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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,133 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #18

Aug 092016


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owned a 2004 Ford Focus. While driving 45 mph, the steering wheel veered to the right and vibrated violently. The contact had to release the accelerator pedal and crashed into a ditch. The vehicle flipped over twice. The contact sustained second degree burns from the seat belt, whiplash, and burns to the right arm from the air bags. Medical attention was required. The rear driver side passenger sustained whiplash and stomach bruises from the seat belt, which also required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed and destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Macomb, IL, USA

problem #17

Jun 092015


  • 80,100 miles
I parked the car over night. In the morning on my way to a medical appointment I inserted the key in the ignition and the steering was locked up. The key goes inside the ignition but it would not turn. I only imagine the same situation while I am driving the vehicle. The steering wheel would not move, can it happen" has it happen" let you be the judge.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #16

Feb 102014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, an abnormal noise emitted from the rear of the vehicle as it abnormally began steering to the right. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing however, they could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Mcconnellsburg, PA, USA

problem #15

Apr 082011


  • 31,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. The contact stated that he could hear a whining sound whenever the steering wheel was turned and while driving at any speed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was told that the noise was nothing to be concerned about. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 31,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #14

Mar 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 54,111 miles
Attempted to start car and steering column and ignition was locked. I can't get either to turn.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #13

Jan 162011


  • miles
2004 Ford Focus wagon got into car to drive somewhere. The steering wheel was locked up, perfectly aligned, not askew. The key would not turn in the ignition. After remote starting and checking the fuses, the car did turn on. This seems to be a common problem based on research.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #12

Sep 082010


  • 80,000 miles


My key ignition has locked up on my 2004 Ford Focus leaving me stranded and costing me time from work not to mention the cost its going to be to fix it. I have read many many complaints on this problem and as of yet there is no recall. But I strongly suggest Ford considering a recall because it is a safety issue.... who feels safe stranded on interstate, bad area of town, at night or whatever the case may be!

- Welaka, FL, USA

problem #11

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 #10

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 #9

Jul 172009


  • 70,000 miles
I tried to start my 2004 Ford Focus ZX3 one night only to find that the steering wheel and ignition were locked up. It felt as if the whole steering mechanism was frozen. I'm still researching how to deal with this issues since I can't drive my car. On-line resources have taught me that this is a common problem with the Ford Focus' yet there is no recall available and we are stuck paying hundreds of dollars to fix a manufacturer defect.

- Grandville, MI, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Dec 142008


  • 95,000 miles
The ignition on my 2004 Ford Focus has locked up in the past and I have been able to unlock it with a little jiggling of the steering wheel. Last night was not the same. After trying for 20 minutes, in 20 degree weather, with my 4 year old with me, I had to call a tow truck. They had to tow it to a Ford dealership. After researching this problem, I am shocked to see the amount of people that have had this same issue on the Focus, among other Ford models. Something needs to be done to get this fixed. I am glad I was 10 miles from home rather than over 50. It is these types of issues that don't get resolved that cause consumers to not purchase another Ford vehicle. Also, 2 of my 3 back seatbelts don't work anymore.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #6

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

problem #5

Jun 232008


  • 115,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford Focus. I parked my vehicle at church on Sunday and when I came out - I put my key in the ignition to start my car and it was locked up. No matter what I tried I couldn't turn the key or start my car. I called my brother-in-law to come help me. He tried to and nothing worked. He had the suggestion to look on the internet - to look up Ford Focus and key won't turn on google. I did just that - and there were numerous complaints of this happening to people that had Ford Focus's. a suggestion on there - was to get a small hammer or the end of a screw driver and while you put the key in the ignition - push it real hard and hit the key with a hammer. It worked! my key moved to the start position and I was able to drive my car home. The website that told us to try that said - it would work to get the car to where you wanted it to go - but that you would need a new part for the ignition and it sounded like it would cost quite a lot. I don't have the money for this - so I just leave my key in the ignition at all times - and use my spare key to unlock the car. I feel that there needs to be a recall for this - as many, many people online have complained - it said Ford Focus from years 200-2004 (mine is a 2004). A person can become stranded as this can happen to someone anywhere they park their car. This was covered under warranty - however, my warranty has long passed. Something is wrong with this - since everyone is having problems - I believe it definitely needs to be recalled. Thank you for any help on this matter. Tricia walter

- Muncie, IN, USA

problem #4

Jul 032007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,759 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Focus. While driving 55-70 mph, the vehicle and the steering wheel both began to shake. When the speed is below 55 mph, the shaking will stop or decrease. When applying the brakes while driving, the contact heard metal on metal from the rear of the vehicle on the driver's side. The dealer stated that the brakes were fine. The current mileage was 54,019 and failure mileage was 50,759. Updated 01/02/08 the consumer stated the vehicle squeaked and vibrated and when the brakes were applied there was a grinding noise. The engine mount was replaced, due to it being broken. The shifter squeaked. The rims were bent and the tires were out of balance. Updated

- Big Bear Lake, CA, USA

problem #3

May 012006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,925 miles
: the contact stated while attempting to start the vehicle the key would not turn unless the steering wheel is turned at the same time. The problem occurs intermittently and has not been taken to the dealer. The vehicle is a 2004 Ford Focus.

- Keene Valley, NY, USA

problem #2

Apr 282006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,500 miles
: the contact stated for the past four months, while attempting to start the vehicle, the key will not turn unless the steering wheel and the key are turned at the same time. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the lock assembly, ignition switch, and steering lock mechanism were replaced. This corrected the problem. Updated 05/30/2006.

- Keene Valley, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 082005


  • miles
I drove and parked the 2004 Ford Focus about 40 mins from my home. About 2 hours later, I went to get in my car and the steering wheel was locked. I inserted the key and it would not turn. Several people tried jiggling the steering wheel, stepping on the brake all to no avail. I called aaa and Ford roadside and was told by both that it would need to be towed and that they could do nothing at this time (sat. Evening/ sun morning of columbus day weekend).

- Wall, NJ, USA

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