Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems

mod7mod7 Member Posts: 13
edited October 2017 in Ford
I own a 2004 Ford Focus ZTS. In the last couple of days the Brake Light goes ON & OFF when I am driving. Sometimes it goes on when I am stepping on the brake and sometimes it goes on even when I am not braking. Most of the time it is off.

I am taking it to my Ford dealer tommorow. I have the car for just about a yr and have less than 5,000 miles on it. I just hope it has nothing to do with the ELECTRICAL system. The last car that I had was ruined by SQUIRRELS chewing into the electrical wires and I am hoping this light going on has nothing to do with that. The last time the squirrels bothered me it was in the dead of winter so I am hoping it is a different problem this time. Any ideas why the Brake light would be going on? The brakes seem to be working OK. I have ABS. Thanks. :confuse:


  • lostlost Member Posts: 64
    Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder.If it gets low it will trigger your brake light. If the fluid is low you have a leak someplace and it needs to be checked out. My 05 ZX4 SES developed a leak about a week after picking it up.
    The master cylinder was leaking out of the back right where it is bolted to the brake booster. The dealer replaced the master cylinder and the brake booster.
  • mod7mod7 Member Posts: 13
    Just an Update: My Ford dealer said the brake fluid was low and put some in.

    I am still a bit confused-- because 3 weeks ago I asked an auto mechanic in our local shop to "top off" ALL my fluids. He said he did. So now I am not sure if he just forgot to check the brake fluid or if I possibly have some kind of leak that has caused the brake fluid to get low in just 3 weeks. I guess I will wait a couple of weeks to see if the light goes on again. Thanks
  • mod7mod7 Member Posts: 13
    Thanks LOST, I did not see your post till after I posted. I will keep an eye out to see if the brake light goes on again. Could you actually see the brake fluid on the ground under your car? Thanks
  • lostlost Member Posts: 64
    The brake fluid was running down the front of the brake booster and down onto the firewall. I did not see any fluid on the ground.
  • maestro52maestro52 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 ZX3 with 151000 miles and it has been the most reliable car I've owned in my entire 37 years of driving. Having said that, there has been one isolated issue that only happened once, but is so bazaar I have to ask. I was driving with my cruise on at a cool 75 and all of a sudden all of my guages, radio, air went dead, headlights went dim, but the car kept running smooth and quiet like nothing happened. Just as I got to my exit everything came back to normal. As I said it only happened once, I have since changed the battery since it was 4 years old, and it hasn't happened since. I thought that if the power went, so went the engine because the fuel pump is electric, and injectors are electrically run. Has anyone had this happen? Ford has said they have had no such reports even from an isolated occurrance at a dealership.
  • drmbeardrmbear Member Posts: 1
    Did replacing the alternator solve the problem? I have already had two alternators put on my car now, with a between trip to the dealership telling me it is a bad alternator creating the problem. The bench tested the removed new alternator and it was fine. The new one just installed is having the same problems. I've got insufficient voltage, which probably means it is something like the voltage regulator or there is a screwed up ground somewhere. I just want to know if anyone has come up with a solution. They want to charge me by the hour to screw around with it to find the problem. Doesn't sound like a good option to me when I have already spent way too much working on this thing with the towing, etc.
  • showdogs1showdogs1 Member Posts: 4
    We have had this problem on a 2002 ZTW Focus. The gauges would act funny and the car would not restart after it was stopped during the spring/summer of 2005 (with just over 60K miles).

    The first fix (private mechanic) was removing the corrosion from all the connectors for the starter under the car... the problems was fixed for 3 months.

    When the problem occurred again, we went to the dealer as electrical problem are a real pain. The dealer replaced the alternator at first... $980 CDN. This fix lasted for about 6 miles!

    After several weeks of getting stranded in random locations and towing the car to the dealer... (All at the dealers cost even though the car was no longer under the manufacturer warranty) they replaced everything behind the dash. Apparently the electronic component were shipped back to Ford because the engineers thought that this was a very weird problem.

