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Old 08-11-2019, 12:20 AM   #1
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Please please help; car stuck in park & brakes don’t work

Hi, I am in desperate need of some help. I bought a 2002 Ford Focus zts from someone about 2 weeks ago. When I figured got it, it seemed a little rough; I changed the spark plugs, wires and ignition coil and it ran much better. I was able to drive it completely fine until today. I drove it to get breakfast in the morning, home, then to Walmart, home, then to work. When I tried to go home the car would start but wouldn’t let me take it out of park, the brake lights don’t work and the windows won’t work. The shifter won’t let me push in the button at all in order to move it into any other position. I even tried the little white button/press in area beside the shifter. Nothing. Wouldn’t budge. I have NO idea what’s going on. I changed the brake light switch by the brake pedal, still nothing. I checked the fuses under the dashboard and all were in good condition (even had a fuse tester handy too) does anyone have any idea what I can do or try to fix? I had to leave my car at my job and it’s been 4 hours and I’m frantic. I just want this little car to work, this is my first ford vehicle, I’ve only had Toyota’s and I fell in love with my little ford so quickly. I want this thing to be back up and running so badly. Please any advise would be amazing.


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Old 08-11-2019, 07:24 AM   #2
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I would see if the brake lights and windows are on the same fuse and or check to make sure you have power to both at the fuse

The shifter also has to get power from the brake switch to release the park switch so you can shift it

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Old 08-11-2019, 11:01 AM   #3
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You mentioned that you checked all the fuses under the dash. There are also fuses in the Battery Junction Box under the hood that could be related to your issue, but since the car starts those fuses are probably okay.

Another thought is that the tranny is jammed in Park. Maybe rocking the car a little while trying to take it out of park.
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:30 PM   #4
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Edited, it looks like you've tried the You Tube fix using the screwdriver into the slot.

Last edited by iceflow; 08-11-2019 at 01:33 PM. Reason: OP has tried the fix and it didn't work
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbiefocusgal View Post
Hi, I am in desperate need of some help. I bought a 2002 Ford Focus zts from someone about 2 weeks ago. When I figured got it, it seemed a little rough; I changed the spark plugs, wires and ignition coil and it ran much better. I was able to drive it completely fine until today. I drove it to get breakfast in the morning, home, then to Walmart, home, then to work. When I tried to go home the car would start but wouldn’t let me take it out of park, the brake lights don’t work and the windows won’t work. The shifter won’t let me push in the button at all in order to move it into any other position. I even tried the little white button/press in area beside the shifter. Nothing. Wouldn’t budge. I have NO idea what’s going on. I changed the brake light switch by the brake pedal, still nothing. I checked the fuses under the dashboard and all were in good condition (even had a fuse tester handy too) does anyone have any idea what I can do or try to fix? I had to leave my car at my job and it’s been 4 hours and I’m frantic. I just want this little car to work, this is my first ford vehicle, I’ve only had Toyota’s and I fell in love with my little ford so quickly. I want this thing to be back up and running so badly. Please any advise would be amazing.
Good info above (see my highlight).

Important questions:
Do the wipers work? (engine does not need to be running but ignition switch must be ON)
Does the radio work? (engine does not need to be running but ignition switch must be ON)
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Last edited by Paul1958; 08-11-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:37 AM   #6
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'I even tried the little white button/press in area beside the shifter. Nothing. Wouldn’t budge.'

That signifies a mechanical issue, not electric.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
'I even tried the little white button/press in area beside the shifter. Nothing. Wouldn’t budge.'

That signifies a mechanical issue, not electric.
Actually I think she thought that was a 'button' for the interlock overide but it is actually a cover that needs to be pryed out and then the ignition key, screwdriver, etc, is inserted and that mechanically unlocks the shifter (then move to it neutral and start the car). Her basic issue is electrical (the key clue being the non op on the power windows). Im sure we will never hear from her again - too bad it was an easy fix.

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Last edited by Paul1958; 08-13-2019 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:12 AM   #8
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Every top cover I've seen has been black, the white part shows up with the cover removed, but then I couldn't have seen all of them. The white part is the actual rocker arm that releases the park solenoid, it will appear to be a button inside the hole. What I was going on anyway, the assumption that the rocker somehow got broken in the ensuing panic.

Last edited by amc49; 08-14-2019 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:02 PM   #9
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Sorry I'm late, but forgive my crazy question: is the ignition cylinder/ tumbler (where you insert the key) the original?

Here's why I ask: After having leased many, many years ago a 2002 Focus, I decided to finally break down and buy my first brand new car; so in 2004, I bought a 2005 Focus.
I had the exact problem you describe happen to me about every 6 to 8 weeks. I would go to leave work, start the car, but couldn't shift out of park. I'd have my car towed to the dealership and, I assume, the ride jostled something and when it got to the garage, it worked fine. I had it at the dealership four times, and they mechanics tried replacing different things each time. On the fourth time, I tried to evoke the lemon law, but the dealership said that they replaced different things, so the lemon law wouldn't apply (even though it was for the exact same issue).

I was pulling my hair out. I couldn't trust the car for my 40 mile one way commute to work. I ended up stumbling upon a forum (it may have even been here - it is going on 15 years ago) where others had the same issue. What they found was that there were two kinds of ignition cylinders. The original one, which had all all-matte finish (if I recall correctly) was the problem one - but the second one had a centric circle so that it was half smooth, half matte. The second was the good one. On the fifth time my car broke down like this, I had it towed to the dealership and when they found no problems, I told (not asked) them to replace the cylinder with the new model or I was contacting the state's AG.

After getting the newer version of the cylinder, I never had the issue again. So, if you haven't had the cylinder replaced, you may want to look into that.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadSafecracker View Post
Sorry I'm late, but forgive my crazy question: is the ignition cylinder/ tumbler (where you insert the key) the original?

Here's why I ask: After having leased many, many years ago a 2002 Focus, I decided to finally break down and buy my first brand new car; so in 2004, I bought a 2005 Focus.
I had the exact problem you describe happen to me about every 6 to 8 weeks. I would go to leave work, start the car, but couldn't shift out of park. I'd have my car towed to the dealership and, I assume, the ride jostled something and when it got to the garage, it worked fine. I had it at the dealership four times, and they mechanics tried replacing different things each time. On the fourth time, I tried to evoke the lemon law, but the dealership said that they replaced different things, so the lemon law wouldn't apply (even though it was for the exact same issue).

I was pulling my hair out. I couldn't trust the car for my 40 mile one way commute to work. I ended up stumbling upon a forum (it may have even been here - it is going on 15 years ago) where others had the same issue. What they found was that there were two kinds of ignition cylinders. The original one, which had all all-matte finish (if I recall correctly) was the problem one - but the second one had a centric circle so that it was half smooth, half matte. The second was the good one. On the fifth time my car broke down like this, I had it towed to the dealership and when they found no problems, I told (not asked) them to replace the cylinder with the new model or I was contacting the state's AG.

After getting the newer version of the cylinder, I never had the issue again. So, if you haven't had the cylinder replaced, you may want to look into that.

Where are these located at?
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