Ignition problem-2005 Ford Focus

I have a 2005 Ford Focus with 30,500 miles. No issues previously. I’ve done nothing to the car aside from oil changes and replacing a flat tire.

Suddenly on Saturday, the car was difficult to start. I would turn the key in the ignition, but the engine wouldn’t “catch” right away, and I’d have to hold the key in position for longer than normal (probably only several seconds) to start the car.

Took the car to a very well-recommended mechanic today who found nothing wrong that might affect the starting, besides a loose battery cable. I was only charged $10 for the tire rotation I had done.

I know from online research that there were big ignition problems (key not moving and getting stuck) on 2004 and earlier Focus models. NOT the 2005. My key moves in the ignition. An email buddy whose husband is a locksmith suggested I go to an automotive locksmith. He believes the problem might be electrical, in the actual switch that turns it on (not the lock and tumblers). He said not all automotive locksmiths go that “deep” but would be able to help pinpoint the problem. I want to stay away from the dealership.

I’m a single woman dependant on my car and not knowledgeable about cars, so any help is appreciated.


It could be an accumulation of several things that are a little deteriorated. How has it been since the battery cable was tightened? That could have been the whole problem. Check your Owner’s Handbook for the Scheduled Maintenance. It should be time to change the air filter, maybe the fuel filter, and pcv valve. Said mechanic could examine a couple of spark plugs to determine how healthy the engine is. The auto parts stores will check the condition of the battery and alternator, for free. Just ask. // You don’t need a locksmith. If the ignition lock, or switch, is defective, a regular auto mechanic can take care of that.

It would not be a bad idea to have the car’s computer checked to see if there are any stored error codes. Some aauto part stores will do it for free, like Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts.

It could be the ignition system (plugs wires coil).

The battery cable was tightened yesterday at the mechanic. About four hours after I got the car home, I went to start it - same as problem as before. I told the mechanic about Focus models having ignition problems - they didn’t find anything. Fuel filter was changed four days ago as part of my oil change. It’s been about a year or so for the air filter, and that needing to be changed was not mentioned at my oil change.

The car is definitely not turning over when I’m holding the key turned all the way to start it. You know how it can be in cold weather, how you get the “rrr-rrr-rrr” when it’s trying to start, but takes a bit to catch? Well, I don’t even get that.

It’s also worse when the car is cold - hasn’t been driven in at least two hours.

A battery usually lasts 4 to 6 years. They CAN die sooner. Get a jump start. If it starts, take it to Auto Zone, Advance, Pep Boys, Sears, etc for a free check of the battery and alternator.

It IS starting.

I’m not good with car stuff, so yesterday I really paid attention when starting the car. I get the fast “rrr-rrr-rrr” car TRYING to turn over when holding the key in START position. Just takes a bit for it to start. Gets worse each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of going out at lunch at work to start it, as well as in the evening when I’ve been home for 4-5 hours.

If it’s a starter or fuel pump problem - what am I looking at for fixing it, cost-wise?

It’s going back into the mechanic on Saturday.

I have friend who will ask various people for advice; then, heed none of them. You remind me of my friend.