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Ford Focus Ignition Problems
(Welcome all Ford Focus Forum Folks!)

Failed Ford Focus Ignition Replacement Service

*** Be Proactive & Save $$$ ***
Call us when it starts to stick, BEFORE it has to be drilled out!
Ford Focus, model year 1999 through 2007 (thus far) have a factory installed ignition issue.  Thousands of owners have been affected, however Ford does not consider it a "safety issue" and have thus far refused to issue a recall.  

The problem with the factory installed ignitions, in a nutshell, is that the tumblers (actually "wafers" in a Focus), and the poor quality pot metal used within the Factory Installed ignitions itself, both interact to begin to shed metal shavings (burrs) over time.  This is caused by the simple in and out of the key, the poor design, the cheap metal, and scraping against each other, over and over again.  This clogs the ignition with tons of tiny metal shavings, which then wedge themselves into all the moving parts.

Some symptoms to watch for include (may be one, some, or all):

¤  Increasing difficulty in turning the ignition key.
¤  Key feeling "dirty" or "gooey" when inserting or removing.
¤  Ignition "Sticking."
¤  Key getting "locked" into the "On" or "Accessory" position.
¤  Unable to remove key at all.
¤  End result (way too late for warning signs):
    Unable to start the car at all due to the key being "frozen" solid.

Once stuck, some online sources suggest hitting the key with a mallet or something else hard until the key can be turned again.  We do NOT suggest this.  Doing so shakes loose even MORE burrs, and makes each successive thump one step closer to a full drill out vs. a simple replacement.

There are also MANY suggestions to put WD40 into the ignition to try to free the key.  We do NOT suggest this for ANY lock, ever, but particularly in this situation.  If you have read the description of the issue above, you'll see that adding WD40 into the mix will only gum up the works worse, forcing the burrs to stack / clump up and clog even more than they already are. :)

You can add to the damage already done by following any of these "fixes," as well as some of the even more suspect "fixes" out there, potentially adding to the cost of the repair.

Remember, your steering column is a somewhat delicate thing, whacking away at the key/ignition cylinder in any car is under no circumstances a good or wise thing, and may well cause harm far beyond the simple replacement of an ignition cylinder.

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Options, based on various symptoms:
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Drill & Replace:
(OEM Ignition Failure - When your Focus ignition key fails to turn at all in year models 2000 through 2004)

Once your Focus ignition has completely locked up (usually with your key in it!), the only way to get a working ignition again is to physically & specially drill out the now irreparable, cheap quality, factory installed ignition, and replace it with the ignition that Ford SHOULD have installed in the first place, and which, interestingly, they ARE using now in some cases - The correct ignition is NOT a Ford OEM product.  It is a Strattec.

Remove, Rekey, & Replace:
(When your OEM Ignition begins to be difficult to turn, but PRIOR to actual ignition lock-up)

If your key still turns, even if with difficulty, and can still start your car, you can save a significant amount by being proactive and having the factory installed but rapidly breaking down ignition replaced in advance of its final failure (unable to turn or remove the key at all).  In this case, if the key can still be turned, we do not need to drill the ignition in order to remove it.

Mail Order Replacement (For local or out-of-area "DIY" customers - Generally applies to the same "hard to turn but not yet locked up" situation directly above, although many of our customers are handy and also do the drill & replace themselves using one of our replacement ignitions - Instructions can be sent for a full drill out):

If your key still turns, and you are reasonably handy, and you are able to take a CLEAR digital picture (See an example of "clear / readable" digital photos here) of your key and e-mail it to us; we will key up a new ignition to your existing key (This technique, and the techniques above do NOT require the keys to be programmed or reprogrammed - You will be able to install and go), and mail it to you via Priority Mail.    Once we determine that the digital photo is clear and readable (See an example of "clear / readable" digital photos here), we will invoice you via PayPal for credit/debit card payment (no PayPal account is required for this).    Using Paypal with either an account transfer, or a credit card payment results in the fastest possible turn-around (next business/mailing day).  Alternately, you may pay at PayPal via eCheck*.  Please be aware that eChecks take an average of 3 to 5 business days to clear your bank and to show as paid.    *If you choose to pay via eCheck, your ignition will ship the day the funds clear.

Once cleared payment is received, we will mail your ignition, and simple replacement instructions via two day USPS Priority Mail.    This offer applies ONLY within the Continental United States.

Please note: For your security, as well as our own, when paying through a PayPal account, by transfer, eCheck, or credit card, we will ship ONLY to the Paypal confirmed address.  If paying via credit card unaffiliated with Paypal, we will ship ONLY to the confirmed billing address on file at your credit card company.***

When e-mailing, please note prominently if you have TWO or more different keys to your vehicle, or a different key for your door than your ignition.  This is an indication that your ignition or your doors have been changed to a DIFFERENT keyway than factory, and we need to direct you on what key picture we require.

We can NOT guarantee a working ignition, or free rekeys if the photo you send us is to a door key that does not work the ignition, for the obvious reasons.    ***If you have no way of taking a digital photo of your key, please e-mail us at focus @ for an alternate solution.

