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Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems



  • An Update-
    Checked all fuses, all were good.
    Bought a new cigaretter lighter(socket & lighter), still not working.
    The horn went out gradually so I am assuming I just need to replace it.
    Any other ideas?
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    edited January 2011
    How did you check fuses ? If you checked them with a test light, then your fuses are probably good. If not, retest with test light at both sides of fuse. To test the horn, pull off electrical connector at horn, and stick test light in wire end, ( ground other end of test light )
    have a helper hit the horn button while you watch the light, if it lights. replace horn. if it does not light. check for a bad horn relay, find the relay and swap with another 1 of the same size. NOTE the horn button grounds the horn relay, you can check horn button at the relay connectors. find the hot wire (hot all the time) find a dead connector and connect ground end of light ,then have a helper hit the horn button and the test light should light, if not ,try another post,and so on.
    check these items and let me know.
  • My 2000 Ford Focus started off having problems yesterday when I started the car and all the needles on the instrument panel shot all the way over to the right and then a few seconds later went back down to zero. I turned off the car and started it again and it didn't do it a second time. I decided to go and run my errands and it started again but this time while I was driving. The needles started jumping all over the place but the gas needle stayed where it was. After a little bit of this, my odometer shut off completely then came on with little lines on it. It was acting funny when I tried to brake and had a slight jerk and when I was stopped it ever so often made this strange grinding type sound from under the hood. This morning when I tried to start it, it cranked and same needle effect then shut off. I had to jump it and it ran fine then when I touched the key to turn it off, it made this horrible SCREECH sound and I promptly shut it off. When I tried to start it again, it gave me that classic im not gonna start sound. No clicking like when the battery is almost dead or anything like that. I am wits end with this car. Someone please help. I don't have all the money in the world to fix this car at a shop and am capable of fixing this to a certain extent.
  • arguyarguy Posts: 1
    I have an identical problem with my 2000 Focus Wagon. Started with just the radio shutting down (LCD screen goes blank). Today the entire dash pod lit up (all the idiot lights illuminated) and all the gauges went to zero. Did you ever isolate the problem?
  • Yes. I Did. After replacing the already bad alternator, having the battery checked for any dead cells, and checking the ignition switch, it turned out to be a fried computer. I ended up buying a new one from Oreilly. Cost me about 185 plus the cost to get it programmed. The thing that confused me was everyone saying it was the vehicle speed sensor. That didn't make any sense because the car was standing still. None the less, it turned out to be a fried computer. Pull the existing one out of your focus and have it checked. You can get a brand new one from Oreilly or look on ebay. I suggest matching the computer part # to one they have on there. You can get it alot cheaper but it is used. Attached you will find a link that will tell you how to get the glove box open to get to the computer behind it. If you have any questions let me know. My car is running perfectly now with no problems at all.
  • I have a 1999 Ford Focus and LOVE it - bought it used. Great gas mileage, no problems, etc. Am thinking it's time to replace it and was looking at the 2007 Ford Focus -(four door sedan) a used one, but see that some of them have LOTS of problems with the alternator or other electrical problems. Is there anyway to determine or "test" a used car to see if it has/will have electrical problems? THANKS!
  • corbryantcorbryant Posts: 7
    edited March 2011
    My roomates 2001 Focus (2.0) has been giving us trouble, and I've basically taken the same steps as you. I replaced a very expsensive alternator, and it's still acting up. Sitting at a redlight, the headlights and dash lights go on and off, the gauges bounce back and forth and it runs rough. It does the same thing if I'm driving, but then it seems to slip out of gear and and the engine winds up. The gauges sometimes continue to work and you can see it wind up to about 4000RPM then it catches and slams back into gear if you don't let off of the gas pedal. It's hard to diagnose since it's intermittent, but I think replacing the computer is a good idea after reading your post.

    Everyone agree with that?
  • corbryantcorbryant Posts: 7
    edited March 2011
    Drive it around...ALOT...even if you have to stop and put gas in it. Take it on the highway, up hills, etc.. Let it sit with the hood closed, running while you talk to the people afer you get back so it builds up a lot of heat under the hood - that will kind of help identify any "heat soaking" issues with elecrical components that only fail when they get really hot.

    People get pissed off at me sometimes when I buy a car and test drive it. I try to drive for 30-45 minutes at least. It gives the car plenty of time to warm up and [hopefully] let any intermittent problems the car might be having. I know the older Focuses have quite a few issues from what I've gathered by reading in the forums - maybe electrical issues...but I would LIKE to think that Ford only improved on that and any later model would be much more dependable.

    In the end, elecrical issues suck and are sometimes impossible to track down - especially if they are intermittent and only happen occasionally...those are the worst because it has to be failing before you can really diagnose it in most cases. I'm in no way an ace mechanic, but you'd be surprised at how many times I've saved myself from being ripped off by just driving the car a few extra miles and spending a little more time with it.

