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Ford Focus: Problems & Solutions

pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
edited March 20 in Ford


  • My ignition doesn't lock. The car will start but doesn't stay running unless I have my foot on the gas. Someone said that it could be the fuel pump, or water in the gas. It's a mystery that drives me crazy. The next time it happens I'm just taking it to a local garage, not a dealer.
  • cobiecobie Posts: 108
    I've been fortunate that I've not had one mechanical thing go wrong with my zx3 as of yet. No noises, broken pieces, recalls.... nada. The car runs great!
    I do, however, complain often and loud about the crummy gas mileage. Only 18 to 25 mpg and that's really babying it -- no fast starts, no speeding, etc. Oh well, I guess one can't have everything, eh?
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Posts: 1,339
    My ZX3 is a 2000 model built in Dec. 1999 and purchased in Feb. 2000. I have been hit with all the recalls (fuel pressure sensor, A-pillar replacement pieces, clutch master cylinder and return spring, rear seatback hinge, rear hub retaining nut lock), but have not had any malfunctions per se (knock on wood). Like cobie, my gas mileage isn't the greatest (average 24-26 mpg), but I wasn't expecting much more from a 2 liter engine in a boxy car. My fiancee has the car now and loves it, especially since I still wash and detail it, and change the oil and filter for her :) I do think the Focus suffers from very inconsistent build quality, but if you get a "good" one, it is a tough car to beat for the price.
  • rwgreenbergrwgreenberg Posts: 154
    I'm not sure if it makes sense to divide up our discussion of the ZX3 into so many separate little groups. It's not hard to keep track of what's going on in our main group, and it seems to me that it makes it harder to keep track of things if we post too specifically in the sub-groups. What do you girls/guys think?
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    Now that the main Ford Focus zx3 discussion has over a 1000 posts..., I think it would be a good idea to have a few different discussions for better focus. (no pun intended) ;-)

    People won't have to scroll through 1000 posts to discuss/resolve their vehicle problems. In addition, the links at the top of each page, should make it easy for everyone to easily access each subject.

    Let's give it a try and see how it goes.... Thanks and talk later. ;-)

    Hatchback Message Board
  • KicKMan1KicKMan1 Posts: 45
    This is no secret, but some Focuses attain very poor gas mileage. I've brought this problem to the attention of my dealer (they always claim to have never heard of problems) twice. Each time, they claim to have tested the mileaage with some kind of meter and each time the estimated mileage was alleged to have been between 26 and 32 mpg. But for some strange reason, they're not interested in my spreadsheet of miles driven and gallons of fuel purchased. This real world test yields a rock steady 23 miles per gallon, with 95% highway driving.

    I've written to Ford twice and advised them of the problem. Each response from them was the same: we'll contact the dealer and a Ford rep. and alert them of your concerns. To date, the only actions taken has been a call from the dealer suggesting that the problem is most likely due to the winter fuel used here in Minn. I've been having this problem since last summer ...

    I'm losing my patience. What's more, I've got 12 years of litigation experience and I'm not afraid to use it. Hope you're reading this Ford ...
  • moses5moses5 Posts: 61
    The rear suspension on my 2000 Focus has gotten progressively worse over the past year. The drivers side rear makes creaking noises and the car has begun to drive strangely when on the highway.

    It feels like I'm going to loose control. The rear end starts to wiggle around a bit. I believe the springs are the assembly that hold them is causing them to move around. I have heard post from 1 or 2 other people who had the noise but not the driving problem.

    I have had futile attempts at getting the problem fixed with Ford dealerships. Folks this is a safety issue and might be Fords next biggest problem.

    Anyone out there experience this before.
  • bfallisbfallis Posts: 8
    Ouch. I have 70 miles on my ZX3 (70, not 70k) and already this weekend I'm in a very average feeling Escort rental while the ZX3 sits in the shop. D'OH! I was out shopping and tried my second key which was cut the day of purchase. Wouldn't go in. Hmmm. So I decided to mention that to the dealer and put in the other key which had always worked fine. Wouldn't turn. Talked to the service guy who said "it should turn." Oh really? Anyway it wouldn't turn, and the tow truck guy confirmed that.

    They're ordering a new ignition, and won't have the part 'til Monday.

