Opening up the door and sliding into the driver’s seat was a thrill. Recaro seats were standard although Ford hasn’t said whether production models will offer this option or the beautiful exterior paint scheme. Remember, this was a “show” car meant to appear on Leno’s show and nothing more. Still, the seats were fabulous, setting the tone for my drive.
The Ford Focus BEV has a push button start which means all you have to do is press on a button and the car comes to life. No roar of the engine to tell you that the car is running, but the dashboard lights up, telling you to go ahead and shift into gear.
Quietly, I pulled out of the parking space at North Carolina State University and proceeded to wind my way through the parking lot and onto local roads. This was a short drive — covering two huge blocks, with the total trip less than a mile long. Yet, it was long enough for me to gain an appreciation for quiet driving. Making no noise seemed odd at first but I quickly got used to it.
Heading back into the lot got me thinking — electric cars offer plenty of torque. Naturally, I stepped on the accelerator pedal and the car suddenly zoomed forward without hesitation. Yes, this car has power and plenty of it. I didn’t miss the internal combustion engine one bit.
Most Ford Focus owners have complaints against the vehicle that either the key sticks in the ignition or it doesn’t turn. All models of Ford Focus right from 2000-2003 have this issue. It was not a cost issue until the cars were under warranty but after the warranty expired, the value of the cars steadily depreciated in the used car market. Plus the owners had to shell out quite a bit to get it repaired at their own cost.
No one can really pin point exactly when the ignition starts having issues but no matter what, there always seems to be an issue eventually. You may have issues with the car key getting stuck in the ignition. You may have to jiggle the ignition for it to start. Either way, these are signs that you need to call in a professional to get the ignition repaired or changed. It seems that you won’t be able to avoid his problem if you own a Ford Focus.
Many believe that the reason for the jamming and ignition switch issue is related to poor design and cheap quality manufacturing by Ford. The 1990s Ford ignition switches were known to catch fire.
A potential buyer should note that any malfunction could leave you stranded at an inconvenient time.
The connection between the Ford ignition and the car’s computer is through the Transponder microchip inbuilt within the car key. Changing the ignition switch, which is a professional and complex operation, needs an expert auto locksmith to do the installation. You can’t just take it to the dealership for getting this done due to high costs.
So why does this problem arise?
Well, the basic reason is that the ignition assembly is not of the quality that is desired and thus gets worn out very fast, leaving you with numerous glitches. Other experts believe that there is a design issue. Generally this kind of a situation arises when the wafers jam the ignition and the cylinders bend. This leaves them latched in a position… making them impossible to move.
Check if you’re having any of these issues with your Ford Focus car:
Difficulty in turning the key in the ignition
Key is dirty after removing or turning
Unable to remove the key
Key locked in a position
Completely ‘frozen’ key
But don’t fret!
Help is at hand. Expert locksmiths can do this job efficiently. You can pay half the cost of getting the ignition parts replaced at a dealership. Different locksmiths handle this problem in their own way but can usually fix the ignition. In extreme situations they need to replace the ignition and reprogram it to mach the rest of the car locks and the key.
If you’re wondering about the charge of fixing this issue, locksmiths charge in the range of $200-$300 while the same work done at a dealership costs way over $500. To avoid paying the dealership price, some people just leave the key in the ignition permanently.