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Ford Focus Care & Maintenance



  • hooihooi Posts: 6
    I would say watch out when some dealer or car repair place wants to replace all your brakes.

    I took my focus to a Firestone when my first set of front brake pads wore out. They wanted to change out everything including rotors and rear drum brakes for $700!

    Well, little did they know that just the week before, I brought my Focus in for a recall notice and Ford had already changed out my rear brakes.

    So in a huff, I went to the autoparts store and bought me a set of good semi-metallic brake pads. Then my friend, who was a mechanic, changed my front brake pads for me. He also looked at my rotors and said they were fine.

    Thus, whenever I hear a person complaining about brakes/rotors that wore too fast, I immediately think that person got taken by a crooked mechanic. Brakes are 40 year old way do they wear out that quickly.

    If your brakes really did wear out that quickly, never replace it with another OEM brake pad. Go to and buy some premium brake products that will last longer and go easier on the rotor while running cleaner to boot. Those OEM organic pads that came with the Focus were the worst...they produced too much brake dust.
  • waelcewaelce Posts: 1
    blower motor works only on high and shuts off a/c
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Its broke
  • miranmiran Posts: 4
    i have a ford focus 01 ztech engine ,wagon,this may sound dumb but i couldnt find the radiator cap or the radiator,i would like to change the anti freeze,any one with this knowledge i would appreciate your help.
  • miranmiran Posts: 4
    the year was wrong in the original message ,it should be 01 ford focus wagon
  • The radiator cap is not on the radiator, but located on the white plastic over-flow container.

    Please note: This cap is under pressure when the engine is hot. Do not remove cap while the engine is hot or you will be sprayed with hot antifreeze (most unpleasant, I am sure).

  • miranmiran Posts: 4
    in response to norwaydoug,and gmzx3.according to gmzx3 ,i am still confused ,if there is no radiator cap,when you pour water in the reservoir does that go into the radiator,there has to be a radiator ,and every car i ever owned had a cap ,the reservoir is only an overflow for the water ,and recovery ,where is the radiator ,do you have to take something off the top to get at the cap? i appreciate the help from both of you but am still confused.
  • gmzx3gmzx3 Posts: 5
    The cooling system in the Focus is more like Euro designs I have seen, in that the expansion tank is thicker walled and pressurized. In most other cooling systems the tank is just for overflow and not pressurized. In those systems, a radiator cap keeps the system prsssurized.

    The Focus has no pressure cap on the radiator. The cap on the expansion tank allowsd you to add coolant AND maintains system pressure. You add coolant through the cap on the expansion tank on passenger side. As it is the highest part of the system, gravity takes it to the radiator and the rest of the cooling system. The cap on this tank IS the cooling system pressure cap. It does not seem to have a valve to let off excessive pressure as a conventional cap does though.

    So, you can remove hoses if you want to flush and fill the system but I simply ran a hose in the expansion tank and flushed it that way. My system was pretty clean after 2 years. I then filled the system with coolant the same way when I was done flushing. I was happily surprized that the system bled itself of air easily.


    in response to norwaydoug,and gmzx3.according to gmzx3 ,i am still confused ,if there is no radiator cap,when you pour water in the reservoir does that go into the radiator,there has to be a radiator ,and every car i ever owned had a cap ,the reservoir is only an overflow for the water ,and recovery ,where is the radiator ,do you have to take something off the top to get at the cap? i appreciate the help from both of you but am still confused.
  • samchapsamchap Posts: 1
    I need to replace the power steering pump on my 2000 Ford Focus DOC. I would like to do this job myself and save some money. I would like to know if anyone else has had experience with this. Also is there a repair manual that is best for this car thanks
  • barczykbarczyk Posts: 5
    I just went over 70k miles and was thinking it might be time to replace the shocks/struts on my car. The ride is getting rougher but not quite unbearable yet. I was wondering if this is too soon or too late compared to everyone elses experiences.
  • nickpsnickps Posts: 18
    When is the last time you rotated your tires. This would contribute to a rough ride. I have never replaced shocks and struts on any of my cars and they drove good up to as much as 190,000 miles.
  • My 2003 base model focus 2.0 SPI is a car I love to drive. However, whenever I am on the Freeway and hit speeds between 50 and 70 mph, my car starts to make a loud whirring or humming sound. Pretty loud inside the cabin. I had the bearings replaced recently and the sound has lessened somewhat. I had a new set of tires installed last year.

    Also, after I had the front bearings changed, I noticed that the car now makes loud rattles whenever I hit potholes or unevenly paved roads. Also, when I turn, the right wheel makes a "thunk" sound. Did the mechanic damage the CV joint?

    Is the sound indigenous to the Focus? My friend told me that he noticed it in another Focus. I don't like the sound at all. Can't hear the radio and annoying.

