hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,237 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.

2003 Ford Focus accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Dec 012008


  • 74,000 miles


No initial indications of the problem until it happened, a sudden onset. One day, I got in my car, tried to start the engine, and the key would not turn. I tried turning the wheel to get the key to turn, and still no ability to turn the key in the lock and start the car. I tried a second key that is not used, just in case it was a worn key, but still no ability to turn the key in the column lock. Finally, after about 15 minutes of trying to jiggle and finagle the key to turn, it did. Since then, I have found that if the key is removed, and the steering wheel it turned until a positive clunk is heard and felt, indicating that the steering wheel lock has engaged, the problem repeats every single time. If I remove the key and make sure to not turn the wheel so that the steering wheel lock is not engaged then I can reliably insert the key and turn it in the ignition lock and start the car. I called Ford to attempt to request a "good will repair" because I have been a good and long term Ford customer (I have owned a Ford pinto, a Ford Focus, a Ford Contour, and a Ford escape before this Ford Focus) but the agent threw up a load of resistance. Now I am told that they will do nothing until I take it to a Ford dealer and pay for an inspection to verify the problem. This "service" to verify what I can reliably reproduce every and any time, is unnecessary and will cost approximately half of what it will cost me to have my local garage effect the change and make the repair. I am just another one of thousands of people who suffer due to this design defect that Ford must know about.

- New Britain, NN, USA

problem #8

Nov 102008


  • 95,251 miles
The lock cylinder froze in my 2003 Ford Focus two months after the warranty expired. The repairs totaled $343.

- Linton, IN, USA

problem #7

Nov 092008


  • 41,000 miles
I got into my 2003 Ford Focus last Sunday and the key would not turn. It had been acting up in recent days but on this day nothing would work. Therefore my car was rendered useless. Long story short...towed it to the dealer they took the lock tumbler cylinder out and sure enough--defective mechanism. Ford refuses to cover it in a warranty or extended service plan and now I am out of pocket $400 plus the tow to even get my car to turn on. Did some "internet research" and we found this is a common issue.

- Paola, KS, USA

problem #6

Jan 252007


  • 70,000 miles


I have replaced the transmission, the water pump, the thermostat, and all radiator hoses. The car overheats daily still. The stereo cuts on and off and can't be turned off by the power button. The rear left seatbelt is stuck where it can't be used. The driver window fell into the door, when the panel was removed it showed that the whole wire system had snapped. The driver door also can only be opened from the inside.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #5

May 172008


  • 67,000 miles
The ignition has locked up on my 2003 Ford Focus each time I have tried to start the car for the past 3 days. I have been stranded in some dangerous places (including a parking structure in downtown los angeles at 1:30am) for up to 40 minutes trying to get the car to start.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 222008

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
On January 22, 2008 the key would not start the car, it would not turn to release the steering wheel lock. This had happened a number of time previously but we were able to turn it after considerable effort. This was an extremely cold day in Michigan and could have been a serious problem if I did not get some help from my daughter. We called several locksmiths and finally one mobile locksmith came and replaced the lock.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #3

Dec 162006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


: the contact stated while parked, the steering wheel would not unlock. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who determined the ignition cylinder needed to be replaced. Also, the trunk would not close. The dealer was not contacted.

- College Park, GA, USA

problem #2

Sep 162005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The consumer had problems with the vehicle since purchase. The vehicle caught on fire on September 16, 2005. The motor was off, and it burst into flames. The fire department came and they said it look like it started from the wiring harness. The vehicle stalled before it caught on fire. Was having the same problem two weeks before, and took it to dealer. They replaced some ignition items. Also, was having latches, brakes, and engine problems.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #1

Mar 012004


  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Focus. The cylinder and key design is no good. Lots of Focus owners have this problem. They (Ford) say its because the keys were to heavy or something but I only have my car and hosue key on my ring. Now in order to start the car I need to play with the key for 1 to 15 minutes just to get the car started. It would cost me around $275 to get this problem fixed. This should be recalled by Ford. I've only had the car for 15 months. (13 at time of failure).

- Newberry Springs, CA, USA

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