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8.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$490.00
Average Mileage:
80,120 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace alternator (5 reports)
2005 Ford Focus electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 302012

Focus ZX5 SES

  • Manual transmission
  • 67,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

It is now February 2013. My son bought this manual 2005 Ford Focus Hatchback with 39,000 miles in June 2010. It now has nearly 70,000 miles and we have replaced the alternator 3 times each costing $600 +. The last time was Jan 2012. Today another one goes out. Four alternators before 70,000 miles is ridiculous. No Ford dealer knows why (or they are not saying). 2 new batteries. Every time this happens, the battery light goes on and several minutes later the car just quits - the steering locks and the engine dies. Once he was able to coast to the side of the interstate (late at night so no real traffic), once he was in town on a residential street, and today on his way to the naval base (deploying tonight), the car dies in rush hour traffic. Why Ford has not recalled this menace I can't imagine. Other than numerous electrical issues and new tires every 5000 miles, it's a pretty little leather seat vehicle. It is very dangerous - we are miles away and can't even help him. I got a call that it was dying and haven't heard back - don't even know that he managed to get it safely out of traffic.

Don't buy a used Ford EVER!!

- , Huntington, WV, USA

problem #4

Mar 042013

Focus ZX4 SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

Bought a used car from a little used car dealer lot - mistake #1. I did not pull up a vehicle history report from the VIN# before purchase - mistake #2.

Found out that this little gem shakes and vibrates with harmonic engine resonate frequencies (different pieces of the car shake and make noises at different RPMs), which another Focus had - thought it was "normal" for this car. Later found out with another Focus purchase ( an older 2002 hatchback model with the same 2.0 motor) that this is not the case. Found out that the 2005 was a Lease Rental vehicle from the report - reason for so many miles for a 2005. Appears that the motor mounts are bad - problem #1. We put up with the noise and vibration.

Gas economy is supposed to be the same as the 2002 - but it isn't. 2002 has an air filter. 2005 has an "LIFETIME" non replaceable device - which I suspect is getting clogged with 150K miles. Fix: cut out the factory intake and install an aftermarket new intake manifold and filter. ($250 min.)

Now - the ALTERNATOR... Bought it with the battery cranking a little slow. OK - buy a new battery, problem solved. It stay solved for about 1 year - meanwhile the battery light would come on at low idle with the AC on high (electrical loading), and go away if I gave it some gas. Thought - OK, just have to keep the RPM's up to keep the battery fully charged.

About 1 year after purchase and new battery install - go out in the morning to crank it up and leave. Dead Battery. Had my 98 Explorer on standby. (another problem child). Took the battery out for replacement - thinking I had a bad one from the parts house. They put a charge on it for 30 mins, came back, said GOOD BATTERY. That narrows things down a bit: ALternator or PCM computer module - both not a cheap repair.

Took it to another parts house (best always to get second opinions) to test the alternator. ALternator = bad. Putting out about 1 amp from a 110 amp device on full load. Problem isolated. Asked for price. Quoted about $160 for a rebuilt model.

Not too bad - considering today's high prices for parts. All I needed to do is put in the alternator and I'm good to go. That's when I found out WHERE that thing is located on the motor. That's where I pulled up YouTube videos of how other people were changing these out. That's where I said - not me.

Half the motor has to be moved out of the way to get to it. There is no space to move down there. Is usually comes down from under the car, with a motor mount removed....

Fix: Firestone. $520.00 for a new alternator and belt.

If I EVER have to come across another alternator situation with this car again - it's GONE. This repair job has to be amoung the worst - right up there with trying to yank a fuel pump from a Ford Explorer fuel tank. (had that happen to me too - reason enough to sell the beast).

Any of you guys old enough to recall the good old days where fuel pumps where little $20 devices mounted on the front of V8 motors? Alternators had their little V-belts and were right there hanging off the front of the motor? No computer modules or sensors or extra special high dollar digital diagnostic scanners to pull codes from a machine?

And they say advancement in technology is great. I had a 1972 Opel Manta with a 1900cc 4 cylinder motor that got 27 mpg that cost about $2000.00 and weighed about 2000 pounds.

Cars now have the same little 2.0 4 cylinder motors, carry more weight in insulation and wiring (less sheetmetal and more plastic), cost 10 times as much - and get about the same MPG as my 1972 car with a single barrel carb.

This entire FRONT WHEEL DRIVE concept of unibody cars sucks. Makes working on motors hard. No space to work in. Computers make it worse. Sensors have to work or they tell the PCM module bad info, which provides out of parameter data.

New cars? I hate'm all.

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 282012

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,600 miles

My Focus is a 2005 and has nearly 90,000 miles on it. I bought it used July 2011 with 79,000 miles on it. I was leery of buying a Ford, I had an Explorer 8 years ago whose transmission imploded, but I'm divorced and my financial situation doesn't give me many options. The car was affordable and with a long work commute I needed fuel efficiency. It ran perfectly for 6 months and I was very pleased....until yesterday morning. Without warning - not even a low battery, check engine or oil light - the radio died, swiftly followed by the dashboard gauges and finally the engine while I was stopped at a traffic light exiting a shopping center. It would not restart. Fortunately, I was only 5 miles from home and less than a mile from my mechanic, where I had the car towed. Mechanic confirmed it: bad alternator. And of course it's not covered in my extended warranty. Sigh.

