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 2 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #242

Aug 172010


  • 75,000 miles


My 2003 Ford Focus has ignition problems. My key could not turn in the ignition. And as I search online, a lot of ppl have the same problems. This is a recurrent problem with Ford Focus and specifically 2003 Ford Focus. This is very severe. Image you're in a hurry to start the car, the key could not turn and you are stuck. So why is there is nothing done about it by Ford? I just asked the dealership and they told me it is around $450 to replace the ignition. I don't think I should pay this money due to Ford's fault.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #241

Aug 122010


  • 53,337 miles
2003 Ford Focus ignition key will not turn now.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #240

Nov 252009


  • 106,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Focus SE. The key will not turn when you put it into the ignition.

- Paragould, AR, USA

problem #239

Jul 192010


  • 114,381 miles


Ignition cylinder locked unable to drive Ford Focus 2003. Cost of ignition cylinder, new key (1), reset of computer = $480.

- Sagamore Hills, OH, USA

problem #238

Jul 072010


  • miles
July 2010 ignition is locked, key will not turn in ignition. It was happening every now and then but today, July 7, 2010, it will not turn at all even with tapping lightly on the end of the key and pulling the steering wheel down while turning the key nothing has yet to be done as I am still waiting for Ford to decide if they want to pick it up! June 2010 driverside spring coil snapped - no letter to the owner of the Ford models when the problem was a known safety issue and was covered under a warranty extended by Ford (because they knew of the problem) June 2009 - driverside firehawk gta factory installed tire blew right off the steel rim, leaving the steel from the tire on the rim... this happened in my driveway and not while I was driving the vehicle, thank goodness.

- Midland, 00, USA

problem #237

Jun 202010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100,600 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Focus and the ignition and the key suddenly won't turn in the ignition. I have looked this problem up online and it looks like a far too common problem. My wife is 8.5 months pregnant, and I thank god this didn't happen any later as it is our only vehicle. Please take prompt action against Ford and make them issue a recall! thank you.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #236

Jun 142010


  • 85,624 miles


Key gets stuck in the ignition. Ignition will not turn. This happens just about every time an attempt is made to turn the car on for approximately one year. Multiple attempts must be made and excessive force to engage key must be used. After contacting several locksmiths and being repeatedly told that this problem can only be repaired by a Ford dealer due to the computer needing to be programmed to match a chip in the ignition and key, a local Ford dealership was contacted. A customer service employee reported that it can be replaced for $250. But that it is a common problem with no guarantees that the ignition would not need further replacement for the same problem in the future. Ignition will no longer turn at all resulting in the key snapping in the ignition. Entire ignition will need to be replaced.

- Little River, KS, USA

problem #235

Jun 132010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Focus is having an ignition problem - my key will not turn in the ignition - I am now stranded and have to call aaa for help - they just left - have to have ignition replaced by dealer.

- South Boston, MA, USA

problem #234

Jun 102010


  • 106,000 miles
Key will not turn ignition. It is progressively getting worse. Last night I was stranded late at night and had to call someone to come get me. I tried for over an hour to get it to turn. From what I am finding out this is not a problem that I have. There have been many many complaints of this. This part should be recalled!

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #233

Jun 072003

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,774 miles
Key would not turn in the ignition on my 2003 Ford Focus wagon. Was stranded at a drive in movie theater at 2am with 2 small children and the windows down as it started to rain.

- Star Prairie, WI, USA

problem #232

May 232008

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles


Ign key will not turning key gets stuck left me stranded in a bad high crime area I under stand that this is a problem on all the Focus why is a recall mot been done.

- Hazel Green, AL, USA

problem #231

May 212010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
The original Ford car key for my 03 Ford Focus will not turn in the ignition sometimes. Ill say about 25% of the time it won't. and I haven't fixed it yet.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #230

May 132010


  • 88,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Focus. Sometimes the ignition locks and the key will not even turn in the ignition, leaving me stranded. This problem began a few weeks ago. It has gotten progressively worse. Until tonight, when this problem has occurred, the key would turn the ignition after 5 - 10 minutes. Tonight, the problem lasted for over an hour and I had to call a tow. I was stranded in a bad area. Having looked up this issue online, I can tell it is an all too common problem for Ford Focus model years 2000 - 2003.

- Waterville, ME, USA

problem #229

May 042010


  • 51,834 miles
Ignition cylinder lock sticks, unable to turn key and start car.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #228

May 032010


  • 90,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus ignition won't turn over the past month the ignition has been slowly increasing in the number of times that it will lock up and won't turn. It used to work for me to put the key in pull out, wait a few seconds then put it back in and it would work. On 5/3/10 my ignition would no longer work and I was stranded in a parking lot on my way home from work. No repair has been completed yet, but I will be looking into it.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #227

Apr 222010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 133,000 miles
Key won't turn in the ignition of our 2003 Ford Focus just happened today - no prior problem with ignition will most likely call a locksmith.

- Harrogate, TN, USA

problem #226

Apr 202010


  • 55,000 miles
No previous indication of any problem, just went to my 2003 Focus and could not turn the key. Went in the house and got the other key. It would not turn. The ignition column is permanently locked. Ford has known of this failure for 10 years and done nothing"?? why is there no recall for such an ongoing and known defect" I'm surprised I have not heard of deaths related to this as weather conditions, robbery or rape could certainly contribute to this fixable problem. Shame on Ford.

- West Bend, WI, USA

problem #225

Mar 152010


  • 75,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Focus has a ignition switch problem all of a sudden the key will not start the car it has left us stranded and has taken us as long as 30 minutes to start car. We have tried several remedies like silicone spray, tapping on key so it will start this problem has effected a host of Focus owners with costly repairs and we will soon have to spend money to repair this obviously flawed design.

- Auburn, ME, USA

problem #224

Mar 152010


  • miles
I just recently bought my 2003 Ford Focus. Just this week the key would not turn in the ignition and my steering wheel would be locked. I was always able to get my car started after a few tries or 10 minutes or so. Today I sat in my car for 40 minutes trying to get my key to turn; it would not. I had to leave my car at the school which I work at, since I am a teacher, and be picked up. I have just read online that many people have or are having this same issue and that there is no recall on the ignition yet. I am confused as to why. This is a safety hazard as it leaves you stranded and to not be able to get your car started is a big deal. If it was just my car, fine, I would get it fixed with no issue. But to read that hundreds or thousands of people and Ford Focus' are having this same issue is a little outrageous and something needs to be done. Thank you.

- Cold Spring, NY, USA

problem #223

Dec 052009


  • 69,000 miles
The ignition switch (that is, where the key goes to start the car) would not turn. I was stuck and had to have the car towed. There had been no warning, that is, the key was never hard to turn, I never had to jiggle the steering column, or anything liked that. I just parked the car in front of a store, and five mints later, went out and found out they key would not turn. (I could remove and re-insert the key, it would not turn). Further more, the dealer and aaa, of course, say to try jiggling the steering wheel. All that did was lock the front wheels in a turned position and made it very hard to move the car get it to a position to be towed. Having the wheels lock in a turned position, as is common, could be a hazard too. The aaa guy could not free (turn) the ignition switch it either. I had first cell-phoned called the dealer, they had no suggestions. I see I had the same problem so many other 2003 focuses have reported. The dealer guessed that the cause was that one of the pins in the lock just slipped out of place. The Ford dealer had to replace the ignition switch. It was not cheap. I called Ford Motor Company they would not pay for it, or part of it.

- Milford, CT, USA

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