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 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #89

Mar 182009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I get into my crappy ford focus to go out with some friends and go to turn the key and nothing happens. I try turning the steering wheel and shaking the car but nothing. I have someone else come and try to figure it out but they could not figure it out either. I am planning to have it towed in the morning and I decided to search the problem on the internet. I find out that hitting it rather hard with my hand does the trick and the car will now start. It was very inconvenient and I went and traded it in the next day. This is not the only complaint. I've had multiple problems with this car

- , Machesney Park, IL, USA

problem #88

Mar 062009

Focus ZX5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

In Dec 2008 I had the same problem with the key not turning in the ignition and had the tumblers replaced. Well not even 3 moths later, it just suddenly starts not turning again! So I call the locksmith back out and this time he just replaced the entire ignition. He started the car prior to leaving and it started fine. However, when I went to run errands about an hour later, THE KEY WOULD NOT TURN!!

Back to square one!

Update from May 26, 2009: So after having the locksmith out the last time and having it freeze up again it hour later, I read everything people were saying here. The way I got it to start working again was by putting lots of WD-40 into the ignition and then tapping the key with a hammer. I have also had to leave the key in the ignition in order to keep it from freezing up again. This solution is not the best as I find it's hard to tell when the ignition is turned off all the way which has since lead to my battery being drained as a result.

- , Adrian, MI, USA

problem #87

Dec 012008

Focus ZX5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The ignition initially was just difficult to turn and got to a point where I could not start it, but my husband could. So we solved the issue by trading cars. Then it came to a point where even he could not get the damn thing to start. When we finally were able to get a locksmith out the car, he replace the tumblers which did the trick.

- , Adrian, MI, USA

problem #86

Oct 142008

Focus 2.0L Liter

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,324 miles


This Focus has been a pain in the rear from day one, first the doors would not lock and the trunk would fly open when driving. Water started leaking in from the heater core etc. etc. They fixed some of those things some for free. Then after about six months after the last time they had worked on it, the trunk started acting up again and would not close. I did not even bother taking back as we had taken it around six times. I straightened the latch and if seems to be better now. We do have to keep an eye on it though. This thing seems to be made from aluminum cans. I can't believe we are bailing out these #*## Now recently the ignition switch won't turn. It may work ten times and then suddenly not turn, My daughter got stranded at a gas station late at night. Fortunately it was not in some dark parking lot like the University. The car just sits in the drive way and nobody drives it but I get a call everymonth for the damn payment. I am seriously considering not paying on it and let them take it.

- , McAllen, TX, USA

problem #85

Mar 022009

Focus 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

This car has had issues with the ignition from day one. Luckily I have never had to do any repair work to it. Eventually, it does turn. I have tapped it, pushed the brake, checked the shifter. Eventually it will turn, but I am unsure of what turns it.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #84

Jan 102009

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

What can I say? I had the car less than a month and already had to replace the ignition. The deal Carrillo Car Company wouldn't reimburse the money either. I currently have a complaint with BBB, like that's going to do anything. I hate this car after all the problems I have had and it's been a month now.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #83

Dec 222008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


The dealer wanted $300-350 to replace the ignition. After seeing several complaints from people saying they have had the problem three or more times, I called a locksmith to remove the parts(tumblers?) that kept the cylinder from turning($75). The car will start now and still needs the transponder in the key to start. However, the key can fall out of the key slot during a hard turn.

Should not start with another key. Will test as I know someone who has a 2004 model that has had the same problem.

This is a personal security safety problem as my daughter sometimes works late at the mall and she doesn't need to get stranded in the parking lot late at night waiting for someone. Ford needs to step up, design a new cylinder that will not fail and fix all of these.

- , The Colony, TX, US

problem #82

Dec 312008

Focus ZXS 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I have had this problem for about a week, key wont turn, so I wiggle the steering wheel, keep trying, finally it works. Today however, the key will not move. I have called local dealer where I purchased the car, and as in all complaints, 350-400 bucks to fix, with the same faulty parts!!! My car is in the driveway and will have to be towed...

NEVER will I buy a ford again. Too much trouble. This bail out money, could have given each family in america 1 million dollars, and we would have all bought a new car, what would that do for the ford dealership...hmmmm

- , Patterson, AR, USA

problem #81

Apr 112006


  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I had this happen just out of the blue, one day the key would not turn, no prior no warning, just got in the car put the key in and it was not going to turn.

