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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,686 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.

2004 Ford Focus accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #19

Jan 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. The contact stated that after entering the vehicle, the rear passenger and driver's side doors failed to close. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the outside door latches needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 05V030000 (locks/latches) but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000. Updated 12/18/13

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #18

Jul 122011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
The drivers side rear door will not latch, and I'm unable to close the door. A recall for this problem was issued in January, 2005 for the Ford Focus model for the period 2000-2005. My vehicle is a 2004 Ford Focus however, the VIN number is not included in the recall. This, despite the fact that the problem I'm experiencing is exactly as described in the NHTSA report id # 05V030000. I believe that my vehicle should be covered by the recall and respectfully ask your assistance.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #17

Sep 142010


  • 85,000 miles
Parked car as always. Came out to start car to leave and key will not turn in ignition. Had to have it towed. The tow truck driver said they tow Ford Focus models with bad ignitions quite often. A woman in a Focus wagon pulled up in the lot where I was stranded before the tow truck arrived. I asked her to not park there since a tow truck was coming; I also told her why. She said she had several times where her key would get stuck in her Focus. Mine had done that a few times over the past 3 months, it appears based on the internet searches, and just my conversations in one day that this is a major issue. Mine is a 2004 model Focus. So it goes beyond the thinking that it is only 2000 to 2003 models. This past weekend I could have been stranded in the henry M. jackson wilderness area in wa. State, possibly with no cell phone service available either. Luckily this problem happened when I was in civilization. I was in the middle of nowhere this past weekend, in black bear & grizzly bear country.

- Kirkland , WA, USA

problem #16

Apr 112010


  • 87,000 miles


The ignition lock froze up without warning leaving us stranded across town. Thankfully we were in a safe part of town with access to tools so we got the problem resolved temporarily. The ignition can be un frozen by taking apart the steering column and removing all electrical components from the lock. Then put a drip pan under the lock and blow all the metal shavings out of the lock with a liquid lubricant. Do not use WD40. We used a firearm lubricant which will not clump the new shavings and it has worked rather well so far (breakfree). As a precaution we leave the key in the lock which is risky to do in bad parts of town. To circumvent this we remove the key rfid sensor from the car which prevents the engine from starting at all no matter what the lock is doing. This has started to create problems with the immoblizer in the car and now we are looking at needing that to be reset every so often. The best place to get this fixed is not at the dealership as they will use the same crappy parts that got you into this mess to start. Go to a lock smith and have them use non Ford parts. We are waiting on a aftermarket lock to arrive from which has considerable experience on this issue (along with most lock smiths worth their salt). If this happens to you and you live in California go here:, send them a message and attach yourself to the now pending lawsuit (08-15-2010).

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #15

Jun 222010


  • 82,643 miles
Yesterday evening, 6/22/10, after playing tennis at a local park, I got into my '04 Ford Focus wagon, put the key in the ignition, and the key would not turn. The steering wheel was locked, and no matter how I tried, the key would not work. I called my wife to come after me with her key. With some difficulty she was able to unlock the steering wheel and start the car with her key. I drove the car home and left the key in the ignition. Today, I drove the car to a local Ford dealer. I was told that the Focus ignition lock was a known problem. The ignition lock would have to be replaced at a cost of over $410. I googled 'Ford Focus ignition lock problem' and came back with numerous hits of people describing similar incidents. I believe this is a safety issue, and there should be a recall to fix it. Fortunately, I was not left stranded by this problem, but it has happened so many times to so many people, it should be recognized as a defect and a recall issued.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #14

Apr 102010


  • 73,000 miles
The deck lid wiring harness breaks due to fatigue from opening and closing the hatch. In my case, 6 wires in the harness had been completely severed. Because of this, my tail light was out, the door ajar light was on and the brake lights were always on when the car was in drive. Besides the danger of being rear ended because the brake lights are always on, depending on which wires break or have their insulation crack open, there are a number of bad situations: * all rear lights could turn off. * the trunk could open when you apply the brakes. * the trunk could open when you use a turning indicator. This is a known issue with the 2000 Focus hatchback, but there was no recall for the deck lid wiring harness after that year. I just wanted to let you know that it happened on our 2004 Focus hatchback, and it can leave owners and other drivers on the road in a potentially dangerous situation. To correct the issue, I spliced the broken wires back together.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #13

Apr 242010

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


My Ford Focus svt 2004 ingintion key will not turn and the steering wheel is locked. I had problems starting 4 months ago and now it is worst.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 092009


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. While driving at speeds of 25 mph, the rear passenger door would release with the locks engaged. The manufacturer was contacted and although there was a recall for the exact failure (NHTSA campaign id number: 05V030000, latches/locks/ linkages, doors) her VIN was not included in the recall campaign. The contact felt unsafe with a vehicle occupant in the rear near the defective door. The failure mileage was 120,000. The current mileage was unknown.