    Cost for the repair was split between Ford 60%, Dealer 20% and us 20% => reasonable deal.

    This repair lasted 3 months before the entire dash was replaced under the "repair" warranty for a second time.

    We recently traded the car in when it started acting up again. The dealer did consider our ownership experience and gave us a very good deal on the new car. I hope the 2005 ZX5 does better than the last car.

    Problems happen, its how you fix them that counts! I can't complain about Ford or the local dealer.
  • focus2focus2 Member Posts: 1
    My focus seems to lose electrical power when I let it idle. I had the battery serviced, as well as my alternator checked. It still continues to do this. Does any one have any ideas why?
  • tiredoffordtiredofford Member Posts: 1
    I've got a real strange problem. I have a 2000 W/Zetec 75K. I bought the car new and have had 9 (including fuel pump)recalls. To the best of my knowledge I am up to date. Ok, here are the problems, reciently I have noticed a number of things that look to me to be electrical problems. I notice a buzzing coming from under the dash on the passanger side. While that buzzing is going on IT SEEMS that if I turn on the headlights or step on the brakes I feel a strong jerk and the Multi-function Transaxle/cooling system light turns on. I don't really notice a power loss after the jerk and the light only stays on for a second. A few seconds later the radio will turn off or the guages will bounce irradically. I thought that maybe it was the fail-safe cooling. But, the service engine light doesn't come on?- nor is the car overheating. I can't seem to make it do this, it picks when and where, therefore have $350.00 into trying to fix it. Ford tech found nothing when it was connected to the I would really appreciate some help.
  • focusjohnfocusjohn Member Posts: 1
    i am having the exact same problem with a 2002 focus se
    the dealer thinks i'm crazy cause they never seem to get it to do it when they check it out..... if anyone has a fix or heard something please let me know... ty
  • lstavanglstavang Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 ZX5 that started having power or electrical problems this week. The battery light comes on briefly, the gauges go whacky and the lights dim. I don't know any mechanics and don't know where to take it other than Ford.
    I see that as a last resort. Can anyone give me any idea of what the problem may be?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,218
    you might need a new battery. it can cause electrical gremlins. maybe a car parts store can check it for you.
    look on their websites to see if they offer battery checks.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • dionjendionjen Member Posts: 2
    My 2000 Focus won't start. When I put the key in the ignition and the door is open, the chime starts. When I turn the key to start, nothing happens except that the chime is now a continious sound. No dashboard lights come on and the engine does not even make a whisper of a sound. I have checked the battery and the fuses and they are all OK... even the radio plays. Does anybody know what is happening?
  • allsixfeet2005allsixfeet2005 Member Posts: 1
    I am having trouble, I think, with the electrical system. The initially the battery corroded and i replaced it with a used battery. it then started, but after a few days, would not start, just got clicking. it stalled, then shut off and i had to have the car towed. i then took it to pep boys and had a diagnostic done, i thought it mighht be the alternator (sp?). it wasn't, so i purchased a brand new battery. started driving it, the battery light went on almost immediately, and while i was able to get the car home, the next day when i started, and moved it, the battery light came on again, and it stopped. clicking. i had it towed home. i started the car every day for a week, but did not move it. yesterday i went to start it...clicking. it won't start.

    i may need to take it to the dealership for repair, but wanted to know if anyone hs had this problem and may know what it is. thanks.
  • swbrannoswbranno Member Posts: 1
    Did you find the fix? I have a 2002 SE seems to have the same problem...
  • peardreampeardream Member Posts: 1
    I'm not sure if this will help any of you, but I've had a similar problems about 3 times. I own a 2000 Focus ZX3. When this problem comes up, it seems that I have trouble starting it about a week in advance, and then the car just dies. I've found that it's the ignitor coil pack. Every time I've had this problem, if I replace the coil pack, it works like a charm for about a year or so. The part is only about $38 and is so easy to replace yourself. It does seem to drain on the battery so I had to replace it once I bought one with a warranty just in case the problem arose again.
    I was also able to exchange my faulty coil pack once free of charge, because it had been under a year.
    Has anyone else had this problem? I am sure there is a root problem but paying $38 yearly doesn't seem like too high of an expense to me.

