Ah, my lovely Ford Focus. For years I drove it begrudgingly. Then I performed a little revitalization on it, and found it to be acceptable. I also discovered the overdrive switch, which would bump its power from gutless to “a little more than gutless”. I could live with a little more than gutless.
I’ve driven it for the past year with only a few complaints.
But this morning I walked out to the car, put my bag in the back seat, and tried to start the ignition. It wouldn’t start. The key wouldn’t even turn. I jiggled the wheel. Nothing. I pumped the brake. Nothing. I shifted through all the gears. Nothing. I got out the manual — no sign of any such problem.
After fifteen minutes, I came inside and google the problem. Lo and behold! People all over the place have experienced the same thing, but Ford insists it’s not an issue. Shocking.
Here are just a handful of sits where people have discussed this “non-issue”:
- Consumer Affairs: Ford Focus
- Consumer Afffairs: Ford Focus ignition
- Car Forums and Automotive Chat: Steering wheel lock problem on ZX3
- CarSpace Automotive Forums: Ford Focus – Electrical Problems
- Yahoo! Answers: Ford Focus – Key will not go in ignition all the way?
- Yahoo! Answers: What should I do about my locked steering wheel and the key won’t go into the ignition?
- Autosite Forums: Steering column lock up
- The Anti-Ford Page: Consumer letter
- Complaints.com: 2000 Ford Focus – ignition switch complaint
- Yahoo! Answers: Anybody had problems with the key cylinder/ignition on a 2001 Ford Focus?
Once my insurance agent and car dealership opened, I began to call around to determine the best course of action. The dealership actually didn’t want to have anything to do with it, if at all possible, so I called a locksmith.
“I checked on the internet,” I told the young man who came to work on the vehicle. “This seems to be a common problem with Focuses.”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s a common problem with all newer Fords. It happens all the time.”
The fellow spent twenty minutes working on the ignition. I brewed myself some hot chocolate and ate some toast. When he was finished, he had me try inserting the key. It was still fairly stiff. He told me to be sure I was inserting the key straight. He also recommended I get a new set of keys.
“You’ve got 90,000 miles on this, which is pretty good,” he said. “Usually I see these fail before 60,000 miles. I do about ten of these a week.”
Ten a week. And yet Ford doesn’t seem to think this is worthy of a recall.