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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
107,939 miles
Total Complaints:
51 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to replace the engine (25 reports)
  2. not sure (16 reports)
  3. rebuilt engine (5 reports)
  4. donate to a high school vica club to repair and auction (2 reports)
  5. sell it to a junkyard (2 reports)
  6. re fastened wiring harness (1 reports)
2002 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #51

May 012014

Focus SE 2.0L, Sohc, Vin P

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles


The valve seats failed, dropped into the engine and destroyed it. This is a common problem with this engine. I'm very disappointed that Ford never stepped up to the plate with this problem and recalled the car to correct this very serious engine problem.

- , Binghamton, N.Y, USA

problem #50

Jan 082014

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Not really a complaint. Just want to say I have made a living so to speak fixing these cars. the ones that the valve seat falls out of and ruins the motor. I have bought and sold 8 focuses in the last 2 years. Purchase price usually around 750 and selling price around 3000 - all have sold in less than a weeks time. I know exactly how to repair the engine problem that occurs with them. I use a combo of used and new parts and don't spend more than a few hundred dollars on parts. most of the repair is labor - probably about 20 to 25 hours on engine work then about the same sometimes on body and other restorations needed. My cars are close to looking like new when I sell them, with no mechanical problems. which is why they sell so quickly. This engine problem I estimate happens to prob about 1 out of 10 Focuses. Other than this freak ocurrance they are very good little cars. I have seem some go over 200,000 miles with no major issues. I am sure that the ones we have repaired will last a very long time. they get a second chance at life starting at 100,000 miles and above. My buddy has one with 240,000 miles after fixing the engine and still going. The fact that they are ticking time bombs with the original head still on is true. but once the head is repaired the threat is gone. I would never buy a used head for this engine - you must go rebuilt. Most engines with this malady wind up needing a few new pistons, and a rebuilt head. You must unplug the intake manifold and flush and scrub the runners to remove any debris from the valve failure. if you don't it will happen again as soon as the engine reaches operating temp, as pieces from the original failure lodge in the sludge in the intake and loosen up and re-enter the cylinders when warm and there goes the engine. I have used junk yard piston & rod assemblies many times to procure the repair. Fresh gaskets and what ever else is needed for the engine to run in good health. new rings would be best but you can re-use them. I do recommend meticulous care in cleaning each piston ring and land to assure the oil rings move freely on used parts and the other piston assemblies. the engine can develop a smoke problem at around 160,000 miles if not done. Most times there is no damage to the block or nothing to worry about at least. The crankshafts, even bearings and oil pumps are very durable - I hardly ever replace them most engine repairs can be done without removing the eng. block from the car. Oil pans come off easy. The head is the whole job. but almost always have to replace a piston or two. I really like these little 4 cylinder motors once the defect is fixed. Al Simone

- , Berlin, NJ, USA

problem #49

Mar 122013

Focus ZX3 2.0 lzetec

  • Manual transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Had purchased from a Joe Cooper Easy Credit Auto lot. It had been owned previously by a teenager i'm sure because of the aftermarket line protectors on the engine spark plug wires, and color matching steel reinforced line protectors on some of the coolant hoses. Joe Cooper assured me that their ASE certified mechanics had went over the engine and did some kinda 100 etc. inspection point safety test or another, and that if something did fail within the warranty, pending on where on the vehicle it would be taken care of. I didn't look close enough at the contract ( my fault ) and after purchasing the vehicle, 4,000 miles down the road, I began losing power and the engine began misfiring. I took it to the autolot and described what was doing on to the checkin attendant and got a ride back home ( 60+ miles away ). I get a call almost 3 days later, to find out that they haven't even gotten to my vehicle yet and that it would be another day or two before they could get a mechanic on it. A week goes by, I get a call again stating that not only had a valve had stuck and was bent, but also that a cylinder had stuck and failed. They repurchased another block and inspected it , then I get another call stating it would be the best time to switch out the timing gears and belt, but that I would have to be billed for the labor for that because the warranty didn't cover rubber products within the engine, or normally failing engine components, to include the timing gears. That in itself was 450 just in labor billed that I had to pay. Utilizing the rest of the other engines equipment ( alternator, battery, hoses, etc. ) they finally tested my car and after paying almost 750.00 in all ( which I had to get a partial loan for ) I was able to get it back.

