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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,493 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Jun 302008


  • 73,000 miles


I currently drive a 2003 Ford Focus hatchback 2.3L. After the engine is turned off the ignition and steering wheel lock completely. When attempting to turn on the vehicle, my car key will not turn and the wheel remains locked, in turn the vehicle becomes completely unusable. I call to Ford road side assistant prompted me to quickly move the steering wheel left and right while turning the ignition forwards and backwards. I had been able to turn on the car up to 5 times using this system although once at the mechanic the car will no longer turn on, the mechanic must now drill a hole inside the steering wheel causing property damage. This started on my vehicle on Sunday June 29th. This is a major safety concern as a car that does not allow the motorist to turn on the ignition can lead to possible crashes if the car becomes stalled in a highway etc.

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #6

May 282008


  • 48,500 miles
Key would not turn in the ignition. This has happened several times. After some repeated attempts to start, eventually the key would work. This time, it has refused to budge. Seems to be connected to the steering wheel being turned but that locks up too, so it can't resolve itself. Research on internet such as consumer's report shows this to be a frequent complaint with this model. Defective ignition! the other day it left me stranded with two small children. I would classify that as a safety concern!

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #5

Sep 112007


  • miles
(1) not sure (2) steering wheel and ignition are locked and can not be moved anymore (3) new lock

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 192006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


While driving, the steering system became difficult to control, which resulted in an severe accident.

- Freedom, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 152006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2003 Ford Focus and I have several issues. In the last year I have experienced problems with the ignition locking and as well as the steering wheel, I contacted the dealer carey paul Ford in Decatur, ga and was told that I had to pay for repairs, which I did, after being stranded with my son. This cost me $260, I am a single mother and cannot afford to spend money on problems that the manufacturer clearly was aware of. The trunk on the vehicle just randomly opens at any given moment, you're riding along the road and the trunks just opens for no reason. This I find just annoying but would also like to have corrected. My latest issue is that on yesterday 04/16/06, while driving along the steering wheel just became loose and I could barely control the car, I made it to a Firestone dealer that recommended that I take the vehicle to the dealer, which I will do first thing in the morning. I can't stop thinking that I or someone else on the road could have been seriously injured or killed. I can't understand how a manufacturer can continue to market a product as safe when clearly there are issues with it. I have found numerous web sites and personally spoken with Focus owners with the same problems, what will it take to get Ford to take responsibility for it's product. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #2

Dec 222005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact stated steering wheel locked and she could not get the steering wheel to turn. It locked while the vehicle was parked. A neighbor was able to unlock the steering wheel by maneuvering the steering wheel with the key in the ignition. Updated 1/19/2006 - the vehicle was repaired at the dealer.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #1

Feb 012003


  • miles
Vehicle has been taken to have repairs done three times and vibration problems has not been resolved. The consumer expects Ford to repurchase the vehicle under the provisions of the applicable lemon law in the state of Maryland, because of consistent problems with the vehicle. The consumer stated the vehicle had a defective tie rod bushing, bearing assembly, axle shaft and joint, front end alignments and numerous wheel and tire adjustments

- Potomac, MD, USA

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