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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,796 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.

2002 Ford Focus electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Jun 092011


  • miles


Went to leave work yesterday and the key won't turn at all in my 2002 Ford Focus. After a quick internet search, it seems to be a huge problem and consistent failure on Ford part...but they refuse to issue a recall. From what I've read, the dealership charges $350-450 to replace this part, and they replace it with the same faulty designed part that was causing the problem in the first place!

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #54

Jan 082010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 69,411 miles
At 69,411 miles my 2002 Ford Focus battery cable was defective and had to be replaced. There were battery cable recalls on other Ford focuses for this problem that caused fires. Of course Ford would not pay for mine.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #53

Feb 082011


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. The contact attempted to start the vehicle but the key would not turn within the ignition switch. The vehicle was towed to the residence. The authorized dealer was notified and they informed that the ignition switch would need to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 59,000.

- Macedonia, OH, USA

problem #52

Nov 122010


  • 22,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when the key was in the ignition, it would not turn the engine on. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the cylinder and the key switch at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was contacted who offered no assistance with the failure. The vehicle was being repaired by the dealer. The failure mileage was 22,000. Updated 1/21/11 the key would not turn the ignition. The dealer replaced the ignition lock cylinder updated 04/18/11

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #51

Aug 182010


  • 60,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus ZX5 wagon, the brake lights stay on constantly while I'm driving, regardless if I'm pressing on the brake or not. This is a huge safety problem as the brake lights are no longer functional if they are constantly on. There seems to be a recall on the 2000 Ford Focus on a decklid wire harness, however this should be expanded to cover all the Ford Focus hatchbacks/wagons as the problems are still evident beyond the 2000 year. I've had this problem since August 2010 and now September 2010 I've finally found the problem to be the exact problem as the recall in the year 2000 models. There should be an investigation on this issue, it's very dangerous to be driving with the brake lights on at all times. This defect needs to be recalled asap.

- El Monte, CA, USA

problem #50

Sep 112010


  • miles
I have 2002 Ford Focus the ignition or starter is giving me problem the car want start at times I get stranded sometimes it takes over five minutes to get started.

- Franklin, KY, USA

problem #49

Jul 102010


  • 66,939 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. The contact stated the battery warning light and the entire dashboard lighting began to abnormally flicker on and off. The alternator warning light also illuminated and the vehicle then stalled. The contact believed there to be a short in the system but the vehicle was not taken in for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 66,939.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #48

Jun 052010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
Ford Focus ZX5 2002 power cut out completely while I sat in vehicle with air conditioning running; smoke billowed out from under the hood. I turned off the ignition immediately and pulled the key out of the ignition. The car ignition turned the vehicle back on all by itself. The car began to rumble and smoke spewed from under the hood everywhere. I jumped out of the vehicle and grabbed my two dogs from the back seat. I ran into the lawn care business and announced "my car is on fire -- call 911." Two employees came out, one with a fire extinguisher; the other asked me for the ignition key who jumped in the vehicle and tried to turn the car ignition off--the car ignition went off but turned on again even after the key had been removed. He pulled the hood latch so the other employee with the extinguisher could use the fire extinguisher. When that person opened the hood, flames shot everywhere. The fire department and police came. The fire department said that the car would have exploded within 2 minutes had the employees not used the fire extinguisher. The fire department sprayed the vehicle with additional fire retardant and stated that the vehicle is "totaled."

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #47

Jun 082010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 175,778 miles
Engine compartment fires on the driver's side in the area of the battery burning all the wires and the left headlight.

- Vega Alta, PR, USA

problem #46

Mar 092010


  • miles
We just recently bought this car (2002 Ford Focus) and so I do not know the history of it, however the car just started locking up out of nowhere. The first time it happened was with my husband and luckily he did not have any of our children with him. The ignition keeps locking and we have to keep on having it towed home. We have had this car for about 2 and 1/2 months and so far it has happened 4 times. So we have had to pay $160 in towing costs. We have a friend that somehow fixed it and my husband spends hours outside messing with it to get it working. This time is wont start at all and its the worst timing ever we have a premature baby and 4 other children that need to get to school and daycare.

