Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems



  • steveinarizonasteveinarizona Member Posts: 7
    Is it still working fine today? Have similar problems with our 2005 model.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    NAPA does have a point about the quality of chain-store rebuilds. Alternators are rebuilt from random reconditioned parts. They don't rebuild each one using all its original parts. So if the process is rushed or they cut corners, quality control goes downhill fast.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Member Posts: 124
    ? Is eng hard to start when eng is warm, Does it always turn over ok but will not fire ? You May Have an ign sw going bad causing both problems.
    I need more info.
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    I have a 2004 Malibu and a 2005 Freestyle with the overheating bulbs. My solution was switch to led bulb. It flashes faster, but it eliminates the meltdowns.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Member Posts: 124
    There are after-market light suppliers such as Keystone lighting and you may also NAPA for these assys. Good luck.
  • therays4therays4 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you! I'll try the LED bulb this time with the new assembly. I appreciate the help!!
  • achowardachoward Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2011
    Im thinking its the ignition switch as well. It always turns over but doesnt fire, cold or warm and it happens about 90% of the time and light issues are about 95%. Im changing the spark plugs and fuel filter today and will see if that helps it start. if i turn the ignition on and off without starting the car i can eventually get lights back. the odd thing is i have no other electrical or dash issues. jsut lights and starting. im also going to check the light wires witha multimeter to see if theres power going to them when they dont work to know if its a connector issue or a break or fuse.

    **just a tip for all focus drivers who think 300 kms per tank is ridiculous. the permanent air filter on the car is NOT a permanent filter. i switched mine out for a cold air intake which cost me $30 and fits right on the old pipe where the old airbox was. No modifications necessary all sensors stay where they are and i now get 600 kms per tank and have better response. **
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Member Posts: 124
    You can try this, remove the plug wires and insert a phillips screw driver in each plug wtre, and hold shaft of phillips about 3/8 " from ground and have a friend crank over eng and watch spark . If no spark, check crank-posistion sensor. should be mounted at 10 or 2 oclock pos. above front crank pully. these have been known to go bad at times .
  • achowardachoward Member Posts: 3

    Well problem with the lights is fixed. It turned out to be a severely corroded relay. And i replaced the spark plugs yesterday and its runnning way better. Just wondering tho, Does anyone elses spark plugs read that the engine is running hot? All four plugs were completely white. I put in new ones and made sure their gapped correctly. And so far no hesitation, or surging and the car feels looser.

    Next question, Im replacing the fuel filter this week and just wondering if anyone knows which fuses i should pull as theres like 5 that are assigned to fuel.

    Thanks for the help!
  • cheesehead7cheesehead7 Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    My headlights go out when i turn my turn signals on, doesn't happen all the time.
    2002 Ford Focus
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Member Posts: 124
    You do NOT nead to pull any fuses. Your fuel system will be pressurized so do this when the car is COLD. When you remove fuel line, do not have your face inline with filter and also wear eye protection. Make SURE your ign switch is NOT on.

  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Member Posts: 124
    Do NOT be concerned about your plugs burning white. Now if 3 were white and 1 was black,
    then you get concerned.

