Ford Ka: common problems and solutions

The Ford Ka is the smallest car produced by Ford and has been in production since 1996. You can have a look at our full review here. These cars are known to be very practical despite their size but lack refinement - which has its share of problems. The first two generations are available as three-door hatchbacks, plus the first generation included a sporty model, the SportKa, and the two-door convertible StreetKa. The second generation Ford Ka, which was introduced in 2009, is built by Fiat in conjunction with their popular Fiat 500.

If you are looking for replacement parts for your Ford Ka use to find them at a fraction of the usual price. You can search our website using the Find a Part tool.

Ford Ka common problems and solutions

Picture of a black Ford Ka

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Fan blower motor problems

Problem: Any Ka up until 1999 could have a faulty fan motor blower which does not operate on settings one, two or three and has a smell of burning plastic. The connectors on the blower motor multiplug may not be connecting properly causing the multiplug to melt.

Solution: You will need to fit a revised blower motor resistor and wiring loom to solve the issue. Find cooling and heating parts for your Ford Ka here.


Brake fluid leakage

Problem: On a 2000 Ford Ka the brake fluid warning light may come on prior to there needing any sort of top up. This is caused by a leak in the brake hose connected to the wheel cylinder.On a 2000 Ford Ka the brake fluid warning light may come on prior to any sort of top up being required. This is caused by a leak in the brake hose connected to the wheel cylinder.

Solution: The connection will most likely need to be tightened to the new recommended torque of 17.5nm. If this doesn't fix the problem then you might need to replace either the brake hose or wheel cylinder. Search for braking system parts now.


Central locking problem

Problem: The 1999 Ka was prone to the central locking not working due to the pins on the door wiring harness getting corroded or damaged by water leaks.

Solution: You might be able to clean and re-use, but if not you will have to fit new pins. You should also fill the gap at the cable grommet to stop any further leaks.


Wheel cylinder problems

Problem: This issue occurred on vehicles built between 1996 and 1999 as water leaked into the rear wheel cylinders, causing the brakes to stick and make a funny noise.

Solution: The best way to stop this is to install a rubber gasket around the wheel cylinder. This will prevent water seeping through any gaps.


Rust problems

Problem: The underneath of the Ka chassis, especially around the wheel arches, simply rots away overtime. The metal used just doesn't seem to be able to handle various weather conditions over a prolonged period.

Solution: You may want to try and weld up some of the rusted and broken areas, however, if the vehicle is left too long the only thing left to do might be a trip to the scrap yard as the cost to resolve the rust problem might be too high to get your car through the MOT.


TPS sensor problems

Problem: On the 1996 Ka there have been reported issues with the revs being too high when changing gears. This is due to the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) not working correctly as it had bad connectors.

Solution: To fix this, you have to fit a new sensor and wiring loom. This fault has been rectified on vehicles built after 1996.


Rear brake problems

Problem: The rear brake drums on the 1996 Ka were known to get damaged when tightening the wheel bolts causing a vibration. The wheels, brake drums and wheel hubs were revised to sort this problem.

Solution: You have to fit the revised parts to solve this issue.


The part you need: You will find the parts you need for this problem by clicking here

Idle speed control valve (ISCV)

Problem: This problem leads to stalling at junctions and rough idling. The ISCV is also known as the air bypass valve and is located on the inlet manifold. The issue is normally down to the valve becoming clogged up over time with carbon and oil deposits. Have a look at the video below:

Solution:To solve this problem you may be able to remove the ISCV and clean it out. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you’ll have to fit a new ISCV.



Considering the Ford Ka has been in production since 1996 there have not been many recalls, which is testament to its good build quality. To date (early 2015) there have been three recalls in total , all to do with problems with the brakes. Below is a list of recalls, which has been taken from the Department of Transport recalls database. Click the links to find more information on each recall.

  • Braking problems – 17-12-1998

    On some Ford Ka vehicles there was an issue with the brake master cylinder failing and causing a loss of one braking circuit. This recall affected cars built between 30th March and 30th September 1998. Those vehicles were recalled so that technicians could check the brake master cylinder and replace it if necessary.

  • Front brake hose – 22-07-2002

    There was a possibility that the front brake hose could fail to be retained and end up rubbing on the front wheel rim. This might have led to a brake fluid leak and caused a loss in braking performance. Vehicles thought to have been affected were recalled and a tie strap was fitted to ensure the front brake hose was secured to the support clip.

  • Rear brakes locking- 17-02-2009

    Ford Ka cars built between 26th May 2008 and 30th January 2009 might have suffered with loose rear brake back plate bolts. The specified torque may not have been achieved when tightening the bolts so that one could fall into the brake drum and cause brake lining damage and possibly wheel lockup. These rear brake back plate bolts were checked on recalled vehicles to make sure they were tight enough.

The above list is not exhaustive and we know that some problems will not be listed.