    Let me know if any of you have the same problem.
  • pjohn1pjohn1 Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 has the same exact symptoms as that which you won't start. NO fan, no lights, no blinkers, no dashboard lights, and a chime that won't stop, and when the key is turned to start the engine...nothing. Have you had any leads as to what caused this problem
  • dionjendionjen Member Posts: 2
    Check all the fuses inside the car. If none is blown, check under the hood, there are more fuses.. check if one of them is blown. If it is a fuse, replace it.. otherwise it could be a relay. If it keeps on blowing the fuses, then it might be your starter that shorts out when it gets hot. Hope this helps.
  • silemgomezsilemgomez Member Posts: 2
    We are having a similar problem with our 2000 zx3. You seem to know your stuff and we would appreciate your input
  • silemgomezsilemgomez Member Posts: 2
    We are having a similar problem with our 2000 zx3. You seem to know your stuff and we would appreciate your input. The starter will get stuck and keep turning making a horrible screeching sound. Logically we turn the car off and the starter keeps turning but eventually stops and that's when the car won't start at all and needs a tow. We had it into the mechanic once who said the start shorted out. Now it happened again last night, another tow, who knows what the machanic will tell us today. What might cause this shorting out?????
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Sounds like a bad starter relay that won't "let go" of the current once you release the key....or a bad ignition switch would do the same thing...the last remote possibility, which would be rather odd on this new a car, is a worn ring gear on the flywheel that is chewing up and finally catching the pinion gear on the starter motor.

    Some vehicles also have very critical "starter alignment" with special bolts or spacers. So a poor installation could also cause this.
  • rwgreenbergrwgreenberg Member Posts: 154
    Had similar problem. It was the starter.
  • mykeymykey Member Posts: 1
    common fault on the focus check the wiring from the alternator it goes hard and breaks ( these are the 3 small wires on the multiplug and if they short will run down your battery also check fuse no 10 its a red one 10a in fusebox this fault is specially bad on diesel version sorry for late reply but this may help others
  • mookieuofsmookieuofs Member Posts: 1
    Hi There,