  • mountainwolfmountainwolf Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2005 Ford Focus zx4 It has had some weird electrical problems. The trunk will unlock if the brake pedal is pushed. Also the left running lights front and back do not have any power. If you step on the brakes the front running light comes on. Now the drivers airbag light goes on and off intermittently. I
  • utkdalbyutkdalby Member Posts: 2
    Well I replaced the ignition switch but it hasn't cured the problem. The wiring harness doesn't have any noticeable damage. I'm at a loss now. Is it possible there's a ground wire short somewhere? I'm close to just having it serviced.
  • thumper14thumper14 Member Posts: 7
    In several messages I have read where people have advised someone to run an extra ground wire to the car body. DON'T DO THAT. My son had a Ford Escort (this seems to be a common problem for Ford) and he had a headlight that kept going out. He bought several and finally checked the fused. It was no good so he put in a new one. That was the beginning. His lights would go off and on. The inside lights would go off and on when he was driving down the road. Sometimes things worked and sometimes they didn't. It died on him twice and had to be hauled to a repair shop. They had to disconnect the fuses for all lights or he had a "Christmas Tree" car with blinking lights and sometimes not working at all. It was draining his battery and ruined one. The car was great - if driven during the day but no lights. (Still had signals) They found that someone had run several ground wires, to "fix" problems before and it totally runined the car. It could have been fixed if they had done it right in the first place. By the time all this happened it would have had to been completely rewired and the mechanic said it would cost more than the car was worth. Good looking car - ran great but ruined because of someone running ground wires instead of having it serviced.
  • steveinarizonasteveinarizona Member Posts: 7 appears alternator number four this year will be in the works. My brother just called me to say after three weeks with the new NAPA Bosch alternator the company car is back to doing weird electrical things again including trying to stall and the check engine light has once again come on. Bringing it to a different mechanic Wednesday and see what they come up with. I asked NAPA to inspect the pigtail wiring harness for the alternator for corrosion and they said they did but I suspect they didn't. Will have this next shop look at it in my presence. Something is causing these Focuses to eat alternators and batteries so it has to be in the wiring and most likely a corrosion issue. Will keep those who are interested updated on this new round of repairs.
  • rnolenrnolen Member Posts: 3
    Instrument panel will not come on when car is first started, then will work fine after 10-15 minutes of driving. occurs when temp is below 50 degrees. Has happened 7 out of the last 10 days. Has worked perfect the two times it was taken to the dealership. Both times it was left over nigth so it would be a cold start for the dealer.
    Odometer, tachometer, none of the guages, LED screen and turn signal indicators will not work.
    Car runs fine, exterior lights, turn siganal, Brake lights, radio and Iterior dome and floor lights work fine.
    Any ideas how to resolve this issue?
  • bdymentbdyment Member Posts: 573
    It is under warranty, so take it to the dealer on a colder evening, leave it overnight and they can check it out in the morning on the first start.
  • crbastowcrbastow Member Posts: 2
    I had electrical problems with my 2002 focus wagon automatic.

    1. Gauges dying, then going full sweep, then work.
    2. Fan dying down
    3. Lights dimming
    4. clicking relays from behind the dash
    5. Alternator died
    6. Battery failed to charge
    7. Finally, would not start and would only click rapidly.

    1. I started by removing the battery and cleaning the posts with 220 grit sand paper.
    2. I noticed the positive clamp had corrosion at the wires nearest the clamp. These are large, red colored wires which are obviously hot wires. I cut the wires from the clamp and replaced the clamp with a brass one purchased from an auto parts store.
    3. There are (2) ground wires underneath part of the air cleaner box, I removed them, sanded them with 220 grit, applied di-electric grease and bolted them back to the car. If the bolts break, just use a self-taping metal screw to fasten to the body.
    4. I applied di-electric grease to all connections and re-inserted the battery and tightened the clamps.

    The car started with a boost and sat and idled. I let the car idle up to temperature and turned the interior fan to max, turned on the headlights and turned up the radio. I could hear the engine labour as usual as the alternator delivered current. I drove the car home, about 2 miles and turned it off. It started up again and again after that.
    The battery charge light is still on/off intermittenly but, everything works fine. I have proper power, all accessories are fine. I will likely replace the negative clamp as well because it too looked corroded to me. This was only done yesterday and, time will tell if it was the fix.

    The theory of the problem solution is that the corroded wire cause too much resistance at that junction. Once the car operates and current flows for a while, things heat up and resistance builds. This also hinders charging of the battery and no doubt stresses the alternator. This is a relatively cheap thing to do, it's worth a shot for the rest of you.
  • crbastowcrbastow Member Posts: 2

    Upon further thought, it makes sense to me that the negative clamp is the problem.
    I cleaned that connection and tightened it as much as I could but still, the clamp would spin on the post. I am going to replace that clamp so that the new one grabs so tight that it will not spin on the post.

    This fault makes sense, it would hinder the charging of the battery and it would prevent the battery from delivering current as the alternator spins down and the car "browns out" at idle. It may also stress the alternator to premature failure.

