How to Fix a Ford Focus

peeling paint on car
Peeling paint is a common problem.

Wondering how to fix a Ford Focus? Depending on the type of problem you're experiencing, the repair may be something you can handle yourself.

About the Ford Focus

Introduced in Canada and the United States in 1999, the Ford Focus was designed to replace the popular Ford Escort. After more than a decade on the market, the Focus has gone through three major redesigns and is available with a wide array of options. There have been more than five million Ford Focus cars sold worldwide, and in 2000 alone, U.S. consumers bought one million units.

Problems with the Focus

Like any car, the Ford Focus has had some consumer complaints. Not surprisingly, the older model years have the most issues, including the following:

  • Difficulty putting the key in the ignition, turning the key, or removing the key
  • Problems unlocking or opening doors or rolling down windows
  • Engine stalling or refusing to start
  • Failure or slipping of the transmission
  • Premature wear of brake pads and rotors

Owners of the newer Ford Focus are not immune to problems, but these issues occur much less frequently than problems with older cars. Owners of newer models report the following:

  • Spotty or peeling paint on the exterior
  • Uneven and early tire wear
  • Carpet worn or coming loose
  • Difficulty keeping the car in gear
  • Early failure of the alternator

How to Fix a Ford Focus

Depending on the extent of your auto repair knowledge, some of these common issues require the assistance of a professional mechanic. If the car engine won't start or you're experiencing a transmission or alternator failure, you'll most likely need help from a professional. However, you can repair or avoid some other problems yourself.

Here's how to fix or avoid some common problems with the Ford Focus:

  • The Focus is notorious for having problems with the key and ignition. Never use a heavy keychain with your Focus, and keep other keys to a minimum. Excess weight will exacerbate the problem. If you experience the key issue, FordProblems.com recommends that your take the vehicle to a locksmith, rather than have it repaired by the dealer.
  • If you find that your brakes are wearing unevenly or prematurely, make note of your driving habits. Aggressive driving has been known to cause premature brake wear on most cars. Have your brakes checked frequently, and experiment with different brands.
  • Keep an eye on any paint issues, and keep your car clean. If you see a problem, immediately repair it with touch-up paint. To do this, use a small piece of steel wool to lightly rough up the surface of the paint right around the chip. Then use light strokes to carefully fill in the area with touch-up paint. Avoid drips and smears.
  • If you find that your carpet is having problems, take the car in for professional detailing. An auto detailer may be able to repair small interior issues like lifting carpet.
  • If your tires are wearing out prematurely, make sure you are keeping them properly inflated. It's also important to rotate the tires often. If your car has an issue with uneven wear, make sure you rotate the tires with every oil change. This can help extend their life.

Ford Focus Recalls

Some Ford Focus problems may have been identified by the manufacturer and covered by a recall. If you purchased your Ford Focus as a used car, you may not be on the recall list. To check for recalls affecting your model year, visit the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can look up your car by year, make, and model.

Ford Focus Warranty Issues

If these or any other Ford Focus issues arise while your car is still under warranty, it's likely the manufacturer will pay for the repair. However, if your warranty has expired, you may still have a chance at getting the repair covered by Ford. A program called "after-warranty assistance" may cover the repair if you can prove that you are the car's original owner and the problem is due to a manufacturing issue. For more information, contact your Ford dealer.


Knowing how to fix a Ford Focus may help you repair or even avoid some of the minor issues associated with this model. However, for major repairs, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a qualified mechanic.

How to Fix a Ford Focus