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. Notes: Ford changed a lot of things for its 3rd generation, just none of them were a good idea.

The transmission tends to hesitate and jerk when accelerating. The new electronically-driven power steering can fail suddenly and without warning. Even Ford's SYNC can be a headache. Actually, scratch that last one --- it's always been a headache.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,373 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.

2013 Ford Focus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 22 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #69

Oct 022013


  • 1,000 miles


In October of 2012 I purchased a new 2013 Ford Focus SE. With less than 100 miles on the car I noticed a grinding noise when the car was shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. I also noticed that the car would roll backwards in excess of two feet when engaging the accelerator from a still position on an embankment. The car was taken to the dealer and upon examination I was told that this was a "normal and expected" result with Ford new transmission. The vehicle now has 32,000 miles and the transmission is not only grinding when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear it is also slipping!! while shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear the car now lurches! Ford service once again has the vehicle in an attempt to diagnose the issue. I would never recommend this car as in the past year it has been in the shop over 5 times with this issue and no resolve. These issues pose a safety risk to all driving this vehicle. Ford Motor Company needs to address these issues!!

- Belen, NM, USA

problem #68

Nov 132012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 203 miles
Ford Focus 2012-2013 have dangerous transmissions. Ford sells you an automatic transmission, but actually is a manual transmission with dual clutches and a computer. My car lunges, surges, luges, grinds, and doesn't accelerate properly, it is like driving a bucking Bronco. Ford initially said these problems would go away at 3000 miles once the car learns how I drive. Here I am 6 times into the shop 11,000 miles and Ford service manager finally admits the transmission is flawed and there is nothing they can do to fix it. He states the parts for the transmission were not make to speck and that's the problem. My car sits in my carport now because it hurts my neck to drive jerks my head back and forth every time it decides to shift....if it does at all. I have had to pull over when getting on an los angeles freeways because my car cant decide what it wants to do and I am lucky not to have been hit. This cars transmission is horrible also rolls backwards on hills Ford forgets to tell you this until you bring it is. So, not only is this car a death trap, I feel like I was told I bought an automatic when I didn't its a manual. False advertising. When I buy an automatic I expect it to be an automatic. Ford needs to be responsible and get rid of these transmissions before someone is killed. Fyi also they say it gets great gas mileage but it is false I get maybe 20 in the city and maybe 30 on the freeway. There are thousands of us Ford Focus drivers out there that need Ford to step up and take responsibility for this faulty not made to speck transmission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #67

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
Back in may my husband and I were traveling in stop and go traffic and noticed that my brand new 2013 Ford Focus SE was grinding and making horrible noises while shifting. Especially shifting in lower gears. As I remind you... this is an automatic. As of today this is the 4th time that it has been back to the dealership and still the problem is not fixed. The car continues to jerk and make mental on metal grinding noises. Today when speaking to the dealer I was told that a Ford engineer was looking at it and trying to fix it. Remind you that the clutches have already been replaced, the computer has been updated, and the computer has been reprogrammed. When I called today they said that they had to keep it over night. This is totally ridiculous and this is a new vehicle!!! of the almost seven months that I have owned the Focus it has sit in the shop a total of 20 days. Come on Ford!!!!

- Chase City, VA, USA

problem #66

Jan 022013


  • 200 miles


I recently purchased a brand new automatic Ford Focus 2013 and am very disappointed and angry. The first problem is the car tends to stall in 1st and 2nd gear, keep in mind it is automatic. Besides stalling it does not switch gears properly between first and 2nd. I almost got into an accident when it stalled while I was going up a hill. This car needs to be recalled immediately!

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #65

Sep 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 9,676 miles
Driving into work one morning, I was following behind another vehicle at a low rate of speed, almost to a stop when I then turned into a parking spot, pushed the gas pedal and the vehicle did not accelerate so I then pushed the gas pedal again and the vehicle surged forward at a much faster speed than usual and the vehicle slammed into the wall of the parking structure in the space I was attempting to park in. On other occasions before this, I had experienced hesitation while pressing down on the gas pedal but nothing like what happened the morning that the vehicle surged forward, hitting the cement wall in the parking structure.

- Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #64

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,500 miles
My car had to go in for service twice. The issue as I described it was that the car bogs down, shudders while trying to accelerate, makes a rattling noise, and shifts incorrectly into the wrong gear. They applied a software update on 9/14 that was supposed to fix the issue, but it did not. I brought the car in today and they indicate that the transmission is leaking into the clutch. They say to pick up the car and drive it for the 10-12 days it will take to get parts. They'll fix it later they say. They will not provide a written statement of the problems they have found, as I requested. Not sure if it is safe to drive, I would think that it is not safe. The dealer is walls Ford, 2 merrill St, salisbury MA 01952.

