really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,081 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #7

Oct 302016

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles


The sub frame broke while driving the car. Entire sub frame had to be replaced. Almost caused an accident. Struts had to be replaced. Caliper and rotor had to be replaced. Control arm had to be replaced. Just replaced the ignition switch tumblers after the switch locked up and refused to work. There are no recalls listed for this car. Service manager said that Focus are notorious for these problems. Car has 34,000 miles on it. The brake line running from the front of the car to the rear rusted out causing a lose of brakes. The car is dangerous.

- Breezewood, PA, USA

problem #6

Aug 092016


  • 170,000 miles
Emergency brake locks up. Car has to either be forced to move by either gunning the engine, or rocked by a person until it releases. Car had to be towed due to brake lock up after mechanic could not release it at my home. New brake was installed. Continues to lock up. Car had been in park for all incidents. This vehicle has a standard transmission, which for safety requires the use of an E-brake. This has happened more often in last 5-7 years. I thought the problem would resolve after new E-brake was installed.... it hasn't.

- Pittsfield, NH, USA

problem #5

Mar 152011


  • 126,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Ford Focus in February of 2012. Immediately after purchasing it, I had to spend $700 to fix the motor mounts, bearings in the front wheel, something regarding a cover for the tail pipe/muffler area, A/C, (twice repaired, and went out). Fuel pump, door jams in front (2 door), locks on the doors would automatically lock whether you wanted them locked or not. Door on passenger side refuses to open from the outside. Spent over $4,000 in fixing, replacing, engine & body parts.etc. Just when I bought a second set of new tires last week and did the 3 month oil change, it konked out on me, after a shrilling, high-pitched noise. Just got off the expressway. Found out from a repair shop that this model, especially the 2003 is known for transmission, shoddy parts, and is a safety hazard! the pump inside the transmission broke. This car came with 124,000 miles and over 2 years, spent $4,000 on top of the used private purchase of $2,400. Car repair shop wants $2,400 (what I paid for it) to put a new transmission in. One thing after the other went wrong. I plaint experienced, and it has cost me so much money, I feel Ford needs to replace every penny us consumers paid on this model. Never again need to recall the whole car, it is a death trap.

- Manhattan, Il 60442, IL, USA

problem #4

Jun 122013


  • 133,066 miles


My drivers side rear brake drum separated at the bearing and my entire wheel assembly flew off of the vehicle and caused me to lose control temporarily and also become totally stranded and immobile. There seems to be no direct cause for this as the bearing inside the drum was not seized or malfunctioning. The mechanic that serviced the repair has over 30+ years experience and could not recall ever seeing this happening on any vehicle ever. I frequently drive this vehicle on highways and interstates (and had done so just an hour prior this day) and I am thankful to the powers above that this did not happen at highway speeds or this could have been catastrophic for me and my family. This type of failure should have never occurred as this is of primary importance that the wheels of the vehicle stay on the vehicle during normal driving conditions. My car is just 10 years old and has only 133K miles (avg of 12,000 miles per year), this is something that should not happen even at twice the mileage !!!! I am now fearful that this could happen again to the other rear wheel as this shearing of the brake drum just cannot be explained.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 032013


  • miles
This vehicle has been plagued with electrical issues since the day it was purchased. Now last night the engine, steering and brakes lost all power. The result is now 4 people getting injured and 2 cars damaged. No fatalities but all 4 experienced their first car accident. They are all sore and bruised. I cannot believe that Ford has not recalled these cars to fix this obvious issue. I guess someone may have to lose their loved one before Ford will acknowledge that they made a lot of bad cars! better not be my loved ones!!! I'll make someone pay dearly!!!!

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #2

Dec 242012


  • 35,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph and applying the brakes, the brake pedal traveled completely to the floorboard. The vehicle also would not stop. The contact was able to avoid a crash. The vehicle was inspected and it was determined that the brake pads had become detached from the metal plate. The contact attempted to call the dealer but was unable to do so. The contact then replaced the brakes and rotors on both the passenger and driver's side of the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified but offered no assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileage was 35,500.

- Mayfield Heights , OH, USA

problem #1

May 152012


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the rear passenger wheel emitted a loud whining noise, overheated, and caused the engine rpms to increase. The vehicle was taken to the local mechanic several times for the failure. The local mechanic replaced the rear passenger wheel drum assembly several times. The failure was not corrected. The rear passenger wheel continued to emit a loud whining noise, overheat and cause the rpms to increase. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 118,000 and the current mileage 121,000.

- Flagstaff , AZ, USA

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