- , Pawnee, OK, USA

problem #48

May 012013

Focus SE Sohc Spi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure

Dropped valve seat in cylinder 4. How is this not a lawsuit yet. Contacted Ford and the Rep dropped me faster than my valve seat. LAST FORD EVER.

- , Meeker, CO, USA

problem #47

May 172012

Focus ES 2.0L 4cl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

As everyone else, I had the same problem and had to replace my motor.

- , Ironton, OH, USA

problem #46

Jan 122013

Focus SE 2.0L P Engine

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,078 miles

i have a 2002 ford focus se with the 2.0l P engine. it just turned 128000 and was running beautifully when disaster struck. i just left work and stopped by the store to get a few things and when i came out to start it up without warning the engine starting knocking real bad and missing out. when i got the car towed home i pulled the spark plugs and no.4 spark plug was destroyed. looks like i dropped a valve or seat. you can see inside the spark plug hole and see the piston-YUCK If ford knew they had a problem with these engines why didn't they correct it and help their customers? THIS CAR HAS BEEN BABIED AND THE OIL WAS CHANGED EVERY 3000 MILES. THIS PROBABLY WILL BE MY LAST FORD.

- , Greenfield, IN, USA

problem #45

Nov 212012

Focus LS 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,064 miles


I bought a 2002 focus in 2010, great car only had 80,000 miles on it.then recently it turned over 100,000 miles. then it turned into a piece of crap. was driving one day, i pulled away from a stop sign the car started bucking and jerking,then shut off.took it home,started diagnosing it found out it dropped the valve and destroyed the motor.Started researching online just to find the 2.0 split port motor is a real piece of crap.I found numerous reports of others having the same problem. I decided to contacted ford,needless to say they offered no help. I really don't understand why if there are so many people having the same issue why no recall. It just sucks i paid 6000 for that car just to put 20,000 miles on it.

- , martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #44

Feb 152012

Focus SE 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Same old story. The valve dropped in and ruined the cylinder walls. Fortunately I was able to find a used engine from the local junkyard. Still seems awfully common on this car!

- , None Of Your Business, NO, USA

problem #43

Jun 012012

Focus Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

My mother-in-law bought her a 2002 Ford Focus several years ago and it drove fine until one day she went to the store and started it up and it started having the same problems I've read on this website. I started out running ruff and had a VERY BAD vibration even when sitting still there idling. Then that's when it blew up. I took it to a mechanic that told us it didn't have any compression in two of the four cylinders. So I thought I might just rebuild the engine or even put in a salvaged. The first thing I did was to call around the local salvage yards and that's when I got educated on this SOHC engine. The first thing guy at the salvage yard ask me was what's the eighth digit on the VIN number? " I described what the motor was doing to him and he said "I bet the eighth digit is a "P. I went to check and sure enough, he was right, It was a "P".... I said "Do you mean "P" as in PIECE OF CRAP ! And he said yes, He said he has a list of people wanting them just to get their car in a "running condition" so they can sell it as a running car. not a broke down junker.

After reading this blog, there is now way in hell I would dump even a single dime on this P. O. S. DO NOT BUY A FORD WITH A SOHC MOTOR IN IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #42

Aug 122009

Focus SE 2.0L Sohc 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172,000 miles

I have been looking this up, and I have been finding that this appears to be a common problem for this particular engine and year.

In August of 2009 I started this car and it had a horrendous banging/knocking noise. Until this day, I had no major problems with this car. I really liked the car and it was reliable, gas efficient and was just an overall great car! I had to make a few repairs to the transmission, replace the starter and alternator, what I considered to be routine maintenance on the car. I drove the car 52 miles one direction for work and the car was very reliable. When the car started on this particular day, along with the banging, the car shook like an earthquake was passing.

The car sat for three years in the garage, as our (my husband and mine) business failed in the great economy fail of 2008, and did not have the cash to replace the engine at that time. I had the car towed to a mechanic that my husband currently works with (he's a retired mechanic) and he tore the engine apart this past week. He (the mechanic) said that the #2 valve seat had denigrated and was down in the cylinder. Because of the damage to these, the piston rammed into the head and cracked it. Now, if all these people are complaining, you would think that FORD would take action to correct the manufacturing defect. Of course not. No answer or explanation from them. This is the first time that I am not happy with Ford and this is the fourth vehicle we purchased brand new from them. I am very disappointed that Ford would be so dismissive with dealing with this defect. The car had always been taken care of mechanically, and the mechanic stated that the car was definitely worth saving, with gas prices and the overall condition of the car. In this way, we will not have another car payment.

