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9.2

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,644.00
Average Mileage:
78,408 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to replace transmission (13 reports)
  2. not sure (11 reports)
  3. transmission rebuilt (5 reports)
  4. dealer replaced a million parts in the transmission (2 reports)
2003 Ford Focus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Jan 092014

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Reverse went out many months ago, but since last month, car is basically dead in the driveway. I was looking around here to get a rough idea of what others have spent/done and now I'm feeling kinda sick. I'm waiting on the estimate to replace or rebuild the transmission (I assume somewhere between $1500-3000). It's gonna be hard to decide if its worth it, given value of the car, but, if I can drive it another 83K, maybe?? I shouldn't have to junk it--its an '03 with only 83,000 miles!

- , Sedona, AZ, USA

problem #30

Jul 052012

Focus SE 2.0L Z-Tech

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

This car is a P.O.S. Don't ever buy one. The transmission will fail way to soon. At 109,000 miles my trans. started slipping and then the overdrive went out. I then found out that I could turn the O/D off every time i started the car and drive it. That worked for about a month or so but it revs your motor to high and uses way too much gas. And then with the O/D off 1st started slipping and in 2 days what was once my gas saving baby became a expensive nightmare. I'm still getting quotes, and all are 1,250 to 2,200 dollars. and every repair shop keeps telling me that they have had to rebuild multiple 03 Focus' Transmissions all with very low mileage. But this is what Ford wants. It keeps people having to buy cars every 5 to 7 years so they can afford their private jets and Islands and fabulous life styles . If they build cars with transmissions and motors that last over 200,000 miles then they are not going to sell as many cars in the future. My next car will be a Toyota.

- , Woodruff, SC, USA

problem #29

Nov 202008

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

While driving on the highway it started having trouble changing gears. It did it twice that day and just kept getting worse.

- , Paterson, NJ, USA

problem #28

Jul 282011

Focus ZX3 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

G*&dammit again REALLLYYYY driving down the turnpike today itpulled the same crap where it acted like it went into neutral at around 40 mph i am DONE WITH FORD

- , Mustang, OK, USA

problem #27

Jul 142010

Focus ZX3 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Si was driving to work one day around this time last year and all of a sudden it was like my car was in neutral i managed to roll into a transmission shop that was nearby and had them look at it and they told me the transmission needed to be replaced or rebuilt. it cost $2,200 and while it was at the shop someone siphoned my gas and broke my gas cap grrr.....one thing after another

- , Mustang, OK, USA

problem #26

Aug 152010

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Car transmission started slipping around 85,000 miles, but by around 95,000 it got so bad that the car would hardly shift gears and go anymore. Had to go in and replace the whole transmission for about $2000!! Seriously wouldn't have expected a transmission to go bad with such low mileage on a car.

- , Pleasant Valley, MO, USA

problem #25

Jun 182010

Focus ES 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I LOVED MY FORD FOCUS 2003. MY AIR WENT OUT SO I TOOK IT TO A SHOP TO CHECK IT. COST TOO MUCH TO FIX. SO WHEN I WENT TO PICK UP MY CAR IT WOULDN'T START, IN THE LONG RUN IT BLOW UP. THE SHOP WILL NOT PAY FOR IT , AND FORD CAN'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPEN I DROVE IT FINE THERE WITH OUT ANY PROBLEMS. NOW I HAVE A NICE LOOKING CAR SITTING IN MY FRONT OF MY HOUSE THAT WON'T START OR DRIVE. I HAVE CHECKED INTO GETTING ANOTHER MOTOR ,BUT EVERY OTHER 2003 FORD FOCUS IS BLOW UP TOO. THESE CAR ARE NOT GOOD FORD TOLD ME THAT THEY SHOULD GO TO 250.000 TURN OVER. NOT MIND IT JUST HIT 100,000. 7 YEARS OLD AND GONE. I FEEL FORD SHOULD GIVE US ALL A NEW CAR AND RECALL THESE PIECE OF SH*T CARS. IF YOU HAVE A FORD FOCUS STARTING AT 69.000 AND UP YOU WILL SEE SOON IT WILL BLOW UP ON YOU SOON..

VICTORIA D ODD OHIO

Update from Sep 10, 2011: ALL WHO ELSE LETS FIGHT FORD ,THIS IS BULL ,THEY SAY 2003 AND OTHER YEARS ARE THE BEST CARS TO HAVE. THEY NEED TO PAY US BACK.

