Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
116,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace ignition coil (1 reports)
2003 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #2

Jan 072013

Focus V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 182,000 miles


This is insane! I have never had this many problems with a vehicle! Now I realize this vehicle has a lot of mileage but this is getting ridiculous! And forget about asking Ford to help! They just want you to keep spending you money. Even the dealership cannot resolve this issue! This all started back in November 2012. One night my fiance is driving home from work and the engine compartment is smoking! He got it over to the mechanic and they open the hood to find that the battery was severely swollen and almost exploded. The mechanic found that the altenator was overcharging the battery. So both the altenator and battery were replaced. We get in the car to drive it home and the headlights won't come on. The next day the mechanic found that the headlight sockets were fried-meaning they were melted! Car ran ok with a terrible smell! Fast-forward to January 2013. The battery light never went off, took it to the dealership they reset the PCM but the light would not go off. My fiance was on his way to work when he drove through a large puddle and the car stalled out. Had it towed to our house as we both had to work (not to mention no money since the previous problem took our whole savings-Thanks Ford!!!!) It took some figuring on my fiance's part but he got the car started with starting fluid. A code for the O2 sensor came up. So, we replaced it, erased the code, and the car is still a POS-meaning it's still is having issues with staying running correctly. It runs, just not very well. Also, we checked the catalytic converter to make sure we did not crack the inside parts when going through the puddle. It was fine. Well, during the test run we found out that the blower motor bogged down the car. So, my uncle who is a Ford mechanic in another state said to replace the ignition coil first and maybe the starter selenoid. We will have to see if that is it. I hope it is, we have already spent over $800 on this recent issue! And the $35 test at the dealership produced nothing! No more codes, just a battery light and a crappy running car! Well, by time we are done almost all the major electrical conponents will be replaced! Replaced so far-battery, altenator, spark plugs & wires, O2 sensor, mass air flow sensor, headlight sockets, battery cables, all relays, some computer board, a PCM, and now the Ignition coil. I would just get rid of the car except it is in my mom's credit with only $1700 left on the loan! And I talked to a lawyer about the lemon laws and the car is too old to qualify! What is really sad is my mom is driving our old 1985 Ford Ranger that has over 500,000 miles on it. Still runs like a champ and just leaks a little oil! That was the only reason why we took over the loan payments on this car when she couldn't pay. WHAT HAPPEN TO YOU FORD?!?!?!? AND WHY WON'T YOU GIVE US ANSWERS INSTEAD OF TRYING TO SELL US ANOTHER CAR THAT WILL PROBABLY BREAK DOWN TOO?!?!?!? I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE TEARS THAT I'M CRYING AS I WRITE THIS! WE ARE NOW TOTALLY BROKE BECAUSE OF YOUR INEPTNESS TO BUILD VEHICLE THAT LAST ANYMORE! I hope this is not deemed inappropriate by the site because this car has costed us sooo much more than just money. And this is not just with us, on another forum I read about a man whose marriage was suffering because of a Ford Focus and another person who was severely injured because of a recalled Focus that ruined that person's ability to continue in thier career. Maybe all of us Focus owners should get a class action lawsuit and then maybe Ford will listen!

- , Joliet, IL, USA

problem #1

Apr 292007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3 Power Premium 2.0L Zetec

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

About 30,000 miles into ownership, I descovered that the engine does not want to idle down properly at times. I have a manual tranny for a reason---engine breaking power. But what good does it do to let off the gas when the engine is not slowing down, to slow the car down? The problem had gotten more pronounced last year before my 3yr/36k warranty expired, so I decided to send it into a Ford dealership to get it checked. Over the phone, they first told me that they were probably going to re-flash the computer. Then, a couple of days later they called me and said they didn't have the equipment at the dealership to do a reflash on the newer system that Ford is using, so I would have to wait a couple days max. Then, once the equipment had arrived, they decided that this wasn't the problem and said the TPS (throttle position sensor) was out of wack. Then, they called me back and said the EGR unit (exhaust gas recirculation) was bad. Then, they called me and said that they changed their mind and were going to replace the throttle body unit. So after all that, they replaced the throttle body with a new one free of charge. I used one of their SUV's to drive to work a couple days.... no big deal. So then there was no more idling problems that year. But this year is the same reocurring problem which leads me to believe it's not the throttle body. The idle problem only occurs after the engine is mostly up to full temperature and has been driven at least 4 miles in warmer weather (idle problem doesn't occur below 60 deg weather). I'll go to slow for a stoplight and let of the gas....... and the engine almost doesn't do anything, it just sort of floats where I left the gas. So I have to force it to slow with the brakes and wherever I slow it to, it pretty much stays, except it "floats" around a bit. When I roll to a stop with the clutch in and foot on the brake, the engine sort of spools up to about 2,200-2,600 rpm and floats around a little bit. If it's a hot day, it will never idle down below 2,200 rpm even after sitting still for a long time. "Eventually" it settles down to the normal 700ish rpm. Really anoying problem. I like manual transmissions for their reliability and simplicity, but this is worse than a slushy automatic when I let off the gas and get no pull-down from the engine.

- , Rockford, MN, USA

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