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The Focus manages to be both logical in its design as well as fun to drive. This European-developed car offers ride comfort and agility on par with respectable sport sedans. Access, rear seat room and trunk space belie the fact that this is a small sedan. Interior quality and pronounced road noise mar this otherwise capable package though.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags available. ESC available 2001-2003, 2009; standard from 2010. Side and head protection air bags standard from 2008.
Road Test

The Focus manages to be both logical in its design as well as fun to drive. This European-developed car offers ride comfort and agility on par with respectable sport sedans. Access, rear seat room and trunk space belie the fact that this is a small sedan. Interior quality and pronounced road noise mar this otherwise capable package though.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
2-door hatchback
wagon
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (170 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (130 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (110 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Ford Focus owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“No AC last summer. Have not gotten an estimate or looked at yet”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“the A/C stopped working...it was a $700 repair that I elected to have done”

Anonymous, BC (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I guess I can expect the A/C to fail after 13 years”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“leaks”

Bert R., WI (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I have taken this car into the dealership twice and the problem wasn't fixed permanently. Each year for the last 3 years the air conditioning would not work. Last year I just lived with it and this year I am donating the car. Overall, I really got my money back with this car in spite of this problem. It has handled well and gets 30 miles to the gallon on the freeway”

Darla W., OR (2003 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

“Throttle regulator sensor originally installed at manufacture for automatic engine, not manual. Discovered after Idle Contr Motor fixed. Increased engine revs when A/C on (after leak fixed). Replacement did not solve. Still looking for problem”

Deborah B., FL (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

“blower motor goes on and off by itself”

Armand G., NY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“One day the fan blower stopped working in any but 'high' setting”

Anonymous, NH (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“leaked freon”

A W., FL (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“When heater's on for longer than 20-minutes, there's an acrid smell of something burning. After shutting heater off for 10-minutes it can be turned on again”

Lucia W., CT (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

“AC has had repeated leaks of refrigerant”

Guy W., MA (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“No heat in winter unless vehicle in motion. Top off antifreeze which must leak out (never saw on ground) lasted a month and effective. Minor issue at this point. Suspect cooling AC/ system in general needs replaced. No AC previous summer”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Refrigerant leaks have occured for the last 3 years. Cooling is corrected by refilling freon”

James F., MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“A/C gradually lost effectiveness, I assumed it was related to refrigerant leakage but never had it repaired”

Anonymous, CT (2003 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“unit got ow and would not cool”

Anonymous, KS (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“when i have the air recharged. it last about 2 years before it has to be done agian”

Stephen F., PA (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“tie end ball joint interfered with the steering”

Steve L., ON (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Power steering pump was leaking”

Brian H., NE (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“struts had to be replaced due to wear at the top of the mount allowing lateral movement in the strut”

Anonymous, BC (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“With this vehicle it seems like I'm spending a fair amount of struts, joints and suspension linkages . . and it's not as if it's banking over country roads every day . . it's a small town city car with maybe 10,000 highway km. per year. It seems lik”

Darryl P., AB (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“had the front struts replaced with aftermarket units. One failed after a year. The noise from the strut makes me wonder if the "broken" engine mounts that were replaced were really broken or misidentified (maybe really the strut failing). left wondering what else might go bad and cost big bucks to fix”

Anonymous, KY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Not exactly sure why driver front shock "went". Could be related to a stabilizer bar mechanic installed 2 months ago in my opinion. Unfortunately the resulting damage makes turning right problematic. "crunching" sounds like things are about to fall apart. At 215K miles, it's time to retire this vehicle”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

“Torsion bars just needed replacement for sake of safe steering”

Anonymous, WI (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“broken springs which interfered with the steering”

Steve L., ON (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Hit a pothole last spring bleu a tire and broke a spring”

Anonymous, IL (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The stabilizer bar link broke”

Charles P., MI (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tie rods

“They just wore out after 10 years”

Anonymous, WI (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Tie rods became loose at 100,000 miles. Replaced tie rods”

James F., MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rear wheel bearing failed”

Anonymous, CT (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Basically they were worn our. In getting this car ready for a grandson getting ready for college, we spent $1,800 repairing items that were worn out”

Frederick H., NY (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Gauges

“Intermittent problem with gas gauge and speedometer sometimes not working at all”

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Erratic instrument cluster. Goes dead or "sticks" sometimes”

Anonymous, NC (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Gauges (and warning lights) all went kerblooey - the whole driver's dashboard assembly unit had to be replaced”

John D., MA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

“Headlights are not factory original, but should be reputable (Hella HID). Passenger side ballast/module failed after only about 13000 miles. Needed to take to specialty shop to diagnose. Part is relatively expensive though easy to replace”

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“My headlights were not bright enough for safe night driving so I purchased new ones with maximum lumens for my 14 year old vehicle. Better but still not good enough. At my age, I will need a car that allows Halogen or other illumination. My vision is corrected”

Donna M., OR (2003 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Wiring harness fault at tailgate pivot point. Blown fuses, no brake lights and unable to put vehicle in gear”

