The Big Muddy's launch of his new site again piqued my interest in getting
the extended warranty for my 2002 Ford Focus. This is essentially a math
question. You give up upwards of $1200 up front and hope that it pays off
in terms of saved repair costs. I do intend to keep my car at least to 100K
miles ( I like the car.)
Can anyone comment on the reliability of the 2002 version and whether the
warranty makes sense? I know 95% of all such warranties (WRT all products,
not just cars) are scams, but my ZTS has a plethora of fun little stuff
(like sunroof, power windows, air, and so on) that I'd hate to live without
just because repairing them was prohibitive. Any strong opinions on this
out there? My ZTS is still under the factory warranty with about 30K.
On an unrelated topic, my focus locked me out with the keys inside and the
car running yesterday. I've been reading about this design flaw here for
years, so I always leave a door ajar, but a friend using the car didn't
know. The resolution was quick and easy; the standard warranty includes
roadside assistance, and Ford sent someone within an hour to open it up.
The man who came said this is a constant problem with the Foci.
I'm not going to comment on extended warranties, except to say that I don't
bother with them. But as to this, what do you mean by being locked out by a
"defect"? Is your door locking system malfunctioning in some way? If so,
please specify. If not, I know no way to lock yourself out except by human
error, same as every other vehicle on the market. And I certainly would
never leave a door ajar - that's just dumb, and illegal around here.
There is a simple fix for this human error, which is to take your key to the
hardware store and get them to make a copy. There won't be a chip in it so
it won't start the car but the key shaft will open the door. I keep this key
in my wallet - it is of course far slimmer than the company key with the
chip. Saves my buns at least once a year.
I'm talking about when the car is just idling in your driveway - we were
just warming it up and clearing off the snow. Nothing illegal going on, so
don't bust me.
For years, I've been reading here of the Focus's design defect. People
start the car (like me, to warm it up,) then close the *unlocked* driver's
side door, and then the auto-locking mechanism locks them out (the car
hasn't moved, I am aware of the 5MPH autolock, which I also don't care for.)
It's not human error, it's poor design.
And why not get yourself a spare key *with* the chip? I discovered the
reason for this as well - it is wildly overpriced (well over $100 and only
from the dealer.) Your idea hadn't occurred to me - not bad. But it's also
a bit senseless to have an extra set of keys that's crippled.
Well I don't know about you, but I've never lost keys in my 4 and a half
decades of driving, but I have many times locked the keys in the car, so a
door key is all I need, and certainly will deal with the circumstance you
As to your scenario of warming up the car in the driveway, I have seen no
evidence that the doors lock on their own at all often, but when you bought
the car it came with a spare key, don't you have that in your house?
Correct, I'm talking about the whole enchilada, i.e., a key and a remote,
along with the necessary programing. The car came with two, and I wanted
three. The third set ran well over $100 USA, I believe it was actually over
$150 plus a trip to the dealer. Retentive a bit, I know, but that's my view
of a "spare set."
Good for you, but people do lose keys, and if you're not prepared, the
hassle factor is mega. It's a very individual thing. Some of us are a
little less meticulous than you, and there's also occasional thefts, and so
Good point. It was a "perfect storm." I misplaced (and lost) set number
two, and I keep set number three off-premises as an unbeatable safety
measure, just like I try to keep off-site valuable data discs and the like.
Bu8t the other location is about 60 miles from my home. So we had a bad
In sum, I've had some nasty stuff happen in my youth so I double (actually
triple) precaution important stuff. Yes, I take some of the blame.
All that said, I still maintain that Foci have a defect where they're too
aggressive about auto-locking doors. I've been reading about this for years
here, and I believe it's a defect. Could be wrong, but I don't think so.
My friend was sure the door was unlocked when the car was started for warm
up, then we couldn't get in.
The Focus isn't the *only* car to do that. So many other cars must have that
*defect* also. I've had to open many cars that autolock, had a GM of some kind
several years ago, had to open twice in a row in sub-zero weather, got it open,
let it close, it immediatly locked again, Doh! .
My '00 ZX3 only auto locks after I start moving, and only the first time I start
moving, ie, if I get out after moving it will not relock.
