Print this page Notes: The 2002 Ford Focus 2.0L SOHC engine has a defect where the intake valve seat fails. The valve then falls into the cylinder, destroying the engine & most owner relationships with Ford in the process.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,300 miles
Total Complaints:
46 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (29 reports)
  2. replace the ignition (8 reports)
  3. new tumbler (4 reports)
  4. complain to the federal trade commission (1 reports)
  5. hold down on shifter and turn key (1 reports)
  6. inject 'PB blaster' into ignition cylinder (1 reports)
2002 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #46

May 012016

Focus Hatch Back Zetec Se 1.6

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,934 miles


I'm looking for the appropriate someone to help me with information or resources to solve this problem

- Miracle N., Bulawayo, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

problem #45

Oct 202017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Spent three hours inserting and trying to turn. Searched youtube videos found how to disassemble steering wheel cowlings to get to ignition assembly. Spent hours trying to access retaining button. No success. Could not access the screw to ignition sensor for better access to cylinder retaining button. Several videos suggested tapping lightly on key with hammer. Resorted to last technical solution using hammer. Four light taps and ignition cylinder turned. Follow-on instruction - DO NOT REMOVE KEY. Glued weed thorns on key as reminder not to remove. Considering hot glue to keep key in place. FORD NEEDS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS QUALITY PROBLEM AND INITIATE RECALL.

- Charles B., Warren, US

problem #44

Jan 072016

Focus SE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,334 miles

Ford tells me the key is too worn to turn the ignition. They tell me they cannot replace the key as they only keep ignition codes on file for ten years! Their solution was to replace key, all lock cylinders and possibly the computer - about $2,500 CAN. Or they suggested that I could get a deal on a trade-in!

This smacks of planned obsolescence to me. In the computer age, they suggested to me that accumulated data on their cars "would fill an office building," so they had to delete the information. Then the Ford spokesman told me the codes were deleted for 'security reasons.' I suggest this is a questionable marketing practice that alienates customers who do not want to buy a new car every 10 years or so.

I, for one, will never again support a company that has such practices. If one is mechanical there is no reason why a vehicle cannot be used for 30 years or longer! The Ford Model A was such a car. The modern Ford Company seems to have lost sight of why people used to love their products. I will never buy a Ford again, new or used.

Update from Jan 8, 2016: As it turned out, the problem was the lock cylinder, not the key. An external bar had railed to retract, causing the cylinder to be permanently locked in place. A locksmith "We do 5 or 6 of these Ford Focus ignitions a week" replaced the cylinder with an aftermarket part and even threw in a new coded key for $330 CAN.

- Michael D., Surrey, BC, Canada

problem #43

Oct 132014

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Disappointed that Ford did not offer a "Courtesy Repair." Looking online, this seems to be a very common problem for this model car/year. Obviously not a wear and tear issue but something in the original build. I've owned many Ford models and have always been happy with them. Just wish this problem was taken care of for me since it seems endemic to this car and year.

- Gary L., Burbank, CA, US

problem #42

Aug 012014

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

bought this 2002 ford focus at 40,000 miles for work car. that was in 2011. it has 85,000 miles. graduate son driving to work for the summer. started having issues with key not turning a few weeks ago. son would wiggle and tap the end of key until it finally engaged and turned. today, friday 8-1-2014, when he got home from work, and needed to leave again, the key would not turn at all. no one was hurt. no one died. but this is about quality. we have 3 ford products. I've owned 4 total in my life time. as I look at all the complaints on this issue, it's disheartening that an icon as Ford company would not deem this as an important issues. Ford. where are you now?

- Dennis L., Grant, OK, US

problem #41

Jun 282014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Well I was leaving work after 930, and I proceeded to get into my car and place the key into the ignition. I tried to turn the key, and the key would not turn. I flipped the key, I even called my family to bring my spare key out to me, and the spare key didn't make a difference. I need this car to last for some time due to starting a new job that I begin within a week or so and would have no available person to take me in, not pick me up due to the job being a night's position. This issue was frustrating and I don't understand why it has to be an issue.

- Josh S., Whitehall, PA, US

problem #40

Mar 122014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,346 miles


Well I'm not a happy camper whatsoever.. I am one extremely pissed off woman.. It has not had any problems at all. Then one day it started not wanting to turn but I could get it to finally turn the steering wheel and the key but one night I go out to leave and I put the key in to turn it on and well, the key wouldn't turn. The wheel was locked, I sat and tried and tried for over an hour to get the damn thing to turn and guess what, it didn't at all. So I gave up and had other people try too, well, no luck.

