How to Diagnose Trouble with the Ford Focus Headlight Assembly-and What You Can Do About It
To say that headlights are important is an understatement, these help light the way through the dark nights or stormy days. What people do not immediately realize is that the headlight assembly on their Ford Focus is equally important. Though the role they play is far more passive, the assembly remains critical because it anchors the headlights in place, and also keeps the elements out off the critical electrical wiring. You tend not to notice the assembly because it is actually embedded behind your headlights-completely out of sight. Here are a few things to look-and even listen for-that might clue you in to a damaged headlight assembly:
If you start to notice that your headlights seem to be giving off a weaker light output, it could be very well be something to do with the headlights themselves or its electrical components. Just the same, you should probably check on the state of your headlight assembly too. Sometimes a broken assembly will apply physical pressure on the wires or-in worst cases-cause them to be severed. It's really worth a look considering the consequences of not having any lights to rely on when driving at night. At best, you get pulled over and ticketed. At worst, you could very well crash into something.
A good quick fix-if damage is not too severe-is to use putty or epoxy to bolster the damaged areas. Putty also helps reinforce cracked areas to prevent the cracks from growing.
Hearing a loud rattling noise as you drive coming from around the headlights is a very good sign that something has gone really wrong. The only reason there would be any rattling to begin with is because a part of the headlight assembly has fallen off. At this point, the structural integrity of the assembly is already severely compromised and should be replaced immediately. Again, the worst case scenario is to lose the use of your headlights completely-not something you want to happen if you have to drive around at night.
Ford Focus Headlight Buyer's Guide
- The Ford Focus is known for its refined styling and superior fuel economy. However, like any other auto manufacturer, Ford has issued recalls for this model.
- Some of the most significant recalls are due to a problem with the Ford Focus headlights.
- These recalls involve faulty headlight assemblies that may cause reduced visibility at night, increasing the risk of vehicle collisions.
- A pair of working headlights ensures your vehicle’s visibility in low light conditions, alerts other drivers as you switch lanes, and helps you make turns safely.
- Remember to have your headlights checked by a licensed mechanic if they appear dim, fail to illuminate, or get stuck in one setting.
The Ford Focus is one of the Blue Oval’s most popular nameplates. Introduced in 2000, it quickly became one of the most sought-after compact cars. This vehicle has captured the hearts of American drivers, not only for its refined styling but also for its superior fuel economy. However, like any other auto manufacturer, Ford has issued recalls for this model.
Ford Focus Headlight Recalls
The Ford Focus has been through its own share of ups and downs in the last two decades. Despite its reputation for reliability, the brand has issued technical service bulletins for certain model years. Some of the most significant recalls are due to a problem with the Ford Focus headlights.
Recall number: 08E050000 (August 11, 2008), 09E025000 (May 11, 2009), 06E026000 (March 23, 2006)
These recalls were issued due to headlight assemblies that were not equipped with amber side reflectors that are required per the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Without these side markers, the car may be less visible in the dark, increasing the risk of a vehicle collision at night or under severe weather conditions.
Recall number: 13V335000 (August 1, 2013)
This recall applies to certain Ford Focus models that carry High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights. Affected headlights were manufactured between September 2011 to May 2013 (applicable to the 2013 model year), and February 2012 to May 2013 (applicable to the 2012 model year).
The headlight assemblies covered in this recall had faulty wiring which caused the compact car’s side marker lamps to malfunction. If the Ford Focus headlight assembly wiring is not fixed, the headlights may not produce enough illumination to ensure that the vehicle is visible to other drivers in the dark.
Why is a Ford headlight replacement important?
Your car’s headlights are some of the most important safety mechanisms of your vehicle. In fact, it is illegal in most states to drive if one or both exterior lights are malfunctioning. A pair of working headlights ensures that your vehicle is visible to drivers and pedestrians on the road. Each headlight assembly also includes turn signal lights which allow you to switch lanes and make turns safely.
A faulty headlight is often a result of a burnt-out Ford Focus headlight bulb. They are also prone to collision damage since they are located above the bumper. Small cracks may cause moisture to build-up inside the headlight housing, resulting in oxidation that makes your headlights look cloudy or yellow. Remember to have your headlights checked by a licensed mechanic if they appear dim, fail to illuminate, or get stuck in one setting.
