Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems



  • jdlhjdlh Member Posts: 2

    Following my last message, regarding the lights, I've noticed that they also flicker both on the dash and outside when I brake at low speed, and when the revs drop and the engine goes to idle. Could it be anything to do with the alternator? Also The switch to the power window is still drawing a lot of current. Could the window motor have stalled?

    Several people have suggested an earth, but I've only been able to access a few, which showed some corrosion.Cleaning them made no difference. Does anyone have any ideas about which earth to check, and where it is? Could it be the alternator output? The ECU?

    I've decide to pay a car electrician to come and have a look (£40 call out, which includes first hour).

    Reading and earlier thread, I noticed this:

    Under the 'Limitation Act' of 1980 you have up to 6 years to claim for manufacturing defect.Send a letter to :

    Executive Department
    Ford Motor Co.
    Eagle Way
    CM13 3BY

    Has anyone had any success with this? Unfortunately I bought the car second hand from a garage, and as luck would have it, the warranty has expired. Does anyone know if there is a way to try and get them to cover the cost (I can hear the laughter as I suggest this!)?

  • bmaerhoferbmaerhofer Member Posts: 1
    Hello All,
    I am having problems with my 03 SVT. Something keeps draining my battery on occasion and it is not any aftermarket parts. If I pull R24 - Battery Saver Relay it seems to kill the drain or if I pull fuse 36 - A/C switch / Hazard flasher / Instrument Cluster it kills the drainage as well. But if I keep it unplugged I have no guage information.

    It is very sporatic so it is hard to determine what exactly is causing the problem.

    Whatever it will stick and in about 14 hrs time (no driving) the battery will be dead (after work/morning)

    What do you suggest?

  • adamshaw735adamshaw735 Member Posts: 1
    i own a ford focus 1.8 tdci sport 2003 drivin home today (luckly only about 2 mile) i noticed my head lights suddenly dimmed then came back thought nothin of it till i realised all my windscreen wipers (Front & Rear) started going at a really slow speed but front were only set to intermittent then i noticed front lights had gone out got home got out the car bashed the lights usually a proven quick fix but nothin so thought id turn off the car and start again turned the key took it out but car didnt feel like stoppin and just carried on running. so then i purposely stalled the car turned everythin off locked it opened it and tryed to start it again no go so locked it (all using the key fob) and left it for ten mins to get changed after work went back out now wont unlock any ideas anyone please ????
  • ian2604ian2604 Member Posts: 1
    What a bunch of winers about the Ford Focus. I have owned three Ford Focus ZX5s, two 2002 and one 2003, for some time and driven all over with them. One, a trip to Florida and back. I think they are one of the most reliable and best cars made. They are fairly simple cars and there is almost nothing that goes wrong with them. The only thing you read about here is people with problems. Try buying a SAAB 9-3 and then you will really have problems. Stop wining about one of the best cars on the road.
  • johnkuxjohnkux Member Posts: 4
    I'll trade you my 2000 ford focus. Drive that for awhile and tell me how reliable they are. Funny that a car company that produces so many "of the most reliable and best cars made" is in so much trouble with declining market share and losing so much money.
  • 1dufflebag1dufflebag Member Posts: 6
    Kind of interesting..I agree with everyone on both sides. There are good luck stories and not so good luck stories. After posting my problem, and solution on this board and mentioning continuing small problems with my old focus(s) YES...I just bought another one. Problems and all the focus zx3 to me has one of the best designed cockpits and instrument layout of any car I have driven, so I bought one of the last model year 2007 brand new since they are not making them anymore.
    But try just opening a door on the new focus. The handle is hinged on plast and everyone I checked out also wiggled loosely when opening the door. The old focuses dont do that they are solid. Seems ford is giving up a little accessory quality in the new design. Still..I love driving my zx3, when its not in the shop.

  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    Ford sold 195,462 vehicles in the US in October. Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Landrover.

    Toyota/Lexus sold 197,592. That is a difference of 2%.