Came in the house got on the comp and searched Starter/ Ignition switch Ford Focus, and found a blog of all the drivers with the same problem and one solution posted by a tow truck driver, put the key in and tap it, then there you are it works but you have to do it each time you want to start your car. To this day this is how I start my car.

Others posted the repairs of $200 - $500 each time they had the ignition switch replaced, one man had his daughters car repaired 3 times I believe, stating that the part was replaced with another part of the same quality each time and the re-occurring problem.

A rep or employee from Ford posted something to the effect it was the weight of the keys on the chain wearing the part .. I have only one house key, one car key on mine and still switch went out.

- , Boise, ID, USA

problem #80

Nov 042008

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

I run a driver education business so have ten Ford Focus LX. These range from 2003 - 2006. Five of the ten have had the ignition key lock cylinder replaced. Of course it was never at a convenient location and not professional from a business point of view. I think these cars are perfect to train teens with. However, it is frustrating that something so insignificant can be such a burden. I have a 2004 Focus at the locksmith right now (12/7/08) that needs the lock cylinder replaced. I may be replacing all these Focus over the next year with Honda Civics. This may be a significant investment in the front, but I will save face with having cars that reflect a quality program.

- , Zeeland, MI, USA

problem #79

Dec 022008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


When I put the key in the ignition and it would not turn, I thought I was some kind of idiot with terrible luck--because that usually is me, especially with cars. I am so sorry this has happened to all of you (well, US). I had no idea this same unfortunate has befallen so many others. Anyway, here is my story... I got in my car to go to work and BAM! Nothing happened; key wouldn't turn or anything. I got it after waking my husband up and making him come outside in what seemed like sub-zero temperatures. It's happened a few times since then, but not much of an issue after a few minutes. Then this wonderful morning happened, and I was outside trying to turn the key without steaming up the windows yelling every profane word in existence for 20 minutes. Between my husband and I, this is our only car for right now, and we are screwed because we both have to hitch rides with others to get to and from work, creating inconvenience for EVERYONE. Not to mention we have a two-year-old daughter that is now stranded at home because we can't go anywhere.

And thanks to the wonderful folks at Ford, not only are we going to have to pay out the ass to get the car fixed, but we have to pay $100 to get the car towed there--and it is less than 3 miles from our house. WTF?!

This is just super. Here it is, Christmas time, with my daughter's birthday party next weekend (at her grandmother's house, far far away) and we can't even leave our house AND we have to pay oodles to fix this damn car.

Anyone who reads this... try complaining to Ford. Probably won't work since the assholes there are getting what they deserve by going bankrupt, but it is worth a shot. And file a complaint with the FTC. Lots of them.

- , Staunton, VA, USA

problem #78

Nov 172008

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

So I too belong to the Ford Focus Pissed Off Customers Group. To be quite honest, I love my Focus. (well not if it does this to me again!) My ignition has been locking for about 2-3 months now and was getting progressively worse. The apex came earlier this week (a Monday) and I was unable to "unlock" it . Like I said this was the worse it had ever been and as a result I was late for work. Not a big deal right? Wrong! For those of you who have families and kids, etc. one needs all the sick days and late days they can get! A pain in the ass yes. We survived relatively unscathed. However, now being Saturday, I've got a locksmith tell me that 90% of all Focus' have this problem! So I tell him I'd like to shop around and I'll call him back. I immediately go online a low and behold, google spits out like 50 complaint sites!! So I call the guy back and say do it. Now I'm posting this fickle complaint on this site like Ford and their stock worth $1.80 a share is gonna do anything about it!!!

Well I'll tell you what. As soon as the holiday season passes, I'm gonna drive my Focus to a Honda dealer and trade it in!

I'd probably be less inclined to, but I have a feeling Ford has a more pressing need (bankruptcy) on their minds right now.

I have always been a proponent of "American" cars and was a great endorser of the Ford Focus. It's just a damn shame how some of the great American companies are at best a shell of their formal selves.

Well, good luck to all and see you at the nearest dealership not named Ford, GM or Chrysler.

pissed in Sunny California.

