really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
114,150 miles
Total Complaints:
64 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (17 reports)
  2. junk it (11 reports)
  3. not sure (11 reports)
  4. put in a used motor (10 reports)
  5. rebuild motor (10 reports)
  6. new motor, new factory motor mount (2 reports)
2001 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #64

Aug 202009

Focus LX 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,354 miles


I bought my Focus brand new and planned to pass this car onto my children even though I was only 21 years old when I bought the car. I wanted no "bells and whistles" so looked for an all-manual car so as little as possible would go wrong with this car. This includes manual window cranks, door locks, transmission. This was going to be my car for a long time.

After noticing a rattling noise coming from the engine compartment for about 15k miles and replacing motor mounts a few times, PCV valve, EGR valve, etc. thinking the emission system was having issues, the source of the "rattling" noise was found. While starting my car one morning, the engine rattling noise stopped after a loud "BANG" noise but was replaced by a nasty "engine-is-going-to-blow" noise. I quickly turned off the engine, which probably saved a lot of time and money.

I pushed the car to my garage and removed the engine head. I found that the valve seat for cylinder #4 had come loose from the head and fallen on top of the piston. As the piston came up on the next revolution, the valve seat (which looks like a steel ring) became crushed between the top of the piston and head (This is an overhead valve engine). Fortunately, I had turned the engine off quickly so avoided extensive damage which would have ruined the block. The only damaged parts were the piston and head where steel valve seat pieces were embedded in the aluminum head piston. The cylinder walls were still smooth and undamaged (thankfully!).

I had the head repaired by a shop and paid the extra few bucks to have the valve seats "spiked" into the head as to avoid this from happening again. I purchased a new piston and ring set to replace the damaged piston and was able to complete the engine rebuild without removing the engine from the car.

I currently have 140,000 miles on this car and it does burn a little oil now but at least I'm still able to drive it everyday. I will not hand this car to my kids...or anyone else for that matter.

The frustrating thing about this entire situation is that Ford can easily avoid this situation from occurring, as many engine manufacturers have, by spiking the valve seats into the head. The aluminum head and steel valve seats will expand/contract at slightly different rates as the engine is heated and cooled. Overtime (seems about 100,000 miles does it) the valve seat becomes loose and drops out of the head...engine ruined. I think Ford needs to take notice and fix this problem that has plagued their 2.0L 4-cylinder engines starting basically in the Pinto era...another great Ford car.

Thanks for reading my rant but please take notice and if your engine is rattling, take it to a shop and have them repair the loose valve seats ASAP! I had my sister do this to her Ford Escort with the same engine and she has not had a problem since.

Good luck.

- Perry W., Shoreline, WA, US

problem #63

Jan 202012

Focus ES 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My boyfriend and I both have a 2001 Ford Focus with valve seat issues. Neither car will run. My focus cost me $5,000. It's a beautiful car that's hand painted but a lot of good it does me sitting in the garage. Why won't Ford do a recall? We all should get together and file a lawsuit.

There is a Federal law called Magnuson Moss Warrently act which provides protection for the purchase of a used defective car and there is no mileage limitation. I contacted a law firm but I'm not sure if I can post that information here.

- Kristie M., Bradford, PA, US

problem #62

Apr 242014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have been contacting Ford Motor Company for a few years now in regards to an issue I had with my 2001 Ford Focus.

Very long story made short ;in 2010 my vehicle caught fire in the parking lot of home depot. I was inside long enough to make a purchase and upon exiting the store the focus was engulfed in flames. I was given a police and fire department reports and at that time was made aware of a reoccurring issue with the focus and engine fires. I never received any recalls or information pertaining to the focus and possible fired.

I immediately contacted Ford in hopes of there being some sort of warranty or replacement program. This went on for several weeks and I was only given the run around. I submitted reports that were asked of me. I sent photos and I kept in contact with Ford and maintained contact . This was extremely frustrating because this fire completely disabled me. My insurance would not cover the loss and at the time I was a single mom with two school aged children and in school my self. At this point I am writing again because ford let me down and I would still like ford to compensate me for the vehicle. I was never trying to sue Ford for some outrageous amount or even make any profit, I just wanted to be acknowledged and given the value of the car. I have not giving up on Ford and I really hope they will consider my complaint and give me a resolution we could both be happy with.

Thank you

- kennisha, Denton, TX, US

problem #61

Sep 022013

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


I bought my first new car, a 2001 Ford Focus. I did everything by the book. I changed my oil every 3 months whether it needed it or not. When the book said change your timing belt at 120000, I changed it, new belts, new water pump, new fuel pump, etc., etc., what ever the book said I did it. The car looks brand new interior and exterior. New tires. This was my 'BABY" I have all my receipts of everything I did.

