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Ford Focus Care & Maintenance



  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    The manual says the platinum spark plugs should be replaced at 100K on my 01 Focus that has 97K on it. I noticed the milage has dropped off a little and figured the first thing to do is to replace the plugs. Years ago I used to work a bit on cars. Is there any thing other than changing the plugs that needs attention to car engines that are run by onboard computers? Are distributor points a thing of the past?

    If I take the Focus to a mechanic to have the 100K maintenance done, what is the typical expense for that? At 120K when the timing belt is due to be replace, is it still the rule of thumb to also replace the water pump?

    At this point, should I go ahead and have the timing belt and water pump replaced instead of waiting to hit 120K?
  • I don't think Ford has changed the maintenance interval recommendations for many years. I had my plugs replaced at just over 100k miles and then gas mileage dropped about 10%. After several months of that I consulted with the fleet mechanic where I work, who maintains all our Ford cars and trucks. He said the plugs the shop (not Ford) had installed in my car were too cold and I should replace with Ford (Motorcraft) parts. I did that and got back about half of the lost fuel efficiency. The other half must be lost due to change of commute about the same time I changed plugs.

    The mechanic said there is nothing else to a tuneup besides new plugs as the computer will do the rest.

    As for the timing belt and water pump, I had them replaced at 127k miles and thought I had pushed as far as I dared. You don't want the timing belt to fail on the road and make an expensive job way more expensive. I paid about $650 for that at non-Ford shop. I don't know if there are any warning signs that the timing belt is weakening/slipping/stretching/???, but maybe some others here know.

    I think it's still standard to replace the water pump after spending the $r&$r to get at the timing belt and the water pump is right there.
  • For all the do it yourselfers on the Focus: The car is great, it just starts having problems after the last payment is made. LOL With mine, the "check engine light" stays on. Started out as cutting out at crusing speeds, but not under load and not when the motor is cold. Went through 3 different certified mechanics and the Ford Service experts. Those guys do not work cheap either, All were temp. fixes. Have replaced vac. hoses, plugs, injectors, coil pack, plug wires. Finally got a shade tree mechanic to replace the fuel filter. Doesn't cut out any more, runs great. Engine light stays on. Now the freaking heater doesn't work. Did fix the cig. lighter after 5 years thou. LOL Going to flush the cooling system tomorrow. If that don't work, will buy a warmer jacket and stay saving money for a new car.
    Oh, yeah. Always replace the water pump whenever changing the timing belt, Always. If you don't, the old one will leak and will cost you another 100 or so to fix it. It is just their nature to do these things. Only other major thing I have done with my Focus is replace the struts, because I live on a washboard dirt road that beats cars to death. Still is a great little car. Now tomorrow when I start to flush the system, the motor will fall out. Oh well :)
  • You might try resetting the "check engine light" by disconnecting the battery pos lead for a short while. The computer will reset when you reconnect the battery. Then if the light comes back on after a few minutes or a few days or a few weeks there might actually be something wrong.
  • On this one, have to disconnect the neg. cable to re-set the engine light. Leaving it disconnected tonight to see if the computor will dump all the errors. Car is running fine now. Had to flush it twice to get the heater core unstopped. Water finally came back clear. Took all freaking afternoon thou. Supposed to be 71 on Monday, so now will proably need the ac. Oh well.
  • :sick:

    I will be driving along on the highway doing about 65mph and all of a sudden the transmission will start growling and it will downshift and hold around 2500 to 3000 rpm's even when I try to speed up it will not go any faster,

    the service department gave me a tranny flush & a new filter ,
    that didn't work.
    it does not happen all the time, it comes & goes.
    has it ever happened to you?
    is there a fix :sick:
    thanks for your help
  • kinni420kinni420 Posts: 1
    It happend to my 97 ford Escort after I flushed the radiator. may be I sprayed too much water in the engine compartment fo too long that i think went in the electrical stuff relating to transmision. And I started getting transmission problems. Wouldn't go in first gear or the final gear ie the fourth. Mine is automatic transmission. but after a few days as the water dried it got fine and is running fine even today say after 25000 more kilometers. :P :shades:
  • srfn7srfn7 Posts: 1
    Same thing happened on my 2000 Ford Focus. I had the key but for whatever reason it would not come off, I waited a few days until I needed gas then I called around for a locksmith and their prices to take the thing off. I did not want to do it myself as I was thinking I might set off a spark or something and the thing would explode. Prices for a locksmith ranged from $85 down to $40. 'Course I went with the cheaper one and guess what? He pried it off with a screwdriver! Could have done it myself now I know better. Save yourself the money and do it yourself.
  • randomnessrandomness Posts: 10
    2005 Focus Sedan. Automatic. 19,000 miles on it.

    All of a sudden the car has been jumping. It's random, it's happened driving 80 on the highway or 30 on the street. Sometimes it's kind of jumped or hesitated when I accelerated BUT it's also done it when I've taken my foot off the gas and was just letting the car roll.

