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Ford Focus: Problems & Solutions



  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    So, I thought I'd share my ZX3 story. Let's see, I've owned Zippy (2004 ZX3) since July 21, 2004, bought new with 52 miles on it. The car turned 11,000 miles yesterday and has been back to the dealer ONCE for an alignment, that's it.

    Most reliable car I've ever owned. Drove through 600 miles of snow, ice, and slush yesterday without breaking a sweat.......course that's with the help of blizzak snow tires. ;-)
  • Of course it only happens when driving on gravel roads. We do a lot of that in farm country. The cabin fills up with dust. You can smell it and see it. Took to Ford dealer yesterday. They said they could not do anything about it. You can see dust deposits on door gaskets. Going to take it out for a fresh gravel road ride and take it back dirty. Assuming I'll get a run around again, are they any suggestions out there.
  • I recently had a problem getting car started. I coudln't get the key to go all the way into the ignition. After researching net I found this has been an ongoing problem with the focus. (it's my first time with this one)

    Also noticed brake lights don't operate when depressing pedal. I checked brake light fuse and foung it okay.

    Have there been any solutions other than replacing ignition cylinder? Are the two problems related? Help.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    you can lubricate the door seals. it's not a bad idea to do it ocasionally.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • s0nyas0nya Posts: 1
    Last night after driving an hour home from my parents house, about a mile from our house, my boyfriend's zx3 stalled at a red light. He thought he might have just stalled on accident, so he turned it back on and turned onto our road (with the gas depressed the whole time) and once he pulled his front tires into our driveway and let off the gas the thing stalled again. Since he's tried to start it many times, the only way it will not stall out is if the gas is being depressed. Once you take your foot off the gas it stalls. He has had the car for a year and a month (bought it brand new), it has about 11k miles on it. He has an appointment on Monday morning to hopefully diagnose and fix the problem. I am looking for any advise on what it might be, (Seems like it could be the same fuel pump problem 2000 owners have had?) for dealing with the dealership, and making sure the problem gets corrected immediately. Thanks for any advise!

  • My ignition locked leaving me stranded. I have towed the car to the dealership. Upon looking through this site, I see this is a common problem. Someone from a local repair shop tried to get the key to turn and could not. He said he had worked for Ford for 38 years and believed that the cylinder was the problem. He said that he had seen a number of early Ford Focuses (mine is 2000) have similar problems.

    I have had a lot of problems with the Focus. There have been more than 12 recalls on the car. The dealerships and customer service are more often than not uncooperative. I've found that dealers do not want to honor the recalls, especially if a rental car comes with it. They did not want to replace the fuel pump which was recalled unless I exhibited problems. This car is also very bad on gas. I recently got a tune up thinking that that would cause it to drive better with better mileage, but it has made no noticable difference.

    Regarding the ignition, I will call the customer service on Monday to try to get this done for free seeing that so many people others have posted messages with similar problems.
  • I spent 4 hours in the Ford dealership getting the ignition repaired. As others have noted, Ford is still refusing to take responsibility for this manufacturer's defect. The cost was $230.00, which included a new key. The technician hammered my key in the ignition in order to drive it 10 paces. This, naturally, destroyed the key. I had to pay for a replacement. What kind of mess is that? Have you noticed that Ford has all but halted commercials for the Focus? It's like the company wants to forget the car ever happened and that we poor souls ever bought one.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I've owned my 04 ZX3 Focus for 4 months and have packed on 14,000 miles with ZERO problems. The car starts at 35 below zero with just a block heater, never complains, puts out great heat. I honestly can't find a single thing to fault the car about.

    I read all these problems with the Focus and I asked my service advisor at the Ford dealer, he said they hardly ever see a Focus. Likewise, I hardly ever see them in there either when I stop by to say hi (no service needed, but am friends with several people there).

