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:
19,251 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 24 of 26)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #49

Aug 262013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles


This vehicle shutters, jerks at each stop. It feels like it gets no power when pressing on the gas pedal. Sometimes its light shuttering/jerking, other times its violent shuttering and jerking to the point where it jerks so bad the car shuts off. We have been to the dealer and they keep telling us its a "green clutch" and just keep driving it to get it broken in. We do not see an improvement over after a week of daily driving. We have visited many sites and realize there are alot of people who purchased a 2012,2013 Ford Focus having this same problem.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #48

Aug 242013


  • 3,184 miles
As I was coming to a stop at a light, an alert came on instructing me to "stop safely now!" and the power train lost all power.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #47

Aug 232013


  • 785 miles
Stop safely now (ssn) came on while I was driving 45 mph. This caused power to be cut and would not allow any further driving of the car, which only allowed for coasting to a stop while in traffic.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #46

Aug 222013


  • 4,093 miles
This is an electric vehicle. While approaching an intersection, the "stop safely now" light came on. I attempted to accelerate to make it through the intersection, but realized I had no power. I coasted to a stop at the curb. There was a hazard symbol displayed, but I could not bring up any other information to give a clue what might be behind the problem. I noted the green vehicle symbol light was off, indicating power is not available to the drive train. I tried doing different things to restart the car, but all attempts failed. The car was towed to a Ford service center. After the car was rolled backwards off the tow-truck flatbed, I tried once again to start the car. It started right up, as if nothing had been wrong.

- Encinitas, CA, USA

problem #45

Apr 112013


  • 3,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission failed. The vehicle rolled backward while the contact was driving uphill. The vehicle also jerked when shifted from first to second gear and would lose acceleration power when driving in traffic. The vehicle was taken to the dealer numerous times for the failure. The dealer test drove the vehicle and was able to duplicate the loss of acceleration power only. The transmission computer was reprogrammed; however the failure was not corrected and the dealer advised the contact that the transmission was operating at normally. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 10,202.

- Mcrae , AR, USA

problem #44

Aug 202013


  • 3,637 miles
This is actually the 3rd time in a month this occurred. The "stop safely now" warning comes up. 1st time on 7/29, I was able to safely pull into a parking lot. The car would not restart, and the wrench symbol displayed. Turned off and tried again 5 minutes later, and the car worked fine. The next day, the car gave no notice as I moved to accelerate at a green light. A clunk, and no power, and the "stop safely" now warned occurred at the same time. I turned the hazard lights on, a pedestrian assisted me in pushing the car out of the traffic. It restarted 5 minutes later, I drove it straight to the Ford dealership. They replaced the computer did the software update. After waiting over 2 weeks for the car, the "stop safely now" occurred again 5 days after being released from the dealership. This time, I was able to safely pull over. I took it back to the dealership, and do not know how long it will to take to fix the issue. I no longer feel safe driving this car, knowing the power can be disabled anywhere at any time. I hope Ford takes these issues seriously.

- North Hills, CA, USA

problem #43

Apr 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
The 2013 Ford Focus has a dual clutch automatic transmission which is a design defect. The vehicle stalls, bucks, jerks and rolls backwards on inclines. Had I known these about all of the complaints surrounding this vehicle, I never would have purchased it. The vehicle is only 5 months old and needs the clutches to be replaced. This transmission is a safety hazard and falls well short of performance expectations for an alleged automatic transmission.

- Hagerstown , MD, USA

problem #42

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
Was told by dealer transmission was normal if it jerks hard and grinds and knocks, dealer was checking transmission the whole time. Transmission had a seal leak( dealer stated you can run those transmission without fluid), dealer fixed so they say, dealer left ratchet the size of my forearm on transmission when I pulled away from dealer I thought transmission had fell out. Dealer could have been bought for a dollar. Dealer placed dye in transmission offered free oil changes no thank you I replied. Three days later back in shop transmission still bad along with a bad miss. Now the clutch plate is bad. Got car back drove three more days, car shaking was told cant do anything about that( didn't do the hard shaking until they messed with transmission), transmission still isn't right in low gears hard shifting and grinds. Took car back to dealer refused service I was told to take car somewhere else that nothing was wrong with. We feel all the transmission fluid leaked out causing all this. This car was taking in to dealer after I came off a exit all was clear transmission would not in shift in gear to go all to soon a semi-truck was on me if he had not had room to get over it would have been fatally. That's not a new normal transmission. I have filed a lemon law suit. Ford notified made all the excuses that everyone else has been told, car will get better the more you drive it, parts on backorder, that's the way it is, car has to learn your driving habits. All the same stuff.

