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:
18,894 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 25 of 26)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Jun 192013


  • 455 miles


The car is a brand new 2013 Ford Focus with an automatic transmission. After approximately 450 miles, the car started making a grinding noise in the lower gears - similar to one might hear in a manual transmission if you can't find the gear. In addition, the car stutters/shudders at the start in lower gears. An internet search reveals this is a common problem in the Focus which Ford seems unwilling to adequately address. While the stuttering/shuddering issue can certainly present safety issues, I'm not sure what the transmission problem relates to.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #22

May 022013


  • 7,000 miles
After an accident, tried to drive the car home and the car kept stalling out while trying to give it gas. I had the car towed to the dealer, they repaired the body work and said that the switch for the gas to shut off had to be reset. Picked up from dealer and the car kept stalling out and shaking when trying to take off or accelerate the car. Took the car back to the dealer and they said it could be the clutch in the transmission. Dealer kept for a week and could not find anything wrong. Ford is aware there is a problem with the clutches in the Ford Focus. They service department stated so far he has put in 5 clutches on the 2013 Ford Focus. Dealer refuses to do anything unless Ford will do a recall.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #21

Jun 092013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,140 miles
While traveling at approximately 50 mph on a busy highway, the car suddenly lost power and the "stop safely now" warning was displayed. This vehicle is the Ford Focus electric. The car would not respond to the accelerator and was coasted to a stop on the side of the road. The highway patrol promptly showed up to lecture on how this was a unsafe place to stop. No kidding. It was explained that we had no choice. Internet research has shown that this condition has happened several times to Ford Focus electric operators. One Ford spokesman has been reported to say that like a gas car, this warning is similar to the "check engine" light and can be caused by any number of things. However, unlike a gas car, when this happens on a Focus electric it may render the car powerless and may expose the driver to a very unsafe condition.

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #20

Nov 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


My performance concern started within the first week of ownership. I had reported what I perceived as a performance issue to the dealer but opted to give a new car time to "break in". 4 weeks into my owner experience, the service department held and drove the car for 5 days and had determined that a transmission component was the cause of the issue I was experiencing. I now have over 10K miles on the vehicle and have had the same experience. The service department has since told me that the rough idle in park or in gear with brake applied is the result of the "direct injection" technology used in this vehicle. The hesitation experienced during 0 to >0 acceleration (gradual or hard) is also the result of the "direct injection" technology coupled with electronic clutch technology used in place of a torque converter. This combination has yielded numerous "almost stalled" conditions during normal driving maneuvers including acceleration during the completion of a left turn crossing oncoming lanes of traffic. I raise this concern as I understand there is an investigation of F150 vehicles with "direct injection" technology as a potential cause for the loss of power. My experience with the Ford Focus has not resulted in an accident. My goal is to raise awareness to a similar condition from the same manufacturer utilizing the same technology. I also have a second vehicle ([xxx]) that is leased and has the same performance issue described above. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #19

Apr 152013


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when attempting to accelerate, the vehicle would jerk and hesitate to respond. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis where the contact was informed that the software for the transmission would need to be updated. The vehicle was repaired. Eight hundred miles later the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and the software was again updated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was informed that the failure was characteristic of the vehicle but not a defect. The failure mileage was 100 and the current mileage was unknown.

- Milan , MI, USA

problem #18

May 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,802 miles
I purchased the 2013 Ford Focus brand new on 2-09-13. Car barely has 1800 miles on it. While slowing down in a school zone to 15mph, I noticed the car seemed to lose power, and feel shaky. Once past the school zone I accelerated to 20mph and car shifted roughly into gear with a bumping noise. I pulled over and stopped and turned off the engine. After restarting car initially seemed fine. Exactly one week later same thing happened again when in supermarket parking lot. This time however the orange engine service light that looks like an outline of the engine appeared on the dashboard panel. I stopped the car again. When restarting the light went out but reappeared on the 2 mile drive home from the store. Car also seemed to lose power and not accelerate when I needed it to. I called my dealership 1st thing and was told it's most likely a sensor issue and very minor but I made an appointment and took the car in. The dealership ran computer diagnostics and service mgr. Came in and told me 2 error codes showed up of transmission malfunction/ and possible failure! a brand new car!!! they started talking about replacing the transmission and the on board computer, etc.. but dealership can't repair my car at this time because a specialist they don't have on staff needs to be called in. So I have an un safe, unreliable new car sitting in my driveway. 15 calls to dealership and to Ford's customer relations number and I can't even get an appointment to get the car looked at further to determine how defective it is!!! what a lemon! no matter how this is resolved, will never do business with Ford again. They seem unconcerned with the safety issues this defect is causing and they have the worst customer service I have ever dealt with!!

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #17

May 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,251 miles


Vehicle has had oil leaking into engine compartment since purchased in November 2012. At 3000 miles, rear engine seal replaced - leaks continued. Rear main engine seal replaced again at 8000 miles - engine compartment leaks continued. After two more visits to dealer and two additional trip to different dealers, third service dept. Claims that transmission is source of leak, not engine. If this is the case, then vehicle has been driven for over 11,250 miles with insufficient transmission lubricant - great cause for concern.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #16

May 162013


  • 1,800 miles
Ford Focus electric vehicle stops suddenly with "stop safely now". when this occurs driver (me) looses all ability to accelerate. This even occurred today and left us in danger on the highway while we nervously waited for professional assistance. Many reports of this exact issue with this make/model vehicle on the public forums. Concern of loss of power train could mean injuries or death depending on the moment a car looses it's ability to drive while mobile.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #15

