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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
115,703 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Apr 122016


  • 105,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing belt needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 105,000.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #22

Dec 312001


  • 20,000 miles
Driving Ford Focus slowly in snow, a Jeep spun out of control hit the drivers side front of car spun around and hit us again from the rear.airbag deployed and it my passenger full in face. Damaged her face with chemical burns and created a coroidital tear in her eye that is permanent and permanent vision loss in one eye. The impact of the airbag jarred her brain and she now has a brain injury called chiari malformation,

- Kingwood, WV, USA

problem #21

Feb 262015


  • 206,000 miles
After a 2~ hour drive, engine was turned off and restarted 5min later. An intake valve seat dropped and it instantly smacked the piston on the first turn of the engine, it hit hard enuf to blow the piston apart and the connecting rod put a hole thru the piston liner. Putting coolant in to the crank case, as it was no longer connected to the piston any more. Needless to say it was not able to drive. I repaired the auto with a aftermarket head from and a short block out of a parts car. After doing some research im not the only person to have this failure, there are Focus all over the net that have had this failure. I seem to be lucky as its much more common for it to happen around 110/140K then 206K the escort also has the same engine or one of the same spi SOHC 1.9/2.0 engine family and can also have this failure... I repaired the auto only because of its above average mpg, had it not gotten high 30S or better, I would have gotten rid of it. As the value of the auto is around 1,400~ and the repair was about half that, doing all the work my self...taking it to a shop was out of the question as the cost to repair would have been 2X the value of the auto or worse....

- Rainier, OR, USA

problem #20

Jul 012015


  • 200,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle would suddenly stop accelerating and responding when depressing the accelerator pedal.the speed of the vehicle would not increase past 30 mph. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who replaced the spark plugs, but the failure continued to occur. The manufacturer was not informed of the failure. The failure mileage was 200,000.

- Barnwell, SC, USA

problem #19

May 292015


  • 111,000 miles
The contact owned a 2001 Ford Focus. While driving at approximately 60 mph, the vehicle caught fire. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to the salvage yard. The cause of the failure was unknown. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 111,000.

- 2811 Brighton Road, PA, USA

problem #18

May 132015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. While driving at approximately 65 mph, the vehicle started to jerk and the contact smelled smoke. The battery warning indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the vehicle was stopped on the side of the road and the ignition was turned to the off position as the contact exited the vehicle. The contact observed flames under the hood of the vehicle. The vehicle restarted without being prompted and started rolling forward. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police report was filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was towed to a tow yard where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure and the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 02V288000 (electrical system). The failure mileage was approximately 130,000.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 022015


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Brookings , SD, USA

problem #16

Oct 162014


  • 127,000 miles
1.engine fades or loses power rapidly during execution of freeway- speed turns (off ramps for example) without braking; I have gone from 50 to 20 mph within 1-2 seconds while in front of another vehicle and semi (very dangerous). The vehicle was tuned and typical parts replaced for smog check a few months ago and passed smog check without comments. This problem started around 100K and has happened to other drivers who borrow my car. The Ford dealership (serramonte Ford) was unable to recreate the problem so I paid 150 dollars for a can of fuel additive and lost use of the car for 8 hour even though I was asked to drop it off start of morning. 2. now it stutters or hesitates during high acceleration (ie passing lane or going uphill) on highway; the vehicle is no longer reliable esp. If you should need to rapidly increase power. I have read of possible connection related to either a fuel pump or debris from the fuel tank inner coating/material composition degrading over time.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 142014


  • 98,000 miles
I was driving on interstate 5 in portland or. My engine just stopped!! right in the middle lane of traffic. Luckily it was early rush hour so it was stop and go traffic. But, was very scary and difficult to get my car off the freeway. I was told that 2001 Ford Focus's have a fuel line problem that has been recalled. I purchased this car in 2008. There was only 1 previous owner. This recall was not repaired on this car. Please help. Thanks

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #14

Aug 082014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 195,000 miles
As I was driving home after dropping my daughter off the car just stopped. I let it roll to a complete stop and then put it in park. I tried to crank the car and I got nothing. All the lights, horn, and all still works by the engine does nothing.

