The Ford Focus replaced the Escort as its North American compact car in the 2000 model year. Troubleshooting the steering system in all models of the Ford Focus is an ongoing process and is an important part of keeping your car running smoothly and safely.
Check the fluid every 6 months with the fluid cold to make sure the reservoir is full to the "MAX" mark and there are no signs of air in the lines or fluid contamination. Use Mercon ATF fluid and don't shake the fluid to avoid aeration. Never let the fluid level fall below the "MIN" mark. You should also check the lines for loose connections and leaking.
Rotate your tires regularly, balance the wheels and keep your front end in proper alignment. Make sure the pressure is even and the tires are in good condition. Maintaining your tires can prevent a number of common steering problems.
Service and inspect the steering linkage every 30,000 miles. Make sure the components aren't too loose or too tight and don't show signs of wear. Keep the components properly lubricated. Check mounting nuts and bolts to make sure they aren't too loose.
Inspect your tie rods and steering rack if you encounter wandering or pulling to one side. Sticky brake calipers or excessive brake heat could also cause your car to pull.
Check the power steering belt if your steering wheel slips or proves difficult to turn. If this doesn't solve the problem check the steering pump pressure and look for leaks in the steering rack. Steering slippage can also be caused by broken steering rack mounts.