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:
Average Mileage:
79,790 miles
Total Complaints:
64 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (23 reports)
  2. replace ignition (13 reports)
  3. hammer to key while turning it (10 reports)
  4. drill out and replace lock cylinder (8 reports)
  5. buy a new keylock (2 reports)
  6. 3-n-1 oil on key and a tap worked! (1 reports)
2004 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Sep 282009

Focus ZTS 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


I was about 35 miles from home when the key wouldn't turn in the lock....UGH!

I finally got it to turn after jiggle and trying after about 10 minutes. My friend has the same car and has replaced her ignition 2 x and my brother in law also replaced his ignition in his focus. I was aware of the problem but never expected it to happen as I have 80000 miles and haven't had an issue. I was also under the impression it was more prevalent in 2000-2003. I called the Ford dealer and told them that this is a serious defect that needs to be dealt with...I told him that I was aware of the class action lawsuit in California and I am currently inquiring on how to attach myself to it. I find it insane that these dealers don't stand behind the garbage they sell. They should at least honor a good will repair since they sold us garbage. This isn't an item that should wear is defective mfg. in my opinion.

- , Abilene, KS, USA

problem #23

Sep 142009

Focus 2.3L

  • Manual transmission
  • 66,000 miles

This is my second, and last, Ford. My Mustang GT had numerous problems, we sold it. Now the Focus, which gets crap gas mileage for an economy car, won't start, and neither will half the Foci out there, judging from the internet. All suffer from cheap locks which Ford will not fix. Most folks end up paying for a $200 tow to the dealer who then charges $300-500 to replace a cheap $10 lock. Every few months, too, apparently. This is the kind of expensive nuisance problem that drives away customers, and I am one. I bought the shop manuals on ebay for $58, and the replacement keylock on ebay for another $52, and that's that, except the problem should have been fixed by Ford in 2000 when it first started, and the 2004's are still breaking and stranding folks to this day!!!! Outrageous!!!

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #22

Jul 252009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

Like many others we too had a problem with a key that would not run in the ignition in our Ford Focus. Talk about a really major pain. My husband and I were at a movie, got out at 11:00pm and the key just would not turn. After 30 minutes of trying, we gave up, figured there was was something really wrong and would fix it in the morning. We tried to walk the apporx 5 km home but I had recently hurt my ankle and couldn't do it. Finally called my daughter and her boyfriend and they had to come from the other side of town to get us. The next day (Sunday) we again got my daughter and her boyfriend to pick us and replaced the battery thinking this would solve the problem. Didn't work. My husband went on line to see if there was anything and found all these complaints about similar problems with Fords. The company should do something about this. This is the first Ford I have ever owned and will probably be the last. This car is a lemon.

- , Tecumseh, ON, Canada

problem #21

Jul 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


Wow! After having this problem tonight for the zillionth time, i decided to look online and "Voila!" I cannot believe ford will not recall these cars!! It is insane and maddening to think we are all spending money on the same problem. :(

- , Waxhaw, NC, USA

problem #20

Jun 022009

Focus ZX3

  • Manual transmission
  • 84,000 miles

Actually we really enjoy this little car and this is the first problem we've had with it since we've owned it the last two years. After finding this site and reading the complaints I went on E-Bay and found an ignition switch to fit my car. Doc_Locksmith had me send a spare key to him which he used to key the new switch with. I received the new switch within a week of purchase and he also e-mailed simple instructions on how to replace the old switch. It took me an hour this morning to get the job done. Half that time was spent getting the right tool to remove the seven screws. Took 10 minutes to put it all back together and crank her up. Total cost about $55.00 which included shipping.

- , Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #19

Jun 212009

Focus SE 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Well First off I would like to thank all who posted on this site about these Ford Focus Problems, Really saved me cash I did not have.

It all started about a week ago, My wife is in medical school and at school one night I get this call saying "Baby the steering wheel is locked and wont turn. I cant start the car!" So naturally I just assume its just that the wheel was locked to far when she parked.

So I said just go ahead and the the pressure of the steering column lock and turn the key, It should work. She says " You don't understand Its totally locked up and I tried that!"

So I'm like hmm, ok that's strange. Just fiddle with it a bit. As this is our only car I couldn't go check it out, So I waited for her to call me back. She did after about 10 mins and said a guy who has had that happen to him on his Ford truck helped her out. So that was a sigh of relief.

Come now yesterday that damn thing did it again!! Thank god she was at home, On top of that she just got home from work, So this thing is very unpredictable.

So the car has been outside sitting there locked up, Me not knowing WTF to do, So I decide to google it and this is the 1st site I go to and poof all these complaints. So now I'm like Just great! This is gonna be costly.

So I read for a bit and see this Hammer Tapping trick, So I'm game better than having a useless car, But I think my luck is horrible tho. I said to hell with it I'll try it, wont kill me. I go out there and start tapping away and at 1st it didn't seem like it was gonna work, "Figures" is what goes through my head. But hell I need a car so I try some more and low and behold it worked!!

So The Hammer Tapping trick is confirmed to have worked "success times may vary lol" But Thanks again to all who posted, Saved my butt that's for sure.



- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #18

May 182009

Focus ZX3 2.3L Pzev

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I signed up for the class action lawsuit. My key won't turn in the ignition. Bad Ford BAD!!!!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 232009

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,505 miles

Extended coverage my a- - fix it at Ford and pay. I must have done something to it they said, I'm not the only one with this problem I see. 3 battery's replaced on top of this; recall the crap! Don't get the rust inhibitor, it killed the battery once and has not worked again. Ford was a good make with a backbone at one time!!!

- , Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada

problem #16

Mar 302009

Focus 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Went to have my tires rotated and the mechanic couldn't get my car started. My ignition totally locked up. Had to call a tow truck to have my car towed to a shop. Real pain in the ass. I called Ford and asked them if they would cover the problem. They declined. My next option is small claims court or try to attach myself to the California Class Action suit. What a bunch of bull.

- , Warrenton, OR, USA

problem #15

Mar 172009

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Like many other Focus owners, I was leaving work, and voila, my key won't budge. I have it towed, and it costs 450 bucks to fix. I've already replace brakes twice, new transmission, and clutch. Never buying ford again.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #14

Dec 192008

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


The first time I had issues with my ignition was about a month ago.. I went to start the car and the key wouldn't turn. So I turned the key and the wheel at the same time and eventually it turned. That went on for about a day and a half, after that I had no problems at all, I got in and the key turned with no problems. I went to leave work today which is Friday and guess what, I got in the car and tried to turn the key and nothing. I tried getting it started for 45min and I finally gave up and someone came and got me. This is ridiculous.. How many people have to complain before Ford looks at this as a real issue..This should have been made a recall after the first few complaints and everyone that has had this issue and had to pay out of pocket should have been reimbursed, and then some. This problem is an inconvenience to anyone that has had to deal with it. And if this is how Ford treats there customers and handle there complaints, I will never buy Ford again. I will invest my money with a company that actually takes care of there customers instead of ignoring them..

- , Ft.Wayne, IN, USA

problem #13

Dec 132008

Focus LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 95,000 miles

An ignition problem as well. The key just wouldn't turn. I had my 4 year old with me and it was about 15 degrees outside. Had to wait for a tow truck, repair cost about $360. Of course, the mechanics at the Ford dealership were not willing to admit that this is a MAJOR problem with the Focus.

- , Boise, ID, USA

problem #12

Oct 232008

Focus 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 39,000 miles

Just adding my complaint to the long list of Focus ignition key problems. The key goes in but does not turn. Problem has been appearing on and off for 6 months, but yesterday when I was leaving for work, the sucker just would not turn. After reading on the internet , I hit the key with a hammer and that worked. But It's obviously getting worse and I'll get it repaired tomorrow for 400 bucks and 3.5 hours of waiting.

This should be a recall. Some people say that it has happened to them 3 times on the same car--with a $400 replacement each time. I only have 38K on the car, so that does not bode well for my chances to have this happen again. I bought American for once and look where it got me. Next time, it's back to a foreign car.

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #11

Oct 072008

Focus SE ?

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

This is the second time this has happened. The first time, it resolved miraculously. The car sits in the driveway while we hope for the same.

- , St Paul, MN, USA

problem #10

Aug 242008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,650 miles

I just had this problem. Nothing happened to make me think this would happen. Got in the car, put the key in the ignition and it would not turn. As others have mentioned I thought I was crazy but after 30 minutes and being ate to church I knew I would have to pay for another car repair issue. A mechanic friend took everything apart and I still have to jam a screw driver in the key hole then put my key in and turn. I will not get this fixed until Ford agrees to pay for it. I went to a local news station website to find out how to move forward with making Ford take responsibility. Through the website I filed a complaint with the government complaint website requesting they hold Ford accountable. I also filed a complaint on If everyone who has had this problem files complaints at these 2 sites as well as sites like this I think Ford will be forced to do something. Please don't just get mad and put no action behind it.

- , North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #9

Apr 192008

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,550 miles

I am an 18 year old still in high school whose mother moved out of town right after Christmas, so i am basically on my own. I was leaving a restaurant with some friends when this problem occurred. I have no relatives that live here in town with me, and there is nothing i can do about this problem for another two days. I am most likely going to have to pay to fix this problem myself with money i don't have. It would be nice, seeing as how this is a reoccurring problem for many, if this was a recall. I don't think i can do this on my own.

- , Manhattan, KS, USA

problem #8

Mar 292008

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

You can put the darn key in the ignition but you can't make it go!..My kids are stuck at the store while I am at work because the key won't turn and the steering wheel is froze. Not to mention the cost of the tow so it thing can be replaced

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #7

Jan 082008

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This problem leaves you stranded wherever you are when it happens. I performed the repair on my own. Had to drill out the old cylinder and replace it with a new cylinder purchased from a local locksmith. The new cylinder had been "keyed" to fit the original "chipped" key.

- , Leesville, LA, USA

problem #6

Jan 032008

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

leaving after a long day of work get in my car and it don't start, not to mention its about 10 degrees out side how would u feel....

- , Natrona Heights, PA, USA

problem #5

Dec 142007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,194 miles

I walked out of work for lunch got into my car put my key in the ignition and nothing. It wouldn't turn forward it wouldn't turn back! WTF! That had never happened before! I took the key out and tried turning the wheel and then turning the key....nothing! I called my local Ford dealership and asked them about the problem. They told me that it sounded like my ignition had gone out. I told them what are you talking about? I'v never had any problems before and now all of a sudden this?? He told me that some times this happens. I asked him how much it was going to cost me. He let me know that I had an extended warranty on my vehicle and that I only had a $100 deductible. But he assured me that if I didn't have the warranty then it would cost me alot more to fix. He told me to call a local towing service to have the car towed the 4 miles to the dealership. I called the tow company and it cost $65 to tow my small car 4 miles down the road!! OMG I am so pissed!!! Thankfully the dealership could order the part and have it in the same day. But I'm still just not understanding all of this. After getting on the internet and researching this problem I'v come to find out that this is happening alot and all over! This is a problem and there needs to be a recall!! I've had no other problems on this vehicle except for something with an air vent that had to be replaced. This was a terrible unconvince for me and this all happened on a Friday afternoon. Great start to the weekend hu??

- , La Grange, TX, USA

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