2004 Ford Focus SE

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Hey guys, I'm looking in to buying a used 2004 Ford Focus SE, automatic, 4-cyl., 4dr, 14,534 miles on it...
everything looks up to par on it, but I'd like some input on how well
the car handles, are there many things I should worry about (i.e. frequent breakdowns and the likes), just some general input on the car itself. Do you like it?
Thanks!!
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By 2004 the early-production bugs have been worked out. It's rated by various consumer and auto publications as among the best small cars in the world. Some people don't like the style or the European-type ride, but if it suits you then it will do just fine.
I've got 5 years on my 2000 SE and love it just as much as the day I bought it.
Enjoy your Focus.
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I have the same car with the 2.3L PEZ motor, ABS, and traction control. Love the way it handles on snow and ice. Has a real sporty feel with lots of road feedback, yet still has a comfortable ride. Has a high seat for a compact that gives a good road view.
No problems with 17K on the odometer. Just four minor technical service bulletins. http://www.alldata.com/TSB/041950_en.html
Web reviews of the 2004 Ford Focus: http://tinyurl.com/afste
-- Don
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are much more pliable. ~ Mark Twain
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Its your money, but! if I could turn the clock back to the day I was to purchase my Focus and knowing what I know now, I would have not walked away but ran.
Its OK while the car is under warranty, but out of warranty these cars are very expensive to repair and most parts are only available through the dealer. If the car is out of warranty Ford will not step up to the plate with goodwill gestures when it comes to just out of warranty mechanical problems. Also the residual value of these cars are very low after 2 years of ownership.
I had seriously considered a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic but because I got a ???GOOD DEAL??? I went with the Focus, "Dumb" move on my part. Its not only the car continually going wrong which I find annoying its the LOST time spent back and forward to the dealership.
The problems with 2004 models, front suspension , Clutch release bearing and the carpet, problems Ford had on 2000 models, I guess they never fixed them. If you can get a book called Lemon Aid, produced by the Canadian Automobile Protection Association it gives the problems with the Focus.
There is no question that these cars are fun to drive but if you are intending to keep this car for a while you might want to get an idea of the parts and repair costs out of warranty.
Hey guys, I'm looking in to buying a used 2004 Ford Focus SE, automatic, 4-cyl., 4dr, 14,534 miles on it...
everything looks up to par on it, but I'd like some input on how well the car handles, are there many things I should worry about (i.e. frequent breakdowns and the likes), just some general input on the car itself. Do you like it?
Thanks!!
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<...these cars are very expensive to repair... I had seriously considered a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic...The problems with 2004 models, front suspension , Clutch release bearing and the carpet,
?? As far as I have seen the Focus is less expensive to fix than an equivalent repair on a Civic or Corolla, and I haven't seen any evidence of these mysterious "problems" with 2004 models. Can you cite references?
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wrote