To send a digital picture or to inquire specifically about mail order replacement, please e-mail directly to focus @

No matter what method you choose, INSIST on a Strattec replacement ignition.  It is the ONLY appropriate replacement ignition for your vehicle, and the only one that does not have the same problem reoccur over time. :)

(!) New Keys or Reprogramming Existing Keys (!)
When having your failed Factory Installed Ford Focus ignition replaced, whether by drilling out, or simple remove & replace, don't let any locksmith or dealer mechanic tell you that:

a) New keys, necessitating new programming, are required...
b) Reprogramming of your existing keys is required...
c) Even if they offer them to you at a "discounted" rate..!

New keys, necessitating new programming, or reprogramming your existing keys are both completely unnecessary!

There are NO circumstances where either would be "required."  Any competent locksmith should, as a matter of course, and as a matter of courtesy(!), key your replacement Ford Focus ignition TO your existing keys prior to installing it.  Keying your replacement Ford Focus ignition to your existing keys is a VERY simple matter, and takes very little time.  If the Ford Focus replacement ignition being installed is keyed to your existing keys, your existing keys will work immediately.  No programming or reprogramming needed, period.

Any locksmith who insists that new keys are required, or that your existing keys require reprogramming, is padding his or her bill.  Period.

As an aside, if you allow the locksmith to make you "new" keys, you'll also end up with a two key system (one for the doors - the "old" key, and another for the ignition - the "new" key).  Of course, they'll probably offer to rekey your doors to the new key as well, "at a discount"!

DON'T fall for it!

Below are some informational links you can use to read up on the problem, or at least to know you're not alone.  The last link is simply a Google search for the issue.  Note the number of results.

Consumer - Ford Focus Issues
Focaljet - Ford Focus Forums - Ignition Locked?
Google Search Results for the search terms "ford focus ignition"

focus ignition

Thanks again for all of the help!

I wish you had been my first call yesterday. : )  Things went much smoother than the other locksmith and now the ignition works like a charm!  You and Bill are incredibly nice, and if anyone ever needs a locksmith, I know where I can send them.  Thanks again!

Keep up the good work!


San Diego, CA

focus ignition

Hello Kim and Bill-

I got the ignition today and it installed in less than 20 minutes!!!   Thank you so much for providing such great service!!  "Courtesy, Professionalism, Timeliness and Price" couldn't be more accurate.

You'll definitely be getting a plug from me on the Focus forums (where I first, skeptically, heard about you).

Keep up the good work!


J. C.
Rochester Hills, MI

focus ignition

Hi Kim!

Thanks so much for your help.  You have been great.  Your follow up was fantastic, your emails were personal and not "canned," and you have been extremely easy to work with.  If you were on ebay I couldn't rate you A+ because that wouldn't do you justice.

What really made my day was that you are the owner.  Even better.

Thanks again,


p.s. Just wanted to follow up with my voicemail.  ALL SET.  I got it.  Stubborn little son of a gun, but got it out.  Thanks so much for all your help.  If any issues with the "Foci" (Plural for Focuses) in the area come up, I will have the owner call you for help.
Goshen, NY

focus ignition

Hi Kim,

Received the lock today, installed it tonight and it worked as promised.  (But you probably figured it would)

I would refer anyone with the same problem to you.


Hudson, NY

focus ignition


I just wanted to let you know that I received the ignition on Monday, and was able to install it last night!...Thanks for making the ignition! It works great!!!

Tualatin, OR

focus ignition

Rate Includes Service Call (where required)
Service Weekday Rate(s)
9am to 7pm
Weeknight Rate(s)
7pm to 9am
Out of Local Area (1)
or Saturday (D/N)
Drill Out & Replacement $265.00 Flat Rate
Includes service call, labor,
and hardware (ignition).

Keyed to match your existing key - NO programming or reprogramming needed.
$285.00 Flat Rate
Includes service call, labor,
and hardware (ignition).

Keyed to match your existing key - NO programming or reprogramming needed.
Call or Click for Quote
Remove, Rekey & Replace $175.00 Flat Rate
Includes service call, labor,
and hardware (ignition).

Keyed to match your existing key - NO programming or reprogramming needed.
$195.00 Flat Rate
Includes service call, labor,
and hardware (ignition).

Keyed to match your existing key - NO programming or reprogramming needed.
Call or Click for Quote
Mail Order Replacement $98.00 + S&H $7.00 (Priority Mail)
Includes Hardware (ignition), keyed to your existing key when possible.
(Please read instructions above thoroughly!)
***Do you need Duplicate/Additional Factory Code Cut Transponder Keys?*** $25.00 each with ignition purchase, S&H already included.
$35.00 each + $7.00 S & H (Priority Mail) without ignition.

Ford Focus is one of the many Ford vehicles that allow for
self-programming of additional duplicate Transponder keys,
so long as you already have TWO (2) working Transponder keys.

If you only have one working Transponder key, you may still purchase duplicate code cut Transponder keys, however, these additional keys WILL require programming by a local locksmith or Ford Dealer.

The same process is used to create duplicate Transponder keys as is used for ignitions.   We will require a good quality, high resolution digital photo of your existing key to create a duplicate transponder.  Please see the instructions above for details.

Self-Programming instructions will be included with your cut keys.
To send a digital picture for mail order replacement, or to e-mail us for a replacement appointment within our San Diego Locksmith Coverage Area, please e-mail directly to focus @
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***Yahoo E-Mail Users!***
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