I purchased a 2001 Ford Focus SE Wagon in August of 2001. The car has been nothing but problems from the very first.
I did not even own the car a week when I got into it in my driveway at home only to discover that I could not get the car out of park.
The car was towed into the dealership and after several days they diagnosed the problem as a broken brake light switch.
I'd like to add that as the car was being pulled onto the bed of the tow truck -- despite being locked in "Park" -- the drive wheels turned freely.
Less than two weeks later, as I pulled into a parking spot in Elkhart, IN, the engine died and refused to start again. Once again the car was towed into the dealer.
After over a week, I was told that they replaced the fuel pump and all the fuel system electronics -- there were too many diagnostic errors to pin down the problem to any single thing.
Less than a month later, the car refused to start while parked in my driveway and made a sound like the flywheel was spinning, but not connected to anything. The car was towed into the dealer once again.
The dealer claimed they could find nothing wrong, that the car started fine for them and exhibited no problems.
In less than two months of ownership, this car was towed in for service three times already...
We made a 600 mile trip for Thanksgiving and I noticed when we were on the interstate that the car was pulling to the left -- I was continuously needing to pull the steering wheel to the right to maintain a straight line on the highway.
I brought this up to the dealer upon my return. They checked the alignment and said it was perfect. They then rotated the tires and told me that should correct the problem, that one tire might be a "puller."
It did not correct the problem, and in fact the problem continued to get worse to the point where the car feels like it is going out of control sometimes, pulling first to the left and then when I correct, it pulls off to the right.
Ford and the dealer assure me that this is normal behavior for a narrow wheel base car and it is entirely safe. The service representative even has his own pet phrase for this: bunny-hopping.
Several months later, I brought the car back in to the dealer for service -- the brakes were making a rubbing sound in the back wheels which continued even after I put the car in drive and moved forward.
The diagnosis was that the "adjuster" was defective and was over-adjusting the brakes. The service representative told me it looked as if I had been driving with the parking brake on.
I assured him that this was not the case, that those brakes were simply stuck and grinding against the drums. He still recommended that I never use the parking brake, that it could cause problems.
That is the most asinine thing I have ever heard -- don't use one of the most valuable safety features on your car or it might damage your brakes.
I have returned to the dealer because of a "clicking" sound that seems to be coming from the front left wheel or the transmission. They could not "replicate" the problem and hence told me nothing is wrong.
Most recently, the ride still feels unsafe with the car wandering all over the place and when accelerating the car feels like it is speeding up and slowing down and runs ragged at 50 MPH.
The service representative told me he knew exactly what the problem was, that there is a valve or sensor between the engine and the transmission that tells the transmission when to shift and this valve is causing the problem, BUT -- when inspected on their data recorder, the voltage registers as normal, so Ford will not authorize any repair.
There is also a vibration noticable through the steering wheel, a "clump" from the rear drivers side wheel occasionally when going over speed bumps or turning right into an uphill street, a metallic grinding noise that comes from the rear of the car as soon as it is in motion, and noticable thumping that you can feel through the floor of the car when driving.
The dealer claims they cannot replicate the problem with the "clump" and they cannot notice any vibration. They still insist that the wandering on the road is "normal" and none of them can hear the grinding noise.
I'd like to say that I have been fuming mad since the beginning and told the dealer after the first problem that any car that needs to be towed in during the first week of ownership must be a lemon and that I wanted them to take the car back.
After the second tow, I was even madder and the dealer tried to calm me, collaboratively with Ford, by offering me free of charge their 36000 mile quality care plan.
The third time the car was towed in Ford came along and offered me a $4000 customer appreciation or loyalty certificate, but I could only use it towards a trade in on a new Ford and only at this one dealership. I declined.
Since then, Ford has refused to acknowledge anyother problems, despite the fact the in just over 15000 miles and less than a year of ownership, this car has been in the shop close to, maybe more than 30 days.
I am wrung out. I have been physically ill because of all the stress this automobile has caused me. I hate the thought of even getting behind the wheel, wondering, "Well, what is going to go wrong this time?"
I told the dealer's customer relations representative the last time I was there that I was going to take a bar of soap and write in huge letters on the side windows that "Ford Focus is a Lemon" and "Harold Zeigler Ford Sells Lemons."
I have another appointment on Tuesday. The windows will be "decorated" by then. In the meantime, I am stuck with the worst car I have ever owned in my 45 year life, bar none.
I would have been much better off if I had purchased a $700 peice of s**t from some scheister "down on the strip."
I will never do business again with Harold Zeigler Ford and will NEVER ever own another Ford automobile as long as I live.
Middlebury, Indiana Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Ford and Ford Dealers