- Broadway, NC, USA

problem #41

Aug 122013


  • 1,123 miles
This applies to the Ford Focus electric. I was backing out of my driveway when I heard a load clunk. I instantly felt the power steering fail and the motor cease function (lost all power rendering me immobolized in the middle of the street). The dash displayed the warining "stop safely now". this indicates an electrical fault. Note the battery had a full charge. The symptom I was able to drive a few blocks with the same behaviour. I was able to drive the car back to my house and called roadside assistance. I was lucky I was not on the freeway when this happended.

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #40

Jul 132013


  • 17,042 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the vehicle began to jerk with an accompanying rattle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who reprogrammed the PCM and the tcm. The clutch assembly was replaced on a separate visit. After the repairs were performed the transmission failed to shift correctly from first to second gear. The jerking became progressively worse whenever the contact was driving at low speeds. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 17,042.

- Charlestown, WV, USA

problem #39

May 062013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,200 miles
Brand new 2013 automatic. Apparently, my automatic has a manual transmission to improve fuel efficiency. Around may my vehicle started acting up when I would pull forward or back up - the transmission would shudder causing a delay in acceleration. I took the car to the dealer who did a software update, no change. They told me to drive it for awhile to allow it to reset. After about another few hundred miles the problem was still there- took it back and they put in a new clutch. Same issues - same response, drive it for awhile and let it break it. Took it back - told it was within standards and I was to expect the shudder!? it's brand new - according to the sale rep and maint supervisor its part of the design, but customers and even Ford sales and maint was not told until complaints came in. Ford will do nothing but tell me I can take it for another opinion and pay for it. No matter, they feel it performs within their standards. The problem is I'm paying for the car and when I pull into traffic I expect it not to pause - that is dangerous and could cause me to get hit. This is unacceptable! I can't believe Ford will not make this right.

- Hartville, OH, USA

problem #38

Nov 212012


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle failed to respond to acceleration attempts. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the transmission was re-calibrated. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Wells, ME, USA

problem #37

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 536 miles
May 1st: Significant vibration, vehicle shutters when shifting 4th: No changes in performance. Shutter and vibration continues; no work performed. Advised all of this is a "normal characteristic? of a dual clutch transmission. 10th: Significant shaking at idle continues 17th: Vibration continues; transmission continues to buck and stall. Vehicle does not respond well to sudden stops" significant shuddering and RPM gauge has rapid fluctuations. Gears still making grinding noise. 18th: Transmission problems felt worse than usual today. 20th: Vehicle does not drive well. Transmission continues to click/pop/grind; gear changes are rough, similar to someone who cannot drive a manual transmission 24th: Rough idle persists; car slow to engage in first gear; feels like it is going to stall. June 4th: Rough idle continues 26th: Gear changes are not smooth and in fact are quite rough; car does not function normally. No improvement whatsoever since last update. 29th: Vehicle shakes badly upon start; very rough shifting; car does not feel safe July 5th: Gears are not engaging properly; delayed acceleration from 0mph in drive 11th: Vibration is as bad as ever; no improvement. 17th: Had two cases of delayed acceleration & bucking today 19th: Vehicle shuttered significantly today; RPM gauge plating continues to rattle; passenger door would not unlock with remote key; beginning of electrical problems 21st: Transmission stalled upon acceleration again; substantial hesitation 22nd: Loud grinding noise shifting to reverse; RPM gauge went to about 2500 26th: Stalling, shuddering/bucking continues; gear changes are not smooth 28th: Interior electrical problem; interior overhead lights do not illuminate nor do the A/C & radio lights; 29th: Experienced a very hard jolt upon acceleration so much so that it jarred the entire car.

- Downers Grove, IL, USA

problem #36

Dec 202012


  • 3,500 miles
December 2012 - while stopped on hill car put itself into a hard reverse without driver input - could have killed someone - March 1, 2013 near 8700 mi on od while driving car in traffic car quit communicating with transmission - car dash lit up with everything message: Transmission fault, then made it last 1/4 mile in low gear. In driveway - starting car - trans. Would not engage. Car then went into limp mode. After forced to take car back from dealer not fixed car failed next day - car flashed messages - hill start assist not available. Car went into limp mode. After 1/2 hour or so, drove car to my mechanic where car completely failed again while diagnostic being run. Car then towed to dealer - dealer gave joneses run around - forced again to take car back not fixed on 3/19/13. Documented on release form that car generating multiple nondescript error codes. Car has always run rough, unpredictable and unreliable. Consider too dangerous to drive on fwy. Car sold as traditional automatic and find out 2 manual transmissions operated by computer that has trouble figuring out what driver is doing at stop or low speeds. This car is a nightmare someone could get killed. Lemon law blogs and other blogs full of Ford Focus owners with transmission problems. Lemon law suit pending. Ford and dealers game customers to not document problems. Dealer called hard reverse incident "normal operation" and refused to document it. Ford just as bad. Someone with clout needs to step up & protect consumers.

- Phelan, CA, USA

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