really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,976 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Sep 182008


  • miles


Key on 2003 Ford Focus will not turn. Started acting up 3 months of owning. No longer under warranty since it is 5+ years old.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #28

Dec 222008


  • 70,000 miles
The key will not turn in the ignition. Dealer says it will cost $300-350 to fix. This is ridiculous. My daughter's roommate has a 2004 Focus which the same thing happened last year, 2007.

- The Colony, TX, USA

problem #27

Dec 132008


  • 55,000 miles
Ignition switch locks and has left family members stranded.... ignition key continues to lock, dealer recommends replacement (cost est. $450).

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #26

Nov 092008


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact turned off the ignition and attempted to restart the vehicle, but was unsuccessful. Suddenly, the gear shift locked and became inoperative. The contact exited the vehicle and the driver's side door automatically locked without assistance. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and they replaced the ignition cylinder. The failure mileage was 50,000 and current mileage was 52,000.

- Clinton, OH, USA

problem #25

Dec 022008


  • 83,000 miles
Ignition stays locked, fails to turn to start engine. Problem is intermittent and happens without warning. Occurred over a dozen times to me. Can leave a person stranded. Very costly fix, $150 for new ignition switch, plus labor, $200 to $350 total cost for fix. Many, many, many complaints for same problem found on www.mycarstats.com and other forums.

- Beacon Falls, CT, USA

problem #24

Nov 082008


  • 73,000 miles
I placed my key in the ignition of my 2003 Ford Focus and the key would not turn. After doing much research, I found that this is a recurring problem for Focus owners, even after they have had the ignition cylinder replaced. Not only is this a huge financial burden, it is also a major safety concern. Living in Chicago, if I become stranded and unable to start my car, I could be in a very dangerous situation (as could many other owners in different locations).

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #23

Oct 132008


  • 23,000 miles


Had to have ignition lock cylinder replaced on an emergency basis in my 2003 Ford Focus; car wouldn't start (I.e., key wouldn't turn in the ignition) with either one of the two keys I have (both original keys).

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #22

Oct 092008


  • 102,000 miles
Ford Focus key will not turn in. I drive a Ford Focus ZX5 2003. The ignition locked up and would not turn. As a result, I was stranded in a parking lot it has happened few times. I contacted Ford customer service at no avail. They did not recognize to be an issue even though it #1 issue as many people have complaint about it. They told me that I had to pay for the repair as the vehicle is out of warranty. There was no reason for these ignitions to fail. I consider to be a safe issue. There is no public transportation so I have to rely on my vehicle for transportation regardless of circumstances.

- Belleville, MI, USA

problem #21

Oct 012008


  • 70,000 miles
The key in my Focus would not turn in the ignition. This caused me to be stranded since I could not start my car. I recently learned this is a common problem with my car. In fact, a man in the service dept at my local Ford dealership said this problem "happens way more than it should." I live in a city with high crime. Being stranded is a very scary situation. Since this is a common problem with my type of car, the manufacturer certainly should recall and fix this part to prevent people like me from being left in dangerous situations.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #20

Sep 172008


  • 56,013 miles
Ignition lock cylinder on Ford Focus is defective. The mechanism locks and is unable to turn. This yields the vehicle inoperable, posing a significant safety risk if the owner needs to use the vehicle in an emergency or the vehicle stalls on the highway. This is an issue known by Ford, as evidenced by the mechanics at landmark Ford, tigard, Oregon stating that it is a common problem and Ford has quietly updated the cylinder. In addition, there are numerous internet forums with this same complaint. All owners of Focus vehicles will have this failure, it is just a matter of time. The repair is $300+. a recall should be required of Ford to address the issue.

- Sherwood, OR, USA

problem #19

Aug 282008


  • 98,125 miles


Ignition is stuck and wont turn. Left my wife and daughter with no way of getting home.

