really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,885 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 11 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Sep 182006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


: the contact stated the vehicle's ignition would not turn. The dealer determined the ignition needed to be replaced and the contact expressed this was a defect in the vehicle.

- Forest Lake, MN, USA

problem #61

Sep 172006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles
The vehicle is a 2003 Ford Focus with less than 45,000 miles, the ignition cylinder locked up without warning and the car refused to start. Additionally, the car would not shift out of neutral, making a tow difficult. This is a well known problem, Ford refuses to acknowledge the risk of drivers being stranded in unsafe places where they could be raped, robbed or murdered. Fortunately, this happened to my wife and I in our apartment complex, however there are reports of other people not being so lucky. Hixson Ford charged us $289.69 to repair the ignition lock cylinder plus we paid $65 to tow the vehicle. Below is a list of websites documenting similar complaints of the Ford Focus ignition locking up and rendering the car inoperable. Some even complain of it happening while driving: consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_focus_ignition.html www.fazmiclaw.com/Focus.html www.wjla.com/news/stories/0706/347339.html cbs5.com/investigates/local_story_041015136.html www.petitiononline.com/focusic/petition.html townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.eea50dc forums.treemedia.com/fb/archive/index.php/T-493.html ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cars/msg062031202524.html?20 www.complaints.com/directory/2004/December/12/7.htm www.complaints.com/directory/2005/July/5/17.htm forums.focaljet.com/problems-service-recalls/416401-please-post-if-your-ignition-has-locked-13.html thank you for any assistance you can provide.

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #60

Sep 012006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle's ignition locked and the key could not be turned to start the vehicle. The problem began as being rough in turning the key but gradually worsened to not being able to turn the key in the ignition at all. The vehicle has not been to a service dealer.

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #59

Sep 072006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


I own a 2003 Ford Focus, and like many other Ford customers I have read about, I had my ignition lock jam up to the point where it cannot be started with the key. It will probably require a new cylinder, which, according to other complaints, will break just as easily. Clearly Ford should step up and take some credit for such an inconvenience. It's just fortunate that no one can become injured from this particular case of bad engineering.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #58

Aug 062006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Focus and the ignition fails intermittently causing the car not to start. The key will not turn. This is not safe I have a two year old child and in an emergency I may not be able to drive or we may get stranded. Ford refuses to help. There is no recall to my knowledge at this time. This is a known problem and Ford will not acknowledge the issue.

- Newberg , OR, USA

problem #57

Aug 222006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 52,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Focus and today I went out to my car to get some lunch when my ignition locked. I cannot start my car. I have had people look at it and there is nothing that can be done except bring it to the dealership.

- Rosamond, CA, USA

problem #56

Jul 282006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


2003 Ford Focus (which is driven by teenager- female) ignition lock failure. Basically when it fails you are stuck (can not start vehicle)! at the moment vehicle sits in the driveway. $400 price tag to fix a problem - that Ford is very much aware of. I am not sure I want my teenage daughter driving a vehicle that may get her stranded somewhere unsafe!

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #55

Jul 232006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,788 miles
Ignition locked and is impossible to start. Sometimes the ignition locks for hours and sometimes days. It is absolutely ridiculous! this is a family car and it's unreliable!

- Dewey, OK, USA

problem #54

Jul 202006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Several parts failures, including alternator, brakes, muffler, transmission, and ignition lock cylinder

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #53

Jul 142006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The ignition key would not turn in any direction once inserted in the keylock, this leaving me on the parking lot for hours to wait for a tow-truck. The car has only 40K miles on it. The dealership wants to charge me $200 to replace the lock cylinder. That happened a few times in the past, but this time it was for real I guess.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #52

Jul 022006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 26,100 miles


Drove the car to the grocery store. After shopping, I entered the car & placed the key into the ignition. The key would not turn, the key cylinder was frozen. It will have to be towed to the repair shop. The mechanic said this is a very common problem with the Ford Focus, apparently caused by weak and rapidly deteriorating key cylinder components. Last week alone, the mechanic replaced 3 of them. I went home and researched on internet. Judging from the literally thousands of posts on the internet from Focus owners who have had the same problem, it appears to back up what the mechanic said.