9376577581

Update from Jul 18, 2012: Hello everyone who has gone rip off by ford, I tryed so hard to get them to help with this. there is 29 known complaints, I am sure there are more. FORD what is up???? american car, But toyota give this man a brand new car for his car blowing up before 150,000 miles. I tryed to stay only american ,but dam, Where is the justice???????????

- , New Carlisle, OH, USA

problem #24

Apr 082009

Focus SE 2.0 sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

transmission crapped itself with only 85000 miles on it. $2300 to have re-built. done with fords!

- , Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #23

Feb 092009

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I was 700 miles from home when the transmission went out. One of the valves stuck shut and burned up the disks. Later I found out that this is a common defect with the transmission. If this is common then should Ford at least notify the consumer of the defect so the costly repairs could be avoided?

- , DeLand, FL, USA

problem #22

Apr 122010

Focus ZX5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Unbelievable. Just the other day I was telling someone that my 2003 Ford Focus is such a great economy car. I haven't had any problems up until now, but wow, it saved all of the problems up for ONE HUGE repair bill! The transmission started slipping and jerking unexpectedly so I took it to a mechanic. He ran a diagnostic and said the transmission is shot and needs to either be rebuilt or replaced. Labor starts at $800, rebuilding will be $1200 or replacing will be $2200. This is where I would write several profane words if I wasn't worried about my rant being deleted. Seriously, this is unbelievable. Warranty is non-existent as I purchased used from a dealer at 23,000 miles and the additional warranty I purchased has expired. Wish I had known about this website prior to purchasing this piece of junk. I will have to spend half of what the car is worth on this ONE repair!!! I'm recommending CarComplaints.com to everyone I know so that hopefully they won't purchase a piece of junk like I apparently did!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

- , Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #21

Feb 142010

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

At 85000 miles (I am the only owner) the transmission had a serious problem. It would shift into second once, but as soon as I took my foot off the gas it would disengage and I had no power. If I stepped on the gas again the engine would rev but the car wouldn't go.

Eventually I realized that by pressing the "Overdrive OFF" button, the car would shift normally -- EXCEPT that it of course would never go into overdrive. So it would rev high on the freeway and use a lot of gas, but I could drive it at least.

BTW the engine check light also came on.

I took it to two different mechanics (not a dealer). Both of them said that the computer codes showed two problems: 1) solenoid problem, 2) transmission slipping. Both mechanics said I should replace the transmission.

The blue book value of the car is about $3000 and the cost to replace the transmission is about $3000 so I guess the car is totaled.

So I've just been driving it without high gear for a month now while I shop around for a new car.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #20

Oct 012003

Focus ZX5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

I had not had my Focus that long when the transmission totally failed. Thankfully the thing was under warranty still so it was replaced at no cost to me. I also was supplied with a rental car so I was not inconvenienced during the course of the repairs. Still, this was my first brand new car, should I really had to deal with replacing the transmission?

- , Adrian, MI, USA

problem #19

Dec 102008

Focus ZX5 2.0L Zetec Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Ford needs to recall every 2003 Focus. So many problems... The transmission has been my biggest problem. It wont go in reverse. Not one bit. Imagine, if you will, planning out parking so you can just pull out, or roll backwards in neutral. Also, lately I've noticed that there's a slip between 1st and 2nd, and 2nd and 3rd. Its a friggen nightmare. I called the dealership when it first happened last year, and I got the classic ford brush off. I really think ford needs to take our vehicles back and fix all the problems.

