pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
83,497 miles
Total Complaints:
249 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (84 reports)
  2. replace the ignition (37 reports)
  3. insert the key and lightly tap the key with a hammer (28 reports)
  4. must go to dealership for high priced repair (28 reports)
  5. call a locksmith (25 reports)
  6. replace ignition lock cylinder (19 reports)
2003 Ford Focus accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 12 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Focus SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles


when I put my key in the ignition, it will not turn, I put WD 40 in the ignition key switch and hit it with a mallet it starts, but now even when I hit it with a mallet it'll turn but the DA!%$ car won't start! so now I have to go under the doggone hood and touch the positive side of the battery to start the car. My friend rigged it for a temporary solution until I find the right part(s) to fix it. The da!@& Dealer wants me and my grandchildren to fix the DA!@% thing.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 292007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3

  • Manual transmission
  • 48,560 miles

I bought this Ford Focus Last July with 17,000 miles on it. I had key problems 6 mos. later and when I called the dealership they said they knew nothing of recalls or problems with the ignition but that it would cost $360.00 to fix. I got the key to work again for a while and then a few months later it happened again and I couldn't get it to turn at all. Another call to the dealership service dept and the guy says to tap hard with your palm on the key while it's in the ignition. I try it and it worked everytime.... til yesterday. No matter what the key wouldn't work and I called a nearby Ford since I was stuck in a bad neighborhood for over an hour. This Ford said it needed replacing but to try and turn the wheel since it was the steering wheel lock that was the problem. No help since they were closing in 10 minutes anyways. I got really mad and slammed my hand into the key and suddenly it clicked and turned. Needless to say my hand is now bruised but I was able to drive the car. Now I am too scared to let the key click back when I turn the car off. I know I will have to replace it but I have never had to replace an ignition on a car ever and i have had cars over 15 years. Is this what we get for buying american????? Ford needs to step up and recall these so they can fix this defect!!!!

- , Kirkland, WA, US

problem #27

Oct 102007

(reported on)

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Son called at 2am. "Dad, key won't turn". I thought because he was a new driver it was something he did. I checked the internet. Found out something different, it's very common. I wish I could have let him know before he had to go overseas that it was a fairly common problem. I think he would have felt better about the whole thing. Me too. Called Ford dealer. They said it was common. Save your repair invoice. Might get repaid by Ford. Later. I am going to try and drill out the lock. I heard of people getting it repaired with more bad parts like the original bad parts. Then the process repeats itself. I will not buy another Ford again. This is about my thirtieth.

I called Ford. They said too bad. In so many words. I said no problem. I'll just call Toyota. Problem solved. I am considered a gear head where I work. People ask me," Hey what do you think about ---------make car or truck?" I can now offer very helpful advice on Ford's repair policies and the pleasures of owning a Ford. Especially if your brother in law owns a towing company. Or you own a second vehicle.

I have spent Two thousand dollars on this pile of crap. And it is just a few years old. I don't even want my kids to drive it. I am going to buy them something safer and more reliable, like a Corvair or a Mazda rotary. Did I mention the car's brakes? The car is just unsafe to drive. This is the worst car I ever owned. I am feeling bad about trading it in for a new Toyota. Some other person will have the unending bitter sweet memories I have had with this wonderful little ball of joy. I will never drive anywhere important in a Ford again. Which is everywhere I go. Unless I feel like walking home and leaving my car for the vandals to play on. Ford tried to save a few cents. This type of problem leaves a lasting impression. They should have saved on paint or something. I can drive home in a snow storm with my kids knowing I can paint the car sometime down the road. But a starting problem. I think Ford planned the whole thing. Scheduled future revenues. Just like buying Aston, Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, did I forget anyone? All by the profit made by the people they are trying to rip off now. Ford workers, retirees, and customers.

This company is shameless. It deserves to feel the consequences of it's decisions. I just feel sorry for the people that work for Ford. Their leadership is lost.....

- , Torrance, CA, US

problem #26

Oct 012007

(reported on)

Focus SL 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


Went to start the car and key wouldn't turn. Called Ford, they said that a cheap fix would be to bang key in ignition with hammer. Other wise it will cost us over $350 to repair. This is a real pain in the ass.