- Newburyport, MA, USA

problem #63

Sep 232013


  • 4,500 miles


Vehicle warning "stop safely now" appeared and the ev lost all its motive power and stalled. Repeated attempts to restart the vehicle failed.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #62

Sep 212013


  • 1,350 miles
This applies to a Ford Focus electric, not a gasoline model. Was traveling approximately 30 mph when "stop safely now" indicator appeared. Vehicle slowed and came to stop within a few seconds while still in traffic lanes. I placed the car in park and switched the system off, then on again. It started normally and drove normally for approximately 50 miles while I went home. There is no apparent valid reason for the vehicle to stop itself. Under other circumstances this could have been extremely dangerous. Checking reports on the internet, it appears that this problem is very common, and many people have reported repeated occurances of this problem. Weather at the time was moderate (70 to 75 degrees F). This is a new car (two weeks old, approximately 1350 miles) while I don't suggest that the following are contributing factors, I list them because they were unusual for me and this may be helpful to reviewers looking for common circumstances: 1. the vehicle had been given a level 1 (120 volt) charge earlier in the day, bringing the state of charge from approximately 60% to 70%. this is unusual because I usually use level 2 (240 volt) charging. 2, the vehicle had been switched "on" with the air conditioner operating for about an hour but without driving anywhere. The problem occured shortly thereafter, after driving approximately two miles. 3, no other unusual circumstances were noted. Car drove normally before and after this incident.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #61

Sep 202013


  • 1,245 miles
This is for the Ford Focus electric. I was driving on a busy road going approx 50 mph when all of a sudden I lost power and had no acceleration a message came on the display that said stop safely now in red with a exclamation point inside a triangle at that point I was a hazard to other drivers as the vehicle was slowing down as I was trying to merge to the right hand side. I finally was able to stop and I turned off the vehicle. I let it sit for a minute and tried to restart and it would not, I tried a second time and it finally came up ready to go. I contacted the dealer and they advised me to take to the service dept in the morning. This was a safety hazard that needs to be fixed.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #60

Sep 192013


  • miles
Traveling at approx. 35 M.P.H. on county road, pull over safely light came on, unable to pull over immediately due to traffic, traveled a short distance in attempt to find a shoulder to pull onto, car died in a curve. No power at all.

- Alpine, CA, USA

problem #59

Sep 132013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,744 miles


This is regarding Ford Focus electric vehicle 2013 model. This is the second time it has happened. While driving it suddenly beeps and displays message "stop safely now" and car just stalls and stops running. Quite dangerous while driving. It has been to Ford dealership after the first incident and they were not able to diagnose the issue and after a couple of weeks that I got back the vehicle, it happened again. It is again in the service center of Ford dealership, but they still do not know why this happens or what is the fix. This needs to be addressed by Ford asap as it is a huge safety issue.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #58

Sep 182013


  • 1,024 miles
While driving at 30 mph, the car quit running and displayed "stop safely now".

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #57

Jul 252013


  • 2,935 miles
I was coming back from school to my house. The engine light came on asking me to pull over safely. I did that, the car stalled. I freaked out, and called my dad. He said not to worry as it had happened to him in his Ford Focus electric too. He asked me to wait for two minutes and then restart the engine. I did that, the car was fine then. Please talk to my dad if you have any questions. His contact information is listed below. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #56

Aug 132013


  • 4,530 miles
I lease two Ford focuses; one for me and one for my daughter (under my wife's ownership). The car has stalled on me twice and once on my daughter. The first time it happened at speed of 35 miles per hour in June 2013 and the second time at less than 2 miles hour in August 2013. The first time, it asked me to pull over to the side and stalled. I pulled over and parked the car, looked at the wheels thinking that it may have happened due to low air, however, nothing. I shut down the car and then restarted after two minutes, it started just fine. That is until the second time when it actually happened at the corner of 11th and J street in sacramento, ca. I got out of the city garage made a right turn on 11th to make a left on J street. At the light, it just shut down with the warning without ability to pull over. I had to waive the drivers behind me to go around. I could not do much. Same thing, after two minutes, the car restarted. At both times, the car was fully charged. Similarly, this happened to my daughter, who freaked out and she called me. I told her it may be glitch as it had happened to me the first time around. She pulled over, parked, waited for two minutes, restarted and so far her car is fine. Whom should I report this to? the first time, it gave me time to pull over, however, the second time, it just shut down. I thought Ford knew about it thus did not report. Please help me report this. I love the car as there is no more gas station trips, however, it needs to be addressed. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #55