    I have an '02 Focus SVT, and are experiencing the same problems... did the new battery fix the electrical issues??
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,218
    geez, you didn't believe me? :) get the battery tested.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • jayneocjayneoc Member Posts: 5
    As of 12/1/06, I can no longer operate any of the locks on my 2000 SE by keyless entry or by the power lock buttons within the car. I can only manually unlock/lock my car doors and I cannot get the trunk to open at all. :mad: It is not the fuse (I've already checked it). What can I do and how much will it cost? I certainly don't want to spend a lot on the car at this point (since it's getting old and I plan to buy a new car soon). :confuse:
  • jschmidt05jschmidt05 Member Posts: 4
    i replaced the starter,alternater, serp belt, battery, and battery cables in may 06 and then the alternator and serp belt in october 06 and now the serp belt is just about to break and the other day the battery light came on and the car died. i got it to start again and it hasnt happened since but it now squeals. i had it in the shop just for a overlook in september and they said all was good and the other shop that replaced the alternator in october said all was good after they replaced the alternator and belt and now i am having problems. what should i do i dont want to keeep replaceing alternators.
  • highlyannoyedhighlyannoyed Member Posts: 1
    I've had alot of problems with my 2000 focus and it only has 62k miles. The newest problem being - the car stops while I'm on the road. At first, the car would just feel like it wanted to stop so I took it to a mechanic and he said I needed a tune up. Three days after the tuneup, the car suddenly shut off in the middle of the street and all the warning lights came on. I was told it was the battery, I changed that. I then checked to see if it was the alternator ( disconnected the battery cable while the car was on) it that seemed to be the problem. I took it to another mechanic and he replaced the alternator, but the same problem happened as soon as I left the shop. I went back and it showed that the alternator was over charging. He gave me another alternator and it seemed fine until he took it for a test drive. The battery light came on and the alternator showed to be overcharging again. He then said it must be an electrical problem. Is that possible? Also I see alot of people having similar problems, could my problem be the starter? I've spend $350 trying to find out what's wrong with this car and i'm going broke with the mechanic's guessing games. Is the starter cheap to fix? :lemon:
  • mdz2006mdz2006 Member Posts: 1
    i bought my girlfriend a 2000 Ford Focus for her last Christmas and since then shes had nothing but problems with it. For some reason i think it may have something to do with the fuel or something. In fact theres probably alot of things wrong with it. It shuts down all the time especially if shes been driving it for an extended period of time. It putters around too if the gas has only a half a tank or less. It will also almost always stall out when shes driving on exit ramps that follow in a circular path. It also makes a really loud screeching noise as soon as you turn it on which probably has nothing to do with it but its just another problem it has. And now the key wont release from the ignition. Its just one problem after another. Is there any solution to these issues? :lemon: :mad: :sick:
  • jschmidt05jschmidt05 Member Posts: 4
    i have had a 2000 ford focus and have had to put about 3300 into in the last 7 months and am still crrently having problems. if you look on and put in the vin # it will bring up any recalls and there is currently a recalll on the fuel pump wich you take it to the ford dealer and they will change for free. i just got off the phone with ford and they dont care they told me that i need to come up with the solution for them. they say that no one that is haveing the problems with the ford focus is reporting them to ford. so they dont know there are problems, but i find that hard to believe after i look at many sights for cars and read about the focus. so if you are having problems call ford and tell them but DO NOT expect them to care or do anything about it.
  • cccpcccp Member Posts: 1
    I had the similar problem, but I checked my battery and it was fine. I'm going to get my ignition relay changed and hopefelly that fixes the problem. Well if anyone knows about ways that could help please let me know. My car just wont't start sometimes. I let it sit there for about twenty minutes and it suddenely starts. What could cause this problem? My transaxle/Z-tech warning light went on and it tryied to make my car die while im driving. I don't know wat to do please help
  • 3screwsloose3screwsloose Member Posts: 116
    Check yur brake fluid level. Make sure yur parking brake is completely released.
  • persistancepersistance Member Posts: 5
    My 2003 Ford Focus with 35,000 miles ">is charging just about 14 volts and currently has a new battery. If the car sits for 24 hours the battery goes dead. I've had an ammeter between the neg. battery post and the neg. cable and come up with a draw of 12-26 milliamps when car is at rest with nothing on. The book says anything 50 milliamps or less is o.k..
    I'm at a loss finding the problem, but Ford can check my charging system for $90. pretty funny huh! I'm supporting a family on a tight budget and my wife has become frustrated going out to the car with our baby in her arms only to find out the car is as dead as a door nail. The Ford Motor Company is hurting my marriage. Please help. Thanx
  • cascadiaesqcascadiaesq Member Posts: 4
    First of all, I absolutely love my car but it has a problem. It is a 2002 Ford Ford ZTW (wagon). Here are the symptoms and I am trying to make sure we don't burn up a battery before we have another installed:
    1. Car won't start, won't turn over, radio display won't come on (although after a few minutes it started to).
    2. I've had the radio display problem several times - always fixed itself. Our car remotes sometimes won't open all doors when pressed twice (although I am not too concerned about that.)
    3. Just remembered the other day I had a hard time starting the car (it is rainy - not real cold here 40s) but it started after 3rd try or so.
    4. I've read that from reviewing internet sites that it may involve either the alternator (too expensive), voltage regulator, battery (its foaming - way corrodated - looks like it happened fast), or the starter.

    My uneducated intuition says it involves the voltage - getting the juice to the engine because of the radio display problem, the remotes, and engine starting problem). So I think that would effect the battery and maybe burn it out but is not the cause?? My further guess is that replacing the battery is only a temporary solution but I don't know what the causes may be and we have a big trip coming up. Any ideas like the voltage regulator?? I need some ideas to feed to the repair guy (may be my husband).

