Mysterious sporadic no start

2009 Ford Focus. Six months ago got in car returning from 60 mile trip. Turned ignition key heard fuel pump hum but no juice to ignition. (Not anti-theft lockout–security light behaved normally.) Would not take jump. Ford Roadside assistance tried everything else possible. Nothing. Towed to nearest Ford dealer. On arrival, car started immediately. Took to local Ford dealer who found absolutely no problems but ran TSB 10-21-8 reprogram PCM–test OK. Had no further problems with car until a week-and-a-half ago–same thing happened. Car towed to dealer again. Started immediately at dealer! Picked up from dealer, that night same thing happened. Did not phone roadside assistance–after 45 minutes car inexplicably started. That was a week ago. No problems since then. Have call in to Ford Customer Solutions–they’re working on it–I do not feel confident of outcome. Feeling a little panicky w/car that may fail at any time–winter coming. Thanks!

The next time it happens try tapping the starter with a screwdriver handle.

Thank you. I will try that. (Other people have suspected starter but did not make this suggestion–thanks.)

These security systems in new cars are very complex. Even if your “security light behaved normally” the system could have misread the key and disabled the car. After a certain number of minutes the system resets. You got several keys with the car, try using another key. The other key won’t work until the system resets, but just put the current key in the house and use the other key for a week or two and see what happens. If the key itself is defective you’ll be lucky as this is an easy fix.

Yes, that occurred to me. But doesn’t setting off and then silencing the alarm with the “clicker” reset the lockout? It didn’t for me. Anyway, on the 3rd (and most recent) occasion of non-start I had a friend bring my second key from home, which took about 20 minutes, but the car still would not start using second key. And the dealer had already checked both keys and found both OK. But I suppose his check might not always catch a problem. So, on your suggestion, I think I’ll switch keys for the time being. But remember, this problem happened only one time six months ago and didn’t recur until this month. So even if the 2nd key works for long a while, I still won’t feel sure that we licked the problem. I do agree, though, that your explanation sounds entirely plausible, so I’ll try it.

Uncle Turbo: Quick Question–expecting Ford to phone me today. Do you know if there’s some other sensor or computer software aside from the security lockout that might cause this complete non-connection?