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 13 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Sep 252005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,500 miles


Ford Focus needed ignition tumblers replaced because the old ones locked up about 4 hours from home. Luckily I read that almost everyone with a Focus has had the same exact problems; however, Ford has not done anything to remedy the situation. I had a lock smith fix the problems whom aaa referred me to. I will never ever buy a Ford again and am trying very hard to become part of a class action suit against Ford for ignoring this problem. I also tell everyone I meet not to buy a Focus or any other type of Ford because of their poor quality.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #21

Sep 022005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Focus which has 52,000 miles on it. The ignition on the car has locked up completely and the ignition key will not turn the ignition at all. I have contacted the local Ford dealership where I was told by their service dept. That this hasn't been issued as a recall by Ford but they has "several" Ford Focus' coming in for ignition repair. Ford assumes no liability at this point but they are happily charging approx. $500 for the ignition repair at their shop. I am very unsatisfied and feel that with the large # of Ford Focus owners who have experienced this same complaint, something should be done on a larger scale as it is obvious there is an issue with the mechanics of the ignition. A popular web site that offers advice to auto owners is www.edmunds.com and there is a large posting of complaints on this website pertaining to this matter. This can be found at the following web address: townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.eea50dc please reply and let me know if any assistance is available. Sincerely, patrick miller.

- 29 Palms, CA, USA

problem #20

Jun 142005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus. The ignition tumbler failed at 38,000 miles. Randomly, the key was hard to put in and then it went out. The battery failed as well. The vehicle was no longer under warranty. Both problems have not been fixed at Ford. The battery went out yesterday and the consumer purchased a new one. The ignition tumbler started about 2 months ago.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #19

Sep 042005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles


This is the second time in 1 year that I have had to have my ignition lock cylinder replaced in my 2003 Ford Focus ZX3.

- Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #18

Aug 092005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
Ignition locked up towed to hilltop Ford in maysville Kentucky. Was told ignition locked up and column would have to be replaced at a cost of $755.69. The warranity went off just 1,000 miles before this happened. Was told they have had many of these problems a car was coming in for the same thing when we left.

- West Union, OH, USA

problem #17

Jul 202005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
The ignition has locked three (3) times on a 2003 Ford Focus in less than a two year time period. It appears that the ignition switch and/or components are substandard since the part has been replaced on two previous occasions. The ignition locked for the third time on July 20, 2005. The vehicle is currently at a local Ford dealership for a repair or replacement of the ignition. The car was under warranty the first two (2) instances of this problem. However, the warranty has expired and this appears to be an ongoing problem.

- Lufkin, TX, USA

problem #16

May 122005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I bought a 2003 Ford Focus brand new in February 2003. The car had about 300 miles on it. Yesterday the ignition switch went out costing me over $250. This is not normal wear and tear! I went into a restaurant and came out. I was stranded. I've searched the internet for similar situations/complaints and other people had similar situations. I understand batteries going dead or wear and tear on brakes. I've never had this happen before. I've never owned a Ford before either! is there something wrong with Ford" is this statement true": fixed or repaired daily.

- Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #15

Apr 112005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On April 11, 2005, as I was leaving work in the evening, I placed the key in the ignition and could not turn the key. The following day, I spent some time on the telephone with several mechanics and key makers trying to determine the problem. I finally understood that it was a faulty ignition cylinder. On April 14 I had the car towed into bohn Ford Inc. At 401 N. carrollton avenue, new orleans, la 70119. (504) 485-2646. While the car was at the dealership, I searched the internet and learned from one website that there were at least 137 other people who had the same problem that I had. I found a second website with another list of people who were sharing their experiences of the faulty ignition cylinder lock. Two people who posted onto the website mentioned the PO5. I understood from them that the car could have been fixed for $24.58. The car had to be under six years old and under 75,000 miles. The staff at the bohn Ford dealership was very considerate and understanding of my situation; however, when I requested a PO5, they told me that while they were sure that I qualified, their office was not authorized to apply for a PO5 at this time. My total bill came to $396.69 to drill out, code, and replace the ignition cylinder lock; and to cut, erase, and program two pat keys. The ignition cylinder lock problem on the Ford Focus can be traced at least as far back as 2001. Therefore I urge you to begin a recall on the ignition cylinder lock.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #14

Feb 272005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
We are a franchisee of an auto rental company. We have had a half dozen Ford focuses that the ignition switches have failed on. These vehicles have mileage in the range of 40,000-45,000 miles. The ignition switch will just quit working. We have had to have the vehicles towed in every instance, and Ford has refused to do anything about it or make any adjustments. It costs us over $400 every time. Something should be done about it. These have been 2003-2004 model vehicles.