- Armona, CA, USA

problem #45

May 022010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


I bought my 2002 Ford Focus just 5 months ago (December 2009). When trying to start my car at a restaurant the steering wheel was completely locked, and the key would not turn in the ignition. After a full hour of trying to fix it, I had to have the car towed to a Ford dealer, who replaced the ignition with a Ford part that I fear has the same problem. The replacement ignition cost me over $400, and does not appear to be a long-term solution. According to many online complaints, the new ignition will fail to the same problem in time. I am limited by other options, as non-Ford parts and locksmith work does not come with the 12 month-warranty that Ford offers. My best option is to sell the car again before it happens, or before my warranty is up-- neither of which are a solution, but putting the problem onto someone else. This is a serious tragedy and in faulty design. I was lucky to have friends to help me in this situation, but the embarrassment and fear of it happening again are not worth it. This part needs to be recalled!

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #44

Jul 152006


  • miles
2002 zts had problems where ignition got stuck could not remove or start the car had to had the ignition replaced it cost me in excess of $300 evidently this is a major problem that Ford is not dealing with.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #43

Dec 082009


  • 20,000 miles
2002 Ford Focus battery cables was burning I was smelling a burning scent when I stated the vehicle an well when I drove the car. I had to take it to the shop who informed me that the battery harness in this car frayed and it had to be replaced as well as the alternator. Ford said this was not a recall part.

- Sharon Hill, PA, USA

problem #42

Nov 292009


  • miles
Parked my 2002 Ford Focus on the street, when I came back the key wouldn't turn in the ignition and the wheels were completely locked up. Called the Ford dealer and they told me to yank on the wheel as hard as I could while turning the key, this worked after about 10 minutes, but after I turned it off, it happened again, yanking the wheel for 10 mins it worked. Now I have to leave the keys in the ignition so it wont lock up on me. I am literally scared to turn on my car because when I turn a corner it feels like I have to turn the wheel way around. I am a young woman who works late, and I rely on my car to get me home safely..I am very upset because I cant afford to get it fixed. Never buy a Ford again!

- Whistler, 00, USA

problem #41

May 192009


  • 120,000 miles
2002 Ford Focus wagon rear hatch wiring harness frayed wires and no brake lights.

- Ajax, 00, USA

problem #40

Jun 022009


  • 119,000 miles
Drove to the store, turned the car off but the key was stuck in the ignition.

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #39

Jan 152009


  • 81,085 miles
Upon insertion of the key into the ignition, the ignition switch fails to allow the key to turn, the steering wheel will not unlock, if it is locked. "tapping" the key into the ignition will allow the car to start and the steering wheel to unlock. Cursory internet searches reveal that this is a very common problem for owners of this make and model. Some owners report having had the switch replaced 4 to 5 times at the dealership with the same results. This indicates that Ford has made no effort to correct the problem, even at the cost of the owner.

- Lexington, NC, USA

problem #38

Jan 172008


  • 65,000 miles
It was 11 O'clock at night in freezing weather when I had gotten into my car that had been sitting all day.(which I had started with ease 13 hours before) the key would not turn in the ignition. I tried turn the key back and forth for an hour before my boyfriend's mom came to pick me up at 1:00 in the morning. If she wouldn't have been there for me I would have had to walk 10 miles in dangerous cold to get home, because I didn't have any money on me for a cab. I paid $450 to tow the car 4 miles to the closest dealership and replace the ignition cylinder. The part is under a one year warranty. Since December 20, 2008, my ignition cylinder has not been working properly with my key. I insert the key and I have to wiggle the key to turn, insert, and remove it from the ignition. I will be visiting the dealership where I had it replaced last year this week. At least this time it showed signs of malfunction probability. This should be considered a safety issue. If someone is driving the car and it stalls on a railroad track (or any other hazardous location) and cannot restart or move the car because the ignition won't turn. There could be deadly consequences for the driver, passengers, and others close by.

- Addison, IN, USA

problem #37

Dec 072008


  • 136,000 miles
The key would not turn in the ignition. I had to hit the side of the steering column then try and turn the key again. This no longer works and I have to hit the key in to the ignition further for it to turn. I am going to Ford this week to get it fixed if it does not cost a fortune, but had to wait to get it fixed until my break from school.

- Orland Park, IL, USA

problem #36

Nov 292008


  • miles
The key would not turn in the ignition at all. A locksmith was called out to see if he could fix the problem. He told me that this happens very frequently Ford focuses.

- Braselton, GA, USA

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