Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
114,131 miles
Total Complaints:
64 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (17 reports)
  2. junk it (11 reports)
  3. not sure (11 reports)
  4. put in a used motor (10 reports)
  5. rebuild motor (10 reports)
  6. new motor, new factory motor mount (2 reports)
2001 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Jan 132012


  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles


oh my gosh, my 27 yr old daughter who is a single mother bought a 2001 Ford Focus from my best friend. Well 10 days after she bought it, on her first long trip with my 2 yr old grandaughter, the car broke down with my daughter hearing an awful sound. She was out in the middle of nowhere. My husband and I got to her and had to have the car towed to a mechanic over an hour away. The car needs a new motor, the rod had broke. When will this end? FORD-do something! We've always bought Ford products and trusted its safety and use. This event caused a feud between my friend and myself and we are no longer friends. My daughter iscarledd, very sad and disappointed, God Bless Her, she's dealing with it the best she can. She's having to make payments on a car she had for ten days and can't even drive, so sad....anyone out there at Ford care? Something terrible could have happened to my daughter and grandaughter out in the middle of nowhere by themselves and you would have been blamed. Why haven't you recalled this car regarding this issue?

- , Fortuna, CA, USA

problem #43

Dec 042011

Focus LX 2.0L (P)

  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,000 miles

The issue was the water pump seized and broke the timing belt. I was very lucky to not have the "interference" motor. My mechanic checked the compression of each valve. I had 0 in the first one, however he actually took a camera and scoped it out. There was no damage to the valve. The pump and belt were replaced and the car was back to normal.

I urge anyone looking to purchase a used Ford Focus to do their research and have it checked out by a mechanic you can trust. Make sure it is NOT an "interference" motor. If the timing belt breaks, it will throw a valve and you WILL need to replace the motor to have it run. Good luck to all!

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #42

Dec 162011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

i have a on going problem with the number one cylinder/ combustion chamber, the valve burnt out once, had to get it replaced and rebuild about one year and half ago. know i believe to same problem is going on, fuel is going into the number one cylinder but there is no combustion, i have spark and fuel going to the cylinder but know combustion, i believe the valve is not closing and it will eventually burn through again, what can i do to prevent this or reverse this, before i have to rip apart engine again? email me if you can help

your help is greatly appreciated

- , Winnipeg, Manitoba, canada

problem #41

Mar 072011

Focus EX 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure

My daughter bought a 2001 Ford Focus at a use car dealer and it had problems from the start. She had her car gone over by the ford Dealer because her engine lacked power and idled rough. They charged her for fixing the problem but did not. As time went on for months performance got poorer. Then last week it made a an awful banging/grinding noise then stop working. We had our family mechanic take the engine apart and the photos show what he found. In addition he said the intake manifold was not on properly and the vacuum hose had a leak, all after Ford serviced her car. After researching this car and engine 2 liter SOHC we found out that this problem of a blown engine some law fire is not only common but known to Ford. We are looking at $1500 for parts plus labor. I am surprised some law firm has not gotten a hold of this and done a class action suit against Ford Motor company. Apparently Quality is Job one? Is this what Ford got out of their Six Sigma initiative in 1999? Supplying motors known to be made out of inferior metals became job one instead apparently.

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #40

Oct 182011

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else in this forum; Valve seat broke off and hammered up the head and pistons. Scraped together all of my money to buy this car for $1,400 from a private seller and within ONE MONTH of buying it, the engine blew. Needless to say, I was and am furious. I dropped $1,400 down the sewer and now I am stuck with a piece of junk, and am in need of a car to get me to work. Totally screwed. I wish I would have found this forum before I decided to buy the car! Stay far away from this car.

- , Robbinsdale, MN, USA

problem #39

Oct 212011

Focus SEL 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Well, I might as well voice my frustrations regarding the Ford Focus with the 2.0L SOHC. What a joke by Ford. (and I am a Ford enthusiast). Bought the car with 115,000 miles and a few months later, the car dropped a valve seat. This caused the connecting Rod to break off at the piston Wrist pin, destroyed the skirt, and scarred the cylinder wall. I should have known better. I had a 95 Escort with the same Engine (1.9L). It dropped a valve seat and I was able to do the head and it was fine. I sold it and bought the Focus. Unfortunately, I did not find this site until it was too late. The only bonus is I know how to rebuild engines which I will have to do to recoup my money on the Car. Wish I got the DOHC Model.

- , Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #38

Aug 022011

Focus SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


I own a 2001 ford focus station wagon w/ a dual overhead cam engine. So i stopped to get gas on the way to six flags, car started up and drove another 15 miles no problem, as soon as I parked at six flags the car died and would not restart. Ended up having to have it towed about 3 days later, cost 75.00. Had it taken to the shop, they told me that the engine had bad compression 2 cyl are at 75 and other 2 at 100, they are supp to have 150 each. So they informed me that I need a whole new engine, I was pretty upset that I have consistently had problems with this car and now this. I did call around to some junk yards and found engines priced from 300-450. So that is prob what I am going to have to do, as I really cannot afford to buy a new vehicle @ this time. I am def done w/ ford after this car, which really needs to go as soon as possible.

Update from Nov 30, 2011: Well had to put in a new engine. Have been waiting on doing this since Aug. Paid 250 for a used engine w/ 76,000 miles on it. Then fortunatly had a family member to be able to put it in for me. Def would have been way more expensive if I would have had the shop do it.

But hope it will be done soon, cant wait to have my own vehicle back.

- , High Ridge, MO, USA

problem #37

Jul 272011

Focus SE 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure

I have a 2001 ford focus SOHC SP1 4 cylinder ( P) 2.0L, and the engine went out last week. Never had a problem with it before. Turned it off to get something from MC'D and went to start it it wouldn't start. Ended up having it towed to the house. So we changed out the timing belt as it had jumped, but that didn't fix the problem. So my son broke down the engine, and found that #2 piston come apart.

- , Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #36

Sep 302011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

From beginning having Ford Focus was big mistake. After just 2 weeks we have replaced fuel pump. In about 30000 miles it started knocking noise somewhere on the front of the car. The Ford dealer could not find out what problem is,some of them could not hear that noise or just was excuse. After we have replaced some parts thinking that can causes noise,but without results.In the last year that noise become more loud.I stopped the car in the parking lot and everything looked OK,after about 15 min I tried to start the car, oil and battery light were on and engine made a terrible noise and it could not start. Towing takes my car to the shop and they found out it was the engine. Everything is the same as so many people described. I am very disappointed because we always took the car to the dealer and we regularly maintained them.Ford Company should be ashamed for all of this.

- , Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

problem #35

Nov 042011

Focus LX Sw

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I always avoided Fords. Always bought Toyota or Honda. But this time I had an inside route so accepted a Ford. Was just recently thinking ... "ok, I'll admit - Ford has really done a turn-around and are finally offering the quality I'm looking for...I would buy another Ford". /

Then my car just up & dies. My mechanic says he recommends against rebuilts because they apparently are likely to do the same thing again.

Do you think I will EVER give Ford another chance? Not on your life.

- , Warrenville, IL, USA

problem #34

Nov 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


Well I bought the car used and the owner at the time had a print out of the car fax. Once I made the decision to purchase the car ($2900) Things were okay the first month. A mysterious rattling started under the hood, but only when I accelerate. Then the check oil light would light up only when I pressed the brakes or stopped completely. I checked the oil & it was fine. After four months, when I went in my car to start the engine it made this horrible sound & vibrated but wouldn't start. Took it to the mechanic and found out a piston broke :( I felt like the oil pump was losing pressure but the mechanic said oil was definitely lubricating the entire engine. So why did the piston break?

- , Laveen, AZ, USA

problem #33

May 062011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,231 miles

Bought the 2001 Ford Focus SOHC for 900 bucks and though I stole it. Bought at 157,000 miles and at 159,200 miles the valve seat in cylinder 4 dropped and destroyed the head and motor. After doing some research I am replacing the motor myself with a 2.0 DOHC motor. The SOHC is know for dropping valve seats. The DOHC swap is going to take some work but the reliability and price difference is worth it. Over $3,000 to put in a rebuilt Jasper 2.0 SOHC. About $750 bucks total to get a nice used DOHC in there plus my friend and I labor. Wish I knew about the SOHC valve seat issue before I bought the car.