    Thanks in advance. I absolutely love my Focus wagon - wouldn't want to be without it.
  • persistancepersistance Member Posts: 5
    It sounds as if we have a similar problem with our ZTW's and I'm still looking into it. Let me ask you does your battery go dead if the car sits for two days untouched? ">
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    I had the alternator replaced several times in my 2002 ford focus zx3, I would get it replaced and a week later it would go out again. Finally after doing this about 5 times at Pep Boys, I decided to spend the extra cash and have ford do it. They said the incorrect alternator was being installed. Take that for what it is worth, I have not had the problem since, but I now have a new electrical problem where my instrument cluster pegs out and then shut off then starts working fine, mainly at start up.
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    Did you ever get this problem fixed? I am having the same problem I have 50,000 miles on a 2002 focus zx3, and the instrument clusters will peg out at max, then shut completely off, then go back to normal repeatedly. The battery light will illuminate then go out. Interior light will go on and off, headlights will dim but not go out, and I can hear a clicking from what I think is a relay in the fuse box. Mainly happens at start up but has happened while driving for awhile. Took it to ford but they could not find anything. I just recently had alternator and battery replaced, but before this problem came about. Any suggestions would be helpful.
  • cascadiaesqcascadiaesq Member Posts: 4
    Here's the continuation of the problem. Battery was replaced and got the car started - appears to be working. However the clock and stereo will not display or work at all. Is there any way to reset it to get the display and radio working again? Or, is this just another sign that something is still wrong with the car?
    Thanks in advance.
  • cascadiaesqcascadiaesq Member Posts: 4
    No. But I did it take 3 times or so to start - perhaps 2-3 different occasions. But we use the car everyday. Now with the new battery the display on the clock and radio is gone and radio of course does not work. This is consistent with what was happening prior to the battery change and it would fix itself - suddenly reappear. The repair shop (non-Ford) said that it just needed to be reset because of a anti-theft system but I don't believe that's true. I understnad that I would need to reinput the time and stations etc but the display itself should come up--just another mystery. Please let me know what you find out. OH - the repair shop said that the battery was getting charged - no problem there.
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    I have had the same problem. It occurred rarely until my extended warranty expired of course. It seems to occur the most when the outside temp is below freezing and the car is a cold start. All 4 gauges peg max for approx 1-2 seconds, go to zero, then function normally. Mine is a 200 model w/47,000 miles. HELP!
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    I just took the car to an electrical specialist they noted there is a short in the dash (unknown whereabouts) and the alternator is overcharging, needless to say this is the 5th alternator in less than 2 years. They wanted $500 to remove the dash and find the short, but I'm am going to raise hell with Ford. I took it back to Ford because the alternator is still under its 1 year warranty and I'm having them look into the short while they are at it. I will see what they want to charge and then start the paperwork trail to Ford Corp. If they charge me less than $300 I will not complain, I'll just take it as a learning lesson and not buy another Ford. They almost gauranteed they could find the short in 2-3 hours. We'll see, they will be looking at it in the morning. I'll post what I find out.
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    Well I got the car from the Ford Dealership, and much to my amazement my alternator was replaced free of charge due to it overcharging and because they just replaced it in June so it was still under warranty. As far as the gauge problem goes they noted some corrosion on the positive battery post below the surface of the battery top, cleaned it and as of now it seems to be fixed. I drove it home about 15 miles and the problem was gone or at least did not repeat. Best of all NO COST AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully this may give you an inexpensive point to start at.
  • persistancepersistance Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for your reply