My Daughters car is on it's second year without a thing being wrong, even after our Canadian winter.Very impressive. Geoff
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TSB Number Issue Date TSB Title 1.. 04-8-1 MAY 04 M/T - Rattling Noise at Idle With Clutch Pedal Released
2.. 04-6-1 APR 04 Suspension - Creak, Crunch, Grinding or Rattle Noise
3.. 04-5-5 MAR 04 Lighting - Turn Signal Lamps Won't Self-Cancel
4.. 04-5-8 MAR 03 Interior - Carpet Pulling Away From Kick Panel
Not mysterious! above references for 2004 Ford Focus. Had 1, 2, and 4 on my 2001 Focus, Still have the suspension noises, dealer is unable to fix even though have acknowledged the existence of these noises. Not expensive to fix eh! - how about the rocker cover gasket for Zetec is $90 and can only be obtained through the Ford Dealer. Proper battery for the car can only be obtained through the Ford Dealer - $150.00. Bend over fellows here come Bill Ford and his gang.
Corolla or a Civic more expensive than a Focus not true also these cars are more durable and better put together The number of recall and TSB's on the Focus prove that.
wrote
<...these cars are very expensive to repair... I had seriously considered a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic...The problems with 2004 models, front suspension , Clutch release bearing and the carpet,
?? As far as I have seen the Focus is less expensive to fix than an equivalent repair on a Civic or Corolla, and I haven't seen any evidence of these mysterious "problems" with 2004 models. Can you cite references?
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That doesn't prove anything. Post the TSBs for the Honda, then we will have something. Its kind of like me saying we have had a 100% failure rate of all the IBM workstations at my office. Didn't bother to mention we only have one, and its ten years old.
I believe the OP is looking for an automatic, so #1 is N/A. Looking at the other ones, they are rather nit-picky. I do not see anything like seatbelt buckles cracked, or trans fails after trans flush, or motormounts crack. THAT would be an issue. I can deal with a stubborn turn signal.
As for Hondas and Toyotas, well, I just don't like Toyotas, I have been hit four times by Toyotas. NONE my fault. Honda though. They are OK, but are no fun to drive. We had one in the family a while back, it was my Mother's car. the HATED it! the shifting was getting worse every day, the Stereo failed, some times it would just turn off while driving down the road. I don't mean stall, I mean, engine off, doors unlock, dash goes dark. That's always exciting when your in the fast lane!!
How many batteries have you bought for your Focus? Its a 2004, and the batteries normally last at least five years. The one in my truck lasted seven. Same deal with the "rocker cover" gasket. you go though those a lot too?? What's the Warranty period for a Focus? three years? four years? How much does it cost to get an extended Warranty?
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Uh, the thread is about 2004 models, not 2001. And TSBs only tell you about routine communications between Ford and its dealers, they do not give you data on reliability.

There have been NO recalls on 2004 Focuses to my knowledge. And I've already stated what TSBs "prove". As to cost of parts, some are very reasonable - for example I damaged a side mirror and the whole thing including internals (manual) was only $45 Canadian. A friend of mine with a Corolla slid quite gently sideways into a curb on icy roads and it cost him almost a thousand dollars!
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Those TSB's are for 2004 models. A corolla sliding into a curb -what's your point, if you slide a focus or any front wheel drive car into a curb the damages and costs are high. Are trying to convince us that if you slide a Ford Focus into a curb it will not damage the car. BS
"TSBs only tell you about routine communications between Ford and its dealers, they do not give you data on reliability." Not so!
A TSB is the first stage -The manufacturer has noticed a high incidence of certain problems reported by its dealers and the manufacturers Tech team issues a TSB. If a TSB is issued is it not in its self indicative of reliability?
wrote

Uh, the thread is about 2004 models, not 2001. And TSBs only tell you about routine communications between Ford and its dealers, they do not give you data on reliability.

There have been NO recalls on 2004 Focuses to my knowledge. And I've already stated what TSBs "prove". As to cost of parts, some are very reasonable - for example I damaged a side mirror and the whole thing including internals (manual) was only $45 Canadian. A friend of mine with a Corolla slid quite gently sideways into a curb on icy roads and it cost him almost a thousand dollars!
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No. It just means that the factory is keeping technicians working on its cars up to date with the latest info. All vehicles need service as they age, and TSBs are part of the routine process.
If you acquired knowledge before posting, you would mislead less.
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wrote

what fun is that?? ;-)
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if would be nice if techs & dealers used TSB info
here in Quebec, techs are either too stupid or ignorant to follow them
I remember showing my service rep a list of TSBs
he didn't even know what TSB was......
wrote