Richard M., NY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Somewhere under the headliner a group of wires rubbed through ans shorted out. This caused problems with the rear interior light, signal and brake lights”

Darryl P., AB (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Drivers seat heater shorted out causing extreme heat that slightly melted the seat”

Anonymous, MD (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

“Same as for gauges”

John D., MA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“engine warning light comes on from time to time, yet dealer can find nothing wrong with vehicle (false indication of problem)”

Ron M., ON (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

“Wipers will not automatically return to the off position at the bottom of the windshield”

Anonymous, MD (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“washer pump stoped working”

Colis L., ON (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“paint is peeling off the passenger door and panel below”

Anonymous, PA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“White paint peeling on lower body and back for last 5 years”

Anonymous, BC (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“paint flaking off doors down to primer”

Anonymous, NY (2003 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“severe rust on rocker panels was hidden at time of purchase within a year of MN snow and rain the paint has peeled off and rust has left gaping holes in rocker panels”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The car has only 27k mileage. The underside is EXTREMELY rotted from rust!!!!”

Duane Z., NH (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“FAILED INSPECTION IN 2014 DUE TO RUSTED OUT ROCKER PANELS, ABOUT $300.00 TO REPAIR”

Brian C., NB (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Bad rust at rocker panels and bottom of doors”

Colis L., ON (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Can't figure why they can't make rocker panesl and wheel-wells that don't rust out. This car otherwise looks, drives, and performs like new”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“We have had work done on three separate occasions to repair rust damage”

Anonymous, NH (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rocker panels rusted out”

Catherine L., MA (2003 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The car is highly rust resistant, but a factory replacement door rusted prematurely (7) years. Was a known defect but would not replace”

James R., NY (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

“The latching mechanisms are very finicky and prone to getting stuck. Most valet attendants cannot seem to figure them out. The handle requires equal amounts finesse and force. I had to replace driver side handle as the outside one broke entirely”

Sebastian R., TX (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Locks and latches

“ELECTRONIC REMOTE TRUNK RELEASE HAS FAILED, KEY REQUIRED TO OPEN TRUNK”

Brian C., NB (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Auto trunk release on dash defective. Allows trunk to open but will not allow closure without manipulating the trunk mechanism”

Anonymous, BC (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Electrical hatch lock does not work. Only opens with a key”

Anonymous, PA (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - movement

“Drivers seat back adjustment frozen upright”

J W., AZ (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The trunk does not release and has to be forced up while simultaneously unlocked. Ruins the convenience of a remote trunk release”

Sebastian R., TX (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

“driver window will not operate”

Anonymous, KY (2003 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“electric window control on driver's side only works for driver's window, and is sporadic with other windows. the "door open" light went on a few months and there are no doors open. i have not had it looked at”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Electrical right rear window motor needed to be replace”

Anonymous, PA (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“nobody could find the exact problem, after three different shops looked at it I took it to a ford dealership which cost me in excess of $300”

James W., CA (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Was told by mechanic the emissions system was not working”

Anonymous, NV (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel cap

“See previous..repair estimated at $500”

Anonymous, TX (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel gauge/sender

“Gauge is still not totally correct and it will have to go back into shop. First fill got 27 mpg. second one 21 mpg”

Anonymous, PA (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

“Was told by mechanic the fuel injection system was bad”

Anonymous, NV (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel pump

“My car could hardly get up a hill, the first garage said it may be my transmission. Transmission shop said it was fuel pump. First pump did not work as well as original so a second one had to be installed. Car out of commission for 10 days”

Anonymous, PA (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The fuel pump on Fords have a life span of around 100000 miles. If it isn't out, it soon will be. Again Ford is aware of the problem, but refuses to do anything about it”

Anonymous, MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The first new pump was faulty so they had to put in a different one. I was hospitalized and when I got it back it was driven for me. When I was finally able to drive it was out of warranty and the mpg had gone from 28-32 mpg down to 20-22 mpg. I cannot afford to get it checked again”

Alice H., PA (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Check engine light/fuel cap check light Needed new part”

Anonymous, TX (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

“On my third set of engine mounts”

Jeff F., CA (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“the mounts have been deteriorating for some time. The motor caused a lot of vibration and some noise when driving”

Robert R., CA (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil pan leak. Unsure of reason”

Darrell P., WI (2003 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced valve covers”

Anonymous, MI (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“It is leaking oil and would be costly to fix, so we haven't”

Anonymous, MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“oil leak around head gasket”

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Chronic leaky gasket caused radiator hose to fail”

Edwin E., NY (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“the camshaft position sensor leaked, as did the front engine mount”

Charles H., WI (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

“Patched up a hole on exhaust cost around $100”

Andrew N., MA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to have the EGR tube replaced for the third time”

Anonymous, AK (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Loose/rattling heat shield

“The rattle is loud and comes and goes. Had it "fixed" twice and it comes back”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The heat shield simply fell down so far as to scrape the road. I was going to have it replaced but was told it was an unnecessary piece of equipment to begin with and just paid to have it removed”

Anonymous, IN (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Muffler

“Muffler is shot”

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“needed new one”

Anonymous, ON (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Original factory stainless steal exhaust failed after 13 years of New York winters”

