Ford Focus Key & Ignition Problems

Ford Focus Key Stuck in Ignition
Keys Either Get Stuck in the Ignition Or Can't Turn The Car On

The Ford Focus' most common problem, according complaints from Focus owners, is the key won't turn in the ignition, or the key gets stuck in the ignition. This occurs on Ford Focus' from model years 2000 through 2003.

The ignition problems are covered under the standard manufacturer warranty, but since most of these vehicles are now out of warranty, most Focus owners end up having to pay for the repair themselves.


Is Having a Stuck Key a Safety Defect?

It is arguable that the ignition problems are a safety defect & so have a chance at being recalled, because the possibility exists that the ignition defect could leave you stranded somewhere. However so far there is no official recall. In California a class action lawsuit has been filed.

The best way to get this fixed is call a locksmith. Most locksmiths are able to fix ignition locks & the repair cost should be around $150-200, versus $450-500 to have the ignition replaced at the dealership. Many people have said this problem occurs again even after replacing the ignition lock, so apparently Ford hasn't changed the design to correct the ignition lock defect. Some people have resorted to leaving a key in the ignition permanently.

It's worth a call to Ford Customer Service and ask for a "goodwill repair". Most people have not had any success getting a discount on the repair by going to their local Ford dealership. Your best bet is to call Ford's customer service line at (800) 392-3673.

Worst Years for the Key Stuck in the Ignition Problem

See the links below for more information on the Focus model years with the most ignition lock complaints:

Year Model Complaints
2000 Focus Key won't turn in the ignition »
Key won't fit in the ignition »
Key won't release from ignition »
2001 Focus Key won't turn in the ignition »
2002 Focus Key won't turn in the ignition »
Key gets stuck in ignition »
2003 Focus Key won't turn in the ignition »
Key gets stuck in ignition »

How to Fix the Key Stuck in Ignition Problem

According to a Focus owners who did some research on the subject:

The problem is the OEM Supplied ignition cylinder made by HUF. Ford has known about this issue forever and refuses to issue a recall. When the dealer replaces the ignition, they usually install the same stupid faulty ignition causing you to revisit this pain in the butt over and over again. They call it repeat business. Mechanics don't have the tools or parts to solve this quickly or correctly, and they try to fool you with silly ad ons like extra keys you don't need and re-programming, telling you it has something to do with your onboard security system. It's BS. Call a locksmith!

When you call, make sure they have the Strattec replacement cylinders without the side bar. The correct replacement cylinder is Strattec part number 707592.

tetsuniko, Texas

Another set of tips:

We purchased a used 2003 Focus in June 2008. In August, the dreaded key won't turn problem arrived after work, at 11:30 PM. The next morning, I removed the cylinder lock from the car using this information. I checked to see if the problem was still there. It was. Holding the outside of the cylinder assembly, I could not turn the key. Tapping on it did allow the key to turn. I then removed the steel clip on the end of the lock assembly and removed the actual lock mechanism. I then inserted the key to see if the locking bar would drop down like it was supposed to. Only part of the bar went down. Taping on the key and working with it, made the rest of the bar drop down. After working with it about an hour, the lock would work 100% of the time. I at least then I knew nothing was broke, just things sticking inside.

Read this owner's whole solution on CarComplaints.com

Roger W. Libson, Iowa

Actions You Can Take

This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.

  1. Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint

  2. Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS

  3. Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA

What Owners are Saying

Had purchased the vehicle only two weeks prior to this incident - then stopped at a store on a Sunday evening in the middle of Alaska winter - returned to vehicle and was unable to turn key in ignition, unable to get engine to start... Called the dealership and was told this was a very common problem and that they would need to replace a $350 part after I had the vehicle towed in.

Audrey, Logan, UT

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Ford Customer Relationship Center

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