- Hutchinson, KS, USA

problem #51

Jun 272006


  • Manual transmission
  • 26,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Focus, which has had several problems with components. As a manual transmission, the car has had several instances where the gears would not enter properly, even while fully engaging the clutch. Then on 6/27/06, the ignition refused to move--wouldn't turn or anything. I had to hitch a ride to work from a co-worker, who went out of their way for me, then call winner Ford (dover, de) to find out if the chip in my key had gone bad, or what. They informed me during the conversation that this was a very common problem, and that I was unfortunately 1 month outside of my warranty. I asked why it was not recalled or covered, as there were so many problems with this piece, and she had no answer. I had to get towed, which caused damage to my car, then was informed that this work would cost over 200$ to fix the problem, with only a 1 year warranty on the part. When asked, the tech who worked on my car informed me that the same piece would probably go out again, and again, over the course of my ownership. I am now seriously considering trading in this car. This is a very serious concern, for both safety, and the honesty of the dealers. A dealer on site explained to me that these cars had been having this problem for quite some time. I am not one to sue over spilt milk, but some notification would have been nice. I'm a graduate student, with a very large bill for these classes, I cannot afford to dump 300$ (after towing) into a car that holds no resale value, and will probably show many more issues throughout the rest of my time with Ford. I have no intention of ever buying a Ford again.

- Magnolia, DE, USA

problem #50

Jun 062006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Ignition tumblers lock up and key will not turn. Vehicle must be towed. The part is dealer only and expensive to fix. This is second time this has happened to me in 6 months. After research I have found this is widespread problem, and Ford denies that there is any problem.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #49

Jun 032006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,300 miles
Dad*: the contact stated while attempting to start the vehicle the key would not turn in the ignition. An independent mechanic maneuvered the key until the vehicle started; it was then driven to the dealer for inspection. The ignition lock cylinder was replaced. The manufacturer has not been alerted. Updated 06/23/06.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #48

Jun 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
: the contact stated while stopped at a red light both frontal airbags deployed without warning causing the vehicle to rear end the vehicle in front. A police report was filed at the scene and seat belts were in use; no injuries were sustained. The vehicle was towed to an independent repair shop. The mechanic was unable to duplicate the problem. The dealership was alerted. On a separate occasion, the hatch back failed to close, vehicle failed to start, the interior lighting failed and the motor made a knocking sound. This occurred intermittently. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Trenton, MO, USA

problem #47

May 032006

Focus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles
On more than one occasion my ignition has locked up. I have been unable to start my car had to have it towed. The lights do not come on but the radio works. I took key out of ignition then came back could not start car, had several people try. Have been advised by person who works at dealership of this problem with Ford Focus car and also same info provided by tow truck driver. I am now without vehicle because not sure of cost to repair. Has this happened to other people.

- Luling, LA, USA

problem #46

Apr 082005


  • miles
I purchased a used 2003 Focus in January of 2004. The car only had about 42000 miles on it. I went to work one day and when I went to start my car the key would not turn. It gets stuck. The wheels lock and I have to jiggle it until it finally comes unstuck. I had to leave my car at work overnight once because of this and the Ford dealer told me that it is a common problem but it is not a recall. This needs to be a recall. I will not pay over $200 for something that is happening to more people.

- Chesterfield, SC, USA

problem #45

Apr 202006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 54,000 miles
The ignition to my 2003 Ford Focus would not turn when the key was inserted. Was towed to dealership (family Ford in netcong, NJ) and they said not under warranty or is a recall and charged me $514. After this I searched on internet and see several class action lawsuits and many forums describing the same problem. I also saw statements on the forums that Ford is overcharging and should go to a locksmith to get it done for under $150.

- Long Valley, NJ, USA

problem #44

Apr 152006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2003 Ford Focus and I have several issues. In the last year I have experienced problems with the ignition locking and as well as the steering wheel, I contacted the dealer carey paul Ford in Decatur, ga and was told that I had to pay for repairs, which I did, after being stranded with my son. This cost me $260, I am a single mother and cannot afford to spend money on problems that the manufacturer clearly was aware of. The trunk on the vehicle just randomly opens at any given moment, you're riding along the road and the trunks just opens for no reason. This I find just annoying but would also like to have corrected. My latest issue is that on yesterday 04/16/06, while driving along the steering wheel just became loose and I could barely control the car, I made it to a Firestone dealer that recommended that I take the vehicle to the dealer, which I will do first thing in the morning. I can't stop thinking that I or someone else on the road could have been seriously injured or killed. I can't understand how a manufacturer can continue to market a product as safe when clearly there are issues with it. I have found numerous web sites and personally spoken with Focus owners with the same problems, what will it take to get Ford to take responsibility for it's product. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #43

Apr 122006

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On 4/12/06, the ignition in my 2003 Ford Focus jammed and was unable to start I was stuck I called the tow service who had me try different ways to start my car however it didn't work. When the driver arrived he hit the key 4-5 times then it unjammed and started up after he turned the car off he had to hit the key again to start the car when we arrived at the dealer in antelope valley, ca the service req informed me the I had to pay $430 to get my car repaired I asked why hasn't the car been recall he didn't have an answer but there are several reports of the same problem with this car I like for someone to look into the problem with this car.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

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