One day I went to the store, came out and turned the engine on. It sounded likes rocks rolling in the engine. I had it towed to my house. Turned out piston #2 blew apart and my radiator fluid was in my oil tank!!! I still do not know what I'm going to do with the car. Maybe new engine? The car is in great condition except I have a blown engine. I just bought a new car, a Toyota! Never Ford again. I use to love that car. They should recall that defective engine!!

- Dorothy D., Quincy, MA, US

problem #60

Mar 012014

Focus SE Sohc 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Bought 2001 focus to repair from lady who had for 8 yrs with no problems .Then drove to work, when started to go home engine made awful noise ! so towed . I never read complaints till after bought car, if had would never bought ! Well just tore down & you guys right ! only no3 valve seat fell out ! piston & head destroyed ! worth repairing ??? With so many of these out there with same problem definitely a fault in these engines !!! just call junk yard or machine shop they see this problem regular ! shame shame on ford ! they should fix this fault !! turning me off on ford !!!

- davidwv, Dixie, WV, US

problem #59

Feb 032014

Focus SE 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

This is the second engine in this vehicle and the valve seat dropped again. I called Ford to talk to them about this issue with these engines and the lady told me that I was the first person in the entire world to ever call and complain about the 2.0 SOHC dropping a valve seat. What a lying bitch. I told her to look online at all the complaints left by owners of these crappy vehicles and she told me not to believe everything I see on the internet. LMAO. Ford is just trying to cover their ass because they couldn't afford to replace all these sh*tty engines.

- keganc, Whitesburg, KY, US

problem #58

Sep 252013

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Update from Sep 25, 2013: I'm a ASE master tech and all the Focuses should be scrapped and all the consumers be reimbursed. Which would put Ford out of business. Which would be a help to the planet!

I've had 2 Ford Focus in a row & # 2 cylinder the valve seat comes out the head & destroys internal engine parts.


- Gary F., Kihei, HI, US

problem #57

Mar 262013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,322 miles

As I can see I am not the only victom of this faulty valve problem. I have not even had the car fixed and the machanic says $1000.00 out the door for valves. I see it's more to it than that. The best thing I can do is CALL THENATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION HOTLINE 1888-327-4236, Being that Ford is no-responsive. I recommend we all call. This is a dangerouse problem that should be fixed by the source of the problem FORD F=Found O=On the R=Road D=Dead!!!!

- Shirlene W., Lakeland, FL, US

problem #56

Apr 152013

Focus SE 2.0L Spi 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Ford motor company knew and has know for years about bad valve seats in their 2000-2004 focus's with 2.0L split port injection engine. Where ever these heads were made , the quality control for this part was not evelauated properly. The engine drops a 'pressed in' steel valve seat that falls into the cylinder and puts too much stress on the piston, bore, and connecting rods of the engine. Under this stress it generally will cause rods to break, warp or come through the block wall. (which is what happened to my engine). It may be a cooling problem, it may be faulty design or poor craftsmanship. Regardless, If this car won so many awards over it's lifetime from Motor Trend or other institutions....then they should be backing the many people who have had to fork out thousands in engine repairs and parts to fix this problem. It seems to show up at variable mileage...which I'm sure is due to each individuals driving habits. I for one, worked at a ford ENGINE plant for over 32 years...and I am ashamed that I was an employee of a company that will not and have not resolved this problem for the many people that have been 'shafted' by this defect. And it's Obvious it's a defect --due to the similarity each person has experienced. It almost always happens to the SAME cylinder (number 4) and it's always just this particular engine...this is not coincidence...this is poor quality control...and should be addressed as such. I believe a recall by ford is in order....without question by Ford motor....they're CEO makes millions...how about fixing these cars....it might explain why so many people stop buying fords and go foreign....and I can hardly blame them when they do! You need to come half way with the people on this matter Ford Motor---it's hurting your reliability and dependibility issues.

- anzio712, Cleveland, OH, US

problem #55

Mar 282013

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Out of nowhere our 2001 focus engine fails. I knew almost immediately from the awful sound it was the engine but my husband held on to the belief that it was just the timing belt. A few days later our mechanic gives us the bad news that it's the engine and tells us a valve seat broke destroying the motor. We are still in the process of finding out what our warranty company will do. The engine is only covered up to $3000. The mechanic recommended replacing it with a new reman motor costing $4400. Since we can't do that we will have to replace it with a used engine and the mechanic already said if we do that we will have the same problem with valve seat failure so the only thing we can do is sell it to some sucker.

I've always been a Ford fan and this makes me very mad. An engine failure at 103,000 miles. What's worse is that Ford has known about this engine problem since 1991 in their Escort engines.