- , Westminster, CA, USA

problem #77

Nov 112008

Focus ZX3 2.3L Pzev

  • Manual transmission
  • 105,000 miles


I'm a nursing student, I work a stressful hospital job and really was not happy when my car was stuck in a parking lot in 30-degree weather after making a quick stop before work and had to walk a few miles to get there on time because the ignition locked and the frigging key wouldn't turn. So, after a massive headache getting rides to and from work and school (I had 18-20 hour days already, guess how long they are now), I discovered you can hammer-tap the key and bypass the lock that way temporarily until you can replace the tumblers in the ignition cylinder.

Well, I picked the part up before work this afternoon, the dealership parts guy was a real schmuck about it being that I'm a young female planning on doing this myself.. I frigging asked him this morning to make me another key because this one is worn and my other went missing. He gave me a hard time and said that he couldn't without the other one and it would cost over $300 and hours of labor.. BS ARTIST extraordinaire. So I'm thinking, screw it, I have four hours tomorrow (Wednesday) so I'll just get to work tonight and class tomorrow morning and then fix it tomorrow night when I'm finally free for a few...

Yeah the key snapped tonight. So now I have no key, no ignition, no car. I'm not vengeful, actually I'm usually very pleasant, patient, and caring, far moreso than your av-er-age bear. But the way I feel now man.. I pray the assholes that wouldn't pass this as a recall situation end up in the care of a frazzled vengeful nurse some day. Not necessarily myself... just sayin'.

- , Ossining, NY, USA

problem #76

Nov 072008

Focus ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,069 miles

This is a problem that ford should have recalled. I would not tell anyone to buy this car, as this problem is going to keep happening, as when ford gets your money they no longer care.

- , Revelstoke, BC, Canada

problem #75

Nov 062008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

It's kinda hard to drive to work when the key won't turn. It's especially fun when the guys at the Ford dealership who was supposed to fix it doesn't show up for work so you have to wait two more days. Inconvenience? Huge understatement.

- , Coraopolis, PA, USA

problem #74

Oct 272008

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

This effing sucks. I've had dozens of people try to turn this key, thinking I was out of my mind. I've had a mechanical friend of my husband try and figure out what it is. "It couldn't be the ignition, not on a car this new," he says. So I come home, finally, after waiting in the freezing cold for my husband to come rescue me, and lo and behold (!) it seems this is a reoccurring issue with the Focus. WTF! Why hasn't this been recalled? I mean, I realize that Ford is hemorrhaging money already, but really, are they going to simply ignore so many people? I guess I'll take an effing hammer with me tomorrow, and see if I can get the effing thing started, so I can take it to the effing dealership. Not another Ford, never ever, not in a million years. Grrrrr!

- , Neosho, MO, USA

problem #73

Oct 062008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

i turned the key into the ignition and it completely locked up on me. the steering wheel was locked and the gear shift was locked. i had to have it towed and i needed to have a new steering column put in.

- , Enon, OH, USA

problem #72

Sep 122008

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

my key will not turn on my car, I called service department and asked if it was a recall, they said no, I would have to change,rebuilt key coil cylinder $350.00! ford does not value customers. I don't have that kind of money. I will be forced to trade in the stupid car, and to every one out there please do not buy a ford focus cause you will also have to replace your alternator 4 times in the first 2 years!! thats another complaint!!!!!

- , Harlingen, TX, USA

problem #71

Aug 202008

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Steering locked and key would not turn, Filled Key hole w/ liquid lube and inserted key, tapped on end of key w/ light hammer. Keyed turned but then would would not turn if removed key. Worked key and lock and tapping many times (100+) till key moved every time as it should. But then next week it would not turn again. Tap key routine showed to other drivers.

- , Worland, WY, USA

problem #70

Jul 012008

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

we need recalls on ford focus ignition switch its not fair that myself or other ford focus owners have to keep spending money on the same problem that has been reported to ford somebody need to do something about this and soon I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD AGAIN BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO FIX THE PROBLEMS OR COMPLAINTS I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT'S THE POINT OF THIS ! I WOULD NOT SUGGEST TO A FRIEND TO PURCHASE A FORD OF ANY MODEL

- , Goldsboro, NC, USA

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