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.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
10,250 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #10

Aug 192007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. When the contact placed her vehicle into park, turned it off, and then started it up again, the vehicle surged forward. The contact stated that if it is in drive, the vehicle would surge forward. In addition, the air bags failed to deploy. If the vehicle is in reverse, it would surge backward. The contact only notified the insurance company. A crash occurred and an occupant was injured. The manufacturer has not been notified. The contact stated that the air bags also failed to deploy. The current mileage was 36,600 and failure mileage was 35,000.

- Palatka, FL, USA

problem #9

Jan 042007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
Car had sudden acceleration that was almost uncontrollable--Aug 2004 causing crash with 1 injury & car accelerated uncontrollably in reverse causing crash with damage to house...both accidents could have been fatal..owner was accused of careless driving but was not at fault either time.

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #8

Apr 042007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
I recently purchased a 2003 Ford Focus ZX3 with low mileage. I have an intermittment problem with it stopping. The engine surges and when you press the brake pedal it is stiff. It has always done it in heavy traffic. I have had it to a Ford dealer three times. The first time they couldn't find what was wrong with it and said they were calling Ford to talk to the engineers. Ford informed them they had several complaints on this problem, but no recall. They replaced the brake booster on it the second time. I picked it up and the very next day I was in heavy traffic and the engine surged even more and the brake pedal was stiff. The Ford dealer has had it for a week now with no communication from them so far. This car is dangerous to drive and gives no indication it it going to do it. I have had several incidents with this starting in November. Since the beginning of April the problem has become quite frequent.

- Churchville, NY, USA

problem #7

May 062005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


There is a cross member piece of metal behind the dash of the car, the cross member bar behind the dash has obvious rust spots. The brace behind the dash which extends from the steering column to the right end of the dashboard has obvious oxidation spots and rust. There is no indication of the cause. No water spots inside the vehicle. These rust spots can be seen behind the glove compartment as well. Vehicle has very low mileage. Vehicle also has a stuck accelerator caused by failure to the throttle body plate.

- Hillsdale, NJ, USA

problem #6

Feb 152004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Vehicle experienced sudden acceleration. While approaching a stop sign driver began to slow down, applied the brakes, and vehicle suddenly surged forward. Driver had both feet on the brakes. Driver has to turn off the engine to get the vehicle to slow down to a stop. The vehicle also jerked went the consumer reached speeds of 55 mph and higher.

- Sherman, TX, USA

problem #5

Jan 272005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. Driver applied the brakes, and the pedal went to the floor. Driver was able to maintain control of the vehicle, and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic determined that the problem could not be duplicated. The dealer told the consumer that the brakes are not the problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Aug 182004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,500 miles


The consumer that the vehicle has 12,000 miles and the vehicle will accelerate on its own. It will reach as high as 7,000 rpms without effort. The consumer contacted the dealer and the manufacturer and neither were willing to assist. Provide further details.

- Elgin, SC, USA

problem #3

Jul 142004

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Consumer can shift gears without pushing the shift release button. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. On several occasions, the consumer accidentally shifted into neutral when driving and at highway speeds. On another occasion when the vehicle was shifted from neutral to drive without knowledge of having done so until the vehicle suddenly lunged forward.

- Hurricane, UT, USA

problem #2

Nov 152003

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On October 31 of 2003, I purchased Ford Focus SE, brand new.. for five month I own this vehicle, I was in the shop for all kind different problems 9 times. It was: Constant very strong vibration while driving at any speed, constant grounding noise comes from engine site and transformed to an ultrasound noise at hire speed, the squealing has intensified and sounds horrible! transmission locked up while I drove on the highway at 70 mph, had to use tow track.( dealer sad they cannot duplicate the problem),but transmission still locks and jerking constantly, squeal noise from breaks, (dealer replaced front pads and resurface drum, but refused to repair rear breaks and noise and pulsation is still there., dealer found defective rims, defective tires, throttle problems, brakes problems. Problems with my car intensified. I got my cruse control accelerated by it self in the middle of a highway, transmission locks up and jerking intermittently, brakes squealing and pulsate the Ford dealer sales and service people said that I should not return for service and waist any bodyS time, he said that what I hear and fill in my Ford Focus is normal. Ford warranty is not worth a paper it is written on. So, Ford wonT fix my car and I cannot do it other wise. As a result of strong vibration and squealing noise I am loosing balance, have severe headache, all body eking, I have pain in booth of my arms, and I have difficulty to walk and my right leg become num. I have to use walking cane and knee and ankle support. I scared to even drive it anymore. I am pleading to you, to to get a full refund from Ford Motor Company for its defective product, plus a compensation for all expenses incurred as a result of this ordeal.

- Palm Coast , FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 172004


  • miles
When driving 20 mph engine revved, causing the vehicle to accelerate. Consumer was able to stop the vehicle without incident. Vehicle was towed to the dealership, however, the mechanic was not able to determine the case of the problem. Please add any further details.

- West Seneca, NY, USA

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