- Moline, IL, USA

problem #18

Mar 282005


  • 59,497 miles
After placing the down payment of $1500 and completing the paperwork. Not even a week later the car began to stall on the freeway and eventually stopped on me in the middle of rush hour traffic. The car was able to restart and I drove it to freeway Ford here in houston, tx. Each time they couldn't find what the problem was. I hadn't enjoyed the car over a month because the car was given me problems when I had it and it stayed at the dealership. I spoke to the service manager and the dealership assistant manager and neither had an answer.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #17

Mar 272008


  • 40,546 miles
Comments: The ignition of my Ford Focus 2003 locked @ 40,000 miles. Key suddenly wouldn't turn. Unable to start engine. Had to have it towed to Ford dealer by aaa tow. Aa driver said he has had many such cases. Had to get ignition cylinder replaced @ dealer for exorbitant $570.($347 labor) there are thundreds of these cases but Ford will not address problem. I heard that there is a class action lawsuit. Would like to get more info on how to join in lawsuit or other means to get Ford to issue a recall and/or pay for this part failure.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 122008


  • 55,000 miles
The "service engine soon light" was on off and on for a about a week prior. Then I parked my car one evening and the following morning I could not turn my key in the ignition, it was locked, and therefore also I could not change gears to neutral or get it out of park. I found the same problem at a website here is the url: www.fordproblems.com/Focus/key-wont-turn-in-the-ignition.shtml hope this helps to make this a safety issue worthy of recall. I'm blessed this happened to me at my apartment, but what would happen were I to get stuck elsewhere. I plan to call a locksmith tonight to try and fix my problem. Thank you.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #15

Jun 112008


  • miles
We have a 2003 Ford Focus and apparently this type of vehicle has a reputation of having the ignition lock up and just wont start again. Apparently Ford dealership is aware of the problem but there is no recall on this item yet. My daughter and granddaughter have been stranded for 4 hours trying to get this fixed.

- San Angelo, TX, USA

problem #14

Jun 062008


  • 110,000 miles
Keys would be hard to turn in the ignition the today keys would not turn in the ignition...left stranded.

- Lockport, LA, USA

problem #13

Jul 122006

Focus 4-cyl

  • 37,172 miles
With no warning and 1000K out of the bumper to bumper warranty, the key would not turn or start the car. I had the vehicle towed to the dealership, a new ignition cylinder cost $258.44 plus tow. Consumers do not expect a car with 37K to fail on them like this. I could have been on a family outing with my son who is a diabetic. This problem has been extensively reported yet Ford has not issued a recall. Dependability or lack there of, is imperative to the safety of a vehicle.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #12

Apr 252007

Focus 4-cyl

  • 44,700 miles
When the car is parked, wheels turned, steering wheel locked, the ignition cylinder will not turn I.e. the key won't turn the ignition. This happened in the morning. When pushing in on the key, the key was able to turn the ignition. In the afternoon when the same situation occurred the key was not able to turn in ignition. I talked to two dealerships and they were both aware with the problem and the temporary solution. I talked to the tow truck driver and he said he as see this happen multiple times. He told me that Ford stop using this type of ignition system however, Chevrolet started using this system and he has seen the same problems occur with new Chevrolet.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #11

Jan 152007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,415 miles
Electrical problem that shuts down the car.

- Valley Village, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 302007

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My left tail signal light went out. When I went to change it according to the instructions in my manual I could not remove the taillight capsule from the housing. I went to coons Ford fairfax, va to see if they could change it. I was told that the electrical output of my car melted the taillights to the lens on both sides of the car. The estimated repair is $500. I got on the phone and talked to someone at Ford's main customer service line. After our conversation they gave me 15% off on my repair bill. After retrieving my car the other taillight died. Someone on Ford's assembly line did not wiring my car correctly. How is this my fault and why did I have to pay $421.20 for a mistake they made? for safety reasons I got the repairs done. I would like a full investigation of this matter. I have in my possession both broken taillights for anyone to check out.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

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