    So, I would suggests that the first thing done is to make sure the battery terminals/clamps are clean and tight. That would likely solve most problems regarding a lack of current.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    If there is any corrosion at all on that negative clamp, replace the entire cable, as corrosion can creep up a battery cable and you can't see it.
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    I wrapped aluminum foil around the terminal before putting the battery cable on. Problem solved. The original cable design is much harder than the terminals and keeps crushing it, then loses good connection. I had the pegging guage problem and other electrical problems. They went away once I used the foil to obtain a good connection.
  • rnolenrnolen Member Posts: 3
    Dealer has had the Focus for a total of four days. They were able to replicate the problem the last two days. Still no clue how to fix it. Regional customer service has asked that I take it to another dealership. The problem is definitely worst when temp is in the 30's. Surprised this is the only 2012 focus with this issue.
  • rnolenrnolen Member Posts: 3
    First posted this October 6.
    Instrument panel will not come on when car is first started, then will work fine after 10-15 minutes of driving. occurs when temp is below 50 degrees. Has happened 7 out of the last 10 days. Has worked perfect the first two times it was taken to the dealership. Both times it was left over nigth so it would be a cold start for the dealer. Third and forth time it went out, but they had no clue how to fix problem.
    Odometer, tachometer, none of the guages, LED screen and turn signal indicators will not work.
    Car runs fine, exterior lights, turn siganal, Brake lights, radio and Iterior dome and floor lights work fine.
    First dealership worked on in problem four different times. Ford regional customer specialist suggested I take car to another dealer. Took car 10/27/11 to second dealer. Cluster will completely go dead on cold morning. Day four and they still have no clue what is causing the problem.

    Anyone heard of similar issues with the 2012 focus?
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    Depending on your state's Lemon Law, you may be entitled to a full refund after taking it back "X" number of times witout a resolution.

    Here's some numbers you may or may not already have to pursue an end to this issue.

    Best of Luck

    Ford Website and other phone numbers

    Press 0;
    at prompt press 0;
    at prompt press 0;
    at prompt press 1;
    at prompt press 0.
  • 2007fordfocus2007fordfocus Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Ford Focus....Has run fine for 60,000 since I bought it a year ago....then, with no warning, one hour into a three hour drive, things started shutting off, the lights dimmed to nothing and the car stopped....waited 10 minutes and tried starting, clicked, and waited..turned over...waited..and then it started and ran fine for two hours...and then repeated what had happened before....took alternator easy task...took to oreilley's for test...alternator showed "failed"...a mechanic who was there said Focus alternators are problematic....said he had changed out 50 in just the last year....In one car alone had changed out five times before getting it to work right....said it was built with an internal regulator with different Ohm settings...Now, he tests the ohm levels and matches up with the car's computer to be certain is compatible and has consistent success....I haven't tried yet, but sounds plausible....He said to check to see if Ford recall...I've checked on-line but haven't found one yet....thought I'd post to see if any reactions......
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    ask the deal to check this TSB to see if there's a connection to your issue

    Bulletin No: 19871

    Date of Bulletin: 11/08/2007
    Summary Description:
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    edited December 2011
    They found that someone had run several ground wires, to "fix" problems before and it totally runined the car.

    I'm sorry but someone has given you bad information. Many elec isssues can be traced back to bad grounds..

    No amount of excess grounding can do any damage at any time.

    You can take that to the bank and get interest as it is totally correct.

    BTW, in 88, Chevy full size trucks tripled the size of the ground strap from the battery to the engine block. Previously it was a 2awg or so, they then went to a 3/4" wide and 1/8" thick copper braided ground wire.

    You were just given bad info, that's all.
    Sorta like the old mech told me when I had an engine that was very tight sounding upon cranking.

    He said, BOY, ur engin has dun got tite, when dey wear, dey get tite..

    Oh, boy.
    Don't we all just love liars :shades:
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    Posted by Mr. Shiftright
    If there is any corrosion at all on that negative clamp, replace the entire cable, as corrosion can creep up a battery cable and you can't see it.

    CORRECT, This is a much Overlooked problem.

    3+ Decades at Southern Company in Power Generation, One statement applies to this issue.

    "Electricity flows on the Outside of the Wire, Not on the Inside"

    Corrosion on the outside of low voltage circuits can and will inhibit the correct flow of electricity.

    92 Buick Roadmaster SW, at hwy speeds, the engine would die out, then restart.

    A scan showed a bad "ATS" [Air Temp Sensor]
    A new one did NOT correct the issue.

    Close inspection of the wire to the sensor yielded a small indention, which was indeed a cut.
    Opening up the insulation showed a GREEN Corroded wire, I cut out the corrosion, soldered & heat shrink-ed it back and all was well.

    [it WAS getting voltage BTW]

    Grounds & Connectors;

    Many electrical problems can be due to poor grounds from rust, paint, poor crimps on the wire, silicone from clean-up shops creeping into weather-tite connectors etc.