    I usually am the one with all the problems, but not this time. A few of my co-workers have the Focus and they to say they've never had a problem.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Ditto with a 2001 SE 4 door...55,000+ miles and it still runs strong. A couple of early recalls and nothing since but routine maintenance plus new tires.
  • 25,000 miles on my 2001 ZX3 - Most problems I've ever had with a car (only have owned Japanese before this one). But, not as bad it could be. Only left me stranded once. Ford dealers (service) that I've worked with (2 in my neighborhood) are the worst I've ever seen. The last time I brought the car in to one I was told I needed new brakes. This seemed suspicious as I NEVER went through brakes at only 20,000. Sure enough, local mechanic checked out and said NO WAY - brakes have plenty left (that was 5000 miles ago). Would never buy another Ford, but am still enjoying the great handling good utility for the money. Too bad.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    1. The ignition lock problem is a very common one. It you're out of warranty, just call a locksmith and he'll come to your place and replace the lock for around $100 - 125.


    2. The recalls are just that, RECALLS. The dealer has no option or ability to refuse to service your car.

    I've NEVER ever heard of a dealer refusing to perform a recall. I simply don't believe you.


    3. The fuel pump has never been recalled. Please, don't make this up. There is an extended warranty for this item - 10 years since the date of purchase.

    In order to qualify for the repair your car will have to exhibit symptoms of the pump failure.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    And still no problems. I would buy another Focus in a heartbeat, there may be a few bad ones but seems like Ford has thier act together in 2004.
  • dawnbdawnb Posts: 2
    Our Ford Econoline van's key would not turn, or would sloooowly turn and very hard (almost felt frozen up). We removed the ignition switch and the switch seems fine. It seems that the problem lies in the steering column. Please Email us with any help you can at Thank you for all your help in the past.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    I'd suggest you find another dealer. If these guys are bad, nothing you do is going to make them better.
  • miltmilt Posts: 14
    Just bought this car with 28,000km(18,000 mi) & paid $16,000 with everything but leather / sunroof. I have two quesitons.

    1.Will be buying winter tires with steel rims - any suggestins as to make-Blizzaks and X-Ice are heading my list so far. As to size I have read that it might be better to go smaller than 16" to improve ride quality and narrower to reduce rubber to be pushed through the snow(although ice is my main concern and wider might be better on ice. - 195/60-15" or 185/65-15" Smaller would probably be cheaper as well

    2. Ford Extended Service Protection has been offered to take warranty to 7yrs/120,000 km. 3 different levels are being offered Base-$865; Extra-$1090.; Premium-$1385. Thoughts on if this is a good investment, which level would be best value and experience on whether price is negotiable.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Can't help you much with the ESC, but winter tires I can. I have a 2004 ZX3 that I run Bridgestone Blizzak WS-50 on in the winter. I drive 1000 miles/week and live in Alaska. I tried studded snow tires to begin with and was terrified of the car, switch to Blizzaks and there is nothing the car can't handle. We've had some horrible roads this winter and the Focus cruises on through.


    On another note, this has been the most reliable car I've ever owned. No problems in 18k miles.
  • Hi. Someone snapped off my antenna. Any suggestions as to how to get the remainder out so that I could screw in a new one? Looks tough.

  • miltmilt Posts: 14
    Ordered the Blizzak WS-50s and should have them installed later this week. Thanks for your feedback. Went with 195/60-15" on steel rims which should provide a softer ride and less money than 16". If they are good for an Alaska winter should be able to handle a Manitoba winter.

    Picked up the car on Saturday and the dealer washed the car and I suspect cleaned the engine. Looked great however took it home in -40 degree weather and popped the hood to check fluid levels and couldn't get the hood closed again. The release cable froze open and the latch wouldn't re-engage. Dealers should know better in our climate. Supposed to warm up tomorrow so hoping I can get the hood closed.

