Your Ford Focus does not crank 10 percent of the time. The electronics start just fine, and even the faint hum of the fuel pump starting up is audible, yet the engine does not start.
You may keep attempting to start the vehicle for about 10 minutes or so, and then it suddenly starts.
Nearly every Ford Focus owner has experienced this intermittent starting problem. Something could be wrong if this has been going on for a while, despite having a full tank.
This article focuses on why your Ford Focus has intermittent starting problems and how you can fix them. Let’s get started.
Reasons Your Ford Focus Has Intermittent Starting Problems
1. Faulty Alternator
The alternator is a generator that generates electricity. If your alternator becomes defective, it will no longer produce electricity, and your car’s battery will be unable to charge.
Alternators rarely break down; this is why most Ford Focus owners only focus on batteries when their engines refuse to start. They replace the battery, but because the alternator is defective, the battery soon runs down, and the problem repeats itself.
Alternators can last 200,000 to 300,000 miles, and their failure depends on how you use them. A mechanic can easily determine whether your Focus alternator has failed and replace it with a new unit.
2. Broken Starter Motor
A starter is a motor for starting an engine. The average lifespan of a starter motor is approximately 100,000 to 150,000 miles.
However, the lifespan may shorten if you start your Focus engine more frequently. In other words, since starter motors have limited lifespans, they will eventually break down after using your car for a long time. When this happens, the engine will not start.
You can know if your starter motor is bad if you hear clicking sounds when you turn the ignition to start your engine. However, the starter may also malfunction if the starter motor doesn’t work with a healthy battery. So, replace a defective starter motor with a new unit.
3. Weak Battery
Another reason your Ford Focus engine cranks slowly or does not crank at all is that you may have a dead or weak battery.
You can confirm whether your car battery causes the starting problem by conducting a battery voltage test.
A battery voltage test measures the voltage between battery poles. You should also assess the overall condition of the starter battery as well as check the battery’s acid level.
If you just newly installed a car battery, the starting problem may be happening because the battery has not yet reached its full capacity. If this is the case, you don’t have to worry because new batteries usually develop full capacity over time.
4. Clogged Fuel Filter
Intermittent starting issues may occur if your Ford Focus fuel filter is clogged by dirt, debris, or airborne particles. This situation doesn’t usually occur at once, but gradually.
When a fuel filter becomes clogged, its permeability decreases significantly, including the fuel pressure. This does not really matter, at least to a particular extent.
However, if the fuel feeding your Ford Focus engine becomes too dirty, the engine’s capacity to perform optimally plunges dramatically. In such a case, starting the engine becomes a challenge; even if it does, it occurs intermittently.
Therefore, check the vehicle’s fuel filter to ensure it is still in excellent condition. A clogged filter cannot be cleaned; if your Ford Focus fuel filter is clogged, you will have to replace it with a new unit.
5. Defective Spark Plugs
Bad spark plugs can prevent engines from starting. Spark plugs themselves are rarely affected by defects. In most cases, the plug connections on the ignition system may come loose.
If you notice that only one plug is loose, you may be able to fix this problem on-site without help. But if the spark plug has failed, get a mechanic to replace it—this is the best way to go about this.
6. Weak Key Fob Battery
If your Ford Focus model has a key fob with a start/stop button and doesn’t have a place for inserting a car key, it may be possible your vehicle has a weak key fob battery preventing it from starting.
However, there’s nothing to worry about; starting your Ford Focus is possible. The key fob battery is used for sending the signal for locking and unlocking only. Therefore, if this battery is empty, the lock and unlock mechanism stops working and won’t respond to the push of the button.
You can solve this problem by checking your Ford Focus operational manual for the precise location of key fob placement. This is because the placement varies from one Ford Focus model to another. But, again, your mechanic should be able to assist you in solving this problem.
If the contacts of your vehicle battery have deteriorated due to corrosion, the flow of current will reduce accordingly. Unfortunately, this prevents your car from starting properly.
The only way to determine whether the starting problem you’re experiencing is due to dirty battery contacts is by checking them out.
Lift the rubber covers of your car’s 2 battery terminals and check them for corrosion. If you find silvery-green or white deposits on the terminals, you may have to clean them off.
But before you do, remove the pole cables. This doesn’t require special skills, though you must follow a specific order.
The first step is to remove the black cable from the negative pole. The pole clamp may be too tight, so open it using a pair of pliers. Do not use metal pliers to avoid electrocution.
Then unplug the red positive pole cable. As soon as the battery is disconnected from the circuit, start cleaning the corroded battery. Then reconnect the terminals after cleaning off the deposits.
8. Blown Fuse
Although this is not too common, one or two fuses may have blown without your knowledge. If this is the case, your Ford Focus will have a few breakdowns.
Check every fuse in the fuse box, especially those crucial to starting your Ford Focus. However, you should be careful; the fuse box is not something you should toy with because it is under power.
All tests or repairs should be done only in your mechanic’s workshop, especially if you’re not a trained technician.
9. Fuel Pump Failure
Your Focus fuel pump is a delicate component that works with the engine. This is because the fuel pump ensures specific amounts of fuel passes from the tank to the engine’s injection system with ample pressure.
Fuel pumps don’t usually fail without giving off a few noticeable signs. For example, if your engine jerks a little, breaks down too frequently, or becomes difficult to start, you should check the fuel pump. These are usually signs that the fuel pump is about to fail or has failed. In addition, fuel pumps can fail due to contamination or wear.
If the fuel pump is leaking, or a lever is broken, or a power contact gets damaged, replace the faulty fuel pump immediately.
Related: Dodge Ram 1500 Starting Problems.
If your Ford Focus won’t start because a dead battery, jumpstarting it using specified jumper cables and a healthy battery from another automobile is the way to go. A battery booster will also do the trick.
Connect the red cable to your Focus battery’s positive terminal, then connect to the positive terminal of the healthy donor battery. Then connect the black cable to the donor battery’s negative terminal and then to the bar metal in your car’s engine bay.
Start the donor vehicle and then your own Ford Focus. When removing the cables, ensure you do so in reverse order.
So that’s it—if you experience intermittent starting problems with your Ford Focus, the reasons discussed above could be the culprits, and the fixes should help.