So I called Ford and they told me to tow it up there that it was the ignition and that they no longer make keys for a 2002 Ford Focus. Because I looked up online and it says I needed a new key, so thinking they would call Ford for a key, beings it's a dealership and it's a Ford, I get told that they don't make a damn key? What the hell, isn't that what they are to do??? I never understood that and still don't, so me being me, I kept calling around and finally called a locksmith and they said it's the ignition and they would fix it for $270/300....

I know that things isn't going to be perfect with a car, but damn, just lock up and new ignition new key wtf..ridiculous.... Then I read up that this happens very often, even after replacing the ignition!! TIME FOR A NEW CAR... NEVER AGAIN WILL I GET A FORD FOCUS!!! SO IF YOUR LOOKING INTO BUYING ONE DON'T. YOUR BETTER OFF, I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT

- Krista K., Liberty, NC, US

problem #39

May 162012

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I'm thankful that a car was donated to me and the family and the lady that gave it to us is a very honest and stand up woman. she never even really driven the car except to work and home or the church. anyway its very disturbing to know that me and the wife just got established in oklahoma coming from los angeles. and we both have landed jobs here in oklahoma but now our only means of transportation is shot and we have no way of dropping the kids off to school less on getting to work. but i trust that God will make a way especially for ford to do better with their trashy but flashy cars.

Update from May 16, 2012: also when the car did start before the ignition locked up. when i would run into a bump in the road the whole rear end would nearly fishtail and i felt so unsafe especially having my family in the car.

- James A., Altus, OK, US

problem #38

Feb 092013


  • Manual transmission
  • 160,000 miles

My husband put the key into the ignition and the key wouldn't turn. We tried everything from spraying lubricant in the ignition to moving the steering wheel while trying to turn the key to hitting the ignition gently to loosen up whatever had the thing frozen in place. Nothing worked so we had to call the locksmith to help us out. Not fun!

- Lynn O., Saint Paul, MN, US

problem #37

Aug 072012

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


- gla, New Orleans, LA, US

problem #36

Feb 272012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,852 miles


This occurs on Ford Focus' from model years 2000 through 2003. The ignition problems are covered under the standard manufacturer warranty, but since most of these vehicles are now out of warranty, most Focus owners end up having to pay for the repair themselves. I live northwest of Fort Worth Texas and had to go to Temple, Texas to Scott and White Hospital where my grandson had been in icu I had my 81 yearold mother with me, I turned off the car and when i tried to start it the key would not turn. It was not until 5 days later that my mechanic son in law was able to look at it and tell me the problem and that a ford garage had to fixit. Their prices vary from 350.00 to 450.00 to replace my ignition switch assembly. It is a 48.00 part. Ford refuses to recall because it is not a safety issue. It is if someone has a heart attack or a stroke because of the stress of being stranded in the middle of nowhere or because it is over 100 degrees and you can't walk to a phone or turn on the air conditioner. not everyone has a cell phone.

- Sherry W., Chico, TX, US

problem #35

Sep 202011

Focus SSE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,500 miles

Problem just started this week- Key does not turn in the ignition! After several attempts the key eventually turns and car starts. When it first happened, I was not alarmed, as I had read about this problem. The recommended solutions are to take the car into dealership or a locksmith to get a new lock tumbler. Also highly recommended to call ford directly to report problem and receive a possible rebate on the repair. I'll be calling Ford to report the problem and may just replace the car before more things start failing.

- ratkin4, East Greenwich, RI, US

problem #34

Dec 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Well we work early in the morning to late at night. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, with this key problem and the temperature it reaches at night (temp on the morning of problem- 9 degrees) my children's safety is at stake. With the amount of complaints there should be some action done by Ford before someone gets hurt. The cost alone was outrageous and we can't afford that kind of repairs in the winter months.

- Shawn I., Corvallis, MT, US

problem #33

Jul 292011

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

My ignition will not turn to start my car, got stranded, got a ticket, had to get it towed, and now I have to replace the ignition. Why isn't there a recall?

- Kristina R., Canton, MI, US

problem #32

Nov 052011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,593 miles

Normally I am somewhat satisfied with the car's quality and operation but this particular problem is a royal pain in the ass, especially when it happens either going to or returning from work!!! I understand this is a recurring problem with this particular ford model and I'm wondering WHY it hasn't been recalled and the problem satisfied?

- Nick P., Norwich, NY, US

problem #31

Jun 082011

Focus 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 97,000 miles


Ignition lock just started to fail, it wouldn't turn. I could get the key to keep turning for about a week or two by fussing with the lock and moving the key. But after two weeks it would hardly turn.