    Yet if you read the BS put out by the automotive press, Ford is a day away from going out of business and Toyota is a day away from ruling the world.

    The victor is the current automotive market is the consumer. Not since before the great depression did one have so may different automotive purchase options.

    Don't worry too much about Ford. At least until Toyota figures out how to make a tru F series beater. As good as the Tundra may be, an F series beater it is not.

  • kirdeevkirdeev Member Posts: 1
    I would appreciate any advice how to fix my problem. I have Ford Focus SE 2000 (no fog lights). A couple of days ago the parking lamps and instrument cluster lighting went out suddenly when I pressed remote luggage compartment release button. Side lights (left, right), brake lamps, back-up lamps, and hazard flasher are working fine. When I press brake pedal, the instrument cluster lights up normally.

    First, I changed brake lamps because I thought they burned down. It happened before. Then I checked fuses - they looked fine. Then I replaced headlight switch, but it didn't help. I bought a used one. Maybe I need to get a new switch.

    Thank you for your recommendations,
  • tootherevolutitootherevoluti Member Posts: 2
    I have the same exact electrical problems as stated. Same exact.! : I am still trying to fix it myself cause im not paying for it . I cleaned all the engine ground wiring that is visible under the hood. But had no luck. Next i will clean the ground straps under the car the ones that connect the engine block to the transmission and then to the body. These are major ground connections that are always overlooked. I still havent done this, but hope it does the job. I can only pray. Don't change the alternator unless the dash engine light is on all the time or comes on then goes off. I had this and i changed the alternator. and now everything is o.k except all the lights flickering and the windows draw alot of power. Do have your charging systems checked though, just in case. (12 volts engine off---13 to 14 volts with engine on and all accessories turned on) If you have any luck please inform me pleeeeeessssssseeeeee. thanks
  • tootherevolutitootherevoluti Member Posts: 2
    Experts only need reply. I have electrical problems. All accessory lights as well as headlights are flickering only when engine is on. I just put in a new battery and alternator. The battery connections are cleaned as well as (5 eyelet) grounds under the hood.(please note) The problem still occured even before the battery and alternator change. _ I have yet to clean the ground straps under the car. I need to know what causes this????
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'd say bad ground #1, then put a volt meter on the battery when the engine is running and check for variations in current, (do your headlights flicker, if NO, then try===>)if none then I'd say there must be a voltage regulator for the instrument pagel board that is going crazy.
  • cdub2cdub2 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 focus ses. I've had it for a year, and recently when the lights are on and you use the turn signals they go crazy fast. i checked and changed fuses problem is still there. Also when you hit the brakes the reverse lights come on and the driver side brake light dims. I have changed all the bulbs in the taillights. Any suggestions
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, I'd guess low voltage coming out of your stalk switch for the directionals or a short in that switch or the harness that goes to it. I believe your brake light switch runs through your directional switch, but I'd have to see a wiring diagram for your car to be sure about that. If it does run through it, then it all makes sense. If it doesn't then I might check behind the fuse block for signs of a short.
  • jruschjrusch Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 ford focus, 5 speed, 4 door. I have replaced the alternator three times in the past three months. Everything will work fine for awhile but then the first thing to start cutting out is the radio, then all the gauges will start jumping, then the lights will flicker on and off at night if I turn them on. We have cleaned and checked every ground wire in the engine of the car. I've also taken the car into the ford shop and no one there can figure it either. All they do is continue replacing the alternator. If anyone has experienced these kind of problems. I would LOVE to know what the solution is.
    Thank you!
  • cdub2cdub2 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks I will take a look and see what I find.
  • ravenmanravenman Member Posts: 4
    I recently purchased a 2000 Ford Focus wagon that has 18 inch sport wheels with little narrow low profile tires. I assume these wheels and tires are not stock items although I have been told they are worth a few bucks. I need to put stock wheels and tires back on the vehicle as these sporty jobs make driving over ANY bump a bone-jarring experience. I recently hit a bad bump on a local road and thought the wheel was going to come off! I believe this caused enough damage to make a wheel bearing go out, as one did this weekend.