My mechanic is fixing it, but after reading your stories, I'm worried it's going to happen again. And I'm mad at myself that I fell for the Ford line again after already having one Ford vehicle tank on me. Needless to say, Ford won't get a 3rd try at me after the Focus is paid off and I can get rid of it. No more Fix Or Repair Daily cars for me!

- , Salisbury, MA, USA

problem #2

Jan 192010

Focus SE 2.0L Inline 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles

12/15/09 - I was experiencing intermittent battery light indicator lighting, but dimly, as if there were a short somewhere. I went in to have battery terminals cleaned and battery tested. They said that my battery was nearly dead, and that it should be replaced. So the battery was replaced.

1/8/2010 - Battery light reappeared dimly, and flickering, again as if it were a short. But then went away for a few days. But then I'd turn ignition key, and on four separate occasions over next two weeks, it tripped everything off, in other words, radio went to AM band, clock had to be reset; acted as if battery had been disconnected. I'm handicapped in my right hand, so hard for me to handle car problems. But I looked under hood and saw that they did a really shoddy job cleaning the battery. Corrosion reforming, negative wires corroded through, it seemed! WTFF!!!

1/18/2010 - The car was good enough to let me get my groceries previous night (I work 2nd shift), but "tripped" (like above) again after store. Engine was still cranking and let me come home. Next day, tried to go to work, engine would not start! Battery light still fluttering, but brighter, stronger.

The next day, dealer came to jump car. It started, but car ran weakly, thought it was going to die enroute (2.4 miles). Made it there. This time, a different tech worked on it. New battery terminals, new neg wires. The ground wire had completely corroded through. Dealer acknowledged shoddy work when they'd replaced battery, that cost was on them. Then, after battery work, battery light was on, bright and steady. They said I needed new alternator. Next day, after battery cleaned, car had much energy, full of zip. I thought, That's very cool! Focus IS good car, esp w/only 45k miles. I wanted to keep it another year, and then talk trade-in when most of note paid.

1/23/2010 - "YOU GOTTA BE SH* ME!!!!" Battery light returns, like recurring nightmare! Rather dimly lit, but definitely present! Car still peppy as battery was new. But it was NOT CHARGING!!! or, that's what the return of the battery light told me.

Wouldn't you know, the battery light had nearly vanished by the time I got to the dealer! Tech said that he didn't see it. I'd checked here and other places on the web. Asked him to check alternator, that it's in the right position (some people said that an incorrectly installed alternator wouldn't charge properly), and also to check that PCM computer chip to see that it wasn't blown. At one point they came back and said that they now saw the light flickering dimly, and that they'd have to replace the alternator. 'AGAIN???" I said? I told them we just DID that! They gave me this dumb look and went back to do recheck their facts ...

I wish I could tell you the resolution to this, but ...

... I started talking with the sales people. Curious what might be involved with a trade-in, expecting to have to fork over huge $$$ and also have this car's issues resolved. To make a long story short, they were able to make a deal with me that solved many problems for me. I'm now in a Sangria Red 2010 Focus SE. No money down, not even w/insurance. Saved $30.00/mo off note that I was paying on the '05. That more than covers the slight increase in insurance for the new car. Brand new car, new factory warranty, and includes the price of the Premium Warranty. Don't have to buy tires (it was due). Don't have to buy brake pads. And above all, no more electrical problem. People may say that I shouldn't have gone with another Focus. But I've always liked Fords (5 Rangers over the years), fell in love with the '05 when I bought it, and got over 45K on it with relatively no hassle.

As for the '05, I guess I'll never know. Before I was off the lot, they'd brought it up to me so I could clean it out, but they'd already slapped a sticker in the window, selling it "AS IS!" Can't find it reselling in the dealer's used inventory, or anywhere else for that matter. Very odd.

This dealer's service dept was very cordial with me throughout this ordeal (with the exception of the poor cleanup when they replaced the battery). They always took the car right away. And the deal that they worked out with me on the new Focus was unexpectedly great. Nobody's perfect ... but I can only hope to find a Ford service dept that's as good when I move to MA later this year.

As for the alternator ... I agree with others that there should be a recall set up. Alternators are not supposed to die after only 45K miles. And the way things happened, I think that the PCM computer thing, or the battery sensing fuse, was blown. I definitely recommend the Premium Warranty on ANY car for ANY situation that may come up like this. It would have been nearly 800.00 over these 3 occasions, if I didn't have the warranty.

- , Vernon, CT, USA

problem #1

Aug 012009

Focus SES 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles

This is the 2nd thing that's gone wrong with this car, 1st the bands on the transmission broke off and had to be replaced, it left my car undriveable for several months while I tried to find a way to fix it (this was at 40,000 miles Thanks for the quality product Ford), now this, the alternator, at such low mileage - 48,500! This is probably why I had to replace my battery not long ago. I must complain about the difficulty of replacing the alternator, I have changed many alternators on many different cars. This is by far the most complicated one. Just to take the serpentine belt off you apparently have to remove the motor mount and jack the engine up and push it to the side, then to get the alternator off you have to remove about 5 things before you can get to it. I'm not doing it, I'm sending it to a shop. My price for the repairs was the cheapest I was able to find, thats $97.50 for labor and $175.00 for the part. If you buy the Motorcraft part its $265.00, excuse me for not buying the same brand that failed so quickly. I found multiple forums with many Focus owners saying their alternators go out around the same mileage, and then others that say their alternator goes out about every 50,000 miles. Spectacular.

- , Alvin, TX, USA

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