The car has been maintained since I bought it at 86,000 miles. And of course with all warranty companies they have to make it hard by taking as long as possible(car has already been in shop nearly a month). I understand needing maintanance records but bill of sale and registration....

This has really soured me on Ford although I would probably consider other Ford makes(maybe). My mechanic said Toyota if u want a good 4 cylinder engine.

I had a few other issues with this car but not much.

I just want to let others know: Avoid this piece of crap like the plague....

- Rachel J., Greenville, SC, US

problem #54

May 032013

Focus SE 2.0L Split Port Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


Do Not Buy the 2.0 SOHC split port version of this vehicle PERIOD "identifiable by having a P as the 8th digit on the VIN. The P I assume is for PIECE OF SH*T. Without verifiable documentation proving the head has been replaced with the improved valve seats.

I babied this DUNG HEAP full synthetic oil changes every 3k regular on schedule fluid flushes and changes.

It got me NOWHERE it still dropped the #4 valve seat as I started it in the driveway seriously this f*cker should have been recalled the second it rolled off the line and the engineers fired and hung from FORDS flagpoles in reparation and apology.

It should still be addressed by FORD as a irrefutable wrong to the American consumer. I now understand to some small degree how Native Americans feel "just ripped off and wronged all around". Time doesn't heal a wounding the likes of this F*CK YOU FORD.

I only wish I had visited this site prior to buying this piece of sh*t "stock" 2.0 split port engine. DO NOT BUY A FOCUS WITH THIS ENGINE, it will leave you feeling heartbroken, remorseful, and bitter for ever having purchased it.

W.T.G FORD you lost me as a customer FOREVER. I do have to thank Ford. FOR TURNING ME ON TO TOYOTA. I love my YARIS no recalls, great mileage, and an engine capable of hitting 400k without a hiccup. I'm no longer wondering why American auto makers needed a bailout.

- Garret M., Omaha, NE, US

problem #53

Feb 082013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

just pulled into store, went in and came back out to start and it wouldn't. we just replaced timing belt a few months back..I think FORD should replace this motor!!!!!!!!!

- giager, Fairview, OK, US

problem #52

Sep 042012

Focus LX Sedan 2.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Had spark plugs, oil and filter changed. the next day as i was driving this really loud nose started coming from under the hood. pulled over and raised the hood and the noise was really bad. I managed to get it home and parked it. The next day I had a mechanic look at it, He suggested doing some checks and found out that there was no compression in one of the cylinders.He pulled the head and found that one of the valve seats had broken into two (3) parts and traveled to one of the cylinders and done severe damaged to the piston and head, and cracked a valve guide. I understand that this model has problems with dropped rings or should I say dropped valve seats, the valve seat ring Is very very thin.

The head cant be repaired and the block would have to be bored out and new pistions, rings,etc.purchased,<p>I tried to contact FORD for some assistance thru email a couple of times but no response. So I guest Im stuck with purchasing a new engine or a rebuilt engine.

Thanks for listening and any suggestions would be appreciated.

- dueyb, Fairfield, CA, US

problem #51

Nov 122011

Focus LX Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

Simply the worst engine ever built by the Ford Motor company.

The SOHC engines are known for this issue and regardless of how my new car had a rebuilt engine head in it, I bought it without knowing that I would have the same issue the old owner did -- in other words, the engine was torn apart by a fallen valve seat. I got a glimpse of the engine after my mechanic took it apart, and there was nothing left to salvage.

I ended up buying a used DOHC engine instead and paid for a full swap, almost all components including the wiring harness and the ignition had to be replaced. The car is still under construction as the mechanic received all the parts yesterday, but I know no matter what, this engine will be repairable if anything else happens.

Too bad for any Focus owners out there, if you read this before you buy a SOHC then jump off the bandwagon NOW! If you pay anything more than 1000 for a SOHC engine, or SPI engine, then you are being ripped off. To those that have experienced the same issue, please add your complaint.

If you are being charged about 2000 for a ford focus SOHC, then it is probably about to die, or if it has any vibration issues, or any other weird symptoms when driving, you are assured a short engine lifespan. Posting this made me feel better after having the chassis sitting on the driveway for more than 6 months. Now I can say I will have a nice car in the end thanks to FOCALJET forums, and all their useful info.

Again, don't try your luck or lack thereof, don't buy this car if you don't intend to swap engines, or if you are buying it for less than or about 500 dollars in the USA.

Thanks MAB

- Mike B., Anna, TX, US

problem #50

Jul 032012

Focus LX Sohc 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I have the same problem everyone else has. Pulled into my driveway at 5:00pm and when I tried to go out at 8:00pm the car made that horrible, "I just dropped a vavle seat" noise. Had it towed to a shop. They said, $3,000 for a rebuilt long block with a 3 year warranty and another $2,000 to install. it.

