fail to see why a recall was never issued. Ford should be held accountable.

- Ridgewood, NJ, USA

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