Car never wants to start in cold weather


Asked by Dec 28, 2015 at 08:53 PM about the 2004 Ford Focus SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I bought my ford focus in 2011. After buying , the
dealership ened up changing my fuel pump and
filter because the car would tug anytime I came to
a stop as if I was repeatedly pushing on and off of
the brake. The problem still occurred so they sent
the car to an actual mechanic where they said it
was bad engine coils so they replaced all 6 I
believe.. and it did solve the problem for a bit.. but
it came back. The car also has a very hard time
starting (mostly in winter weather) but sometimes
through warmer days as well . I turn the key and
the car sounds like it wants to turn over but I have
to hold it for up to 10-15 seconds pushing the gas
petal til it actually starts from time to time I put the
car in reverse or drive and begin going and the car
dies on me, leaving me to put the car back in park
turn the key and turn it back on or sometimes the
car doesn't even turn over , both leaving me to
have to wait a minimum of 30seconds. I've taken
the car to multiple shops all saying they can't seem
to find something wrong with the car . The last
place I took the car the guy said he believes it has
to do with the anti theft lock system and it is
wanting to turn on as I'm driving causes the
tugging and the hard time starting as well and
that's why I have to wait 30 seconds to turn car
back on. I get my battery / alternater / starter
checked whenever I go buy oil and filter and
everything always come back fine.. as well as the
tugging at night all the lights dim when as the car
tugs or when I push on break or gas. . I want to just
sell the car but the car runs great except this very
annoying issue . I also don't think I can get much
for the car if the person experiences the problemd
while test driving ..

9 Answers


I wish I had an answer for you.. is the CEL (Check Engine Light) on? Even if it is not, an OBDII scan might help point out what is going on. But out of common decency, honesty, please inform a potential buyer of these issues, not just hope it doesn't happen during a test drive. Now, if when you insert key the little red LED light should stop blinking. You don't even have to turn the key, just when it is in ignition if it continues to blink, then that is the problem

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Best Answer

Well my dad wants me to just trade it into a dealership because he says it's not a problem to where it's that big of a deal but to me I feel it is. I'd definitely tell the buyer what's wrong with it if I actually knew the problem. The check engine light has only came on once since I purchased the car and that was just because of my gas cap. The little led light blinks only when the car decides not to turn on and that's is why I have to wait to attempt to turn back on (this is why the mechanic believed it has to with the the anti theft lock system ) .

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.


1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

That's true. When a dealer accepts it as a trade-in, then your conscience is clean, it becomes their problem. The gas cap is an EVAP leak, and is the most common cause of lighting the CEL. And your mechanic is right, when the red LED blinks the anti-theft is armed and the car will either not start at all, or run for a few seconds then die. --- I hope you had a good Christmas and all the best to you and Yours. ~~ David

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Would that cause the tugging/pulling while the car is idling? I've noticed when I put the car in neutral it stops for the most part.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

No, really I don't think do. Sounds like a fuel starvation problem, filter maybe.... at idle there is enough fuel pressure to idle but in gear under that slight load it will act up. But that is just a guess, diagnosing from behind a keyboard not being at the car is difficult

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The more thought I give this is it's not fuel starvation, but maybe thr IAC, Idle Control, throttle, so many things. I am not sure if that car, the '04 Focus, has electronic power control, throttle, or mechanical

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Thank you ! I appreciate your input and time . Happy holidays to you as well

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Definitely sounds like the IAC. A bad IAC will cause hunting (idle going up and down), stalling, and hard starting. A stuck open EGR valve will cause hard starting, no starting, poor idle or no idle (keeping foot on the gas to keep it running). Both the IAC and EGR valve can be intermittent and a bugger to diagnose. HTH. -Jim

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