Tips for Keeping Your Ford Focus Headlight Assembly in Tip-Top Shape
The Ford Focus has rightfully earned its spot as one of Ford's most popular compact car offerings. It's a position it earned through reliability, great fuel economy, and performance. Even a car as well-accepted as the Ford Focus needs to be safe, however, or else it isn't a worthwhile investment. Among all the safety features of a car, headlights are rarely thought of-the role they play is truly indispensable. The headlight assembly is a pretty important player in the whole concept of safety as it provides the anchor that securely holds the headlight in place-without it, the lights are apt to just fall off! The key, then, to keeping the headlights functional is to keep the headlight assembly that houses it well-maintained. Here are a couple of tips that you can use to keep your assembly in the best condition:
Some people think that it's enough to simply clean the headlights themselves while ignoring the assembly underneath. That isn't a good idea as the assembly underneath holds everything in place. A weekend car wash will never address the cleanliness of the assembly as the task of cleaning requires you to pop the hood-that's why cleaning can be limited to at least once per quarter of the year. And by cleaning, we don't mean full-on "water and soap" wash-you could very well damage the electrical system of the headlight that way. A damp cloth should suffice to wipe off-gently-any dust and dirt that accumulates on and around the assembly.
Check for cracks.
The biggest enemy of the headlight assembly can be the tiniest, most inconspicuous cracks. So when you take time to look over your Ford Focus headlight assembly, it's important that you really look over ever inch for even the smallest bit of damage. That little crack you see, over time-and with the constant vibrations of a fired-up engine-can slowly grow bigger and bigger until the whole assembly breaks apart. The quick fix is to apply a small bit of epoxy or putty to stay the growth of the crack. If it's too big-greater than an inch-no quick fixes will be sufficient-you have to replace the headlight assembly immediately.
Ford Focus Headlight
Enhance your Driving Safety at Night with Proper Ford Focus Headlight Maintenance
Driving at night or in dark areas would be seamless and fun if you have high-quality, bright headlights. However, there will come a time when your car's headlights will let you down. Due to wear and tear, you might need to get yourself into a costly and tedious replacement. Good thing, there are ways to extend your headlight's lifespan so you don't have to buy a new one. Here are a few tricks to keeping your Ford Focus headlight in top condition:
- Always inspect the lenses.
Make it a habit to see if your headlight lenses are still in proper working condition. Headlights usually become cloudy after some time, causing their beams to diffuse. This makes it difficult for you to see the road and makes driving risky. Some headlight lenses are more vulnerable to peeling and flaking after a few years. That is why you should inspect them for these early signs of damage. If you find your headlight lenses to be damaged, replacing them as soon as possible is essential to prevent electrical repairs that have resulted from exposed headlight bulbs.
- Regularly clear dirt and debris off the headlights.
Washing off dirt and other contaminants from the headlights can go a long way in preserving your them. Use a tape to cover the area and to avoid scratching the paint around the headlight. Make sure that you wash the headlight using car soap only. You can also apply cleaning agents, so long as you read the product label and ensure that they have no harmful chemicals.
A 1000-grit sandpaper is another tool you may need when cleaning the lens. Just wet the surface and sand in one direction only. After you have wiped off the soap and water with a towel, applying a wax sealer caps off the procedure.
- Replace damaged headlights in pairs.
Some drivers replace only one headlight and end up with one bright and one dim light. To get both lights at the same brightness level, it's best to replace them in pairs. Even if only one headlight has gone bad, the other must be replaced as well. This ensures that you don't have to replace any one of your headlights anytime soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all Ford Focus headlights street legal?
It depends on the specific headlights brand. Check brands online to see if they are street legal as mandated by federal law in the United States. Ford Focus headlights bought directly from Ford are designed to the specifications set forth by the DOT (United States Department of Transportation). However, local laws may still restrict usage of some Focus headlight brands, so, there is no guarantee that all headlight brands are legal.
Are Ford Focus headlights compatible with Xenon HIDs?
It depends on the bulb fit. Usually, Focus headlights have enough physical space to accommodate HID bulbs. But even if the bulb fits, only low wattage HID kits can be installed on a Ford Focus. Wattages higher then 35w can damage the headlights due to excessive heat. Also, most projector headlights convert the stock bulbs to a different type. Therefore, it's important to get the appropriate replacement bulb for the stock projector bulb, which is usually an H1, h4, H7, or 9006.
How can moisture or fog be prevented from entering Ford focus headlights?
It's normal to observe some moisture in newly-installed Ford Focus headlights upon the first few days of its operation. This is because the headlights' plastic and coating contain moisture that evaporate when the headlights are first warmed up during use. There's no need to worry since this will disappear after a few days. However, sealing the headlights' edges with a clear silicone sealant ensures that no moisture gets inside the headlights. Just apply this sealant to the seam along the Focus headlights where the clear lens meets the rear housing.
How can a Ford Focus headlight be adjusted?
Generally, Ford recommends bringing the Focus to an authorized service station for headlight adjustment. However, it's possible for DIYers to adjust the headlight on a Ford Focus by themselves. The procedure can be done using a few tools such as a Torx tool head or an Allen wrench. It's simple and it involves only 4 to 5 steps to be accomplished.