- Monda, NY, USA

problem #11

Feb 212010


  • miles
The issue I would like to report is in regard to Ford Focus automobiles from 2000 to current date 2010. There is a know defect with the ignition switch which is made with inferior metal parts in the ignition lock. What happens is that metal shavings are produced inside the lock and after time these metal shavings cause the lock to jam. Thousands of people have been affected by this problem and have been stranded because they cannot turn the ignition key. Ford denies this problem. Just go to any locksmith or tow truck driver or google Ford Focus ignition on the internet. Everybody knows about the problem. Everytime this happens it costs the owner between $500 and $800 to have this fixed at a Ford dealership. My 2004 for Focus currently has this problem. This should be a recall by Ford and I think this is the biggest scam since bernie madoff. Please do something about this. Thanks frustrated Ford owner.

- Calgary, 00, USA

problem #10

Nov 142009


  • 67,787 miles
On a Saturday evening I drove to grocery store. After I had finished shopping I tried to start vehicle. I could not turn key in ignition and the steering column remained in the locked position. The vehicle had 67787 miles. I had car towed to Ford dealer and they drilled out lock cylinder and replaced with a new one at a cost of $385.34. Tow truck driver stated that he had towed the same model before with an identical problem. The service manager at dealer stated that he had several of the same model with identical problem. He also stated that the part had been updated a few times. I am 53 and have driven many vehicles, some with over 240,000 miles and have never before had this problem. I feel it was manufactured with a defect and it failed prematurely.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #9

Dec 242007


  • 99,000 miles


I have a 2004 Ford Focus. The ignition locks whenever the car is turned off. It is impossible to start the car again without hitting on the key itself. This has resulted in the key breaking off in the lock. The ignition lock appears to be a common problem with this make and model, and poses a significant safety risk.. I have had this problem for the past 2 years, but it has become much worse recently. There was no accident or damage to the car prior to this issue. The local Ford dealers told me it would cost between $400-500 to fix, and it seems that many times, the new parts are also defective and the problem returns. As this appears to be a widespread problem among Focus owners, please consider issuing a safety recall for this make and model.

- Athens, NY, USA

problem #8

Dec 102009


  • 140,000 miles
No events pulled into parking lot left car for few minutes came back and the ignition was locked solid. From what I am told this is a common issue with the Ford Focus mine is a 2004. This is a safety hazard maybe not to me this time because I was in a parking lot and waited for over an hour for a tow truck however if I was broken down on the side of the road for a flat tire and this happened what then or is this not considered a safety hazard because no one has been killed this seems like something that should of been recalled years ago. Protect the consumer.

- North Grosvenordale, CT, USA

problem #7

Oct 112009


  • 68,000 miles
Key will not turn on ignition will not go into gear nor will the steering wheel turn at all!!!, completely locked ignition car is only five years old and not driven very much w/ only 68K miles on it!, 2004 Ford Focus ZX3.

- Bel-Air, MD, USA

problem #6

Jul 292009


  • 53,600 miles
1. there was no warning sign 2. my key wouldn't turn the ignition, I was stuck at my job 11:00 pm. 3. I had the car towed to the nearest Ford dealerships and had the ignition replaced costing me $382.

- Richmond, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 232009


  • 31,000 miles
Our 17 year old daughter stopped at a seven-eleven store and when she tried to return home the ignition key in our 2004 Ford Focus would not turn. This left our daughter stranded and required her to wait for a tow truck. Being a 17 year old girl stranded outside a seven-eleven was not a good feeling! I believe Ford is aware of many complaints about their Focus ignition locks.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 012009


  • miles
For about a month now, the ignition and/or steering wheel locks up when I try to put the key in to start my 2004 Ford Focus. I initially spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to start the car. Now I realize I have to jiggle, turn, & finagle everything just right & I can get it the ignition to turn in a few minutes. It is ridiculous that I now think getting my car started in under 5 minutes is "good." This happens 9 out of 10 times that I try to start the car. I have seen many similar complaints. Seems like Ford needs to fix this problem. I am not impressed.

- Muncie, IN, USA

problem #3

Jan 012009


  • 48,000 miles
We have already filed a previous complaint for almost exactly the same defect which happened within approximately a year and a half of each other. It was recommended that we file a complaint with you, about 2 separate/similar events that have occurred during our ownership of this vehicle (2004 Ford Focus zx-3). It became difficult to insert/remove key from ignition for a couple of weeks. On the previous occasion the key became stuck and the car would not start. After the onset of the most recent incident, the key became completely stuck in the ignition, it will turn slightly either way, the key will not come out, but the car will start. On the first occurrence we had to have the car re-keyed, and bought a new lock cylinder and had it programmed and installed at the Ford dealership. Luckily the first time it happened we were at a friends house in the neighborhood, so we were not stranded in the middle of nowhere, and this time fortunately the car will still start. However, the key remains stuck in the ignition so realistically someone could steal the car.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #2

Jan 242009


  • miles
Ignition lock up on 2004 Ford Focus. Steering wheel won't unlock and key won't turn. It seems this is a major problem and I think something needs to be done about it.

- Piqua, OH, USA

problem #1

Dec 012008


  • 56,000 miles
The ignition switch on my 2004 Ford Focus (manual trans) locked up the steering column. Luckily the car was not running and parked it still required the call of four tow trucks to get it into the dealer. Because the front wheels were locked in a slanted position when I parked the first flatbed truck wasn't able to load it. It required a second truck to tow it to my own mechanic. From there he required it to be towed to the dealer, same results with tow company's. the dealer wanted to charge $357 on top of the towing fee for ignition lock replacement.

- Madison, OH, USA

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