- Bossier City, LA, USA

problem #13

Apr 162004

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 38,430 miles
We bought a new Ford Focus in December of 2002. In March 2004, with about 20,000 miles on it, the ignition switch started to act up. When inserted into the ignition the key got stuck and would not turn on several occasions. After spending about 20 to 40 minutes of wiggling the key and knocking on the steering column it would finally turn. We brought it to the dealership in April after being stuck at night for almost 2 hours on a deserted parking lot. The ignition cylinder was replaced under warranty because the mechanic himself was not able to turn the key. Yesterday, on 25 Feb 2005, the same problem started up again. The dealership checked it out but we are off warranty, so we will have to pay for it ourselves. It is a very frustrating thought that after spending all that money, it may happen again in several month. After reading all the complaints of other Focus owners regarding the same issue, we are very disappointed that Ford does not make any allowances to get the problem fixed permanently. We have owned our cars usually up to 10 years or so and never had to replace an ignition cylinder before on any of them.

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #12

Feb 152005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Once the key is inserted into the ignition consumer is unable to start the vehicle, and is unable to turn the key. The steering wheel locks. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that the ignition cylinder needed to be replaced.

- London, OH, USA

problem #11

Jan 312005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,188 miles
Ignition switch/steering column housing unit.

- Annandale, VA, USA

problem #10

Dec 012004

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Three transmission failures and replacements. The engine, starter/ignition and 1 gear shift all replacements and other various problems. Four cd player replacements, the brakes failed, and 1 alarm failure. The engine was also replaced.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #9

Jan 042005

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,406 miles
Bought a 2003 Ford Focus iin July 04 and on 1/4/05 (28,406 miles) went to start vehicle and key went into ignition hard and would not turn at all. Ignition had locked up. Nothing would work and wheels were locked. Had to be towed and technician had trouble due to wheels locking. Found many complaints on internet of this problem in the Focus. Car was under warranty and it was fixed but if same faulty ignition cylinder is installed the problem will happen again and again.

- Danvers, MA, USA

problem #8

Jan 042004


  • miles
Bought a 2003 used Ford Focus in July 04 and on Tuesday, Jan. 4 went to start vehicle and key would not go into ignition. Nothing worked wheels were locked. Had to be towed and tech had trouble due to wheels locked. Found many more complaints on internet about this trouble in focuses.

- Danvers, MA, USA

problem #7

Oct 252004

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,915 miles
I recently purchased a used 2003 Ford Focus from menlove Dodge Toyota in bountiful in late September. Verything was going fine, until one day my wife comes home an hour late from work saying that the keys for our car would turn in the ignition, she had to enlist the help 2 other co-workers & finally got it started after an hour of trying it. O I went out to take a look at the ignition and sure enough the key would not turn until after a bout 20-30 tries. So then I got to thinking, with this car having less than 50,000 miles on it I should have it looked at. After talking to other people & doing research on the internet, it appears to be a very common problem, which Ford apparently fails to acknowledge. This is a very serious problem as what if you were driving on the freeway & your car stops running, your going 65 mph, the steering wheel locks because the key wont turn to the on position again. I called to get a quote on getting this fixed and was told it would cost me in the ball park of 200-300 dollars for a defect that is obviously a know problem by Ford. Have found a message board that other for Focus owners have posted information on with the same complaint. My felling is, with so many Ford Focus owners out there with the same problem, Ford needs to step up and admit there is a problem & issue a recall on these ignitions. Here is the url to the site I referred to: www.autowhiz.com/messageboards/message.php?id=1784&page=1

- West Valley City, UT, USA

problem #6

Sep 092004

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 19,000 miles
The consumer heard a grinding noise coming from the rear brake drums. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. The rear drum brake pads were defective, parts and compound were missing, trim under the steering column was missing, the transmission was slipping in first, second and third gear, and the ignition was damaged.

- Hartford, WI, USA

problem #5

Nov 122004


  • 25,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus -- ignition locks and cannot be released to start the car. Dealer (smith Ford in lordsburg, nm) has to tow in to work on and last time even replaced the ignition. I am told that this small dealer has had 3 different Focus' with the same problem.

- Lordsburg, NM, USA

problem #4

Oct 312004

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
My ignition locked. I had to have it towed to the dealership to be repaired.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 222004

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,221 miles
I started my car normally and drove to the store. When I came out from the store I got in my car, inserted my key in the ignition and attempted to start my car. The car would not start and my sterring wheel stayed in a locked position. I toggled my key in the ignition to no avail my car would not start. I ended up have to call a tow truck, who was the driver saw the model car immediately tapped on the ignition cylinder with a ball peen hammer and was able to start the car. What he said is this is common in Ford Focus.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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