    I had one guy leave only a tiny bit of gas in the car I was thinking about buying and said "just go around the block..." I told him I'd put gas in it, that I'd prefer he go with me and drive around for a few minutes - he refused and said another buyer was coming and he didn't want to miss him. The best part is that about 2 weeks later, I saw the car on the side of the road and a teenager was standing next to it. I stopped to see if he needed help and he explained that he bought the car and (LOL) immediately put gas in it and drove home. Poor kid said he didn't get 2 miles and it started overheating. It turned out to have a blown head gasket, and the jackass he bought it from had just changed the oil and water to hide it and let it limp by through the test drives. As long as it didn't get up to operating temp the head gasket was all but undetectable. I suggested he go drive it through the sellers front door. "Around the block", indeed. =)

  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    ? why did you replace alt. assy. What is your battery voltage with eng shut off ? now start and run eng at 1000 rpm and check voltage at battery,
    it should rise up to 14.2 to 14.6 but not much higher.

    If voltage is not within spec. check ALL battery cables from battery to starter and battery to ground ( BOTH ENDS ) must be tight CLEAN & TIGHT

    Let me know
  • corbryantcorbryant Posts: 7
    edited March 2011
    It's not a voltage issue. The alternator was replaced becuase it was not charging (11.5v). The alternator that is on it now is working fine. I've already checked the voltage, which was over 14v under full load with the A/C on high and the high beams lit. I replaced the terminal ends today becuase I did find a .5 volt drop from the terminal end to mid way down the starter cable.. The headlights/dash lights still flicker badly and the gauges still sweep back and forth occasionally along with the shifting issue where it seems to fall out of gear when the lights flicker and all of that. I'm just going to replace the computer and pray that does the trick. I can't think of anything else that would cause this variety of issues - and I did find one instance where someones dash gauges were sweeping back and forth and replacing the ECU fixed it.

  • The car catching on fire was a blessing. I wish ours would catch fire.. =)
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    I've seen the insturment cluster cause a bunch of goofy problems and need replacement.

    Also, I think you have an acc. modual (mounted under dash, about mid way) that controls all
    acc. radio, gauges, door locks,wipers, heater, but I'm not sure about the the headlights. that
    may be a diff.problem. I would not be in a hurry to replace the main computer.
    Keep me posted,

  • Okay, so you're not the first one to say that, apparently. My roomate already has a new gauge cluster sititng in the garage. I think she had read that someplace else and ordered it but never had it put in because the shop she used in the past told her that wasn't it. I'll throw that thing in tonight or tomorrow and let you know. Thanks!

  • Okay, so I just swapped the insturment cluster out with a fairly new unit. It only has 30k miles on it. I started the car and the gauges aren't acting up, and I'll be damned if the headlights and dash lights aren't flickering anymore. I haven't driven it yet, but I'd be willing to bet that the shifting problem is gone too - since it all seemed to always happen at the same time. I think it's fixed! I really appreciate the advice - I was ready to replace the computer - I would never have thought an insturment cluster could cause so many issues. Thanks!!

  • My husband has a Ford Focus and my son has a Ford Escort. My son has had to give up on his Escort and I don't know if any of this is related or not. From the time he bought it, he had a headlight that he had to replace several times. Then it reached a point that it didn't work so he changed the fuse and that seemed to be the problem. Then it started all kinds of electrical problems. The fuse buned out, the headlight went out again as did some other lights. He replaced the alternator, battery cables from the ground and the car would not start. It was towed and they simply did some tweaking on the battery and cables. Sometimes the lights, inside and outside, would just go off and then come back on and then go off again. This went on all the way to work one day. He also discovered that he had no tail lights so he drove with his flashers on. He stopped the car at work one day and it wouldn't start again. They had to tow it in for the second time. This time they replaced the alternator and more fuses. The next morning he had the Christmas tree car again as he called it, with lights flashing on and off. The garage did more checking and told him to not spend another penny on the car. His fuses were burning out but everytime he replaced them, it was doing damage to the alternator and battery. It seems that whoever owned the car before had electrical problems and they could not find the real reason so they had installed several ground wires, which you never do to a car and thus it was ruined. The fuses had to just be removed in order for him to drive it home. Now he has a car that runs find in the daytime but he has no lights, no interior lights and the only electrical thing that works is the radio. The garage said it would cost way more than the car was worth to fix the damage the previous owner had done as it would have to be completely re-wired from the front to the back. They said that was probably what was needed in the first place as this seems to be a common problem with these Fords.
  • We have had a 2007 Ford Focus for several years (which we also bought used) and we love it. I have to have a van but my husband needed something that gets great mileage for work and the Focus has been wonderful. The only problem we have had (happened twice) was that it would not go in park. I found the answer on here (Ford knows about it but has done nothing about it.) There is a ring at the bottom of the gear shift and my husband just pulled it up and it hasn't happened again. We bought from a dealer we know and trust and he lets us drive anything we want for a day or two if we want to. We drove the Focus for a day and decided it was just what we needed. In fact, we were all set to sign the papers on a brand new Nissan (which is a good car too) but decided to go with the cheaper Focus even though it was used. We recommend it highly but then anyone can get a lemon so there are never any guarantees. No one model is going to be perfect on every car.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    Better stay away from this 1, I will advise you to buy a CHEAP digital volt-amp meter $5-10