    What was worse is that as a "30-day buyer" I should get a rental right away and be on my way, but noone told me. I waited around three hours for them to even look at my car, and when they still hadn't I went over to rental and said "at what point in the day do they decide to give me a rental?" They were like "if the service guys say it will be here overnight." Ouch. I didn't realize the rental part of my warranty contract only lets me have a rental if it goes overnight. If it's there for say, 7 hours, from 9 am to 4 pm, you don't get a rental?? (I bought a 75k 7 year warranty.) They're definitely not Infiniti. Anyway, when I mentioned I'd just purchased the car 2 days prior, the rental manager suddenly perked up.. "let's get this guy a rental."

    Hello! I'd been waiting for 3 hours to just get an audience with Service to maybe mention I had just bought it... might want to return it... if you catch my drift.

    Anyway, I love the car so far... the way it rides, feels, looks, and handles. Hopefully this starter or ignition failure is a fluke. Kinda makes me nervous though. If it's in the shop after 2 days of ownership... what is there to look forward to?

  • eyefieyefi Posts: 5
    Yes, I have had the exact experience with the gas mileage kick man and have concluded its a quality control problem. Some foci get great gas mileage, I talked to a owner who get in the high 30's with auto 4 dr. My stick ZX3 get's about 19-24. what's even more amazing the harder I drive it the better the gas mileage! No kidding if I shift about 5000 rpm I get 20mpg in town. If I use the arrow I get about 19!!!Something tells me the ECU is the problem. Keep us informed of your attempts with Ford.
  • fgaydosfgaydos Posts: 319
    Here is a very good article on the recall problem. Ford is not the only company involved:
  • botskibotski Posts: 3
    Hey Kickman1,

    I also am geting 23-25 MPG with 90% highway driving. The Ford dealer in Apple Valley said to wait until the breakin period is over and it may improve. It hasn't. Keep me updated about any legal stuff.

  • bfallisbfallis Posts: 8
    my car was fixed and all is right with the universe.
  • asadorianasadorian Posts: 23
    Re #8: The service manager at my Ford dealer told me that this the biggest problem it has had with the Focus. The key won't turn in the ignition switch, and the switch has to be replaced. I had to wait 24 days to get a new switch that was keyed to work in the car.

    Ford apparently is replacing the switches as they break. With our Focus the key wouldn't turn one day. After wiggling the key for a few minutes, the switch worked fine and continued to work fine for a few weeks until one day it froze again without any warning.

    If any of you have had difficulty turning the ignition key, you may want to see about getting the switch replaced before it breaks at some inconvenient time. Ours broke on Christmas eve, and we had to tow the car to our house and then tow it again to the Ford dealer after Christmas.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    What kind of build dates are we talking about with the cars???

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Posts: 1,339
    In his misguided attempt to drive down costs and increase dividend payouts to Ford shareholders (and thus keep his job and astronomical salary), CEO Jac Nasser has been playing the same game many auto execs have been playing - squeeze the profit out of your suppliers. Sure, some companies will agree to Jac's demands for lower and lower prices on parts, but the suppliers will meet the price by leaving out the quality. Result? Your shiny new car is built from crap parts. Get used to lots more niggling failures like the ignition switch problem...
  • asadorianasadorian Posts: 23
    Re #14: I tried to get some information on build dates from the service manager before replying, but he was too busy. I took delivery on my Focus in February 2000. If I find out any additional information, I will post it here.
  • svarney1svarney1 Posts: 5
    If you still have the original window sticker, the build date is printed on the bottom of the sheet. If not, there should be some way to find out through the VIN number, though I'm not sure how... anyone out there know how to decode the Ford VIN number?
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Posts: 1,339
    Build date is also listed on the VIN sticker on the driver's door jamb. I'll need your VIN to tell you what your car is all about, but basically:

    digits 1-3: World Manufacturer ID
    digit 4: Restraint Type
    digit 5: Manufacturers specification
    digits 6-7: Line Series Body Type
    digit 8: Engine
    digit 9: Check Digit
    digit 10: Year
    digit 11: Assembly Plant
    digits 12-17: Production Sequence Number
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Posts: 1,339
    1FA = Ford passenger vehicle
    F = Active seatbelts and front airbags
    P = Ford North American vehicle
    31 = ZX3
    3 = 2.0 Zetec
    check digit
    Y = 2000; 1 = 2001
    R = Hermosillo
    123456 = your car's sequence number
  • asadorianasadorian Posts: 23
    The build date on my car is 11/22/99.

    What I was trying to say in message #16 was that I wanted to get information on the age of the cars that had been repaired at the Ford dealer. The service manager told me that it was the biggest problem the dealer was having with the Focus. Message #8 seems to indicate that the problem is still occurring.

    I still plan to ask the service manager when I see him again, which based on my experience with the car will probably be soon.
This discussion has been closed.