I went to start my 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 today and the key got stuck in
the ignition and would not turn the ignition switch. I was finally able
to get the key out but despite my trying, was unable to start the car. I
also could not get the steering column unlocked.
While I was in the parking lot two people came over to offer assistance.
When I explained the problem both knew people who had experienced the
exact same problem. I googled and found that there is a TSB on this but
no recall. I have a feeling that the dealer is going to fleece me on
this even though it clearly appears to be a defect.
There are TWO different problems that can cause this.
There is a problem with bad ignition switches. There is also a
problem with bad shifters. I had the second. I occasionally
couldn't get the key out of the ignition. They replaced my
ignition switch but it didn't help. I explained that I could
feel that the shifter wasn't quite going into park. Usually,
when it happened, I could move the car back and forth a little
and it would clear up.
I could always start the car. I occasionally had to leave the
keys in the ignition. I locked the car and carried a second set
of keys with me. After they replaced the shifter, my problem went
It's a known defect on early model Foci. Happened to me. The good news is
it's not particularly expensive - it merely requires a new lock cylinder,
which is set for your key. Cost me a couple of hundred plus tow, as I
A lot of people think it should be a recall but since there's no actual
safety issue (by definition it happens when the car is parked) no such luck.
I see no evidence of this. Newer Focuses don't seem to have the problem (at
least to anything like the same degree) and you can be certain that Ford is
using the same lock cylinders that go into the newer cars. The entire auto
industry - Ford included - uses "just in time" delivery which means that old
stock is used up in production, and new parts are freshly made.
What may be confusing you is that the part number may not have changed,
which gives the appearance of a part of the same quality. But production
tolerances, selection of materials etc can change even with the same part
But I do agree with the sentiment that Ford could have done a better job of
fixing this problem. They certainly have been good at fixing other early
defects, including the warrantee extension on the fuel pumps.
Having been bitten by this, I squirt proper lock lubricant (not oil or
grease) into my lock once a year, along with all the door locks.
It ended up costing me 251CDN which appears to be par for the course. I
still resent having to pay that amount for something that is clearly a
Would speaking to the area rep have any effect?
Do what I did with a OBD sensor that went bad.
Had sensor replaced. Drove for a bit. Check engine
light came on because the converter went south. Original problem.
Took longer to get the converter than the dealership said it would.
Told them that if I could not get this rectified soon, I'd take it
to the area rep. if that person couldn't help, I'd take it to corporate.
By corporate I mean Ford HQ in Michigan. Had problems resolved in a
matter or hours.
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