- , Momence, IL, USA

problem #41

Mar 022012

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 97,000 miles


click to see larger images

engine failure

Bought the car from an eldery lady that always had the service done at dealership. 88,000 miles, I drove it for 9,000 miles, filled up gas and when I went to start it, it sounded like the engine was going to blow up! I had the car towed home, tore it down and couldn't believe what I found. The number 4 cylinder intake valve seat blew up and destroyed the engine. I found aluminum in all the cylinders! This car has never been abused. So many people have complained about this that Ford has got to know about this problem, but they refuse to do anything about it. So we the people get screwed again. I've owned Ford's since 1967 and have never had an engine fail so bad. Now I have no choice but to rebuild the engine with a remanufactured head that has the upgraded valve seats. If this wasn't a continuing problem, then how come everybody is selling heads with upgraded valve seats! I guess Ford just doesn't give a poop! Another customer lost! Shoot, I might even have to buy a Chevy!

- , Manito, IL, USA

problem #40

Jan 062012

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,105 miles

Bought the 2002 Ford Focus LX used at 134,139 miles in 2010. I assumed the car would have some minor issues with its age and high miles, but I needed a car in a hurry. Mind you I also own a 2002 Ford Taurus SE and had to do a lot of repair and it crapped out on me so I looked for another car. Never again will I buy another Ford. So I drive to work and back and go back out. Get to destination and park on the return, turn key to start and hear a clicking noise. First thought was the starter. Tried again same thing. On the third attempt, car starts and there is an loud ( I mean loud) clanking under the hood and car is hesitant to accelerate. Not wanting to pay for tow truck, i drove the car clanking loudly across the mall parking lot to Firestone. I get there and the tech listens and says its a thrown rod in the engine. I am a little upset that the car already needs another engine at 147k miles. Car lot says the engine needs to be switched out and under extended warranty, I get another engine installed along with new spark plugs, wires and water pump.. The day I picked up the car, I noticed that it bucked at 40-60mph. I call the car lot and they say to bring back in a week for an appointment. Day of appointment, car lot says it is not something they did. Took car to Meineke, they did not find a resolution. Told me I had a cracked exhaust manifold, I repaired that for $628 and the problem is better but not fixed. Car also has a hesitation from 0-10mph like its having a hard time shifting gears. Do not buy a FORD, at least not out of warranty. I have 2 and they are headache, honestly I have the service records to prove it.

- , Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #39

Nov 152011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,613 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure

Same problem as most of you here. It started with what seemed like wanting to stall on start up, with the engine shaking and smell of fumes. I would turn off the engine, start up again and sometimes it was then ok. Seemed to happen more in the rain so we thought it might be ignition coil/plug wires. The garage told me it was ok to keep driving it, even though they were reporting misfire in cylinder 4.

Then I came home one day when the car was fine, but on starting up again there was a huge knocking sound. Tried it again and just got worse. Towed to the shop and found out the valve seat had smashed to pieces and the cylinder head damaged.

They are recommending a new engine or new cylinder head + piston inspection. I'm donating it to the Kidney Foundation instead. Repairs cost more than it's worth.

Car had been well cared for and we recently replaced a bunch of things. I would never have imagined this was a fairly common problem. Definitely not buying Ford again.

- , Whistler, BC, canada

problem #38

Jul 222011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

I read the list of complaints and thought everyone had read my mind. 155K and fine running car that I was delivering to my son in Alexandria. I had just replaced the tie rods, struts, shocks, rotors, and other parts to make it a safe car for his commute from Alexandria to Quantico. I rounded the turn from 66 to 110 S, and the car quit, dead. It had run like a top from Cleveland to Washington. I assumed it was a timing belt or something and almost dropped my teeth when the mechanic told me the engine was blown. I am still searching for a good used engine, but I don't know. I had a 2002 Ford Escort that died the same way-instantly, with a cracked cylinder-at 140K. Now, I am 400 miles away, with a broken car in Alexandria. Thanks, Ford. By the way, my 1980 Lincoln blew an engine at 88K. Hmmm! Seems to be a pattern here.