    Yesterday, I went to brake at a red light and the car wasn't stopping as fast as it should've. The only *excuse* that would make any sense was that it was raining and I could've been in a deep puddle and it slid. As if that wasn't bad enough, the car stalled. I stepped on the gas and it did nothing so I had to shut it off (again, still sticking out in the middle of an intersection and pissing a bunch of people behind me off) and wait like 5 minutes before I was able to go again. I can't blame the rain because it wasn't raining that hard and I've driven in much worse rain and much bigger puddles than that.
  • lostwrenchlostwrench Posts: 288
    What do you mean by the term jumping?
  • randomnessrandomness Posts: 10
    Exactly that. Jumping. Like driving down a road and the ride going smooth and all of a sudden the car jerks or jumps even when the gas isn't pushed. This has only happened a couple of times. It didn't do this the day it stalled at the light.

    I guess it's also kind of hesitated when I've pushed the gas because there were times on the highway I had to push it harder than I normally had to push it and kind of pump it. That's also only happened a couple times so I didn't think much of it.
  • randomnessrandomness Posts: 10
    And of course I bring it to the dealer and they can't find anything wrong.
    "We took it for a ride and it was perfectly fine"
    Ummm yeah because like I said.. it doesn't happen every time I drive.

    Another wasted $90.
  • fdeeringfdeering Posts: 5
    it sounds like your transmission is faulty. when was the last time you had it serviced? I'd check with the garage that did the service and ask them if there are any service bulletins on it.
  • fdeeringfdeering Posts: 5
    I have a burning oil smell in the cabin of my 01 Focus. i replaced the power steering pump which was leaking fluid onto the exhaust and it's better. it maybe the residual smell in the air vents. Anyone any ideas about getting rid of this residual smell inside the cabin?

  • randomnessrandomness Posts: 10
    Yeah, after looking through the transmission thread and reading the old post...sounds like some people are having similar issues with no answers.

    I had it "serviced" today. They found nothing wrong.
  • rapidrickrapidrick Posts: 70
    I'm guessing by "jumping" you mean to say, in car talk, uncommanded acceleration. Transmission IS a possibility, but not the first one I'd look at. A computer controls most timing/fuel mix settings, and can command the throttle as well (do you have DSC or AdvanceTrak?) Maybe a reflash of the ECM (electronic control module, or whatever it's called on a Focus) might do the trick.

    Then again, you may have put in some crap fuel, which can cause similar issues. Ethanol (even at 10%) is crap, as it robs power and gas mileage. Don't get me going on that JUNK that goes in our fuel...though, it seems to be popular with unknowing fools these days spouting their foolish garbage about helping the farmer at the cost of feed prices...sorry ;-)

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
  • sk69sk69 Posts: 4
    Hi - I have an 06 Focus Sedan silver, with only 14k miles. Never paid much attention to the coat on such a new car (although I had it cleaned/waxed regularly - live in the Northeast). After being to the carwash today, I've noticed multiple (over 100) small superficial rust spots, especially on the lower half of the doors and on the door frames. Many of them were already too deep to remove just by wiping/rubbing. Did anybody have a similar problem? Could Ford be of any help (I guess warranty would only cover if it's already perforating). What can I do on my own - remove with polish and then wax by hand? Use touch-up paint afterwards? Any input is appreciated.
  • Did you ever fiqure out what was wrong with your car? I'm having the same problem with it now...


  • I have a 2001 ford focus ZX3 and i was pressing the gas it started to putt, i downshifted to 2nd then it died out! i have gas in it (meaning low but before the light!). any ideas? comments? im thinkin a problem with the fuel filter or fuel pump!
  • roryamosroryamos Posts: 1
    Silver Bullet, do you still have that cd? If so, does it offer any advice on how to get the alternator out of the engine compartment once you remove it from the mountings? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I'm told that car seats are angled upward on the sides to help keep passengers in place, but the the angles of the seats seem to work on a pressure point that is causing what maybe a sciatic nerve inflammation, something I've never suffered from. At 200 pounds, I am not overly large for a Focus seat. Is their a seat cushion on the market for cars that is designed to fill the gap between the raised edges of car seats? I think this could solve my problem.

    Bring back bench seats in cars where you can move around a bit while driving.
  • Well, my 04 Focus hatchback has 113,000 miles and the only problem I've had was to replace the rear shocks. Otherwise it's been good reliable transportation. We take a couple of 5000+ mile driving trips a year and will average about 32mpg. So, for us, it's still a great car.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Close the windows/sunroof, and shut off the blower. Set the fresh air/recirc button to recirc. Breathe easy. Next time take it to a PROFESSIONAL, before you burn it down! It's only your car!
  • fdeeringfdeering Posts: 5
    Hey, be nice - other folks have had similar problems - if you don't have anything constructive to add to the discussion, I'd appreciate it if you would butt out.