age,
-
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TSBs are part of the routine process as vehicles need service as they age. This statement is BS
TSB's are issued for cars which might only be less than a year old.
This is my acquired knowledge before I posted..
A little enlightenment for you regarding TSB's.
You would not know this because you do not work in the Automotive industry and you are definitely not a Tech. Secret warranties go through four stages:
1st Stage - Service advisories are posted on an automaker's internal computer network. They offer troubleshooting tips and allow the dealer to bill the manufacturer for the repair. This info is never shared with the customer.
2nd Stage - If the defect grows in scope and a more involved solution, requiring upgraded parts, is needed, automakers then draw up a formal service bulletin (called a TSB or DSB) and distribute the bulletin to dealers and US and Canadian government agencies. The service bulletin is only issued after the manufacturer has, what it thinks, is the solution for the defect. TSBs issued by Chrysler, Ford, and GM will usually spell out clearly which base warranty will cover the repair (emissions warranty, bumper-to-bumper, etc.). Interestingly, Asian and European automakers are vague in their description of their warranty obligations. Honda, for example, uses the term "goodwill" as a euphemism to describe its warranty extensions.
3rd Stage - As more and more customers hear through, Alldata, friends, and relatives that some TSBs recognize that a common factory-related defect exists, and find that the base warranty is clearly inadequate to deal with the scope of the problem, pressure is exerted by dealers and customers for additional after-warranty-assistance. This, in turn, results in a second TSB, sent only to dealers, extending the warranty coverage for the defects's correction and leaving to the dealer's discretion the amount of the customer's refund.
Now, customer dissatisfaction is building into a crescendo, since the dealers and automakers keep the extended guidelines to themselves and customers get widely divergent refunds, which only angers the owners more, brings in the media, and leads to a proliferation of Internet gripe sites and lawsuits (small claims and class actions).
4th Stage - Finally, the aggravation is too great and the automaker decides to make a press release followed by an owner notification letter (sent to first owners only, at their last known address) which clearly spells out what all owners will get and which vehicles are involved. A special bulletin or letter is also sent out to dealers to ensure they follow the guidelin es 100%. Ford calls these Owner Notification Policies, GM calls them Special Policies, and Chrysler calls them Owner Satisfaction Notifications. No matter the euphemism, they are an extension of the original warranty, applied to vehicles that may have been bought new or used.
.
wrote

No. It just means that the factory is keeping technicians working on its cars up to date with the latest info. All vehicles need service as they age, TSBs are part of the routine process and .
If you acquired knowledge before posting, you would mislead less.
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You really need to get a life.
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because you asked.......here's what you should know about the car
- poor fuel economy in the city 12 - 13 litres per 100km (automatic) - uncomfortable seats - poor handling on bad roads or bumpy surfaces - poor window wiper system, bulge on top part of windsheild prevents proper wipe. - brakes wear out fast (25,000 kms and you'll need to replace them) front brake job cost $450 CDN at Ford dealer. - significant power loss with a/c on (automatic only) - inadequate heat in winter (can't defrost top part of windsheild)
-
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25,000 km also. Original tires, just had them checked. Originial brakes. Ditto. Average fuel economy 50-50 City/Hwy is 8.6 /100kl(Auto-Wagon) Pirrelli tires.... handles like a dream. AND the heater will blow you out of the car. Are you sure it's a Focus? <VBG> Geoff
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Geoff,
- tires aren't a problem on the Focus unless you have rear alignment issues - brakes are an issue, consider yourself lucky at 25k but you'll soon have to change them - good handling on smooth roads but watch out for the bumpy surfaces - heater fans are NOISY.......even at full they can't defrost the top of windsheild at -20 degrees celcius.
-
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Many Focus owners have complained about short brake life, but in fact it's an industry-wide problem, at least in North America. Environmental regulations in the late 90s meant that asbestos had to be removed from brake linings, which shortened brake life across the industry. For the 2005 Focus models, Ford addressed the problem by increasing the size of the brakes, which meant that 14 inch wheels could no longer be used. For the older cars, replacement linings tend to be better than the new ones, as the industry found better compounds to replace the asbestos.
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Not true, The Ford and GM replacement brake pads are just as bad as the originals, the solution is aftermarket brake pads which last a heck of a lot longer and are a lot cheaper. .Its really nothing to do with asbestos, its caused by smaller rotors and smaller pads to reduce the weight on the cars. Brakes have to work harder.
wrote

Many Focus owners have complained about short brake life, but in fact it's an industry-wide problem, at least in North America. Environmental regulations in the late 90s meant that asbestos had to be removed from brake linings, which shortened brake life across the industry. For the 2005 Focus models, Ford addressed the problem by increasing the size of the brakes, which meant that 14 inch wheels could no longer be used. For the older cars, replacement linings tend to be better than the new ones, as the industry found better compounds to replace the asbestos.
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