Why Do Keys Get Stuck in the Ford Focus Ignition?

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From 2000 to 2003, the Focus has a serious problem where the key won't turn or can't be removed from the ignition. The problem is covered under the standard manufacturer warranty, but the problem typically happens later on.

Is it 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. 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

2000FocusKey won't turn in the ignition »
Key won't fit in the ignition »
Key won't release from ignition »
2001FocusKey won't turn in the ignition »
2002FocusKey won't turn in the ignition »
Key gets stuck in ignition »
2003FocusKey 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."

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Ford generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    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. Notify CAS

    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. Report a Safety Concern

    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