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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 1
Average Mileage:
52,111 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #33

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 #32

May 032010


  • 92,590 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. The contact was driving with the cruise control set at 80 mph. When she attempted to turn on the headlights, the vehicle began abnormally jerking as if she was repeatedly tapping on the brakes. The trans axle cooling system warning light illuminated when she turned the lights off and on. The cruise control then became inoperable. The vehicle had not yet been taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing or repairs. The failure and current mileages were 92,590.

- Greenville, KY, USA

problem #31

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 #30

Apr 012010


  • 31,954 miles


The ignition lock cylinder failed suddenly without a gradual increase of symptoms. The cylinder would not allow the key to turn, unlock the steering wheel and allowing the car to start. A new ignition lock cylinder was installed and rekeyed at a price of $171.18 for the part and $142.50 for the labor.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #29

Feb 042010


  • miles
Ford Focus 2004 ignition locked. Opened car as usual, inserted key in ignition to turn and steering wheel appeared to be locked. Tried to turn key and move steering wheel but both wouldn't move. Called dealership and was told the ignition was locked and that it was a common problem. Car now needs to be towed to be fixed.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 282010


  • 43,205 miles
First occurrence, without warning, (had never happened before) car shut off, ignition switch would not turn, resulting in vehicle no start condition. (original manufacturers key and ignition switch) contacted aaa auto club, tow truck dispatched, tow truck driver states garage has seen many 2003, 2004,2005 Focus with this problem. Also should be noted numerous similar complaints on file with all model years of this vehicle. Ford dealer that sold me the car and extended warranty claims repair not covered by warranty. Feel this is a serious safety issue as car can stall and fail to restart !!!!!!. also feel that I was sold an overpriced "warranty" which I am told will not cover repair !!! will retain old part for investigation and possible class action. Note : vehicle mileage at failure 43,205.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #27

Mar 152009


  • 60,000 miles


Ignition completely locked up. I could not start car. I was stranded and had to get towed to a Ford dealer. Cost was $500 to fix.

- Toronto, On, 00, USA

problem #26

Aug 052009


  • 44,000 miles
Ignition and steering wheel completely locked up when I put the key in while heading out on my lunch break. I'm really disturbed that the NHTSA has not done anything to make the Ford Motor Company fix this problem which is a chronic, well-documented safety hazard. My car is now completely immobile and had to be towed back to my residence. Luckily my father is going to be able to fix it, but there are many people that don't have this option and have to spend hundreds of dollars to fix a problem caused by faulty materials knowingly used by Ford. I will never buy a Ford again.

- Safety Harbor, FL, USA

problem #25

Jul 102009


  • 64,000 miles
There is a defect which causes the ignition lock to fail, making it impossible to turn the key or start the vehicle's engine. The form says it's invalid but I checked both places in the car and that is what it says. The form did not have, "electrical system:ignition, " as an option for component name which better describes the problem area.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #24

Feb 272009


  • 72,352 miles
2004 Ford Focus - key will not turn in ignition. The first occurrence was 6/27/09 @ 1:15 am, leaving movie theater, had to leave vehicle there. Again @ 7 am (finally got car cranked after 15 minutes). When got home this occurred again. Repeated times. Cannot crank vehicle with key in ignition.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #23

May 282009


  • 75,000 miles


1. Ford Focus (2004) has for the past month had trouble with the key turning in the ignition. Apparently it is a well known issue and Ford refuses to acknowledge that it is a safety issue. However, I absolutely believe that being stranded somewhere at night is very much a safety issue - whether or not Ford admits this possibility. 2. the key does not turn because of a defect in the ignition switch (or so I've read online). This problem has occurred thousands of times according to online complaints and petitions, without Ford recognizing it and taking action. This problem renders the car completely unusable until fixed and the repair can be very costly and time consuming. It is most certainly a safety issue - what is safe about being unable to start one's car if one is on the side of the highway, at night in an unknown city, etc? 3. nothing has been done yet because I am waiting to see if Ford customer service can explain why the company refuses to admit the issue and reimburse it's customers for their faulty design.

- Dublin, NH, USA

problem #22

May 052009


  • 50,000 miles
I own a 2004 Ford Focus that the ignition went out on, I would put the key in and the key would not turn, locked steering wheel. For a while, I would wiggle the key and it would finally turn over, until 2 weeks ago( 5-2009) when I had to have it towed after I got in my car and it would not start. The Ford dealership looked at it the next morning and told me it would be $450 to fix and that this problem has happened to alot of Focus owners, I don't understand why Ford would not want to correct this problem, starting your car is the most important thing needed to drive so without being able to count on your ignition your car is useless and without Ford recognizing this problem and fixing it, I believe alot of Ford owners may not be in the future. You need to be able to start a car!

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #21

Jan 012007


  • 50,000 miles
Ignition switch wont turn which prevents the car from starting this happens on a daily basis, for way over a yr now. Tow truck driver told me this is common problem with this 2004 ZX3 Focus. He said to hit the key a couple of times with your hand and it will turn, and it does. Only way the car will start. Called my local Ford dealer and was told $550 to replace. So still not replaced.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #20

Feb 122009


  • 91,000 miles
Upon leaving a grocery store the ignition key wouldn't turn. I was unable to start the car and called the local Ford dealership. They responded by saying that they would charge $391 plus tax, and that if they damaged the steering column in the process I would be liable for the repair or replacement cost of the column as well. Not willing to take my chances with such an expensive repair that would leave me with a new part that would possibly fail in the same manner, not to mention possible additional costs of repairing or replacing the column I conducted a brief internet search I found that this was an ongoing problem with 1999 through 2007 Ford Focus cars. I also learned that a competent locksmith could repair the switch for between $150 and $200. I was able to get my vehicle repaired for $152, and there was no possibility of damaging the steering column. The original part was removed by the locksmith, rebuilt the switch and replaced it thus repairing the vehicle.

- Searcy, AR, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Dec 132008


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. When the contact removes and re-inserts the key from the ignition, the ignition locks. He was unable to start the vehicle and it was towed to the dealer. He is in the process of having the ignition cylinder replaced. The manufacturer stated that they would not provide financial assistance because his vehicle exceeded the warranty. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 57,000.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #17

Dec 102008


  • 120,000 miles
Got into the car put the key in the ignition and it would not turn. A locksmith hit it with a hammer and it turned, now to get it started I have to hit the key with a hammer but I don't know how long that will last.

- Marietta, OH, USA

problem #16

Oct 152008


  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford Focus. Intermittently I have had difficulty turning the key in the ignition. I place the key in the ignition but the ignition does not move. Generally if I wait and try again several minute later the key will turn. Tonight I left work and attempted to start my car. The key would not turn. I called home and attempted with spare key with similar results. I left car in parking lot until able to call service in morning. Fortunately it was not an emergency and I was able to contact family to obtain alternative transportation.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #15

Oct 122008


  • 41,000 miles
Occasional erratic instrument display operation with periods of instrument panel outage.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #14

Oct 012008


  • miles
I got in my car after lunch on day to return to work and when I put my key in the ignition, it would not turn. I kept trying for approximately 30 minutes and could not get it to turn. This is the second Ford Focus I have owned and the 2nd time this event has occurred. I had to pay $473.20 to have the car towed, the ignition lock replaced, and a new key fitted for the car. The lady at the Ford dealership informed us before we took the car in that there was a possibility of the part being recalled since this happens often. When we took the car in and they began work on it we discovered this was not true. I am just thankful I was not coming back from court or it was late at night or else I would have been stranded on the road.

- Texarkana, AR, USA

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