    Don't forget to look on the underside of fuse/breaker panels for water in-leakage, signs of heat from overloading
    Remember "back-yard-Billy-Bob" trying to wire up a 4,000 watt sub-woofer, overloading the circuits as he by-passed the fuses.

    Wreck damage or worn door bushings can allow water to the driver-side fuse box by the dour also.

    Rusty Wrench aka DrVette
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    There are several TSB's for the "05 Focus on issues similar to yous in part or whole, there may be multiple issues here. Keep in mind these are not "complete" TSB's but merely short descriptions.

    Type out ALL of your problems, in order that they occurred, inc weather, if the car was cold or just driven, or a "Hot-Soak" condition where you drove it in 100f temps, and let it sit in a open parking lot for 15+ min.

    Go over your complaint list many times, remove any extra wording that's not needed, hit the enter button often to make spaces between paragraphs that are not directly related.
    Make it as easy to read as possible.

    Take it to the "Best" Ford dealer, with some bribery, like a sack of Apples, be NICE and ask for the head of the service dept.
    See if he thinks your issues could be related to any of these TSB's

    Bulletin No: 18425
    Date of Bulletin: 04/05/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 05916
    Date of Bulletin: 12/07/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 17800
    Date of Bulletin: 08/05/2004
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 18157
    Date of Bulletin: 01/18/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 04234
    Date of Bulletin: 04/18/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 18414
    Date of Bulletin: 04/05/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 19056
    Date of Bulletin: 02/10/2006
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 031404
    Date of Bulletin: 01/06/2005
    Summary Description:

    Bulletin No: 19026
    Date of Bulletin: 02/10/2006
    Summary Description:
    MIRFIRE DIAGNOSTIC TROUBLE CODES P0316, P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, OR P0304 - SERVICE TIP. *TT

    Bulletin No: 19009
    Date of Bulletin: 02/10/2006
    Summary Description:
    DTC P0316, P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303 AND/OR P0304 - SERVICE TIP. *TT

    Bulletin No: 04147
    Date of Bulletin: 12/07/2005
    Summary Description:
    link title

    Good Luck
    Rusty Wrenck aka DrVette
  • puffin1puffin1 Member Posts: 276
    I always been using grease on mine.
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    edited December 2011
    Grease on both ends is a great idea.

    Some vehicles that exhibit a "dead or low" battery situation especially after a "Hot-Soak" can be attributed to lug on aluminum wire.

    One major issue I have is the aluminum wire is "Copper Coated" so when you skin the insulation, your mind says "Copper"
    In the 90's, the aluminum wire I describe here had micro-printing on it,

    That does not help unless you're 10 years old or happen to be wearing 3.75 magnifier glasses :shades:

    Where it goes to the starter, it is crimped with a 2-leg style lug.
    Upon heating up, the aluminum expands greatly, losing good connection, Amps go Sky High, the starter drags and the owner replaces either Starter, Battery or both.

    Solution for aluminum cables is to replace them, well not everyone can afford new battery cables..

    Another fix is to take a flat end punch, about 3/16" or so and tighten the connection between the wire and the lug.

    Or replace the lug with a unit that has a threaded screw to clamp down on the wire.
  • drvettedrvette Member Posts: 99
    Are the headlights operated by the same stalk as the turn signals ?

    If so, sounds like a bad multi-function stalk..

    There are several TSB's on your vehicle, I can't see very well after researching for 8-10 hrs like today, so I have to let you or your technician look through these.

    2002 Focus TSB's
  • computergalcomputergal Member Posts: 1
    Greetings All,

    Among many other issues with my 2000 Ford Focus, my next issue at hand is my rear defrost and clock. When I press the rear defrost, it makes a clicking noise, and the light momentarily flicks on...but upon release, shuts off. Being the dead of winter, this is now an immediate issue for me. :-(

    Additionally, the clock does not turn on. If I push the button to start the radio, it reacts as if the car is shut off, stating "one hour" of radio time. I am not a mechanic (although I've dabbled with basic fixes), so I checked the fuses (49 and 50) for the related issues. The fuses are intact. I am assuming there is an electrical issue going on...and after reading a few posts on here, it doesn't seem to be a surprise in the Focus.

    Has anyone else had this issue (most likely a rhetorical question--lol), and if so, what is the culprit, and what should I do next? Also, how much would it cost to get this issue fixed?