- , Springfield, OH, USA

problem #25

Aug 312007

(reported on)

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,000 miles

My 2003 Ford Focus LX started having this problem little over a month ago. At first I could work with it for a few minutes and the key would finally turn. This past week, I tried for about 15 minutes and it would never start. It had finally given out on me it would seem. I had to get it towed to my local dealership. Had my car not been on the ESP, it would have cost well over $468. Wow. I Love my Focus but WTF.

- , Columbus, IN, USA

problem #24

Jun 212007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,271 miles

the key won't turn in the ignition. it should be recalled, and i want a refund.

this car sucks. don't buy it.

- , North Highlands, CA, US

problem #23

Aug 092007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,543 miles


I was stranded 40 minutes from home, in a two-hour parking space. I had to have my car towed home, I am still stranded, and I have 3 jobs that are 30-40 minutes away. Nothing will work, 10 people tried to help with my car for about 6 hours, and still nothing. I cannot afford a pricey repair, so I am stuck trying to figure out how to get to and from work. I paid $300 on new bearings 4 months after I bought the car, I've had it a year now, this should not be happening :(

- , Lewiston, PA, USA

problem #22

Jul 152007

(reported on)

Focus LX 3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This is the worst car ever. I put the key in the ignition and it will not turn. The car has been sitting at my church for the past day and we are try to fix it. Thank you to the man who submitted the instructions on how to install the ignition for only $50 for the part from the dealer. This will help the person who is trying to fix my car. Since the Ford Focus has had so many similar problems I do believe they should fix the problem on their own dime, not ours.

- , Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #21

Jul 132007

(reported on)

Focus SE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

My ignition keylock froze and neither of my 2 spare keys was able to turn or start the engine. I was in the hot sun unable to lower my electric windows, my steering wheel was locked up. The tow truck driver said he has seen at least a half dozen of these problems with Ford Focuses. I am pissed off because the car is relatively new and the problem has never happened to any of the other cars I have owned. I am shocked to see the number of people with the same problem. Ford should issue a recall on this problem. I they dont I am never-ever going to buy another Ford. I haven't yet brought it to the dealer to get it fixed, but they are probable going to charge an arm and a leg to fix.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #20

Jun 272007

(reported on)

Focus 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Mother of three trying to work multiple jobs to support my family. Tired of getting piece of sh*t cars and then getting ripped off more to have them repaired because I am not knowledgeable in automotive repairs and the auto repair shops see "sucker" when I walk in the door. I can't afford to hardly even make the monthly car payment not to mention any repairs that need to be made.

- , Ballwin, MO, US

problem #19

Apr 192007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3 2.0L ZETEC

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


I got this car in Feb. 2006. In about May I was at a friends house went to leave and the key would not turn. It felt as if the wheel was locked so I tried to turn the wheel to unlock it, to no avail.

Every so often it would turn so I just kept trying hoping it would turn. It stopped for a few days, but then it started again. Luckily I was at home and finally got it to turn, took it right to the dealership and told them it needed to be fixed. It was covered under warranty but took almost a week for them to get it back to me. I've yet to have this problem again (knock on wood) but I've had a slew of other problems with this car. I don't think I'll ever be buying another Ford.

- , Denton, TX, USA

problem #18

Feb 272007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I repaired the ignition lock on my 2003 Ford Focus. I saved $280 to $320, which were quotes from Ford dealers. This is how I did it. Problem was that the key would not turn. I ordered a new locking mechanism from the dealer. It cost me $50.00.

First I removed the plastic steering column cover with a Allan wrench. (Two Screws) I did not remove the steering wheel. However, it would have allowed for more room to work.

I removed the plastic electronic key reader from the locking device, with a Allan wrench.(One Screw). Don't lose the screw, the car won't start without it.

Then I drilled out the lock with a 10MM size drill. Took about an hour. Don't drill any deeper than 35MM. Mark it on the drill bit prior to drilling, and drill a starter hole, 3MM, prior to using the larger bit. Be careful not to damage the housing around the lock.

I removed the pieces of lock with needle nose pliers, and brushed the shavings from the lock with a small brush.(Kids watercolor brush) I then vacuumed around the steering column and floorboard.

