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30 October 2006 — Found on Road, Dead (6)

Ah, my lovely Ford Focus. For years I drove it begrudgingly. Then I performed a little revitalization on it, and found it to be acceptable. I also discovered the overdrive switch, which would bump its power from gutless to "a little more than gutless". I could live with a little more than gutless.

I've driven it for the past year with only a few complaints.

But this morning I walked out to the car, put my bag in the back seat, and tried to start the ignition. It wouldn't start. The key wouldn't even turn. I jiggled the wheel. Nothing. I pumped the brake. Nothing. I shifted through all the gears. Nothing. I got out the manual — no sign of any such problem.

After fifteen minutes, I came inside and google the problem. Lo and behold! People all over the place have experienced the same thing, but Ford insists it's not an issue. Shocking.

Here are just a handful of sits where people have discussed this "non-issue":

Once my insurance agent and car dealership opened, I began to call around to determine the best course of action. The dealership actually didn't want to have anything to do with it, if at all possible, so I called a locksmith.

"I checked on the internet," I told the young man who came to work on the vehicle. "This seems to be a common problem with Focuses."

He rolled his eyes. "It's a common problem with all newer Fords. It happens all the time."

The fellow spent twenty minutes working on the ignition. I brewed myself some hot chocolate and ate some toast. When he was finished, he had me try inserting the key. It was still fairly stiff. He told me to be sure I was inserting the key straight. He also recommended I get a new set of keys.

"You've got 90,000 miles on this, which is pretty good," he said. "Usually I see these fail before 60,000 miles. I do about ten of these a week."

Ten a week. And yet Ford doesn't seem to think this is worthy of a recall.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2004The Velvet Ribbon   In which I share the mp3 for The Velvet Ribbon, one of my favorite spooky stories. Happy Halloween!

On 30 October 2006 (01:21 PM), Amanda said:

You've seen Fight Club, yes?

It's clearly not cost efficient to do a recall. After all, this problem isn't going to kill anyone (I don't think).

On 30 October 2006 (01:42 PM), Michael Rawdon said:

Ah, now I remember why I buy Japanese cars.

Oh wait, I hadn't actually forgotten...

On 30 October 2006 (04:39 PM), mrs darling said:

Ah now I remember why I married a man who knows how to work on cars!

On 02 November 2006 (08:50 AM), soelo said:

I had to drive my brother-in-law's Focus for a week and it had the same problem. The temporary solution we used was to rapidly insert and remove the key many times before trying to turn it. I don't know if that actually helped or acted as a distraction. I remember waiting about ten minutes at a gas station in Oklahoma until the key decided to turn.

On 02 November 2006 (04:49 PM), Kelly McGee said:

Wow, it must be the season! I had this exact thing happen to me this morning when I tried to start my car. The Ford dealership acknowledged it is an issue, that it would cost me $350-380 to have them fix it, and that the best I could do would be to hold onto the receipt and hope someday Ford issues a recall and I can get my money back.

2 mechanics told me to try turning the steering wheel as hard as I could while trying to turn the key. I don't think they believed me when I told them that the steering wheel locked all the time and I managed to start my car every other time. I came hoem from work today and tried for 10 minutes to turn the wheel, and nothing.

I have a couple of questions for you and hopefully you'll answer. You can email me at kilene10@hotmail.com if you would like.

First, what exactly did the locksmith do? Can I just call a locksmith and explain the problem and he/she will know what's going on?

Second, how much did it cost?

It's so frustrating knowing that my car works, if I could just turn that darn key. Thanks!

On 18 December 2006 (09:02 AM), Sarah C. said:

Ahhh yes my 2001 ford focus has been sitting in a parking garage for 3 day because the steering wheel and the ignition are stuck! The car is stuck in a parking garage with 7'11" ceiling and no tow truck can get to me. I am in the process of waiting for a locksmith (who by the way informed me he has had to replace several focus ignitions). It has gotten to the point where I dreadddddddd getting inside of my car because for the first year I had it I almost died on baltimore freeway when my car just stoppped running on a full tank of gas...Surprise fuel pump recall.

I cant wait to see the cost to get this fix a week before christmas!
Happy Holidays.