May 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,200 miles
Vehicle has been leaking oil since it was purchased. (2) Ford dealerships have attempted repairs multiple times to stop engine oil leak(s), all of which have been unsuccessful. Was under vehicle on 5/12/13 and noticed there is still engine oil leaking from area around engine/transmission. Defect allowing engine to run without optimal amount of oil, leaking oil creates fuel for potential fire, used engine oil is known carcinogen, which is being deposited within engine compartment and allowed access to passenger cabin.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #14

Mar 292013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,100 miles
I was stopped at a busy intersection. When the light turned green I pressed down on the accelerator and immediately a warning tone went off, and a warning light lit up on the dash saying "stop safely now." Then immediately after that a "yellow wrench" icon would intermittently illuminate. The car still had electricity to the dash, but would do nothing when the accelerator pedal was stepped on. The car was dead. I was unable to get the car out of gear, into park. I put my hazards on, but was very afraid of being rear-ended due to the intersection being so busy. I tried holding the on/off button and kept getting the same warnings. It was only by continuing to push the on/off button did I finally get the car to reset, and turn off, then on. When it finally started the warning messages were then gone. I called Ford, and took the car the dealer who found no codes recorded. This is still a very small volume production car and there are quite a few people reporting the same behavior on the Ford Focus electric bulletin boards. Some have had this occur while the car is in motion with the car becoming non-responsive and with the same "stop safely now" warnings.

- Helotes, TX, USA

problem #13

Apr 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 160 miles


Purchased my car new transferred from a local dealer. Had 40 miles on it when I bought it. After driving 160 miles noticed transmission banging and stuttering when trying to accelerate. Took to apple Ford in red lion pa, is in svc ctr told me transmission needs pulled out of car and parts replaced. At this point I left car at dealership, will not take this defective car home with me. Have asked for a replacement car. No resolution.

- Dover, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 022013


  • miles
Cpsc: I1340028A. 2013 Ford Focus. Consumer stated after five days of purchasing the car it started having transmission problems.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,800 miles
Vehicle has leaked engine oil since new, which was first discovered at 500mi. Engine oil contaminated clutch discs in automatic tranmission, which resulted in replacement of rear main engine seal, transmission clutches, etc. Which was supposed to resolve problem. Attempted repair took place at approx. 7500 mi. At 7800 mi, engine oil is still leaking oil, covering the bottom on the engine and pooling on the under-engine cover. Suspect new clutch discs also contaminated, which is causing jerky transmission action in drive.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #10

Mar 312013


  • 600 miles
Bought the car on Saturday. On Sunday, noticed a grinding noise coming from the transmission. Also noticed transmission slipping between gears. Car does not accelerate correctly and does not shift like it should. When on a decline, the car drifts backwards if you let off the brake to accelerate. Took it to the dealer where I was told that this is all normal. Ford has informed the dealer not to fix the issues. Dealer said that Ford does not have a solution to these problems.

- Gilbertsville, PA, USA

problem #9

Dec 052012


  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the transmission would stutter abnormally. The vehicle was shut off and restarted but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they advised the contact that the central computer needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 500.

- Jonesborough, TN, USA

problem #8

Feb 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,200 miles
Noted jerky movement of car during turns and immediately upon acceleration. Was minor at first, but appeared to increase in duration and intensity with additional mileage. Quality of shifting between gears very poor - surging and lurching noticed. Slight oil leak detected towards front end of engine at first oil change. Under engine cover also coated with engine oil residue. Took vehicle into Ford dealer for above complaint, was informed that engine had lost oil due to leak and had contaminated its clutches (even though it is an automatic, it has 2 clutch discs) which caused erratic performance and required replacement and repair. Initial guess is defective rear main seal is at fault. Concern over damage to engine dismissed by shop supervisor. Personal concern was that volume of oil soaking into under engine cover could be ignited by engine and cause fire. Safety concern over defective transmission is that decreased performance would leave vehicle stranded. Complete loss of engine oil would result in car stopping, and could possibly cause accident, damage, fire, etc.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #7

Feb 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I own a 2013 Ford Focus hatchback titanium model. Purchased the car in January 2013. Currently has 1100 miles on it. Car has a six-speed automatic transmission that Ford has dubbed "powershift". transmission is very jittery at all speeds when shifting gears while accelerating. It is also hesitant to shift gears and pick up speed. It seems like something is going to break inside the engine and the car jerks when shifting gears. From a standing stop the car will start to roll back when you let off the brake and step on the accelerator pedal. This is an accident waiting to happen and is very dangerous.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #6

Dec 102012


  • 564 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that whenever the front driver and passenger side exterior doors were opened, an unusual noise was heard from the transmission. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer three times for the problem. The technician advised that the transmission was operating as designed. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 564.

- Plainfield, IN, USA

problem #5

Jan 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 661 miles
When slowing down in traffic or in stop and go traffic, and then have to accelerate it feels like the car hesitates or stutters to get into the next gear. If slowing down for traffic, and then accelerating the car hesitates to go forward, the engine revs but hesitates to go forward. It is like being in neutral for a few seconds. I noticed at this time the needle for the tachometer went up to past the number 4.

- Valatie, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,200 miles
Incident happened while in park - stopped the car and placed it in park (thought I did) shut the car off and locked the vehicle and entered the store. The vehicle rolled backwards and hit another vehicle. Vehicle was obvisiously not in park but allowed me to exit the vehicle and lock the doors while not in park. I have noticed this before and find that you need to always double check to make sure it is in park. This is a keyless vehicle - other keyed vehicles that I own will not allow you to pull the keys out if the vehicle is not in park. This appears to be a flaw in this keyless vehicle..

- Green Lake, WI, USA

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