    HELP !!!
  • Hi focusintexas,
    I also have an '03 (SE) with 2.0SPI. With 25K miles, recently it's been making a buffetting- whirring- rumble noise from 40mph and up. The exhaust system is very rusty(was a rental?), so maybe it's a leak. However, I was interested in why you needed front bearings replaced? Is there a TSB/recall for that on the 2003? I thought that was for older models, and resolved by now. You also replaced the tires. Was that for noise or just worn from miles? My SE also has alot cabin noise from the factory goodyears
    I believe. Sounds like I'm driving on snow tires mostly! I'm afraid to let them touch anything.Not good,I know.Thanks & Good Luck!
  • Hi Celianeron,

    Thanks for responding. I had the front bearings replaced because I was trying to eliminate the possible cause one at a time. The bearing replacement helped a lot and indeed eliminated some of the sound it produces. I read about the bearing recall on the 2000-02 models. My 2003 rolled off the assembly line in the fall of 02, so I should consider it still part of the defective batch. Bearing was $30 for each side, so it did not hurt my wallet that much. Still, after the replacement, at speeds like what I mentioned, it's still there. I replaced the tires months after I bought it because at the time of purchase, there was a significant amount of shaking on the road too. It was eliminated after putting a new set of tires, except for the whirring sound. The tires it had on when I bought it were of a Korean brand.

    The cabin sound is just annoying, really. Reminds me of old Toyota cabs in Asia in the late 60s. They made this kind of sound, because of bad differentials (bearing?). Perhaps if I switch to 15 or 16" rims it will also help.

    Thanks. Your experience does not make me alone in this. If I find the source, I will let you know. Oh, my car was a rental vehicle from a popular company. I found out when I called Ford in Michigan to complain about this. :mad:
  • This winter, both springs broke - both! I've never even heard of one spring breaking, never mind both!

    Now its the radiator. It is a 2002 Focus with almost 69,000 miles on it. I am very good to my car - change the oil regularly, have it checked out when it needs to be, etc. I am so fed up.

    Anyway. The radiator is super expensive. I looked up prices on ebay instead of through the dealership, and there are two very different looking radiators that are supposed to fit my car. One looks to be a bit curved and has an opening for coolant, the other looks more like the one in my car and is flat. What is the difference between the two, and would you/would you not reccomend buying parts off ebay?

    Also - how much of a pain is it to put in? I changed out the springs this winter, and it was a bit difficult, but not impossible. Any thoughts?

    :mad: :cry: --BrokeFocus
  • lostlost Posts: 64
    new radiator from website " radiatorbarn" 122.00 shipped
  • mark53mark53 Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2002 Focus LX (base model) from Enterprise last August. It was one of their rental fleet cars and had about 43000 miles. One of the first things I noticed was the whirring/humming sound coming from the front of the car, usually when going 30 -35mph.
    Had the tires rotated and helped a little. You mentioned a recall on the car for a bearing problem? Was this a official notice form Ford? Also, has anyone out there had any problems with the engine exhaust be a little blueish-white (oil)? Car has only 45,000 and a recent oil change. I checked under the car and on the drivers right where the air conditioner sits (bottom of car) I found oil all over the a/c unit? Or maybe it's compressor oil? A/C works fine so don't think it's a compressor problem? Appreciate any input........thanks
  • I purchased my 2003 base model from Enterprise as well and had/have the same problem--read message (Focus in Texas). I had the bearings changed -- not expensive at all -- but at the same time the mechanic broke the strut mounting bolt, resulting in rattling on rough roads. The humming/whirring sound is there alright, even with new bearings, but helped remove a lot of it. whirring/humming happens on mine at 45-55 mph -- front and back. Very annoying. Now my rear tires cup and chip. Had shocks changed too but still have same problem. This is my next project. I wonder what Enterprise does to their rentals to whirr and hum. Non-existent maintenance?

    Focus is a very British car (no pun intended)... requiring a lot of time in the garage ! In asia my cars were Ford Cortina and Ford Granada (UK version) -- spent more time in the shop than on the road !!! If it's not one thing it's another. Not amusing thing in America. My alternate car then was a Mazda GLC/Ford Laser. It never spent a minute in the shop for repairs.

    I called Ford in Michigan to complain but all I got was a message saying they were going to document my complaint. And that was in 2003. Never heard from them again.

    Too bad. I like the handling of my Focus. But it's draining my wallet for repairs and check ups.

    Any expert opinion on this? Whirring/Humming and chipping/cupping rear tires.

    Toyota is getting very attractive each day ...
  • Oops, because of the previous comment, I read most of the comments in the fora. I must retract my comment about the NA Focus as a typical british car. Thanks for clearing it up by saying that NA Ford cut cost therefore giving us the Foci with less quality. So the Focus in Europe has definitely high quality, and we have the low quality version.

