really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,152 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.

2001 Ford Focus electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 10)

problem #194

Jun 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 186,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the key broke off in the ignition. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis where it was stated that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the problem recurred. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 186,000.

- Sterling Heights , MI, USA

problem #193

Nov 292012


  • 128,000 miles
Attempted to start my car. Inserted key into the ignition and a warning chime began. Steering wheel was locked and I cannot move it. Ignition will not turn. Cannot drive at this time.

- Champlin, MN, USA

problem #192

Jul 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the keys became stuck in the ignition cylinder and could not be used to start the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to a repair shop or to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was repaired by a locksmith who replaced the ignition cylinder and issued a new key. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The contact stated that the problem could have been related to a defective side bar in the ignition cylinder lock. The VIN was unavailable. The current mileage was 140,000. The failure mileage was 130,000....updated 08-10-12 the consumer stated the cost of the repair was $177. Updated 08/13/2012

- North Olmsted , OH, USA

problem #191

Aug 132011


  • miles


I put the key in the ignition to start the car and the key would not turn and my steering wheel locked up. I spoke a friend about it and she stated she has the same problem she has a Ford Focus please tell me what to do if it was an emergency I would not be able to leave or pull off in the event of something happening.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #190

Jan 192011


  • 75,000 miles
I have had my Focus now for only about 3 years, & have had more problems than I have had with any other vehicle I have ever owned before, combined. Ford focuses from the years 2000-2003 have an apparent ignition problem, and I am one of the unfortunate owners to be left stranded by this issue. I am completely astonished that practically every single Focus owner has had this problem & yet the ignition has not been recalled! I have had 2 other recalls on my vehicle, both very stupid trivial items which has never affected me in the slightest. I am very close to just scrapping this vehicle, & I am positive I will never be purchasing another Ford ever again. It disgusts me that something that seems like it was made to break... something that left me stranded & without a car for over 2 weeks now... is also something that every other Focus owner has had to replace out of their own pocket. How has this issue not been resolved by Ford yet"!?!"

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #189

Dec 282010


  • 89,900 miles
The ignition will not turn without large amounts of spray lubricant and pummeling the key while in the ignition to cause the tumblers in the cylinder to fall into place. This is a major safety issue, because it happens without warning, and right now, during these epic blizzards we are experiencing, it has caused me to be in danger. This problem is common among owners of this vehicle. Many people have developed ways to temporarily fix it since they don't have money available fix this unexpected safety issue, which is not part of preventative maintenance of an automobile.... while others have opted to just get the car towed to a dealership, which replaces the ignition assembly with the same faulty parts, and then charges up to $500. This ignition needs to be recalled by Ford, and it needs to be replaced free of charge with a reliable ignition assembly. This morning, after having to find other transportation to work for two days, I finally dedicated three hours to getting the ignition to turn. I had to leave the key in the ignition, because I cannot afford to lose my job by being absent or tardy. I am in an initial probationary period at my job, and I think it goes without saying that if I had enough money to fix Ford's mistakes, I would probably just go and buy a different car altogether.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #188

Dec 012010


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2000 Ford Focus. The vehicle was parked when the contact attempted to turn the ignition on but it would not respond. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired. The approximate failure mileage 100,000.

- Mccrory, AR, USA

problem #187

Mar 052010


  • 120,000 miles
Having problems when I put my key in the ignition (2001 Ford Focus). My steering wheel gets locked or something. I would get this problem every so often no I've had it since Friday. It is very frustrating!!!

- Leawood, KS, USA

problem #186

Dec 212009


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the ignition locked 4 to 5 times which made it impossible to turn the key or start the vehicle. The problem became progressively worse over time. He was previously able to restart the vehicle immediately after a few attempts. At the time of the complaint, the vehicle failed to start. The contact had not taken the vehicle to the dealership or spoken with the manufacturer to-date. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was approximately 60,000. The failure mileage was approximately 58,000.

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #185

Feb 122010


  • 136,000 miles
I parked my car on the side of the street and turned it off. When I came back to it about 20 minutes later I put the key in the ignition but it would not turn. The key would not turn forward or backward at all. I tried moving the steering wheel back and forth to try and get the key to move but then my steering wheel completely locked up as well. I was then unable to move anything on my car and it was stuck on the side of the road in a metered parking space. I had to call a tow truck which cost $69. I had it taken to the nearest Ford dealership and they replaced the ignition lock which cost me $530.73. This is the second time my ignition has been locked up.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #184

Feb 152010


  • 181,000 miles


I tried to start my car and the key wouldn't turn in the ignition, therefore I was unable to start my car. It has only occurred this one time, I am having the ignition replaced.

- Merriam, KS, USA

problem #183

Jan 202010


  • 96,000 miles
Key won't turn in the ignition. Has gotten progressively worse over a week and now won't turn at all.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #182

Jan 182010


  • 33,000 miles
2001 Ford Focus. Key won't turn in ignition, won't budge. I tried moving the steering wheel, tried using the other key, tried pressing the key in harder- nothing. Ignition has given me problems before: It would take two or three tries before it would turn, but it's never refused to move like this. Also, there were times when it didn't want to give the key back; I would have to jiggle and turn it, but it always came out after a few seconds of struggling.

- Natrona Heights, PA, USA

problem #181

Dec 242009


  • 90,245 miles
I inserted the key into the ignition of my 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 and the steering wheel locked up and the ignition would not turn.

- Yucca Valley, CA, USA

problem #180

Dec 222009


  • 99,000 miles
No events to indicate failure. Went to vehicle after working to after dark. Put key into ignition and key would not turn. Simply would not turn! several attempts were made over a 20 minute period. I, fortunately, was leaving my place of employment. However, it was still cold outside, dark and not a safe environmental situation. I feel fortunate that I was not stranded.

- Hudson, WI, USA

problem #179

Oct 282009


  • 950,000 miles
Key won't turn in ignition of 2001 Ford Focus. It was difficult to turn for a while and now simply won't at all. My baby and I were stranded out shopping. Called a locksmith and had the ignition lock replaced.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #178

Oct 222009


  • 88,000 miles
Ignition switch wont turn.

- No. Conway, NH, USA

problem #177

Oct 072009


  • 116,000 miles
On 10/7/2009 my 2001 Ford Focus SE wagon ilc (ignition lock cylinder) would not break to start car. I have tried everything and still will not budge. I just found out on many web forums that this is a common problem and needs to be recalled by the Ford manufacturing dealerships. Now my car is stuck up at the billings airport at wok and I don't have the time or money to get this fixed. I feel and all Ford Focus owners from year 2000 to 2003. Need this repaired fast. It is totally !@#$%!!

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #176

Sep 022009


  • 73,100 miles
My key gets stuck in ignition and won't turn on the car. Already got stuck and had to keep messing with it for an hour until I was able to jiggle it and unlock the steering wheel to start the car. There is definitely a problem with the ignition switch. I don't want to end up stranded somewhere and not be able to get my car started due to this defect.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #175

Jul 222009


  • 12,000 miles
Ignition lock won't turn, key goes in but does not turn the ignition, couple of days of jiggling the key to get it to turn and now it won't turn at all.

- Northglenn, CO, USA

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