    I forgot to mention that the guages peg to full upon start-up. I just lost my job and the car problem is just not helping. I'm pretty confident that if you did'nt drive your car for a few days you'd have a dead battery also.
    I've replaced the battery, but it makes no difference.
    I was pretty excited when I bought the car its fully loaded and offers good interior space and economy. A major let down is what I'm feeling now and of course I'm just out of warranty. You know I've purchased American cars all my life, but I'm just not feeling any kind of love for Ford anymore. It is my hope that with all of our resources we can find a solution to Fords inadaquit engineering.
    Take care and much luck!
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    My original battery had a lot of corrosion around the terminals that I was constantly cleaning. I finally replaced the battery 10/04. I put those "colored" felt pads on the battery which seems to stop the corrosion. When I checked the battery recently I found the positive cable loose and tightened it. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but about two days after tightening the terminal the gauge pegging problem has stopped. It has not pegged in three days. The weather is still cold(0-15 degrees). Thanks for the tip. Mine is a 2000 SE with the zetec engine. Yes I too loved the car through all the record setting recalls. I plan on passing it on to my son in 2007 or 2008. I just hope it holds up without a major "meltdown". I found a TSB listed at the NHTSA web site dated 4-1-2005 which claimed to address a gauge problem. I will probably look it up at the FORD dealer or buy it from ALL DATA. I'm hoping it deals with the "pegging" problem.
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    It is a goofy problem, I did not think it was the battery since I had just replaced it with a new one in June 2006. It appears the battery was the root of the problem, I have not had any recurrences since Ford cleaned the battery post. For some reason the battery seems to corrode really bad and fast, but the thing I noticed also is when I tightened the terminal the post would spin also (Do not know if that is supposed to happen or not) but some how the corrosion got down the post and caused the gauges to freak out. I would have thought if it was a battery problem it would have affected everything but it did not, just the gauges and interior light. So if this problem persists i suggest starting with a cleaning of the battery posts below the surface of the battery if possible and then replacement of the battery.
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    Gauges still working normally. Please post if yours starts up again. I will too. While the gauges were freaking out my air bag light decided to come on. On start up it cycles on and off, but comes on and stays on. I tried disconnecting the battery over night, but it still comes on.
  • orthisoneorthisone Member Posts: 1
    Hi! I've got a 2000 ZX3 that's had very similar problems, and I'm surprised to find that I'm not the only one. Most recently, I've had the alternator replaced twice - the most recent being for free. All the symptoms - the dim lights, the battery light coming on, weird revving/mixture and idle, guages that flip to the max and then zero and then back - seem to be tied to the electrical system and, especially, the alternator. Each time they've replaced the alternator things have been fixed, but it seems to be pretty fickle overall. It's a standard with close to 100K miles and I love it, but it's getting frustrating.
  • breannabananasbreannabananas Member Posts: 1
    Is the driver's door supposed to chime when it is opened and the key is NOT in the ignition? All my other cars did this only if the key was in or the lights were on. Mine is chiming and didn't know if it was supposed to.

    Also, every time I start the car, the radio and clock reset themselves. The clock goes back to 12:00 noon and the radio goes to AM. It doesn't matter how many times I've programmed in the radio stations or set the clock either. Sometimes the radio won't even work until the car gets heated up and when I push the ON button, the words "Low Battery" display on the radio panel, why?

    I am taking it to the dealer on Monday cause it is still under warranty. I've had it a week and the previous owner said it did NOT do these things to her.
  • kenjiro76kenjiro76 Member Posts: 1
    Ok I Have a 2001 Focus LX sedan. Now the middle brake light, the on that is on the back of the trunk door, works and the turn signals that use the same bulbs as the brake lighs also work so I am stuck with figuring out what the problem is. I Originly thought it was the bulbs, then the wiring, but seeing as how the turn signals work..???

    Does anyone have an idea what might be the problem?
  • kartdevilkartdevil Member Posts: 9
    The gauge problem came back slowly, so i went and replaced the battery, but the battery was fine. My stereo started to fade in and out, check engine light came on, gauges were maxing out and then zeroing out, digital display disappeared. All the same signs as before, so i took the car back to Ford since they had replaced the alternator twice already and Pep Boys 3 times, and yes the alternator was overcharging again. So now for the 6th time the alternator has been replaced and the problem is gone. I'll keep taking it back to Ford as long as I have to or until they figure out the problem. It is not costing me a thing since since the alternator has like a 12 month warranty and they do not seem to last 90 days.
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