Well I agree about auto-lock in general. I hated it and had the dealer turn
it off on my 2000. I understand you can do that yourself on later models, so
I guess Ford heard the complaints. But I have no idea if that solves your
original problem, since it never happened to me.
Another thing I really hated was the upshift light. Didn't take me long to
yank that little sucker out. But I don't call these things defects so much
as just design features I don't like.
If, in fact, the door locks a person out while the car is standing still and
idling, there is no question whatsoever that this is a design defect. The
only question remaining is whether this happens. It is a fact that several
people have complained of this, and it seemed to happen to my friend the
other day, but I wasn't there to see it. The mechanic who responded to my
service call commented that he sees this routinely.
As a criminal attorney, I have had guilty clients get off because the matter
could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, properly so. Since the Ford
doesn't get that kind of protection, my verdict is guilty.
I too am annoyed by the non-defective auto-lock behaviour, BTW. Ford
probably ought to include a switch to toggle it on and off. But finally, I
reiterate, I really like the car overall.
Then most if not all car manufacturers are guilty of this 'defect', this is not
unique to Ford.
I agree, that may not ba a bad idea, the ability to turn it off, or maybe some
level of settings, ie.
anytime the car is on then lock,
only lock when put in gear, won't lock if your leaving it to idle and warm up,
lock on starting to move, liek my '00 ZX3
or never autolock.
"well over $100 and only from the dealer" == WRONG.
You can buy brand new key blanks with the transponder chip for $15 or
less (including shipping) on ebay (I just bought one of these myself).
Any locksmith can cut the key to match, and if you have two working
transponder keys you can program the new key into the car's computer
yourself for $0.00.
I previously bought a blank transponder key from a Ford dealer, it cost
a _lot_ less than $100, I forget exactly how much but I'm sure it was
less than $40. I know the locksmith charged me only a few bucks to cut
the key and I programmed it into the car's computer myself.
If you just want to keep an extra key in your wallet to unlock the doors
when you leave the car locked and running to warm up, not having the
bulky transponder chip head on the key is a positive bonus.
Over the past three years or so, I've read several reports here
of Foci auto-locking while idling in park.
Even if it's a human error situation, I think the Focus' power
lock switch is especially easy to accidentally bump while getting
out of the car. If it happens frequently, it's a sign of
I love my Focus, but the door locks are not one of my favorite
things about the car.
I roll my driver's side window down while warming up the car.
But one good thing about locking the doors this way - you can easily unlock
them again, since you have the remote.
I have mixed feelings about the remote in general. I've set off the alarm
more than once just touching the buttons in my pocket accidentally. (That
thing has range!) I also once opened the hatch on someone else's Ford van.
The batteries are amazing - they're both still going after almost 5 years.
But once they die I doubt I'll replace them. More trouble than they're
Just out of curiosity, I did a Google Groups search of this NG for the past
three years for the terms "door lock". On a quick look, I see only four
comments that seem to be about this particular problem. Most complaints were
about wanting to turn off the auto-lock feature when starting to move. It
doesn't seem to me like door locks are high on the list of Focus defects.
Anyway, see for yourself if you're curious.
Before I read your post, I did much the same search. Just checking to
see if my recollections matched what was in the archive. You know,
I'd be happy to be wrong. Then I could stop leaving my window down,
especially in the rain.
I saw more than four, include one that claims there is a TSB on
this, altho' I was unable to find it, even fixing his bad link.
But I found what looks to be a reference to it here:
Here's five from this group. I hope I got the links right.
Hasn't happened on my Focus yet, but my 2004 Dodge Dakota did that to me
last week when I was scraping the ice off the windshield. Same thing
happened to another guy with a Ford Explorer Sport-Trak. I now make sure
my remote is in my pocket when I scrape the windows when the car is
Wonder if it has something to do with the cold temperatures making the
contacts work differently?
Focxus isn't the only car that it won't work on while the car is running.had ot
go withmy dad to Rochester for a Ford pickup, don't remember which model, same
problem, left the car running, thinking they could use the remote, it didn't.
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