- , Lufkin, TX, USA

problem #18

Dec 152008

Focus LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I have a 2003 Ford Focus and the warranty was about up so at about 99,000 miles I took it to the local dealer and asked them to conduct a complete inspection of the car to see if there were any issues that needed to be fixed. They told me that everything was in good shape no problems. Now I am at 105,000 miles so only 6k later and my transmission starts slipping, won't shift into 2nd, acts like it is in neutral, and the check engine light comes on. So I don't drive it anymore. I take it to the dealer and they say the transmission needs to be re-built and it will cost between 1200 and 1800 to fix it. Now mind you, they are not going to even fix the entire transmission but instead only the parts that are bad. They also will only give us a warranty of 1 year or 12,000 miles. I have called other companies and they will give a 1 year unlimited mileage warranty which, while I still don't think it is great, it is much better than Ford will give. Sounds like Ford is not going to give an unlimited mileage warranty because they know it won't last very long. What happened to standing behind your products? So now here we are with an American car company that can't compete with the foreign auto makers. While Ford may not want tax payer money now to bail them out they will soon. By the way, the engine in this care is made by Nissan, so even if you buy from the American Car makers you still end up with a product that is not completely made in America. If Ford can't give me a much better deal on this transmission re-build I will never buy another Ford or American car again, and I will tell all my family and friends not to do so either. I also will make it my goal in life to post this info on every website I can. If anyone has contact info for the executives at Ford I would love to send them an email or give them a call. Oh and one more thing, the inspection that the dealer did when the car was still under warranty was nothing special it was just the normal 36 point inspection. I have also spoken to a number of other car repair shops and they say transmissions don't normally go bad without some kind of notice, but I did not notice any issues and if you believe the dealer neither did they. By the way, the dealer in this matter is Imlay City Ford in Michigan. I wanted to make sure they got some free advertising too, since they are not willing to work with their customers either. I have searched this site about this issue and seems to be a pretty big problem with the 2003 year Focus.

- , Imlay City, MI, USA

problem #17

Nov 242008

Focus LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Mechanic cannot find a new transmission at any dealer Nationwide. Found a used Transmission, but after installation, it had the same problem as the old transmission.

- , Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #16

Aug 292008

Focus LX 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,798 miles

2003 Ford Focus. The car was always shifting hard, and had some problems with the trans slipping out of gear. Driving on I-465 in Indianapolis, out of no where there is a huge bang, and the car doesn't move forward or backward. There was no sign of trouble, noise or leaking fluid. The dealership claims the transmission "grenaded" itself, to use their words. A new trans installed is 3600$. I only paid 5000$ for the car in the first place. This car has been nothing but trouble with tons of electrical problems, and I just recently replaced the alternator at 80K miles amongst other things. It is a constant nickel and dime.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #15

Jul 062007

Focus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Had experienced no slipping or jerking prior til transmission went out merging into on-ramp and went out in front of diesel truck. Dealership had the car same day, i believe it was a wed. car would be fixed tues. of following week. Waited all day Tues. they gave me the car back with wires hanging in the front and a small pipe not connected near the bottom of the radiator. No courtesy Shuttle Home. long story short waited for ford dealership to get some type of confirmation from corporate in all 1 month time without vehicle

- , Corona, CA, USA

problem #14

Apr 102007

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

2003 Focus Transmission Failure. This car is on it's 4th transmission in under 71,000 miles. Harper Ford of Eureka California says it's fine and normal. They are really pissing me off. Never purchase a car from Harper Ford dealer. The service department really sucks. They are currently refusing to repair the car as it is about to fail but has not blown up completely yet. My warranty expires in less than 4 months. They are holding out so that I will be suck without warranty.

- , Humboldt, CA, USA

problem #13

Feb 052008

Focus ZX5 2.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Dealer replace or rebuilt transmission at 38,000 and again at 78,000 miles each time telling me how good Ford is to cover these items ... except that I paid $1500 for the extended warranty. Guess what ... transmission died again at 110,000 miles. At least they are consistent. This time, they wanted $2800 to put in a new one.

Went to Ebay, searched for Focus transmission, bought new one [still in crate] from place in Denver CO or $725 + $150 shipping. Cost $450 for remove and replace $1325 - brand new. Company has 99.8% rating and been around for 30 years. So I'm working on my FOURTH transmission at 110,000 miles. Of course FORD regional manager and dealer responded in a smiley dumb stupor clearly numb from having to try and claim that it is not Ford's problem over and over again to consumers that have had their lives ruined by Ford's failure to support a product that has problems.

All I asked for was that Ford fix the problem one time ... correctly. Every transmission shop I spoke to said a transmission should last 85,000 to 100,000 miles minimum.

The brakes: 4 times under warranty -- 50,000 so far on Autozone rotors and pads $39.99 lifetime pads and $50.00 each for the front rotors. Rear drums a little more but no more squeeling ... that the dealer and regional manager says is "normal".

- , Moorpark, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 162007

Focus SE Comfort

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

As I am driving along all of the sudden the car drops out of 4th gear and then 3rd gear and won't go back into them. I took the car to a dealer and luckily it was covered a 10 year powertrain warranty. The dealer took their time and had my car for 2 WEEKS! I have been doing a lot of driving but would never expect a trans. problem at 70,000 miles.

- , Rochester, New York, USA

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