Turning Key Won't Start Car My Ford Focus

Hi Everyone. I am a science teacher and I have been having one particular bit of trouble with my car that has gotten worse lately. Any ideas would be very appreciated!

I own a 2009 Ford Focus SE with about 70,000 miles on it. About two years ago, I noticed an issue where sometimes when I put my key into the ignition and turn it, the interior lights/radio come on, but the engine does not start until after a 5 second delay. Also, sometimes when I took my key out, the engine shuts off, but I get a “beep beep beep” indicating my key is in the ignition. I could solve this simply by putting the tip of my key into the ignition and twisting a slight bit. Since I am a teacher with a one-car family, I went to mechanic who put in a new starter. This seemed to work fine for about 8 months or so. After that, it became SUPER HARD to even put my key into the ignition. I then went to a locksmith who replaced the ignition cylinder. This seemed to work for about another 6-9 months. This past few months, the problem returned again and I again had the starter replaced. The issue is now back, but worse. My car now won’t turn over about half the time when I put the key in and turn it, even though all the lights/radio come on. I also get that “beep beep beep” almost all the time. It isn’t the battery because I had that replaced and the situation showed no difference and the cables were fine.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for the potential problem/fix? I appreciate any assistance you all may provide. Thank you!

First off, stop changing starters. That is not your problem so don’t return to the mechanic that did that. I suspect that the ignition switch itself may need replacement, not the cylinder. A good mechanic should be able to fix that or hook a scanner to the car to determine what is actually going on while trying to start the car.

Look for a good independent local auto repair shop, not a chain or a dealer. Check reviews, ask friends and coworkers. Tell the shop what you are experiencing and let them diagnose it. Expect to pay a diagnostic fee to find the problem and them a bit more to fix it.

Good luck.


Do you have a lot of keys or other things on your key chain that will mess up the ignition switch?

No. The only thing that I have on that keychain is the key and the fob.

Oh well it was just an idea I had as we cannot see the car.

I appreciate the idea though, thanks for the suggestion!

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You are welcome.

It is unfortunate you had the cylinder replaced. Is it the same key? I had a similar problem and my key ws worn out. Had a dealer cut a new key by vin number, and life was good.

I had tried that too, I am so sorry for not mentioning that.

Up until a little while ago, for all the years that I’ve owned it, I have used the same key in the same fob. When I visited the locksmith, they suggested using the other key. However, when they tried it, the same problem existed. Right before I went to take it back to the mechanic this last time, I tried both sets of keys, and both sets of keys had the same problem.

Thank you so much for your advice and willingness to help. Our one car family is sort of stressed out right now, so I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and your kindness for spending time to suggest ideas.

As another thought I had a ford pickup truck at work when the steering wheel tilt was all the way down it caused issues. other than that out of suggestions.

The ignition cylinder (where you stick the key) has a rod shaped loosely like a plus sign that goes from the ignition cylinder and plugs into the ignition switch. For whatever reason, the rod mechanism wears down and no longer turns as far as it should. I bet its your Ignition switch. Check your contacts from the battery.
Steering Lock Module


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You might be faced with two problems.

The next time the engine won’t start, shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, it points to a problem with the park/neutral safety switch.

The ignition may be the other problem.


Thanks so much Buzzmeok! When I took it in yesterday, it seems that the rod turning mechanism was, in fact, worn out and thus wouldn’t turn as far. They had to replace both sides of the mechanism including the ignition switch (and had to get the ignition cylinder rekeyed to match my fob). Once they replaced both pieces of the rod turning mechanism, it worked perfectly. I wanted to briefly thank you for the suggestion and to tell you that you were right!

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