Aug 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
- while in drive and moving forward at 55 mph the transmission disengaged and no power was transmitted to the wheels of the vehicle for about 2 seconds in heavy traffic. This also happened at 15 mph going around a turn for 4 seconds before power to the wheels resumed. During these two occurrences the engine was still running and behaving as if the car was in neutral. - after backing out of a parking spot I put the car in drive and it moved forward as expected about 2 feet and then the transmission disengaged and the vehicle began rolling backwards. The transmissions would not engage until 4 attempts of putting the vehicle in park and stopping and restarting the vehicle. - on several occasions the transmission would rapidly shift up and down while moving forward between 5 and 40 miles per hour. By rapidly, I mean it was shifting in and out of gears at a rate of about 4 shifts per second. This resulted in erratic speed at congested intersections as well as in heavy traffic on the highway and regular roads. - on 2 occasions the vehicle failed to start at all. This is most likely related to the before mentioned issues because the car was confused and thought it was in gear. - shifting from 1st to 2nd gear would cause the car to lag and then lurch. - 1st gear was mushy when taking off then would suddenly lurch. These are serious safety concerns. The dealership found fluid on the clutch pads and most likely also caused damage to the sensors in the clutch assembly. Full clutch assembly and shaft seal replacement is being performed by dealer. Vehicle is only 4 months old with about 4K miles.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #54

Sep 092013


  • 1,800 miles
I was approaching an intersection at approximately 15mph and noticed the stop safely now icon alerting on the dash. I was able to safely stop the vehicle. When I went to proceed through the intersection the car was stalled with the stop safely now light still illuminated. I tried to restart the vehicle but it would not activate. I exited the vehicle for fear of being rear-ended. After 5 minutes I attempted the ignition again and was able to drive away. The car is now at dealer.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #53

Nov 062012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 650 miles
Tried to tell dealership about stuttering of car when it is shifting, response was not enough miles on it, nothing was checked out. Also called dealership again about the stuttering, had the feeling they thought I was crazy. Oil change at 5000 miles, was asked about how I liked the new standard automatic transmission, was not impressed, was taken out on the road, had a loud screech in the front of the car on the highway, was told sometimes a something gets loose and air gets under it and it screeches**.2nd oil change, had enough of the run around, made some noise and got the car checked out on a computer, low and behold, they found a bad clutch, they are replacing it at no cost to me, problem is I don't want this car anymore, I feel very unsafe driving this car, & I feel it is a " large red lemon "& I want it replaced with a good dependable new car, I don't have to be afraid to drive. Thank you, would like to think this would help my cause.

- Fond Du Lac,, WI, USA

problem #52

Aug 132013


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle hesitated to shift gears and shook. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the clutch needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 1,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #51

Oct 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Vehicle stutters and grinds when shifting gears. It is an automatic transmission, but it doesn't seem to shift soon enough and frequently will lose power to the point of almost stalling out. It is very dangerous to pull out in heavy traffic, so I have to make sure there is plenty of room in case it takes a couple seconds for it to get moving again. It also rolls backwards on hills and every once in a while keeps running for a couple of seconds after I've turned the car off and removed the key.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #50

May 132002

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,230 miles
The car has locked me out three times when I had the keys in my pocket the electrical went out the car stalled and I had to call for help and the blue tooth was out. I got out of the car and called the dealer 25 miles away. I got the car started and drove to dealer and they put a new sd card in the console, saying the wrong card was being used. Now, the transmission shudders and I took it to the dealer for a test drive and they said the tires are out of balance and never balanced at the factory. The car looses power on steep hills and some times rolls back on hills. The dealer says the transmission will memorize my driving habits. The transmission two months later still shudders until it warms up and hesitates to shift T times and I feel the need to use the throttle in between shifts. The transmission will clunk every now and the as the gears are out of sync now, this car has a mind of its own and seems to try and correct itself electronically. The transmission feels like it's going to loose one or both of its clutches at anytime. The car is an accident waiting to happen. An example the car down shifted on me and a car behind me almost hit me. The dealer knows there is a problem, but tells the same story. That's how a dct is. Ford needs to help the dealers and step up. The government ought get after Ford. The car is unsafe, unreliable and needs a recall. The car has 3600 miles on it and runs like 1936 Ford manual shift. What a waste of 25K, no more american cars for me.

- Scarborough, ME, USA

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