    (My apologies ahead of time if the answer(s) is within the vast realm of this forum; I sifted through more than a few posts, but just figured I'd go ahead and post. :-))

    Thanks ahead of time for any help!
  • mississippi7mississippi7 Member Posts: 2
    I am waiting on financing from my credit union to purchase this Focus for $17,412, automatic and wasn't so sure that this was a good deal since the car already had 420 miles on it and it was a white fleet vehicle being sold to me. Tonight after returning home, I noticed that the left front yellow parking light was dim but the right side was bright. I am not sure what the problem is and getting second thoughts about purchasing it. Has anyone else had this problem? I am tempting to take it back to the dealer before I purchase and ask for him to give me another car. If it is a wiring problem, I don't want to have to be dealing with this down the road and return it now before I buy. Let me know what you think or would do in my case if it was you.
  • davetowndavetown Member Posts: 2
    Hard to believe but that corrosion is like kinking a garden hose you know what happens when you do that. Biggest problem on my 2003 & 2005 ford focus is ignition switches locking up won't turn. No recall and they want too much to replace them. Not something you can do yourself.
  • davetowndavetown Member Posts: 2
    Don't do it think real hard about buying the ford fucus that's what I call the two I have. I hate mine. But there might be a handful of people out there having luck with them. Last good car I had was a 1997 chevy lumina. Should have figured out a way to keep that car. Best car I ever had was a 1964 chevy II nova now that was my baby. There wasn't one thing on that car I couldn't work on from bumper to bumper.
  • haulthault Member Posts: 130
    I had a 2000 Focus since new. It has been passed on to my son. Now has 91,000 miles on it. The ignition switch was a problem on the early year Focuses. They came out with a revised switch at some point. When it became available I had mine changed out. Big improvement. Mine would lock up occasionally, but never totally failed. Both of your cars have the original switch. Overall I have been satisfied with the reliability of my Focus. Over the years the ghost electrical problems seem to be the main issue with the Focuses.
  • chrisg402chrisg402 Member Posts: 1
    my car starts to overheat after driving for a few minutes. It'll start to over heat then go down. Repeating the process till I get the turd home. I've replaced cam sensors, hoses, had radiator checked. Till wants to overheat. I'm at a loss withthis car. IT's a great car if it'll run. When it over heats it loses power. I don't want to get stuck with a huge bill because I don't have a clue what it could be. Anyone have this problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    A fast overheat like that would indicate a coolant flow problem---so maybe thermostat sticking closed/open/closed/open.
  • atodd93atodd93 Member Posts: 1
    Have you checked to see if the external fan is turning on as soon as it warms up? It may be a sensor on the radiator or wiring?
  • bens_soundbens_sound Member Posts: 4
    I recently had an accident and had to replace my driver side headlight assembly with a new aftermarket assembly that came with bulbs. After connecting it, I noticed that both my front parking light and tail light do not work on this side of the car. The brake light and turn signal do work, however, both front and rear. Is this a bulb issue, or do I have a bigger wiring problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I would say that you've either blown a fuse or that maybe this aftermarket bulb has excessive resistance. Did the new headlight come with its own plug-in connector or are you using only the original car's wiring and connectors? If you have an aftermarket connector it could be wired wrong.
  • bens_soundbens_sound Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2012
    You were correct. It was as simple as a blown fuse. Next time I will read the manual.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well keep an eye on it. Sometimes aftermarket bulbs can be troublesome, depending on who makes them. (quality control and all that). Glad you figured it out!
  • bens_soundbens_sound Member Posts: 4
    I have a recently wrecked '05 focus zx5. While putting it back together, I noticed that part of the air intake had come loose. I re attached it and tightened the hose clamp. Since then, the check engine light has been coming on. The code says "system too lean". I have run a tank of premium fuel, and put a bottle of Lucas fuel treatment in, but when I clear the code, the light comes back on in just a few miles. Any thoughts?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I wonder if you dislodged a vacuum line somewhere?
  • bens_soundbens_sound Member Posts: 4
    I will check. Things are so tight in there, and I know just enough to get myself in trouble!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well I was thinking that if there was no engine light before you messed with the air intake and now there is, that a loose vacuum line would do that.
  • benb3benb3 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Ford Focus. Both of my low-beam headlights are non-functioning. My hi-beams are fine. The focus bulbs incorporate both hi- and low-beams in the same bulb. I have swapped out both bulbs, the 20A low-beam fuse, both 10A (l & r) low-beam fuses, the 7A fuse, and the low-beam relay. None of these steps has resolved the problem. Anyone have any further suggestions? :(
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