    The metal tag on the door with the vehicle info has no tire specs on it (???). Can anyone tell me where I might find those specs? The manual just says look on the door!! The Ford web site was useless.


  • mlgardmlgard Member Posts: 5
    My ZX3 '00 experienced the tail lights going out in addition to the instrument cluster. Paid about $75 to get it fixed, after going to two different Ford dealerships. The first dealer simply replaced the fuse, which I told them I had already done. Months later I noticed a recall on that very problem while looking at the NHTSA website where they list recalls. The dealer gave me a line that the problem wasn't with Focuses where mine was built. Hope that is the only problem with yours. My list is long.
  • steverino2steverino2 Member Posts: 4
    Hi, Thanks for the reply. Yes I have had a list of problems that seem to be common to this car.

    Do you know what they repaired and charged you $75 for? What was the recall for and what was the solution.

    I've checked th fuses as well. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Happy Holidays,
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    Stock tires for focus are; 195/60-15 & 185/65-14 You got a 50 50 chance.
    You can call the Ford parts Dept and give them the last 8 digits of your vin # and ask them for 4 rims and ask them the size, 14 or 15. When they tell you hang up and buy them somewhere else. Good luck
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    Read your post. I ran into a focus that was going through alternators. It wasn't a ground, it was the B terminal wire to the battery. Thats the big fat wire from the back of your alternator going to the battery. Testing showed it had a good conection, but wiggling the wire showed it had a bad connection. Good luck.
  • mlgardmlgard Member Posts: 5
    It has been several months, I think it was a pinched taillight wire which made contact with the body. They replaced the wire, I'll see if I can locate my work description. Here's the recall notice from NHTSA website:

    Recall Number: 00V411000

    Happy New Year.
  • lunachick13lunachick13 Member Posts: 1
    I got a 2001 FF in May. It seemed to be driving ok until about October. The back left passenger window would no go back up, the lighter doesn't work...etc..then this weekend, It wouldn't start at all so so I got it jumped and the guy said my cables to the battery were dirty/corroded. But it was dead again yesterday, so jumped it again. I took it into a Pep Boys and they tested my battery and said I needed a new one. BUT after installing the brand new battery they re-tested and my car had drained the new battery! So, they put another one in and said they think it is electrical and I need to go to the dealer now. Also, can a car leak carbon monoxide or a weird electrical current? Since Oct I have had 5 times while driving I have had to pull over for feeling "weird" or sick while driving and it seemed to only happen in the car and out of nowhere. I have NEVER had that happen before, ever. My husband says they sound like panic attacks and that the car cannot make me sick. But, I always loved driving and why all of a sudden would that happen 5 times in 2 months and never before? And now all the problems with it starting. I am convinced when it happens my car is leaking something. Is that at al possible?? And do I need to take it to a dealer? Thank you.
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    Sounds like you have a couple of problems. My recomendation is to get the car checked out by a professional.

    As far as your battery going dead, as long as the alternator is charging, and the battery still goes dead like over night, you have what is called a "parisitic draw". This is something draining power off your battery when the key is off.

    You didn't specify if you have electric windows or not. This draining of the battery or parisitic draw might be related to your cigerette lighter not working. It really needs to be check out by a technician that knows how to trace a parisitic draw.

    As for feeling sick a few times while driving. If carbon monoxide is leaking into the passenger compartment from the exuast, yes it will make you feel sick. It can cause you to pass out and even result in death. The fact that you stated the rear window is stuck down, even if you did have an exhuast leak getting into the passenger compartment, it would most likely vent out and you wouldn't notice it. However, if exhuast fumes are venting near your air intake vent for the passenger compartment, the draft from the open window may be pulling the fumes right past you. Some of the symtoms of being exposed to exhaust fumes are; feeling sick, sleepy, shortness of breath, head aches, and your arms may feel heavy. Everyone reacts differently depending on the type of exposure.