Anonymous, NY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“needed new one”

Anonymous, ON (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

“Rear wheel antilock sensor”

William B., IN (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Calipers

“caliper retaining clips weak and flimsy. can easily slip off and cause premature and uneven wear on brake pads”

Anonymous, IN (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Frozen calipers”

Anonymous, MI (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“When we turn off the parking brake (put the lever down), the indicator light will occasionally light up later, and we smell hot brakes. In other words, it doesn't stay off when we turn it off”

Debra H., CO (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The rotors,pads and a calaper had to be replaced and I had a complete brake over hall done one year before and only 5k put on the car in that year”

Anonymous, NY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Regular brake failure

“Brake line rusted through near the gas tank causing brake failure”

Francis G., NJ (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“See my previous comment”

Anonymous, NY (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I went to the dealer as the front brakes were making a grinding noise when they were not being applied. The dealer found out that the aftermarket rotors and brake pads previously not installed by the dealer were incorrect causing the caliber to rub a”

Stephen M., QC (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

“While driving at 30mph, radio shut off. Parked car for 5-minutes. Restarted car. Drove for a mile. While stopped at a light, engine and all electrics shut off and would not restart. Towed to dealer, which assessed it for 4-days because problem d”

Lucia W., CT (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The 'engine' light kept coming on and off, and finally stayed on. AAA towed the car from my home to my auto mechanic and they installed a new alternator. Both AAA and my mechanic checked for faulty engine light first”

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“If the car is not driven every day or on a regular basis, it will drain the battery in 3 weeks or less”

Kenneth G., MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Distributor or rotor failure

“The distributer electronics failed”

Steven M., NC (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Electronic ignition

“Replaced spark plugs, spark plug wires & ignition packs”

Anonymous, TX (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Ignition switch

“Ignition switch would not turn. Steering locked, no electrical, no start - could not start, turn, or tow car. Local garage drilled and replaced ignition cylinder - could not program key. towed car to dealer 40 miles away to program new key”

J W., AZ (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The original spark plugs lasted until approximately 150K miles. When I had a check engine light that I couldn't get to clear until we changed spark plugs. We also had to change out the ignition coils and replaced plug wires to be prudent”

Robert R., CA (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

“We have some difficulty moving the gear lever into the gear we want--it pops back out. The clutch petal cover fell off, and the metal clutch petal is oily”

Debra H., CO (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

“Car would not gear up. Problem was due to low mileage and age of car and was fixed”

Anne-Marie A., GA (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“It slips in high gear only”

Anonymous, IA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission leaks

“The transmission seals at the output to the driveshaft started leaking. The repair too two days to complete due to the driveshaft being stuck in the transmission. I was happy with the results as the dealer even though they spent a total of 12 hours o”

Stephen M., QC (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“transmission position sensor failed”

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

“Clutch master cylinder leaking”

Anonymous, UT (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Backup or other camera/sensors

“certain combinations of power-off and reverse drive will leave the backup sensor locked "on" during the subsequent trip, from start-up to completion. Only way to solve the issue is to turn off and restart the car on that trip”

John N., CA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“Sync system is known incompatible with iPhone and iPod storage, Apple devices cannot be controlled through the so-called "smart" interface of Sync. It has been a major disappointment”

John N., CA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“Radio freezes on occasion needs to be shut off and turned back on”

Andrew N., MA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Radio died. Both radios output soft to loud static depending upon throttle position. Volume control jumps around. CD player died as well”

Jeff F., CA (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

“didgital readout not fully filled letters/figures missing”

Bert R., WI (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

“The display screen I refer to is the clock face on the radio. The clock no longer appears when the engine is off. Also, multiple times the speedometer, gas gauge and all the other indicators on the dashboard simply stop working and start again days or weeks later only to stop working again later”

Anonymous, IN (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Bottom windshield seal leaks badly. I fill with gel-glue periodically”

Guy W., MA (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“water entering at the top of the windshield where it meets roof”

Anonymous, CT (2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Coolant leaks out of thermostat housing at hose connection”

Darrell P., WI (2003 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Needed to replace all motor mounts. Dealer replaced with faulty mounts and had to repeat with properly working mounts after complaints”

Marvin P., MB (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The mounting tabs for two interior trim panels broke there are no replacement parts available”

Charles H., WI (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

“Fan relay failure”

Anonymous, GA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Two different thermostat failures”

Anonymous, CA (2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced thermostat twice in 3 years. Both times a major melt down of plastic module”

Anonymous, GA (2003 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“It seems that Ford Focus 2.0 SOHC engines will drop the valve seat from #4 piston at around 110000-120000 and destroy the engine. Ford is aware of this problem, but, refuses to do anything about it! All Ford SOHC engines have the same problem, I ha”

Anonymous, MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Cylinder head

“Ford is aware of this problem, yet refuses to do anything about it. The SOHC 4 cyl. drops the valve seat on #4 cyl. into the engine at around 100k to 120k. This instantly trashes the motor”

Kenneth G., MO (2003 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“The car only has 31k miles on it”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“Ground wire broke”

Anonymous, IN (2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
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