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #32

Apr 152011

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I had the same problem...stopped for gas and the engine died. Took it to the mechanic and found out that there was a problem with the valve seat and 3 pistons...nothing to do just to sell it for parts...

- , BUCHAREST, Romania, Romania

problem #31

Apr 162011

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The car was running perfectly. I just went out and after about 3 miles stopped for gas. When I started the car again it made a loud noise and just stopped working. And now I find out that it's the valve seat and 3 pistons extremely damaged, Nothing to do with it but sell it for parts...because in Romania there are few American model Fords like mine and the European parts don't match.

- , BUCHAREST, Romania, Romania

problem #30

Jan 032011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure

I have a 2001 ford focus SOHC SP1 4 cylinder ( P) 2.0L, and the engine went out. I took the motor apart and found mayor damage to cylinder head and on engine block on one of the pistons. Car was running fine, except it always had this annoying knocking like sound. I thought it was a valve going bad or for this matter a rocker arm, so I was waiting for rhe weather to get better to work on it because in WI around January it gets a little cool outside, but one day I went to get fuel shut the car down and when I re-started the car, the engine started making this very loud knocking noise, and die. Just to be clear, when I mention above an annoying knocking sound, car was taken to ford dealer for an explanation of problem........... I was told ..there was nothing wrong with the car.. REALLY? This type of engine is known for making this type of unidentified noise. EXCELLENT...... UPS.............. My car just die......... and I think, "Wait a minute" I know this knocking noise it had since the beginning WAS THE PROBLEM. car only has 98000 miles.

- , Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #29

Jan 282011

Focus Focus LX 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Seems to me that Ford should take responsibility for the Focus engine failure. This is a consistent problem with this engine.

- , Lacey, WA, USA

problem #28

Oct 232009

Focus LX 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

This engine is JUNK!! The first engine blew a rod out the side of the block. I found a junkyard engine, and listened to it run in the car before I purchased it. I installed it, used the car for a week, and the valve seat broke and destroyed the piston. Nice to see after 200 miles. This motor only had 113k miles on it. Avoid this motor like the plague. Next thing I can try is to install a DOHC motor instead. At least those engines are reliable.

- , Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #27

Dec 152010

Focus LX 2.0L Sohc Spi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

It seems that I have experienced a common problem, a valve seat dropping in the #3 cylinder. Like others, I see this failure related to a manufacturer fault. Not very happy with premature engine failure like many others. Based 3 previous Escorts, I had hoped to get more than 190,000 miles out of this engine. Perhaps my expectations are too high and I should settle for less, or just sell my remaining two Focuses and purchase from a different manufacturer. Not sure if I will try to rebuild or not. No Happy Ford owner.

- , Ames, IA, USA

problem #26

Jan 072011


  • Manual transmission
  • 170,000 miles

i have a 2001 ford focus and like all of you the engine went out. i have kept up regular maintenance on the vehicle so why did it go out. and of course all ford can tell me is that i need a new engine and it would cost me 3000 for a used engine with 55000 miles on it. but how do i know that the car wont do the same thing its doing now later on. i have always bought ford card but i promise this will be the last ford i ever buy. i would love to join in a class action suite if anyone is willing to start one up. please contact me for any reason.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #25

Dec 022010

Focus SE Wagon 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,566 miles

I had no idea this was such a common problem until my mechanic identified this, then calling around for used motors, and hearing the salvage yard owners identify how many vehicles they had on inventory with expired engines, some with less than 150,000km....

I was not amused. I ended up selling my car to salvage (less than $300) rather than investing into a new engine with concerns that I would still end up having to spend more dollars on the transmission and other elements... without any confidence for longevity...

I bought my car new in 2001 and looked after it for 10 years. A new set of tires and tail light assemblies (don't even get me on that one with the melting plastic from the low watt light bulbs........) invested in the car just a month ago have now become a huge waste of $$$$.... I am humbled, and humiliated.

In other words, do not purchase a used Focus folks, unless you can spend about $500 and get a year's use out of the vehicle, because, otherwise, it just isn't worth it.

- , Victoria, BC, canada

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