    Any electrical problems are very unlikely to be related to you feeling sick while driving. If it is, it would be a first I have ever heard of it. Hope this was helpful. Good luck.
  • lheffelheffe Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Focus ZX3 bought new in Oct 2000. What a piece of junk. 4 times they replaced the fuel sensor, or maybe it's an oxygen sensor. And 3 times the ignition column had to be replaced because the key would not go in. Once in warranty, twice out. Over $300 each time.
    NOW - Huge electrical problem has been building up for 3 years. Brake lights, tail lights, rear hatch release, dashboard lights, rear defroster, rear wiper, can't remember what else, all confused or not working or causing a short. If I had electric windows, I guess they would not be working either. Right now the dealer is replacing the wiring harness. Another $500 down the drain. This is the first and last Ford I will ever buy.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioMember Posts: 130
    There was an updated ignition lock cylinder that was suppose to solve the key problem. I have encountered the electric problem with dash gauges going wild, but mine is usually the battery cable working loose and battery not charging. Corrosion on battery terminal has to be cleaned at least twice a year. It's caused by the way Ford grounds the electrical system. I have a 2000 since new. I consider it an average car. Will be passing it on to children.
  • ravenmanravenman Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, Mickeymouse2, I now have nice 15 Inch rims I purchased new off of the internet for $500 each along with a new set of 185 65s. The vehicle rides MUCH smoother.

    Before changing wheels and tires, I hit a rather hard bump with my 2000 Focus wagon and suddenly lost most of the dash lights. I still have the odometer and the warning lamps, but can't see the speedometer, gas gauge temperature etc. Also, the gear shift lamp is now out. I noticed one of the fuses is labelled "Electronic modules, instrment cluster" but that fuse appears to be ok. Does anyone have any idea what may have broken or came loose when I hit the bump? The owners manual just says to take the car to the dealer when the instrument lamps need changing.


  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    How mechanically inclined are you. To change the dash lights or check if the master plug if it came loose removal of the dash cluster is necessarry. Undoing the mounting bolts for the steering colum to get the wheel out of the way ect. Sure you want to tackle it?
  • gembotgembot Member Posts: 4
    Hi, ive just purchased a 2001 Focus Zetec 1.4. I had it a week no probs at all. During the 2nd week I had a new stereo fitted to it as the car came with the standard tape player unit. It seems that Since i've had this fitted half of my electrical things have stopped working. They didn't stop as soon as it was fitted, it seemed to be about a week or so after. My Back windscreen wiper and the first setting of the front wipers doesn't work, the front and back heated windscreens don't work(the lights on the switches don't appear when pressed), the interior light (i've had the bulb out and tested and it works fine), the electric door wing mirrors have stopped and the noise when you leave your lights on and get out of the car has also stopped working. The cigarette lighter and the air con and circulation switches all seem to be in fine working order and all the dashboard lights and headlights and things are all fine, it's just strange that half of the things should stop working. I have checked all the fuses in tghe space behind the glovebox and none seem to be blown and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the relay switches? Does any one have any suggestions?? Please help. Thanks
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    When you say you checked the fuses, just looking at them doesn't cut it. You have to verify power is going through them with a test light with the key on. If I was you, ask the place that installed your radio if they will do a courtesy check to see if it is something related to the radio install. With that many failures, it sure sounds like a blown fuse. However, some of the things you listed are not fused sepperate from the component mentioned and may just be a new failure. Good luck.
  • gembotgembot Member Posts: 4
    Hi, we checked all the fuses again and they don't seem to be the problem. I have looked into this further and there appears to be some fault with something called a gem unit?? Have you heard of these and is it a common thing to go wrong with Focuses?? My car is one of the very few that was built with this on and it is a rare part as they were built for only 3months with this specific unit so i think im going to struggle getting a new part and then pay a fortune for it, just wondered if you could give any more advise and maybe save me some time and money. Sorry to bother you again.