I took the new lock to a locksmith, and had it keyed with the old key. The locksmith was very familiar with the Focus problems. This took no more than 30 minutes.

I placed the new lock in, and re-attached the plastic electronic key reader, screw and all, and started the car.

Good Luck.

- , Hamilton, VA, USA

problem #17

Mar 252007

(reported on)

Focus ZX3

  • Manual transmission
  • 25,000 miles

This is a major problem with focus' and should be recalled. You insert the key and the steering wheel locks and your screwed, nothing happens. I had never heard of anything like this before but as soon as it happened I started looking into it and found it is a very common problems with these pos'. The easiest fix which is not permanent but will get your ass to work is to insert the key and lightly tap it with a hammer. So far it has worked for me but I'm still battling the other problems and I have lost faith in my car in the case of an emergency I would not be able to get anywhere all b/c of a stupid key problem. Man up ford fix this problem.

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #16

Mar 272007

(reported on)

Focus LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 48,000 miles

I'm a single mom, and to have my car just lock up like that was BS! Thank God, it was at home, I wouldn't know what to do if it would have happened out of town.

- , Aberdeen, WA, US

problem #15

Aug 072006

(reported on)

Focus LX

  • 63,324 miles

This is the 4th time my ignition cylinder has gone out. I'm left stranded and have to call for rides all over the place. This time it happened when I no longer have bumper to bumper warranty. This is a major issue. Ford needs to recall this.

- , Weslaco, TX, USA

problem #14

Oct 222006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I was just about to leave a shopping center (so I thought) and could not get the key to turn in the ignition. It was so hot at the time! I tried and tried to turn the key. I thought the steering column was potentially locked up. Nothing. I had to leave the car (over 30 miles from my house, no less). My husband had to call a locksmith the next day to come fix the problem. The locksmith told my husband that the Ford Focus seems to have a problem with the ignition. I thought that was wonderful. It is now, once again, having a problem (5 months later). When I put the key in the ignition, it sticks (as though I am continuing to turn the key even though the car is running). I have to manually pull back to keep it from sticking. Can't wait to see how that adventure will go....

I am actually also having trouble with the 3rd gear (for the 2nd time also). Solenoid Malfunction--but will post that in transmission issues....

- , Belton, MO, USA

problem #13

Jan 112007

(reported on)

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

I have had many occasions of my key not turning in the ignition. So far, I have eventually gotten it to work after some jiggling, and pushing the key in and out. It is too much to get it fixed, and one of these days, it will not work, so, I am looking into trading it off on something else.

- , Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #12

Feb 182007

(reported on)


  • Manual transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I can't believe this is going to cost me $400!!!! I just got the car last Septmeber. My key will not turn in the ignition, its the second time it happened in one day. Now I have to tow it to Ford and pay a ridiculous amount of money for a risky fix. Errr!!

- , Athens, GA, USA

problem #11

Feb 032007

(reported on)

Focus LX 2.0L I4

  • Manual transmission
  • 76,000 miles

It started a week ago, every now and then it happens again. The latest is this morning. Key just get inside the switch but you can't turn it on. I usually just try it several time slowly until it turns.

This is a car that just turned 3 years a couple of month ago. My 1992 Mazda MPV which 11 yrs older never have this kind of annoying problem. Ford should replace this faulty key lock free of charge because it must be a defective device for a key lock to break very early. I'm not going to pay a dealer to replace it. Not if out of about 8 old cars I ever had, turn out the youngest and the one I bought brand new showing this problem.

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #10

Jan 252007

(reported on)

Focus LX 3.2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

this is my 82 year old mothers car with only 15,000 mls on it and she's just lucky this happened in the driveway and not out in the boondocks when its 10 degrees out.

after fidgeting with the steering wheel, shifter and all the usual remedies for a problem like this for 20 minutes i gave up then went out again a little later and it worked after a few jiggles of the key. to avoid this happening again i taped a piece of wood like a popsicle stick over the ignition in just the right position to act as a key stop to keep from accidentally

turning the key all the way to the lock position and having this happen again. you do have to keep the key in all the time and SHUT OFF the radio but it beats an expensive repair

for now or until a recall.

- , Dedham, MA, USA

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