  • markus5markus5 Posts: 102
    This is a Plastic cylinder just aft of Air Cleaner box. It is not in clear sight and I don' t remember reading any thing about it in the Owners Manual for the 2.3 engine Focus 2004. Has any body had any experience with this ? :confuse:
  • bonejobbonejob Posts: 1
    I own a 2006 ZX4 SES (Sedan) and my car was exhibiting what sounds from your description to be exactly the same problem. My car's squeaking was emanating from two places:

    Underneath the car, there is a bracket and bushing assembly which supports the parking brake cable near the rear suspension. As the passenger's side rear wheel moves up and down with the bumps in the road, this bracket assembly apparently can be the source of a squeaking noise as the parking brake cable moves with the suspension. This is my dealer's explanation anyhow. He fixed it in 10 minutes and didn't even charge me for it.

    The other place is inside the car and it involves the rear seat. The seat backs are hinged in three places: extreme passenger's side, extreme driver's side, and in the middle where the seat back is split. Each hinge base is secured to the floorpan with torx-head screws. The seat back parts of the hinge are essentially metal dowels that are threaded through the base assemblies. The hinges themselves are quite robust but the metal-to-metal between the hinge dowels and the hinge bases can cause squeaking as the car goes over bumps. The seat hinge is pretty free-moving, so there is just enough side-to-side play in the seat hinges to cause squeaking.

    A surefire way to test is to have someone ride in the back seat. That is something I had never done, since this car is only driven by me, and only occasionally do I have my wife with me, who of course rides in the front passenger seat. But something told me to try that and VOILA!! The infernal squeaking went silent. I had my wife return to the front and like magic, the squeaking returned.

    I got some spray silicone-based dry lubricant and sprayed it liberally into all three hinge assemblies and my car is now squeak-free!

    As for the body flexing, the Ford Focus platform is actually quite commendably stiff. The Focus was designed as not only a bread-and-butter compact car for the hoi polloi, it was designed as the platform for Ford Racing's European rally racing efforts, and as such it has been very successful. The Focus, despite its humble pretensions, is structurally a quite solid piece of work.
  • rc1956rc1956 Posts: 1
    how much does a Ford Focus air conditioning unit hold? how many lbs?

    My daughter needs her air conditioning unit recharged and one place has the most reasonable price but charges a flat 39.95 and 10.00 per lb. Other places are 65.00 to 145.00.
  • ranyes1ranyes1 Posts: 1
    I had same problem I changed the fan radiator fan resistor and it did the trick I got it at a local auto part store for $28.00
  • redundant1redundant1 Posts: 1
    edited August 2011
    I have about $3,000 left on my car loan and I can probably nitpick 3,000 things to fix on it.

    I have a 2005 Focus Sedan SE.
    41,000 miles on it.

    - Needs 4 new tires.
    - One needs a rim/wheel from hitting a pothole bad enough.
    - The air filter is disgusting and needs replacing. Everytime I put my AC or defrosters on, I get black/brown **** on my windshield.
    - 60 degree weather and some nights I have had to put the HEATER on to get the windows defrosted. It does not work with cold air.
    - Steering wheel doesn't ..snap fast as it used to. It's like the power steering is gone or something. This bugs me. I used to be able to turn the wheel all the way and when I let go it would snap straight back and now it snaps back crooked. I asked the dealer this and of course they looked at me like I was an idiot. I did talk to some other Ford owners and they knew what I meant and said their cars don't do it anymore either.
    - Windshield wipers are messed up. I can turn them on but I cannot shut them off. I have to shut them off manually by keep flicking the switch with my fingers and stopping it at the RIGHT spot. Takes concentration to do it right, hopefully I don't; get into an accident someday because I'm playing with the wiper stick.
    - Highway Driving - Sometimes I have to floor it to get it to speed up and switch gears even though this is an autoamtic transmission.
    - I don't think my brakes are as good as they were when I first got it. They seem a bit weaker...even though yesterday I slammed the brakes on to avoid a deer and they worked and no deer got hit.
    - CD Player is scratching and skipping my CDS for some reason.
    - My lights suck. They do not need replacing but they are just NOT bright enough for me. I drive a lot at night, through black holes (People from CT know what I am talking about!) and I strain my eyes trying to see better when I just have crappy lights. The dealership told me I would have to go to a modshop or something to get brighter lights and then told me that brighter lights stress the engine or something out and I'll have more problems down the line.
    - It makes a weird rattling noise while running. Someone said it sounds like my belt snapped but well it's been doing it for months and the dealer said it wasn't anything to really worry about.

    All minor, irritating things... People are like "You only have $3,000" left but well am I going to end up paying the car off with $3000 and then fixing about $3,000 worth of stupid things on it? :confuse:
  • Just a suggestion to have you struts/shocks inspected -- we have a Focus here as well has been going through tires, inside edges uneven and tires seperated again and the car has wicked boby roll -- is just a suggestion like I said

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