Wow! Thanks Ford. The car is only worth $3,500 if it were running. Sucks to be me?

I don't have $5,000 dollars to fix it. I will be buying a used Honda or Toyota.

- zeenigma, Sacramento, CA, US

problem #49

Aug 072012

Focus 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

I bought this car used on July 13, 2012, with only 123,996 miles on the engine. On August 7th (24 days later) I drove the car to the doctor's office and stopped to run an errand on the way home. The car was running fine when I parked the car. When finished with my errand, I got in my car to return home and, when I started the engine, I heard a very, VERY LOUD clicking noise. I immediately turned off the engine. There were no warning lights lite up on the instrument panel. In all of my 50 years of driving, I have NEVER heard such a horrendous noise. The car now has 124,051 miles on the engine. I drove a total of 54 miles since buying the car. It cost me $110 to have the car towed to my home. Three mechanics have since looked and listened to it and they have all concluded that the engine has to be rebuilt/replaced. I paid $3,550 and am supposed to pay the balance of $2,050 to the car lot where I bought it on the 15th of this month. I traded my 20 year old car in because I did not want to continue putting in premium gas with the price of gas rapidly approaching $4 per gallon for regular gas. There was nothing wrong with it. Now I have nothing to drive. School will start in 12 days and I need to transport my child to school and back daily (we live at one end of the county and her high school is at the opposite end of the county). There is no public bus service in our county and the school stopped bus service to the high school last school year. After reading all of these complaints, I DEFINITELY WILL NOT be fixing the car. I will take the money I am supposed to pay off the car and use it to purchase a car that IS NOT a Ford. The dealer can repossess the car and have it fixed if he wants to recoup his money. I was born and raised in "Ford county" (Dearborn, Michigan) and have owned a number of Ford products that were very reliable and well built. NEVER WILL I EVER PURCHASE ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT. If I can find one, it will definitely be either a Toyota or Honda...they both have excellent track records. I figure it ONLY COST ME $67.78 a mile to drive the car (should have been a Cadillac for the price)!

- colabear0606ohio, Hamilton, OH, US

problem #48

Jul 232012

Focus ZX3 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

I originally purchased this car back in March from an independent auto dealership with about 150,000 miles on it. For the most part after constant maintenance the car ran very well until one day I just got off work and was going down the interstate and out of nowhere I hear a pop sound and there's an excessive amount of smoke coming from the bottom of the car. It was so bad I could see out of my rear view window. Worst part is there was no check engine light or indication this was about to happen. Upon Inspection rods had pierced through the bottom of the engine and I needed a new one. If you currently own a 2001 Focus I would consider you trade it in or sale it before the same happens to you.

- Andre H., Norcross, GA, US

problem #47

Jun 142012

Focus 2,0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,712 miles

CAR WAS DRIVING OK STOPPED CAR FOR 5 MINUTES . STARTED CAR AND ALL I HEARD WAS A METALLIC CLANKING SOUND AND VERY ROUGH ENGINE. Had car towed home only to find 2 cylinders with damaged plugs obviously where the valve seats came loose just like the other owners engine problems. Called around to find a rebuilder and was told by most I would most likely need the whole block replaced because of the metal damage in the cylinders.. Not at all a happy ford owner . I will be scrapping out the car instead of spending several thousand dollars to fix the engine. the car only had 84 ,700 on it . I will not be buying another ford since they don"t recall and fix obvious issues with their vehicles.

- John H., Palm Springs, CA, US

problem #46

Nov 152011

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,100 miles

I had two ford focus a zx3 and a SE, i gave the zx3 to my daughter, the SE sedan had a engine failure valve seats on the cylinder head fell and caused engine damage seriously block broken , two connecting rods broke, cylinder head broken too. the zx3 model, key won't turn most of the time and it need to be fix soon. I don't really complain to the dealership because i know they will not gonna take care of it with out opening your wallet.


- Marlon E. B., Windsor, CA, US

problem #45

Sep 042011

Focus SE Sport 2.0L V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 124,000 miles

Had been having to replace the spark plugs every 6 months or so, and after changing them this last time the engine gave. It would start but it would sputter and shake and then shut off a few seconds later. Took it to get diagnosed, and to my dislike, 2 engine valves were not functioning properly and they needed to be replaced. Since fixing them would require the entire engine to be taken apart, it was going to be a whopping $1500. Called around and that was the best price I could find, so I am fixing it and as soon as its fixed, I am selling that dumpwagon. The KBB value is $2,300 and I will gladly take the $800 difference to be done with this piece of junk!

- Katie M., Fallbrook, CA, US

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