    Thanks :blush:
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Member Posts: 161
    Sorry never heard of it. Not sure where you found out about this gem unit problem. If Ford does use this type of thing, its a first I have heard of it. I suggest at this point to get a proper diagnosis from Ford. In my experience, Ford has always been straight forward on their designs and electrical systems. If your failure of only one function of your rear wiper, dome light, light buzzer ect is managed through some type of control modual, I would be very surprised!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Generic Electronic Module --- GEM --- not sure what it controls though. I thought the keyless entry/power locks, etc. But whatever it does, there seems to be a lively business in used ones on eBay. Still investigating functions.....
  • dpez19dpez19 Member Posts: 3
    on my ford focus my rear wiper wont work, the intermittent wiper doesn' t work, heated front and rear windscreen doesn't work, interior light doesn't work. does anyone have any suggestions as to what can be causing this and any solutions
  • gembotgembot Member Posts: 4
    Hi, i m having the same problem, if you read some of the previous notes ppl have been giving a few suggestions, i think its something to do with the fuses. Mine still isn't sorted as of yet, but im taking it to a guy i know who will hopefully help me at the end of the month so when its fixed ill let you know the outcome. Ive been looking around to see if anyone has the same problem on other websites, on RAC forums, alot of people are having the same thing and it is down to relay problems!! Maybe get someone to check them for you. :D
  • dpez19dpez19 Member Posts: 3
    ok thanks. i'll have a look. let me know how you get on. if i sort it i'll let you know.
  • ravenmanravenman Member Posts: 4
    Thanks again. Well, I'm Ok mechanically, just don't know if I have the time to tackle it. Guess I may have to drive the old truck while it's out of commision and either dig into it or shell out some bucks to have it done. Everything on these vehicles is difficult to get to. I did the first oil change on it and had to buy a set of ramps to let me get to the oil filter.

  • zigszoozigszoo Member Posts: 2
    :confuse: We purchased the car about 2 weeks ago - the battery light was on during the 2 hours we test drove it without any problems at all but we offered the dealer less cash with the thought it would need a battery or alternator soon. Since then, it runs fine; great even. It gets much better mpg's than our 04 Explorer so I'm driving it 15-20 miles a day to work until our teenage daughter gets her license.
    Last week when our temps dropped to below zero, it started right up but after going about a mile: the lights dimmed, the CD & odo shut off etc. I got off the road & shut down everything electrical & gently gassed it for just a few seconds and everything came right back up. Expecting that the alternator was shot, we took it to our mechanic (again, started & ran fine after the frigid night incident) - he replaced the alternator (twice) and determined that it was not the problem. He thinks he traced it back to the PCM either not giving or getting good codes from the charging system...
    Before I try to take the dealer to task on an "as is" purchase (if even possible) I have to wonder if it's worth it. The car has been fine ever since with the exception of the battery light coming on as soon as the idle drops from it's start up speed to "normal' idle. After reading the volumes of problems people are having, I feel lucky and worry that if we let Ford start messing with it, we're gong to be in the same boat.....but the mechanic tells me the PCM is something only they can do.

    Has anyone had their PCM replaced and/or reprogrammed? How much did it cost? Did it solve your problem? Did you experience any new ones afterwards?

    Any input is appreciated, I dont think I'll have a leg to stand on past 30 days after purchasing (if I even do at this point!) so I'm going to have to make a decision soon!
  • 1dufflebag1dufflebag Member Posts: 6
    Try removing the batter cable, leaving it off for atleast 2 minutes.

    Then put batter cable back on and start. At very minimum your computer will be reset and if the problem re-occurs, you will know it is not a matter of rebooting the computer to solve the problem.

    I have used this method with warning lights, and even when my care would not start and was about to be towed. REmoved the cable, reset computer, and good to go. If its a real problem the light or symptom will reappear. In many cases with the ford focus its just a hickup with the computer, in my experience.

    hope this helps.
  • zigszoozigszoo Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the suggestion,

    Wouldn't our mechanic have disconnected the battery to change the alternator? Im no expert but the clock and radio settings had to be reset after we got it back so he may have already tried that himself.

