The Focus is a compact car from American automaker Ford that has been available since 2000. Since that time it has undergone several styling and mechanical changes but has remained Ford's major model in the low cost entry-level car market segment. Despite generally positive reviews and reliability ratings, the Focus has become known for several issues involving the vehicle's electrical system.
Types of Problems
Ford Focus drivers have experienced several distinct types of electrical problems involving the vehicle's many electronic components and systems. One of the most common problems is a fault with the battery or alternator that prevents the battery from holding a charge. This can lead to trouble starting the car or a Check Battery warning light. In addition, Focus drivers have reported smaller problems with electronic features such as power windows, power automatic door locks and the antitheft system.
While some electrical problems are simply an inconvenience, others pose a serious danger and must be repaired as soon as possible. Problems with the alternator in a Focus may cause the engine to stall in a small percentage of instances, which can increase the likelihood of an accident. In more general terms, any electrical malfunction poses a danger since it could lead to a blown fuse or short circuit, putting other electrical systems at risk of failure, including important safety systems.
Ford's new vehicle warranty does cover several electrical components that are possible sources of problems in the Focus. In particular, the line of ESP (extended service protection) warranties cover the electrical system extensively. Components covered in the basic ESP include the alternator, ignition switch, starter motor, voltage regulator and wire harnesses. Other items that require occasional replacement, such as spark plugs, are not covered under this warranty.
The Focus has been the subject of several recalls by Ford to address known issues. In 2002 Ford recalled more than 290,000 vehicles to address battery cables that had been improperly routed within the engine compartment and were at risk of sustaining damage to their insulation, potentially keeping the car from starting or causing a fire. Another Focus recall occurred in 2000 and includes some 74,000 vehicles. It was enacted because of faulty wiring in the cars's trunks that could cause one of the brake lights to fail.
Repairs and Costs
Just as the electrical problems associated with the Ford Focus cover a wide range of severity and potential danger, the cost of servicing or repairing them is likewise varied. A new battery may cost as little as £26, while a new alternator, if not covered under warranty, is likely to cost several hundred dollars, installed. More severe problems, including those that may require rewiring a vehicle system not covered under warranty, can cost even more.
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