- Mint Hill , NC, USA

problem #13

Jun 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,900 miles


Was driving my car at 55 mph at 11:20 pm on way home from work car made jerk lost all power no brakes no steering black smoke coming through vents to inside of car and flames coming from under hood car fully engulfed in flames blew up.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #12

Jan 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Sunday 05 Jan 2014 I had recently parked my car, turned it off, and was outside of my vehicle (2001 Ford Focus) when I began to notice smoke coming from the hood of the vehicle. I was confused at first, as the car was completely off for a few minutes before any problems began. Within a matter of two minutes the smoke had increased, thickened, and began to smell. My friend was nearby and had noticed that something was not right. He came over and we both took a couple steps toward the front of the car to figure out what was going on. Immediately flames burst up from the hood. At this point we instantly ran from the vehicle, dialing 911. The flames got worse as we waited from a distance for the fire department to arrive. At this point I was unsure as to whether the car would completely blow up or not, as the flames became worse with every minute. The fire department arrived within approximately five minutes. They were able to put the fire out in a few minutes, but had to break the window and then pry the hood open in order to do so. After the fire was completely out and the scene was safe I was able to talk with the firemen. They showed me under the hood and said the fire seemed to be something electrical and looked as if it had started near the front right of the vehicle under the hood (somewhere close to the passenger headlight). They also explained, as I had already assumed, that the vehicle was unsalvageable.

- Petersburg, MI, USA

problem #11

Aug 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parked, she heard a loud grinding noise as oil and radiator fluid leaked from under the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The mechanic stated that the engine would have to be replaced because the valve stem had fractured, causing the piston to detach from the engine. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Zellwood , FL, USA

problem #10

May 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 111,343 miles
I was at the gas station filling up the car when I was finished I went to start the car only to hear a sound that reminded me of running over coins with a vacuum and then all of a sudden the vehicle turned off and would not restart. I had the car towed to my place of residence and my father-in-law later on had it towed to a mechanic shop. The mechanic there said that the valve seat broke off and messed up the head and cannot be repaired it has to be replaced. I have since been without a vehicle. I also have been doing some research on this matter and have found that this has been an ongoing problem with others and their Ford Focus.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #9

Jun 162013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 197,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the engine exploded while sitting idle at a traffic stop. There were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to determine the cause of the failure. The failure and the current mileages were 197,000.

- Griffin, GA, USA

problem #8

Apr 092013


  • 122,125 miles
Ford Motor Company knew and has know for years about bad valve seats in their 2000-2004 Focus's with 2.0L split port injection engine. Where ever these heads were made, the quality control for this part was not evaluated properly. The engine drops a 'pressed in' steel valve seat that falls into the cylinder and puts too much stress on the piston, bore, and connecting rods of the engine. Under this stress it generally will cause rods to break, warp or come through the block wall. (which is what happened to my engine). It may be a cooling problem, it may be faulty design or poor craftsmanship. Regardless, if this car won so many awards over it's lifetime from motor trend or other institutions....then they should be backing the many people who have had to fork out thousands in engine repairs and parts to fix this problem. It seems to show up at variable mileage...which I'm sure is due to each individuals driving habits. And it's obvious it's a defect --due to the similarity each person has experienced. It almost always happens to the same cylinder (number 4) and it's always just this particular engine...this is not coincidence...this is poor quality control...and should be addressed as such. I believe a recall by Ford is in order....without question by Ford motor....they're CEO makes about fixing these might explain why so many people stop buying Ford and go foreign....and I can hardly blame them when they do! you need to come half way with the people on this matter Ford motor---it's hurting your reliability and dependability issues. I replaced the engine for a whopping $2896 and will never buy a Ford anything.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 102013