Update from Nov 17, 2011: I found the solution. I stopped buying Fords. I gave my son my wife's Hyundai, and bought her a Nissan. I drive a Chrysler van. My next one will be foreign, too.

- , Rocky River, OH, USA

problem #37

Jul 022011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172,173 miles

I bought my 2002 ford focus in December 2001 brand new. My first engine piston #4 blew when it had 104,364 miles on it. I changed my motor, it cost me over 4,000 dollars.My mechanic put me a new one a ford engine.The 2nd time my engine went out was in 4-8-2010 with 151,140. The piston #2 blew so my mechanic changed it an put me another ford engine brand new. And I only had 3 month's of warranty left and the ford place would not extend my warranty because my mechanic changed it not the ford dealership. And here we are again - July 2nd 2011 my 3rd engine blew but we are not having this piece of trash fixed again unless they have a recall or fix it for us. They did not want to warranty the last engine in 2010 because I didn't bring it to the ford dealership. If they do fix it I will sell this SOB or trade it in to a junk yard. My family and friend's will never buy a ford vehicle FORD IS A PIECE OF SH*T I DON'T RECOMMEND A FORD TO THE DEVIL HIMSELF!!!!!!!!!!

- , Kaplan, LA, USA

problem #36

Feb 252011

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

So, I got this car it had no problems. Beautiful car, and we used it as a family vehicle regularly. At 130,000 miles, we had to replace the wires and plugs, and still have trouble with the #2 to the transmission. At 170,000 miles, today the engine went out completely. My husband drove it to the store, and was unable to restart it when he was leaving. We have had no prior engine noise or difficulty before it just went out today. Though it has higher miles, they are highway miles, and there were no warning signs. We have kept up with regular maintenance, and even had it checked for any possible upcoming problems about a year ago! I am super disappointed! This was a wonderful family vehicle, but now it is sitting in the garage with a tarp covering it, because it will cost over 2,000 dollars for a new engine! Do not buy this vehicle! We may have gotten a lot of use out of it, but the upkeep will not prolong the life if this vehicle, and there are were no warning signs of a serious problem! Too much money put into it, and it is cheaper to purchase a foreign vehicle that will last longer!! :(

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #35

Nov 132009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,957 miles

Diary of a tormented Ford Focus Owner.

They say that having a dog or cat adds a few years to your expected lifespan. I warn you that owning a Ford Focus will shave those years right back off.   One morning in April 2009 I started my 2002 Ford Focus and all hell broke loose. It sounded like a war was going on under the hood with stomach-churning exploding shrapnel sounds. I turned off the motor and called a tow. But when I turned the key to back out of the garage, the war was over. I drove to the nearest Ford dealer's service department and described what I had heard. The next day I reviewed the $560.00 bill at the cashier's window:   Date April 30, 2009/Mileage 79539. "VEHICLE RUNNING ROUGH - JERKS AND BUCKS. PERFORM EEC TEST, SYSTEM PASS, NO CODES, ACCESS MODE 6 DATA, FOUND #3 CYLINDER HAS 20.1% MISFIRE RATE, PERFORM POWER BALANCE, #2 DROPPED OUT ONCE, PERFORM PID MONITOR, ALL PIDS NORMAL, RECOMMEND PLUGS AND WIRES." "REPLACE WITH PLATINUM SPARK PLUGS AND WIRE SET."   So they had replaced the spark plugs and wires. They also found and replaced a broken EGR tube. For $560.00 I had peace of mind, and - Wow! - They had installed PLATINUM spark plugs!   Date September 1, 2009/Mileage 82956. A day came when the war was on again under the hood - then it was gone. I reviewed the Ford service department $86.65 bill at the cashier's window: "ENGINE RUNS ROUGH SEE HISTORY. ENGINE RUNNING OK AT THIS TIME, PERFORM EEC TEST, NO CODES, SYSTEM PASS, PERFORM PID MONITOR, OK, DID FIND PCV HOSE ELBOW DETERIORATED AT INTAKE CONNECTION AND LEEKING VACUUM, R/R HOSE, ROAD TEST, OK."   It did not make sense to me that all that shrapnel noise was caused by a hose. But then, what do I know about cars/engines?   November 17, 2009/Mileage 84925. I stopped at a light one night and the car died when I tried to go again. I had it towed to the Ford dealer's service department. It was a very cold night and the tow driver was nice enough to drive me and my passenger to a bus stop so we could get home. The bill was $95.00 for the diagnosis:   "DIED WHILE DRIVING, TOWED IN. TESTED VEHICLE VERIFIED CONCERN ENGINE MAKING KNOCKING NOISE AND LOSE OF POWER HOOKED UP IDS RECEIVED CODES FOR CYL 2 AND 3 MISSFIRE. PERFORMED RELATIVE COMPRESSION TEST FOUND CYL #2 AND 3 TO HAVE LOW COMPRESSION. SUSPECT MECHANICAL FAILURE OF CYL. HEAD CUSTOMER DECLINED REPAIR AT THIS TIME."   Declined repair? Why? The service representative had called me to advise that I had catastrophic engine failure. The valve seat had come apart and the extent of the damage could not be determined until they got further into the engine. It would cost at least $3,275 to work on the cylinder head, and they might find more damage lower down after they went in there. Or, they could replace the engine for $4,650. I did not trust that Ford dealer any more. Why had they not found the problem back in April? Or in September? Before the engine blew up? This car was paid for. It only had 85k miles on it. Now I had to pay thousands of dollars of repairs or buy a new car. The local used auto parts yard told me that in the past 30 days 33 people besides me had called them to ask if they had a Focus engine. A web search took me to sites where I found this type of failure was not uncommon for Focus engines. The Ford dealer's service department had to have known that. Ford Motor Company knew that.   85,000 MILES!!!   I take care of my cars! I drove my old Dodge over 120,000 miles without serious problems like this. I expected the same from my Focus. What a disappointment!

