Compact cars are helpful for daily commutes, city driving and getting the most for your money at the pump. One of the most popular options on the market is none other than the Ford Focus. These cars come in various colors to help drivers represent their personalities, but there is also something to say about their dependable powertrains, cozy interior styles and world-class safety features.
The Ford Focus is loved by drivers worldwide. However, no vehicle goes without its share of problems at some point. Use this guide to identify potential issues with your Ford Focus for a timely repair job.
How Reliable Is the Ford Focus?
The Ford Focus is available as a four-door sedan and hatchback style. Both varieties stand as competitive players in the compact sector and keep their loyal followings with attractive exteriors and luxurious interiors.
As far as the reliability of the Ford Focus goes, the vehicle sees average scores from J.D. Power and other outlets. The cars are meant to sit at an economical price point, resulting in some systems featuring more cost-effective parts and materials compared to other Ford vehicles. It's common for the Ford Focus to receive quality and reliability scores in the upper 70s out of 100.
The Ford Motor Company announced it is discontinuing the Ford Focus as of 2025 to focus efforts on SUVs and electric vehicles. The fourth-generation body style will be the last we'll see from the brand, so it's important to monitor your current Focus model and complete repairs as needed to keep your car working.
Typical Problems Seen With the Ford Focus
Common problems with a Ford Focus can be widespread depending on which model year you own. The Focus has been available since 1999, so the following list describes issues you'd be most likely to see with first- (1999-2004), second- (2005-2011), third- (2012-2018) and fourth-generation (2019-present) vehicles.
1. Issues With the PowerShift Transmission System
One of the most notable issues with third-generation Focus models relates to Ford's PowerShift transmission system. These vehicles feature a dual-clutch automatic transmission that resulted in more than 2 million drivers receiving compensation for the technology's defects.
The PowerShift transmission system in 2012, 2013 and 2014 cars is known to stutter when upshifting from a stop and send vibrations throughout the cabin. Drivers should pay attention to transmission behaviors throughout ownership, even if the transmission has been repaired previously. Your vehicle may require new clutch plates due to rough shifts at high speeds.
2. Engine Stalls While Driving
A recurring problem with second-generation Ford Focus models is the engine stalling or dying completely when drivers are behind the wheel. The issue can be intermittent, meaning technology under the hood could turn off on its own, work fine for a few weeks and behave like this again.
There are a few solutions known to resolve this issue. If you're up for a do-it-yourself project, drivers have had decent luck changing out the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) fuel pump.
3. Rough Idling During Stops
Drivers with Ford Focus models have reported RPM spikes when sitting at red lights. This issue mostly pertains to second-generation series vehicles, but rough idling can be distracting behind the wheel and lead to premature wear and tear on engine components.
It can be hard to find the root of rough idling, but checking out your vehicle's air intake system is a solid place to start. Many believe the problem is caused by a faulty throttle body — a component necessary for controlling the amount of air reaching your engine. Replacing this part of your air intake system may yield positive results.
4. Car Refuses to Start
The ignition system on a Ford Focus can give you a problem in more than one way. Drivers may experience the inconvenience of keys that will not turn in the ignition, making it impossible to start the vehicle. Others may drive a Ford Focus for years and find the keys get stuck in the ignition once the car is off and they're ready to exit the cabin. The steering wheel can lock up in addition to these key and ignition troubles.
Rather than getting stranded in a parking lot or contacting a locksmith, drivers with 2001-2005 models should replace the ignition system for peace of mind.
5. Power Steering Stops Working
The power steering system on your compact car makes it easy to turn the wheel clockwise and counterclockwise when the vehicle is running. A widespread Ford Focus issue involves power steering system failures in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 models. When the system gives out, drivers are left with a steering wheel that feels stiff and requires a great deal of force to move.
Power steering problems with the Ford Focus can be frightening for drivers, as it quickly becomes hard to control these vehicles at any speed. The Ford Motor Company has not issued any recalls for the third-generation series. Instead, drivers can replace the electric power steering motor and rack and pinion setup to increase reliability.
6. Exhaust System Problems
The 2012-2018 third-generation Ford Focus models were subject to a recall surrounding the OEM exhaust system. Drivers were asked to take vehicles in for service, as a purge valve could inflict damage on the stock fuel tank. Vehicles affected by this issue could experience a sudden loss of power, incorrect fuel gauge readings and trouble starting up the engine after the vehicle stalled out.
Ford made the responsible decision and allowed drivers to get Ford Focus models from the era reprogrammed and faulty parts changed out. However, you could still see problems in this area of your vehicle down the road. If you find trouble with your original fuel tank, installing a new assembly is proactive for correcting leaks and eliminating buildups that may accumulate because of the malfunctioning purge valve.
7. Suspension Causes Wear and Tear
The Ford Focus has seen some issues pertaining to suspension designs. Models from 2008 and 2009 were notorious for having noisy suspension components at the back of the vehicles. In addition to squeaking sounds, many drivers with these vehicles noticed premature tire wear.
Some Ford Focus owners have had luck replacing high-tension parts like the shocks for a better driving experience. If you own a 2008 or 2009 Ford Focus, you might consider changing from the stock wheel and tire setup for something more durable.
Rely on StockWise Auto for Ford Focus Repair Parts
Taking care of a vehicle is much easier when you have the right repair parts available. StockWise Auto is a supplier of OEM and replacement parts that require no modifications to work properly. We can honestly say we offer vehicle components for some of the lowest prices on the web, and our customer service team is there for you when you need us for questions and recommendations.
StockWise Auto simplifies the repair process with offerings compatible with Ford Focus models from multiple generations. Take projects into your own hands knowing we'll ship to homes, businesses and other locations for your convenience. Look through our parts catalog online and find what you need for your Ford Focus!