We are having a hard time starting our 2008 Ford Focus SES. We have to push the key in very hard, and then turn it hard. This morning, the "Service Engine Soon" light came on.


Asked by May 15, 2013 at 02:06 PM about the 2008 Ford Focus SES

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

(see question above)

12 Answers


get the dtc's read for the check engine light. as for the key turning hard, the lock cylinder is most likely at fault.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Paula Thomas

I am having problems with my 2008 Ford Focus, also. Having a hard time starting, and now won't start at all. I've researched on the internet and found that I am not the only one having this problem with the ignition. So, I called Ford Motor Company to ask them why hasn't a recall been done for this year and model, and they could not give an answer. I believe if everyone that has this problem would call and flood the lines with complaints about this critical issue, they won't have a choice but to recall it. I hear there is not a REAL FIX for this issue. The dealer can't even fix it. You will be out $400 - $500 bucks at the dealership.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Robert Campbell Sr.

I have the same problem Paula. Went to a local repair shop and it cost me $215 for a ignition lock switch. Ford company basically just ignored me. I will never buy another ford car.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

my ford focus is starting over and will not stop turning over like the starter is bad. i replaced the starter and its still doing this. it wont start and keeps turning over once you turn the key and wont stop till you turn the key back. i have no idea why this is happing.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I think I found the answer. 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 even when you turn the key all the way. That's why when this first starts to happen you'll slowly have to turn the key harder and harder to turn the full rotation. However, eventually you'll hit the metal stopper which keeps the key from turning further, and you'll no longer be able to start the car because the ignition switch won't turn it's full rotation. If you don't have the cash to throw at the problem and need a quick fix, here's what I did; Step 1: Remove the lower panel that is directly below the steering column. It's the big one that has the flap for the diagnostic tool plug in. No tools needed for this, just pull down from the top where it meets the column till it pops loose, then pull up and away at a 90 degree angle. Set this part aside. Step 2: Unscrew and remove the upper and lower steering column covers. For this you will need a 7/32 socket, a 3 inch extension, and a ratchet. There are three little screws set into the bottom of your steering column cover. You'll see the inset holes when you look, they're up in there. Easier to see with a flashlight. Unscrew all 3 and set them in a safe place, preferably on a magnet pan. DON'T LOSE THEM! Now, pull down the steering column adjustment bar. Next, you'll need to use a little force and a flathead screwdriver to pull the upper and lower column covers apart as they also have internal clips holding them together. Once apart, the top one should come off rather easily. The bottom, however, you'll need to pry the lip closest to the pedals up and over the metal panel going across the driver leg area. I used a flathead for leverage. Then, you'll need to pull kinda hard on the end closest to the steering wheel until the whole thing comes down a ways. I personally couldn't get it all the way off due to the steering column adjustment bar, so just push it as far out of the way of the left of the column as possible. Step 3: Unplug the ignition switch. This is on the left side of the column and has one flat and wide plug with a tab you'll need to push down with a flathead screwdriver while you're pushing it away from the ignition switch towards the firewall. Once the plug is out, you'll need to stick your fingers in the plug hole and pull (not too hard!) towards yourself while you press the upper and lower retaining clips down to release the switch. To get an idea of the process, look at the ignition switch closely with a flashlight and find those tabs I'm talking about. Try not to use too much pressure or you might break the plastic. Step 4: Once the ignition switch is out, take the plug and push it through the space where the column adjustment bar is and as far down towards the pedals as you can. The idea is to get the plug far enough out that you can plug the ignition switch back into it. Once you've done this, reassemble the column covers and put the lower panel back on. Your ignition switch should be hanging out of the column adjustment area. Now you should be able to put the key in the ignition to unlock the column, and use a flathead screwdriver to turn the ignition switch until the car starts. I personally use a 3/16 flathead screwdriver. NOTES: Just keep in mind that your car will be very easy to steal like this. I only posted this for those who don't have the money to fix it properly right now and still need to use the car. Also, from what I've been told, this problem can be fixed properly with the entire ignition assembly being replaced. However, it'll probably happen again later down the road. Hope this helps some people. ~Kurtis

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

p.s. That picture is of the ignition switch so you know what to look for.


Also, to the OP, if the car isn't started, the check engine light will always be on. So should the battery light, the oil light, and some others. Doesn't mean there's a DTC, it's just part of the cycle sequence. I bet once you get it started it will go away.

Stephen Asumendi

I change the starter and during the removal of the old starter, I forget to remove the battery, so the positive bridge with the ground, after installing the new started now the car will not start, I have check all the fuse and they are ok, but the car still will not start, if I connect a wire direct to the started it will start, but still it won't start of i use the key

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Xeroarmor Thanks for the info my daughter put off telling me about her ignition issue also.your info was a big help.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Stephen Bruzdowski

I had this same issue. Bought a Steering Lock Module (they call it a Housing) as well as a Break-away Bolt from Ford and had my neighbor replace it. Starts fine now.


Does at any point the car crank over? And just went start after this? In having a huge issue! I need help and have literly have a mechanic over to help and he doesn't know why its not starting. I did a complete engine change!!! I know I hooked everything back up. And the guy even ran some tests and nothing came up bad. Any help at this point will help me.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I also checked for spark and I am not getting any at all. And can't figure it out. I think maybe my theft system locked me out. How does one reset it easy?

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