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #34

Feb 132011

Focus 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Defective manufacturing, dropped valve seat into piston. Motor destroyed. C'mon Ford, make this right if you want any repeat customers. People are loyal to companies that they can count on to be fair and honest.

- , Osceola, MO, USA

problem #33

Dec 182010

Focus LX 2.0L Sohc

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,000 miles

My Fiancee left work and stopped at the store. She got out of the store started the car and it made a horrible knocking noise. I left the house with the help of my soon to be brother in law and checked the car. It was hard to start and when it did it made a really bad knocking noise. Borrowed a truck and towed the thing home having to go through the center of town. Did some checking online read about the dropped valve seat problem. Checked the car pulled the spark plugs and number 4 was really bad. After seeing this I went online and found a head with upper end gasket set on EBAY for 425 dollars paid an extra 60 dollars to ship it fast. Pulled the head off of the car and saw that number 4 had indeed dropped the valve seat. Noticed the top of #4 piston was really chewed up. Luckily no damage to the cylinder wall. Also noticed that #2 was a little beat up. Went Back on EBAY found a full rebuild kit that cost 363 dollars This kit included all 4 pistons, piston Pins, Oil pump (which is a pain to get lined up perfectly), Rod and main bearings, Piston rings, head bolts, Timing Belt, Timing Belt tensioner, and another full gasket set. When I pulled the oil pan off of the engine found that #4 piston skirt was broken off except right around one side of the piston pin. Found that The Connecting rod was bent. Ordered replacement rod for 36 dollars because a family member works for the parts store. The Head I got has the valve seat dropping problem. Now I have been without the car for over a MONTH and I still have to find someone that can press the old pins out of the remaining three rods and press the new ones in without damaging the rods. The money for this project is used up. The rest of that 1000 dollars that I have put into this thing entails fluids and a thermostat. AT THIS POINT I WANT TO TAKE THIS MOTOR AND SHOVE IT UP THE CEO OF FORD MOTOR COMPANIES BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So if anyone else has a problem and plans on rebuilding I can give you the item numbers on ebay or contact info for the people i got parts for. So far I have been really satisfied with the people that I have dealt with to get this done. They even gave me some very helpful hints. So will let everyone know how things go when the car is back together hopefully soon so I can return my mother in law's focus before this same thing happens to it. On another note I had no problems with this car for the 6 years that I owned it until this problem.

- , Billings, MT, USA

problem #32

Nov 072010

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

same ol crap no recall on 2.0 sohc in the focus at this time just called ford motor company.you need to call them let em know about this so we all can get a recall on this motor this is bad defect in the head on these cars here is the #1-800-392-3673. call let them know. thanks ab for letting me b a memer .

- , Charlestown, IN, USA

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