    The temps have dropped again here in the Windy City so maybe the car will make my decision for me. But if it continues to start & run as well as it has been without trouble, I'll try your suggestion (on a warmer day!) & take my chances until something else happens.

    Maybe Im being superstitious but Ford doesn't seem to really know (or care) whats wrong with these cars and Im afraid that having them mess with it may only cause us new problems.
  • 1dufflebag1dufflebag Member Posts: 6
    Good strategy. Even though I had a lot of little problems with my focuses (3 previous) I still came back to the ride and design to buy another. Speaking of ford repairs, I did find it best to get a good non-ford mechanic for certain repairs, since I had the same problem with what appeared to be lack of concern and ability on the part of ford mechanics in my town. Maybe its that way everywhere? Good Luck. Hope the reset battery tip can help at somepoint, or better yet, you dont need it.
  • dpez19dpez19 Member Posts: 3
    found out what my problem was. i took the central fuse box out in the glove box and in the back of it is like a large relay type box which unclips. i uncliped it and plugged it back in and things seem to be working again. do u or anyone else know where i can purchase a new one cheap if it goes again?
  • gembotgembot Member Posts: 4
    Hi, ive found the problem!! It was the timing module. They are around £30-£35, and are apparently prone to breaking!! Your local Ford dealer should be able to sort you one out. All the probs i had orignally are all now sorted.

    I hope this helps you.

    All the best

    XxX :P
  • john238john238 Member Posts: 1
    recently my 2003 focus battery died so i went to auto zone and had the alternator tested they said it was bad so i replaced it. after replacing it the battery light was still on so again i went to auto zone and had the new one tested and again it was bad. they gave me a new one and after installing, the battery light was still on so again i had them test it and it to was bad again. they suggested there could be an electrical problem causing the alternators to burn up. I dont understand how an electrical problem would just appear out of nowhere for no apparent reason if thats the problem. i know auto zone is not known for great quality but i cant imagine i received two bad alternators. any ideas?
  • 1dufflebag1dufflebag Member Posts: 6
    try unhooking the battery cable for atleast 30 seconds, it resets your computer. Then turn on again and see if it doesnt reset your trouble light. I find many trouble lights on ford focus are false alarms.

    Then, if the light comes back on or never goes off, it is probably legitimate issue.

    This also worked for me on many no start situations where the computer just needed to be reset
  • steverino2steverino2 Member Posts: 4
    Most of the problems you describe I have not had... except the parking lights (and instrument cluster).

    Where exactly is the ignition relay? Under the dash near the fuses? Or under the hood?

  • conanhconanh Member Posts: 5
    Yes I had this problem it was caused by the battery conections to the post. There was Corrosion in-between the post and the cable connection. The corrosion cannot be seen without taking off the cable connection off the battery post. And when I cleaned the connection I had to put shims because now the connection was too lose and I could not tighen them enuf. But I had not had a problem sence I fixed it.
  • geminigirl9410geminigirl9410 Member Posts: 1
    I have a focus 1.6 2000 hatchback and everytime I apply the brakes the front side lights come on......I was informed that if I had changed a brake light, this could be the problem. I have chnged the bulb again and it is still happening. :confuse:
  • focus2005focus2005 Member Posts: 1
    i find it hard to replace a bulb on my focus 05 hatchback. i thought this is one of those do it yourself thing,unlike in other cars all you have to do is lose some screws and you can pull out the bulb and replace it. can anybody give me an advise. i don't want to spend on a single bulb
  • matsukesmatsukes Member Posts: 21
    BOY! after reading about all these problems with the Ford Focus it makes me sad I just got a new 08 SES! The car has less then 1000. miles on it and there has been no problems as of yet but I will now try to sell the car just to get rid of it before any of the problems in this forum starts! I paid $16,000 for the car I wonder if I will be able to sell it fast for $5,000?
  • fjm1fjm1 Member Posts: 137

    I'll fly anywhere in the continental U.S. and pick up this excellent vehicle without a moments hesitation in driving it anywhere.
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