    To the author of message #110, I suggest you read all the discussion topics in the forum section. You will see that we are not the only ones with problems with our Fords. Keyword is LOW QUALITY and Ford USA never seemed to consider our complaints.
  • ekelly9ekelly9 Posts: 1
    I bought a used SE wagon a few months ago (30K km) and I'm happy with it, so far. The only problem has been that there is a low-speed creak/squeak coming from the rear of the car. I hear it when driving slowly over uneven terrain (causing the body to twist, I'm assuming) or when going around corners in town. I read over the older posts and other people have complained about similar things, but no solution was ever posted. I have checked the roof rack and felt around on the internal panels, but without any luck. Does anyone know of a cause or a fix to this? This car is surprisingly quiet on the highway with no excessive engine noise or rattling.
  • sainthawksainthawk Posts: 2
    where is the low and high pressure ac recharge points on my focus
  • scavanahscavanah Posts: 1
    I just bought an 02 SE wagon. The roof rack makes a lot of noise and I have no intention of ever putting anything up there. Has anyone ever taken one off? I asked the parts guy at the local Ford garage and he was of little help. He did show me a schematic of the assembly and I know there are 5 screws running down each side. These screw into nuts that are presumably in the roof interior. I am afraid of loosing these nuts once I take the screws out. Also wondering what to plug the holes with after I get it off.
  • My Focus is Overheating. Sitting in traffic, with the air off the car over heats. The moment I start moving at a nice speed the car cools off or if I ride with the air conditioner on the gauge will stay in the norm, not moving to the red zone. The dealer wants to replace the entire fan assembly at the tune of 748.00 dollars. I changed the thermostat and the car still continues to ride hot when sitting still. There has to be a reasonable solution Please help, this is driving me crazy.


  • 2001 Ford Focus SE/duel Overhead Cham Ztec. Sorry I left out the important stuff.

  • sainthawksainthawk Posts: 2
    found it! u haft to reach under the car near the right front tire well on top of the ac resivor very hard to reach, bad engineering made for shop mechanic only and still pain in [non-permissible content removed]
  • jeromebjeromeb Posts: 31
    I have a 2003 Focus SE sedan which I purchased used last December. It had 19000 miles, came from a dealer, was "Certified Pre-Owned", and has an extended warranty.

    It is now at 25,000 miles, and the cruise control has stopped working. That's a source of dismay, but Ford will fix it.
    The windshield wipers do not return to their stowed position when I turn them off.
    They just stop wherever they are, forcing me to distract my attention from driving in order to manipulate the blasted things back down and then turn them off before they come back up.
    The turn signals are LOUD. Is that typical of all Foci or all Fords?
    It sounds wierd. Really. When I have the car moving at low speed, under no acceleration, the sounds coming from the wheels remind me of driving through mud.
    It gets poor fuel economy. In my commute, this thing gets only 22 mpg. It is not much bigger than the old Prizm, certainly not much more power, but can't even get close to the 30 mpg my Prizm delivered on the same commute.

    My biggest concern is in the totality of all this. Ford has been designing and producing automobiles for 90 years, and they haven't learned how to build a car that has "pleasant" conveniences or globally competitive performance. When I turn off a wiper, I want it to return to it's stowed position. When I turn on a cruise control, I want it to engage. When I use a turn signal, I don't want it to try to wake the dead. When I drive slowly, I don't want to hear alarming noises coming from the wheels.

    I must admit that I don't deserve to complain. Before I went car shopping last year, I did an internet search for the top 10 fastest-depreciating cars. Both the Ford Taurus and the Ford Focus were on a list which I thus found, and I chose to buy the cheapest warranted Focus I could find on a dealer's used-car lot within 50 miles of my home. For my effort I got a late model low mileage commute-mobile with with low payments and low interest.

    It runs, it's warranted, so I'll keep it for a few years more. It will join the 1983 Ford Escort I once owned as regrettable mistakes, not to be repeated.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,896
    what does the dealer say about the wipers? they should not stop exactly at the time you turn them off.
    a couple of questions. how far is your commute? what are your tire pressures? what kind of tires do you have?
    it's ok to complain, maybe some things can be easily corrected(or improved), like your cruise control.
    the directional signals are somewhat loud or noticeable. i hear them, but that is it for me.
    try this. find some sloping pavement, not too steep. let the car roll with the engine off and your foot off the brake. do you hear any noise? my guess is you have dragging caliper, or bad wheel bearing. that can affect gas mileage, in addition to creating noise.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • txnrbltxnrbl Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Focus, my question is this. Has anyone had problems with a rough ride. My example is this, sounds like a shock or something is broke, but no one can determine the cause (Ford House). It makes a sound as if something is over extended. Tires are new, and just had them balanced, but I am having this noise keep comming back. Could alignment be the issue?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,896
    what kind of tires did you get? have you checked thew tire pressures?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • There is a brand called SEGURA -- made by Kelly (?) that I installed in my Focus. Have complained endlessly about strange humming sound until I bought this set. Believe me, I haven't had my Focus for 2 years and I am already on my 3rd set of tires... looking for the right kind. Anyway, surprisingly, the strange sound is gone with this set !

    Also, I had all bearings replaced, rear struts replaced, and now I am waiting for Monday to have the front struts replaced. I am totally convinced FORD assembled this car either on a Friday, Monday, Holiday, OR the parts were all ordered from the junkyard.

    I totally REGRET trading my 1999 Escort SE for the Focus. The Escort did not give me a single problem the whole 4 years it was with me. The Focus started giving me problems not even a month after I bought it.

    Does Ford care at all? No. They have laughed their way to the bank with my purchase of this lemon.

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