Ford Focus Problems: 13 Most-Common Issues (Explained)

The Ford Focus has been a popular car choice due to its sporty and budget-friendly nature. However, it is important to be aware of some common problems that have surfaced over time.

 In this article, we’ll discuss these prevalent Ford Focus problems, providing valuable insight for current and potential owners alike.

In particular, certain year models have experienced issues more frequently than others, leading to recalls and customer dissatisfaction.

Check also: Ford Focus – the best and worst years.

The Main Problems

The Ford Focus has been a popular choice among drivers due to its sporty design and budget-friendly pricing. However, several common problems have been identified in certain models.

In this section, we will discuss the most prevalent issues associated with the Ford Focus.

Transmission Issues

One of the most frequent problems with the Ford Focus is related to its transmission. Specifically, many owners have reported power-shift transmission faults leading to rough shifting and even transmission failure in certain cases.

Models from 2012 to 2016 seem to be particularly prone to these issues, with 2012 being the worst affected.

Suspension Concerns

Another common problem with the Ford Focus is its suspension system. Owners have reported experiencing suspension failures, which can lead to reduced handling capabilities and eventual breakdowns.

While this issue is most commonly seen in the 2000-2004 and 2006-2011 model years, it is worth being cautious with all Focus models.

Engine Complications

Ford Focus owners have also faced engine-related issues, such as ignition problems and engine failure. These issues, although less common than transmission and suspension problems, can still cause significant expenses and inconvenience for vehicle owners.

Models from 2012 to 2014 were the most affected by such issues.

Power Steering Failures

The last major issue associated with the Ford Focus is power steering failure.

Although the issue has been most frequently reported in 2012-2014 models, some instances have also been noted in 2015 and 2016 models.

Power steering failure can lead to a loss of vehicle control, posing a serious safety concern.

Problem Affected Models
Transmission Issues 2012-2016
Suspension Concerns 2000-2004, 2006-2011
Engine Complications 2012-2014
Power Steering Failures 2012-2016

Other Smaller Problems

The Ford Focus has experienced various smaller problems in addition to its more notorious transmission, suspension, and engine issues.

It’s important for potential buyers and current owners to be aware of these minor issues as well. The following is a list of nine smaller problems often reported for the Ford Focus:

  • Alternator Issues: Some Ford Focus vehicles have experienced alternator malfunctions, leading to insufficient charging of the battery and potential electrical system failures.
  • Water Leaks: Occasionally, Ford Focus owners report that water leaks into the vehicle, typically caused by poor sealing around the doors or sunroof, which could lead to interior damage and potential electrical issues.
  • Steering Problems: There have been reports of steering difficulties, especially with the electronic power steering system in some Ford Focus models. This issue can impact vehicle handling and control.
  • Brake Issues: Some drivers have encountered issues with their Focus’s brake system, including premature wear on pads and rotors, which can lead to decreased braking performance.
  • Engine Cutting Out: A number of Ford Focus owners have experienced the engine cutting out unexpectedly, oftentimes due to sensor issues, requiring immediate attention to avoid stalling.
  • Bonnet Won’t Open: There have been instances where the bonnet release mechanism of the Ford Focus becomes stuck, making it difficult to open the bonnet and access the engine compartment.
  • Fuel System Issues: Some Ford Focus models, particularly those built between 2012 and 2018, have experienced purge valve issues in the exhaust system, which can potentially damage the fuel tank and impact fuel efficiency.
  • Ignition Problems: A few Focus models have encountered ignition issues, such as difficulty turning the key, which can result in inability to start the vehicle.
  • Malfunctioning Fuel Gauges: Inaccurate fuel gauge readings have been reported in some Ford Focus vehicles, leading to confusion about the remaining fuel level and potential for running out of gas.

It’s important to note that, while these issues are reported by Ford Focus owners, they may not affect every vehicle in the lineup.

Regular maintenance and early identification of potential problems can help minimize the impact of these smaller issues on the overall ownership experience.

General Pros and Cons with the Models

When considering the Ford Focus, it is essential to weigh its advantages and disadvantages throughout various models.

This section highlights the general pros and cons associated with these vehicles.


  • Ford Focus is known for its fun driving experience, offering a responsive and agile ride for drivers.
  • The vehicles come in various trims and styles, providing options for different preferences and budgets.
  • Many Ford Focus models have received good fuel economy ratings, making them efficient choices for daily commuting.
  • With a compact design, Ford Focus is easy to park and navigate in urban areas.


  • Transmission issues, particularly with the 2013 model
  • Dual Clutch (PowerShift) Transmission issues
  • Fuel system issues
  • Some years and models suffer from reliability problems

What Generations Have the Most Recalls?

Ford Focus models have experienced recalls over the years, with some generations facing more challenges than others.

To make it easier for the reader to understand potential issues, a comparison of recalls across generations is provided below.

Before purchasing a Ford Focus, it is essential to be aware of the recalls and common problems.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most significant issues affecting different generations of the Ford Focus:

Generation Years Notable Recalls
1st 1999-2004 Door seals corroding
2nd 2005-2011 N/A
3rd 2012-2018
  • Exhaust system: bad purge valve
  • Fuel system: tank damage, malfunctioning fuel gauges
  • Transmission problems

From the table above, one can discern that the first generation of Ford Focus had issues with door seals corroding, while the third generation faced problems related to the exhaust and fuel systems, as well as transmission concerns.

The second generation appears to have relatively fewer recall instances, making it a potential choice for buyers focused on avoiding significant issues.

What’s the Resale Value?

The resale value of a Ford Focus depends on its model year, condition, and mileage.

With 33% depreciation after 5 years, the Ford Focus has a reasonable resale value for some of its models.

Let’s take a closer look at how the residual value varies from year to year and the factors that can impact the price.

In the table below, we have highlighted some examples of used Ford Focus prices with their respective model year, mileage, and depreciation:

Model Year Mileage Price Depreciation
2009 100,000 $5,000 60%
2011 80,000 $6,000 40%
2014 60,000 $7,800 30%
2016 40,000 $9,500 20%
2018 20,000 $13,000 10%

Factors that can influence the resale value include the condition and maintenance history of the vehicle, as well as any modifications or improvements made by the previous owner.

Additionally, trim levels and optional features can also affect the market value of the vehicle.

It’s important to consider these factors when evaluating a used Ford Focus’ market value to ensure a fair purchase. By doing so, potential buyers can fully understand the resale value and make an informed decision.

What Do the Reviews Say?

Ford Focus has been a popular choice for buyers seeking a compact car, but it has faced some reliability and performance concerns.

Reviews from authoritative automotive sites highlight these issues.

“Consumer Reports reported that more than a million units of the 2012-2018 Ford Focus year models were recalled because of a bad purge valve in the exhaust system that could indirectly damage the car’s fuel tank.”

Source: Consumer Reports

These reviews confirm that various Ford Focus models have dealt with problems like exhaust and fuel system issues and faulty PowerShift transmissions, affecting the overall reliability of the vehicle.

GO BACK > problems for all Ford models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.