    Cheak voltage across battery posts with eng running. should not exceed 14.2-14.6 Volts.

    If it is over this it can boil the battery and warp the plates, ruin the battery and then burn up the alternator. This usually happens with cheap after market parts. INFO ONLY
  • I have a 05 ford focus and i changed the lighter fuse and now the windows .interior lights wont work and the radio goes on but no sound I didnt touch any other fuse or anything I hope Someone Can help me ! Thank you DeeDee !
  • james213james213 Posts: 1
    Bought this focus with 130k miles. Driven it for 2k miles now. In the past when you would plug in a phone charger into the cigerate lighter, you would sometimes lose the radio. This morning got up to goto work and no headlights, fan, or wipers. Got on this site and saw all of the problems with wiring. It is a 3 door and was built 09/1999. So it qualifies for the recall (NHTSA campaign id number 00v411000 - electrical system) if it is still good. Also radio in the past has lost power in the past when I adjust the volume, figured it was a wiring speaker issue. All fuses are fine. Where should I go from here.
  • I would be interested in knowing what it was that was causing this problem, as my 02 Focus SE is doing the same thing.

  • Sorry Chris,
    After much frustration I got rid of the car. I loved the car as it was fun to drive and ok on mpg's but she just did' :cry: nt treat me right. Good Luck!
    Oh and by the way, no more Fords for this guy.......
  • katlee23katlee23 Posts: 2
    Did this fix your problem when you started driving it? We took our Focus (ame problems) to the dealer who said it needs a new tranmission--may as well get a new car--but I'd love to fix it with a new instrument cluster.
  • katlee23katlee23 Posts: 2
    Do you know if this (instrument cluster) solved corbryant's problems? We had same symptoms, took it to dealer who said it needed a new tranny--may as well start looking for a new car.
  • corbryantcorbryant Posts: 7
    Well, yes and no. I promise you it's not a trans, so don't waste that kind of money. Replace the transmission shift sensor and it should resolve the shifting problem. The cluster didn't fix the other problem, which was flickering headlights and insturments -- it's still doint that, and the dealership has had it twice - the frist time they said the alternator was bad (even though it charged 14.2 with me testing it) so my roomate shelled out $500 for a new one (that damn thing is EXPENSIV compared to other alternators) and a month later it started up again but it was only the 2nd or 3rd time she'd driven the car. Took it back to the dealership and they charged her another $75 to tell her they didn't know what it was. I was pretty pissed about that, so I went up there and damn sure left with her $75 in my hands. (F$&@#@^ ripoff crooks) FY everyone's I don't do business with (no names) any FORD dealerships that may happen to be in the vicinity of I-20 and Collins in Arlington. =)

    I'd try replacing that shift sensor my man. Her's doesn't jump out of gear anymore. It was failing like that WAY before it popped the code too, so you may have no codes and that thing is bad. GO Ford. =)
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    Ck the main red wire for any sign if corrosion (GREEN POWER) at the plug in at the alt.
    Also, make sure BOTH ends of your battery Neg & Pos cables are CLEAN & TIGHT.
  • This is happening to my 2006 Ford Focus. Did you ever figure it out?
  • Make sure your battery cables are are CLEAN & TIGHT on BOTH ends, Check the red wire to your alt for any sign of corrosion where it plugs into alt and correct.
    Check battery with a cheap digital volt meter ( $5.00 at Harbour Freight ) It should read 11.5 -
    12,00 V. with every shut off, and 14.2 - 14.5 V when running at about 1000 RPM.
    If it goes 15V replace the alt with a Good brand of alt. Motorcraft or NAPA.
  • fordevrfordevr Posts: 2
    I have a Ford Focus 2007 and its security alert light keeps blinking whenever the car is not running. I've checked all the seatbelts and the seats and made sure they are proper secure and in the right order whenever I lock it.

    Does anybody know why the light keeps blinking? I'm afraid it could effect my car battery,could this be possible?

    Pls advice.
  • markus5markus5 Posts: 102
    mine has been blinking since Nov. '03. Still on original Battery. I believe it (the flashing) indicates that the security system is energised, which should be what you want.
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