    When we picked up the car the tires PSI was at 28 and should have been at 34 and it had less than 1/2 tank of gas and winshield washer fluid was almost dry. You'd think they would fill up the tank and washer fluid when you give them your hard earned cash. May give them my opinion when I take it in for service
  • miltmilt Posts: 14
    Got the Blizzak WS-50s installed and couldn't believe the difference in traction between the all-season Firehawks and the Blizzaks. The Firehawks have got to be the worst tires on ice I have experienced. Hope they will be ok on wet roads in the summer as they are pretty much new and I'd hate to have to dump them for different summer tires.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    I put Michelin X Ice on both my Focus (ZTS) and our Sienna this winter. Went down to 15" on the Focus as tire dealer couldn't find 16" steelies to fit. Am very impressed with handling in snow. Not much extra noise on dry roads, either. Commute 96KM/day (about 55 miles) over 4 lane and 2 lane secondary roads with the Focus. Have passed cars with ease on snow covered roads. Drove about 150 KM last weeekend in a virtual blizzard with the Sienna. Passed a Hummer on a 4 lane snow covered road. Again. very impressed with handling and stability of the snow tires.
  • myriadmyriad Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Focus Wagon with 700 kms on it. Last Sunday I had to have it towed to the dealer because the ignition cylinder was broken. Come on Ford, you would think that this cheaply made, defective part would have been re-designed by now!! I mean this has been a problem since the '00 model year! Can't wait to sell this thing come spring!
  • Hi. Thank you myzx3 for this info. I take it that removing and replacing the entire base is much easier than trying to get the snapped piece out of the base. Did you purchase a new base afterwards? If so, where did you get it?


    Thanks again,

  • I know three people with 2000 Ford Focus Sedans. One had a problem with his car stalling because of the fuel pump. Ford replaced the fuel pump on his car. Ford did mail something out with information on the fuel pump issue.
  • pindapinda Posts: 1
    Thanks for the diagram on the antenna replacement. I dont think I would ever have figured that one out.

    As far as my car goes, I have a 2000 ZX manual tranny and I adore this car. I have had all the recalls done at Ford's expense and the only problem I had to pay for so far was an exhaust leak which ended up costing half what they quoted.

    I think this car is like any other, there are lemons and then there is the average car. I have heard nothing but good and only had a problem with the dealers service dept. which was easily solved by going to another.

    For the price and apperance I dont think you can beat this little beauty
  • packypacky Posts: 1
    Yes i have had my 2000 ford focus ignition locked up on me twice and had it fixed out of my pocket both times and now that i have read these posted notes i was just wondering if they gave money back to the people that had this same problem are what did ford do for you. lam saying now my brakes are starting to act up again i hearing this loud sound at almost every stop sign and my brother had my breaks fixed like 3 months ago. Please i need to know what can i do for these problems.
  • Hello folks,

    This is my first posting.

    The front axle of my 2000 ZX3 (70K km) groans/squeaks every time the car passes over bump in the road. This noise appears to be comming from the driver side and happens during cold weather.

    Does anybody have experience with this problem?

  • I own a 2000 Focus ZX3 with 38,000 miles.Recently
    my ignition broke and the steering wheel was locked.I had to have the lock replaced,costing me
    $296.40,excluding towing charge.
    This problem is most likely a design defect
    and therefore should be recalled by Ford.I've
    owned (4) New Ford Vehicles in my life and there
    won't be a fifth if my Focus is not recalled for
    this obviously too common failure.Can we as a group petition Ford to force a recall?
  • [myriad]

    I have a 2000 Focus as well with about the same amount of mileage. My key got stuck in the ignition about six months ago. I made the mistake of thinking that it would be covered under my extended warranty and had it towed into Ford.

    They politely informed me that it was not covered by the warranty. The service guy knew exactly how much it would cost because they had done so many of them (he admitted as much). Bottomline is it cost me over $300.

    I wrote to Ford Customer Relations and received a phone call back from them. They wanted to know if I wanted to add anything to what I said in the letter. I said no, and that was that. I'm still out my $300 and still left with a sore feeling.

    Overall, my ZX3 has been a fantastic, reliable and fun car to own. This is the one incident that gets me steamed, not just because of the $, but also because I know it could happen again at any moment.
  • I have a 2002 Focus ZX3 with 73,000 miles on it. I bought it new (via the internet)and I have had virtually no problems with it. I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles and the air filter very 9,000. I put new ceramic(front)brake pads on at 32,000 miles, bought a new set of tires at 56,000 miles and I just replaced the clutch master cylinder.(Did it myself. Pretty easy: 2 bolts and 3 clips. Dealer wanted $300.00, the part was $78.00 Other than the first (free) oil change, I have never taken the car to a Ford dealer.I don't trust them as far as I can spit.) That represents the entire service history of my Focus. The car does not even have a rattle anywhere. (Entire maintanance cost including new tires so far: $977.35) Best car I have ever owned. Sorry to read about so many problems.
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