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 5 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #182

Aug 062009


  • 106,380 miles


The Ford Focus 2003 problem, the key won't turn in the ignition, or the key gets stuck in the ignition.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #181

Jul 242009


  • 135,000 miles
The key won't turn in the ignition. This is a safety issue because I was parked on the side of the interstate to tend to one of my children and then the car would not turn back on causing me to have to call for a ride and a tow truck. The key will not turn at all. The ignition is "locked". my family and I could have been killed getting out of the vehicle on the side of the interstate to move into another vehicle. Very unsafe. I have been researching this today and it appears so be a common problem with the 2000-2003 Ford Focus.

- Ivor, VA, USA

problem #180

Jul 082009


  • 82,600 miles
Nothing lead up to the failure other than it happened a few times. I haven't been able to get it to a shop. The ignition key does not turn, it locks. I cannot start my car. I have been stranded at various locations. I got stranded with no cash, no food or water in the heat with no shade around. Dehydration was a concern. I haven't fixed it yet, trying to figure out the best way. I have found numerous posts pertaining to this problem and that's how I came to file this complaint.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #179

Jun 252009


  • 48,000 miles


The key will not turn in my ignition on my 2003 Ford Focus. I have to jiggle and jiggle to get it finally turn. It is like it locks up. Going to see a lock smith about possibly getting it fixed if I can not get Ford to make a good faith repair on it. Took my 20 minutes to get the key to turn in order to start my car.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #178

Jun 212009


  • 64,460 miles
2003 Ford Focus ZX3. Ignition switch locking up and not allowing the steering wheel to unlock. This problem has occurred at least 6 time in the last 12 months. This problem has made me late for work each time.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #177

Dec 012007


  • miles
Ignition key mechanism would jam and not turn -preventing turning the key and locking the steering wheel. Unable to tow car (luckily all 2-3 times this happened I was close enough to dealer for flatbed tow). Was able to remove the ignition key and the car was still running. Last occurrence that was not under warranty and Ford would not reimburse even though other Focus owner had this problem - some up to 10 occurrences and Ford said not a defect. I only had two keys on my key ring so not a weight issue.

- Bisbee, AZ, USA

problem #176

Jun 152009

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,450 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. Upon starting the vehicle, the contact was unable to turn the key in the ignition. The steering wheel would not budge; therefore, a tow truck was called. The contact previously experienced issues with the key becoming stuck in the ignition; however, she was always able to start the vehicle. The tow truck driver stated that the failure was identical to two other vehicles he towed the previous day. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls and they had never heard of this type of failure. They were unable to assist and would not assume responsibility for any repairs. The failure mileage was 58,450 updated 07/08/09 updated 07/08/09.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #175

Jun 152009


  • 101,000 miles
2003 Ford Focus.we have had ignition problems since we bought the car 4 years ago ( was a used car) the ignition was replaced once. Now we have trouble again. My wife got stuck at a shopping center. My son, a mechanic tried to help, but couldn't get the key to turn. She called aaa. When he arrived he "hit" the ignition very hard and the key turned. She was able to get home, but we expect to have more trouble. It has been happening almost everyday. If the car were to stall on the highway, and not be able to get the key to turn, it could be very dangerous and could cause a serious accident. This should a safety recall. Everyone needs to be able to at least turn the key. We will have to go to Ford to replace the ignition at the cost of $400- 500..

- Butler, NJ, USA

problem #174

Jun 092009


  • 198,156 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition. This was the second time that he has experienced an issue with the ignition. The ignition was previously replaced due to a separate issue. He called the manufacturer, but was unsatisfied with the outcome. The contact feels that the vehicle will be stolen if the keys are left in the ignition. The current and failure mileages were 198,156.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #173

Jun 022009


  • miles
My car key would always go in but no turn. Once in a while if I jiggled it, it would turn over and be okay. But I was shopping and the car would not start at all, so I called aaa. They had me try a couple of things and it didn't work so it was towed to my car dealer. Heir they said that the ignition went and they would have to replace it at the cost of $350. Shocked because it was nothing that I could have broken. So I think that Ford should recall this as a recurring problem that keeps happening and just fix the problem. My car is always in the shop every 3,000 miles for oil changes it is very well taken care of and I would like to keep it and in the future buy more Ford products so I hope that this problem is taken into consideration and fixed.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #172

May 232009


  • 92,735 miles


My 2003 svt Focus takes 2 to five minutes of jiggling the key to get the ignition to work. I have read several complaints on this issue and contacted my nearest dealership and have been told they can fix it at my cost and that there is not a recall on it. The car is very well taken care of and has left me stranded a couple of times because of the ignition not working properly.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #171

May 132009


  • 40,000 miles
The key will not turn in ignition to start the car.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #170

May 092009


  • 106,500 miles
Hopped in my car like normal to drive myself to work. Placed key in ignition. Won't turn. Had to call of work after an hour of toying with it and calling my manager every 15 minutes letting them know... it won't budge.

- Kettering, OH, USA

problem #169

May 042009


  • 84,000 miles
The ignition key will not turn on my 2003 Ford Focus. I understand that this has been a common problem on this model of vehicle. My daughter was stranded in the vehicle because of this problem. There have been no warnings or signs that this problem was impending.

- Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #168

Apr 052009


  • miles
My 2003 Ford Focus ignition lock will not turn. Fortunately for Ford, my warranty is up. I have read reviews that this is a common complaint with the Ford Focus model in the years 2000-2003. I cannot drive without fearing that the ignition will lock up on me and I will be stranded. This is very hazardous to me. I was lucky to not have had an emergency to attend to when I was stranded unable to start my car.

- Halifax, PA, USA

problem #167

Apr 032009


  • miles
The ignition switch randomly broke on my 2003 Ford Focus. My key will not turn the switch. I was stranded with my 2 children. I contacted aaa and the locksmith that I spoke with was out of stock on the ignition cylinder because "this is common problem with the Ford Focus. I usually keep 4 or 5 on hand." I consider this a personal safety issue as there was no warning of it occurring. It was all very random. I drove to the location. I did my business. I got back into the car. My key would not work. This is a serious problem that the Ford Motor Company needs to address.

- Lakewood, WA, USA

problem #166

Mar 172009


  • 50,030 miles
The ignition will not turn on in my car. The key will go in, but it will not turn. It was hard to turn for a while, several weeks I just would keep trying and jiggling it, and it would eventually work, and now it just won't turn on at all. I was stranded in a dangerous area until my husband could come to pick me up. I called a locksmith to repair it and he said he gets this issue al the time with Ford Focus.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #165

Mar 152009


  • miles
My key won't turn in the ignition.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #164

Feb 282009


  • miles
2003 Ford Focus ignition key will not turn.

- Amelia, VA, USA

problem #163

Feb 272009


  • 42,000 miles
Wheel and ignition lock up.

- York, PA, USA

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