  • 199,806 miles
I have a 2001 Ford Focus LX with 199,871 miles on it and its my first Ford car. I have owned many of Ford trucks in my life and always fixed problems with them myself. But with my Focus, every time in the past 4 years when I turn a corner roughly around 15 mph or over, it cuts out and the car bogs out and jumps like the engine is going to jump out then I get a bad smell almost like sulfur coming from the car. All fluid levels are good with a full gas tank. This happens whether the car is hot or cold. Usually I can just punch the gas pedal to the floor and it will eventually gain RPM's again and go with no problems until I turn sharp again. I have recently replaced spark plugs and cables, alternator, transmission and clutch plate, fuel pump and various PCV valves and hoses. Had the fuel pressure tested and it was fine. This problem has been consistent like this for the past 4 years with no other problems. I have always been a Ford guru but this car is making me think twice. I have 2 small children that go with me almost everywhere with me and just today as I turned a corner getting on the highway ramp, it bogged out worse then ever with many angry drivers on my tail. I thought I was going to crash the car into the guard rail. I hit the pedal to the floor like I usually do and it started going again, but in fifth gear it kept jumping and cutting out. I turned off the side of the road to turn the car off then back on and it ran fine all the way home. I have read many forums with the same issues on my make and model and tried many solutions with no luck. With your expertise, do you have any ideas why this is happening. I see this problem allot with Focus but never any working solutions.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #6

May 232012


  • 70,000 miles
Saturday May 04/2013 my car killed over 30 times driving about 5 miles. This happened last year doing 60mph on the freeway. It is impossible to restart a manual transmission at this speed. In this case, I drove into the service department of Ford of bellevue and it continued to kill while there trying to move it. The service person blew me off wouldn't even take the time check it out or even listen. As I was driving out it killed too many times to count. The sales manager said to bring it in Monday. Sunday it stopped killing. When I brought it in Monday, I asked for the service manager, the service employee went to find him & it took about 10 minutes, that was curios as the place was deserted. When the service manager arrived, he refused to discuss the matter only saying we were busy. I had contacted Ford as well as the franchise holder auto nations previously but nothing was done. Last week I sent a letter to the chief engineer at Ford but I suspect nothing will be done at that level again. In my research I found the following information today that was posted by another individual " the vehicle is stalling at unpredictable times due to fuel delivery system/fuel pump. I am a ase certified mechanic. I talked to Ford, then I called the local dealer. They told me, as they have in the past it's a fuel pump issue..." there is more to this posting but the bottom line Ford knew of this problem all along and chose to ignore it. This is an accident waiting to happen & it could be a killer.

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #5

Sep 122012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2001 Ford Focus. Consumer request reimbursement for repairs and investigation for possible recall. The consumer is requesting an investigation into the common problem of valve seat breakage in Ford older engines. The breakage was due to intake valve seats that were made of a powered metal that shattered easily. The consumer wrote to Ford requesting reimbursement for the damage caused to her engine. On September 17, 2012, roughly two miles after exiting the highway, the consumer came to a complete stop at a red light. When the light turned green, she engaged the gas pedal, and the vehicle began to make an unusual noise and jerked loudly and violently. She was able to drive the vehicle abut two more feet, before the steering seized. The vehicle would not go into neutral and it died completely and had to be pushed to a parking lot on the side of the road. The vehicle was then towed to a mechanic and a diagnosis revealed, one of the pistons, cylinder #1 was extremely damaged, due to the valve seat failure which shattered the piston and broke off pieces of the piston skirt and bent the connecting rod. There was no damage to the cylinder wall, as pieces of the piston skirt were found in the oil pan and pieces of the piston crown were found in the bottom of the intake manifold.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 172012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
I was stopped at a red light, when the light turned green and I engaged the gas pedal the car began to clank and jerk loudly and violently. I droveŁ the car about two feet before the steering seized up, the car could not be put into neutral, died completely, and had to be pushed to the side of the road. One of the pistons, cylinder # 1, was extensively damaged, due to the valve seat failure which shattered the piston, broke off pieces of the piston skirt, and bent the connecting rod. No damage was done to the cylinder wall, but pieces of the piston skirt were found in the oil pan, and pieces of the piston crown were found in the bottom of intake manifold. Valve seat breakage in the older model Focus, is so common that aera engine rebuilders association issued two bulletins (TB 1725 & TB 1939) to alert the industry to this issue. These bulletins state that the ┐intake valve seats are made of a powdered metal that shatters easilyŁ. on October 29, 2012, after the vehicle had been repaired, I phoned Ford to request a refund for the cost of the parts and was informed, that since there was no recall no refund could be issued. The valve seats have subsequently been modified from the faulty powdered metal type, this shows that Ford is and was aware of this issue. Internet entries that outline this problem on the 2001 model can be found at numerous websites, including:

- Sacramento, CA, USA

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