At this point you need to realize that every time you take the key out the problem gets sort of "reset." If you can get the key to turn once DO NOT TAKE THE KEY OUT OF THE IGNITION. Rather, when you are done driving just turn the key to the LOCK position and leave it in the ignition, use your second key to lock the doors and throw a coat over the steering column to hide the fact that the key is in the ignition. As long as you don't take the key out of the ignition you will be able to freely cycle the key from OFF to RUN and back. But as soon as you take the key out and put it back in the ignition you will have difficulty getting it to turn.

At this point you have three options options of fixing the problem-

Let me first say that you CANNOT just go to autozone and buy a new ignition cylinder and put it in the car. The ford focus uses a transponder key (transponder = radio transmitter and receiver in one package). When you put your key in the ignition and turn there is a small coil of wire surrounding the ignition cylinder that sends out a Radio frequency signal. That signal goes to a small circuit chip and antenna about the size of an aspirin embedded in the plastic part of the Key. The key will then send back a coded Radio frequency signal to the coil of wire. If the car's computer identifies that signal as being the correct signal that is programed in the computer the car will be allowed to start.

Thus you need to either buy a new ignition lock which takes a new key and find someone to reprogram the new keys to the Radio frequency code your car's computer recognizes. Or you need to find a new ignition lock that fits your current key.


1. Take car to the dealer or mechanic. Cost $250-$400.

2. Call a locksmith. COST $200-$300 The locksmith will come to your house and replace the ignition lock. He might do one of two things. He will either replace the ignition lock and reprogram new keys, thus you will have a different key for your doors and newly replaced ignition.


The locksmith will replace your ignition lock and "key the lock" to your old key (e.i. take the new lock apart and adjust the pins and wafers inside the lock such that it will fit your old key). Thus since you will be using your old key there is no reprogramming necessary and you will still be able to open the doors and turn the vehicle on with the same key.

3. BEST SOLUTION. COST $52 Find a locksmith selling a ford focus ignition lock on Ebay. That is what I did. search for "Ford Foucs Ignition Lock". I found a guy that would sell a lock, keyed to my focus key, for $52. Now a smart person would ask, "how does this online locksmith know what my key looks like? How will he be able to adjust the lock so if fits my key?" SIMPLE. Ford Focus keys have a specific "Key Code" number based off your vehicles VIN number. You will need to go to a Ford dealer with your VIN number and they should be able to give you your "Key Code".

Mine was, I Think, 0092X.

You buy the lock from the locksmith on Ebay and email him your key code number, and a few days later the lock is shipped to you and it fits your key. You will now need to replace the lock. Remove the kick panel and the steering column cover. You only need a wrench and socket set to do this. Then use a screwdriver to push in a detent pin that removes the old lock and insert the new one. The put the kick panel and steering column cover back on and you are all set.

The locksmith I used on Ebay had an excellent feedback rating and his selling history said he had already sold 82 Ford Focus locks on Ebay.

- K Y., Auburn Hills, MI, US

problem #30

Aug 282011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Well I bought my Focus in febuary and I always noticed that I sometimes had to play with the key, but it was no big deal started up like a second later with out issue. well the week I start back classes my key wants to take like up to 5min of me playing with it to let my car turn on and I prey every time I take it out to not leave me stranded.

My key is a little worn so I call the dealership to see If my key had a chip in it because I thought it was that the key was worn and he said yep your 2002 focus all models but they said it is probable the ignition cylinder


Well this will cost me at the dealership $120 for the diagnostic and that will be credited toward the problem and $145 for the cylinder and if I need a new key its $167

- lizzy-reianna, Antelope, CA, US

problem #29

Apr 122011

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I went to go to class and the key will not turn. I have been trying to get it to turn for 2 hours. I finally said f*ck it im late for class now anyway, and before i broke the key for it not turning. I ve had this ford focus for 2 months and it has always had this problem but normally after a minute of playin with it, it will turn. Well not this time and now I have to miss class because ford wont fix their f*cking ignitions so they wont do this. Come on ford I like your cars but if you cant fix a f*cking simple ignition defect then f*ck fords.

- Sarah F., Clarksburg, WV, US

problem #28

Mar 102011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,521 miles

Found the issue on the ford repair website. They should put this issue in a technical service bulletin and online. Lucky some friend of my son told him how to fix it.

Simply hold down on the shifter and turn the key- yeah the shifter is on the floor but moving it takes force off the tumbler so it will move

- Matt T., Fort Wayne, IN, US

problem #27

Feb 022011

Focus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

Don't buy a Ford!!!!! This is on top of having to replace the timing belt, transmission problems, solenoid switch. I have paid nearly 3,000 in repairs just to keep this car running this year. Every year, I have paid for a major repair for the last 3 years.

- Pamela L., Wichita, KS, US

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