Notes: The 2002 Ford Focus 2.0L SOHC engine has a defect where the intake valve seat fails. The valve then falls into the cylinder, destroying the engine & most owner relationships with Ford in the process.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,979 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.

2002 Ford Focus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #10

Aug 272012


  • 129,000 miles


Ford dealership in woodruff, wi replaced front right drive axle and seal 4 times before they got it right and the leak stopped. This initial leak was found by the owner after the car was taken in for a full check upon purchasing indicating the dealership did not inspect the car as they stated and were paid to do. The same day after getting the car back for the last time shifting problems began to occur and I had to replace the overdrive solenoid because the car would not shift into overdrive. This solved that problem but now the car shudders between 40-50 mph as if it is shifting back and forth between gears. Nothing shows up on a diagnostic check, may be expensive torque converter problem. A large number of posts on the inernet show transmission problems and solenoids are a common problem with Ford Focus cars and unfortunately some people are led to believe they need a new transmission which they have replaced probably due to misdiagnosis and at a huge unnecessary expense.

- Hazelhurst, WI, USA

problem #9

Aug 022012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 74,968 miles
This car was purchased new by grandma. She sold it to her grandson this year. It is "like new" and was always kept in an enclosed garage. It has had dealer servicing. The last 10,000 miles it has intermittently failed to maintain an idle. When coming to a stop the car will often die. We took it to the dealer twice and an independent shop once - everyone thought it was the fueling/emission system but there were no error codes and it was difficult to diagnose but because it only happened on occasion. Then the overdrive solenoid failed and gave an error code. By replacing the solenoid the idle problems stopped. My mechanic has a theory - the overdrive solenoid will start to fail without giving an error code, during this period the torque converter will occasionally stay locked-up in overdrive, thus the car when just idling can't overcome the transmission resistance and not idle properly or stop running, which ours did. Many dollars were wasted on fuel system checks and cleanings.before we found the answer - it was also very dangerous. This part is very small and appears to be poorly made. Ford forums show it will fail again and again.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #8

Apr 012012


  • 98,750 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to coast the vehicle onto the shoulder of the road. The vehicle was successfully restarted, but the gear selector would not shift. The vehicle was then towed to a local repair shop, who performed a diagnostic test which discovered that the transmission gear pin was corroded. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileages were 98,750.

- Marine City , MI, USA

problem #7

Apr 292007


  • 38,200 miles


My 2002 Ford Focus wagon needed brakes because the front end would shake when I applied brakes. Also noticed a whirling noise from the back off car but did not mention that to my mechanic. He took it for a test drive and asked if I noticed the whirling noise too. He said he was concerned and checked that 1st. My right rear tire was frozen and not turning, that's where the noise was coming from. It had to be cut off in order to be replaced. He told me that the wheel could have broke off while driving and could have killed me, I had that repaired, along with front end brakes and replaced warped rotors. Then just 2 days later backed out of my driveway and broke a front right coil spring. A year later replaced the alternator. And last week just had to pay for a rebuilt transmission, because would not shift properly, upon observation the transmission had metal chips in transmission fluid and needed to be replaced. I cant believe no recall on this car!

- Beverly, MA, USA

problem #6

Mar 122009


  • 55,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Focus with 54000 miles on it and just last week had a problem with the transmission. When the car acelerated to 30 mph it would not engage into 3rd gear until you out more pressure on the gas. I took it to a Ford dealer and they had it for 1 1/2 days and came back with an " I think it's a ring in the transmission, but not for sure" they want to charge me over $400 to take the transmission out to see if it's this ring!! and if it's not this ring they think it is then I'm out $400+. I also found a website ( car and noticed that I'm not the only Focus owner with this problem. Other Focus owners on this website have had to replace their transmission 2-3 times between 60,000-100,000 miles because Ford continues to put the same transmission in all their Focus'. I would like to know why a recall hasn't been call out on this car with so many complaints. This is a very big issue and I think it needs attention being that so many Focus owners are having the same problem. Thank you.

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #5

Dec 282007

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
'02 Ford Focus ZX5 has shown continuous problems with ignition. First, the key would get stuck and the transmission would not shift out of 'P'. then, the key would intermittently get stuck in the ignition. This occurred with increasing frequency, and it is now stuck permanently. I have not yet taken it to get fixed, but based on phone inquiries to repair shops it will cost me anywhere from $200-500 to get it fixed.

- Virginia, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 222006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


1. I was driving my 2002 Ford Focus wagon back from a camping trip and I was going about 60 mph on the freeway 2. all of a sudden there was a "crack"/"bang" from the back of the car, drivers side, the car continued without jolting/swerving (I.e. no affect to the driving of the vehicle), however, after another few miles the rear drivers side wheel was making a high pitched sound, plus cracking, plus some jolting as the bearing realigned itself at times. I stopped the car and the heat from the wheel was incredible, one could have fried an egg on it (this wheel was much hotter than the others). Unfortunately this happened on a stretch of road where there are no towns, no cell phone signal, etc, I was forced to drive the car to a town, max of 40 mph on a 60 mph stretch of road, I had a baby in the car and was scarred that something would happen to her. In the town, I left the car, had to call a friend to drive me home. I must say it was the most unpleasant feeling in the world. In addition, this happened on a Saturday night, where all car shops are closed! 3. repair shops open tomorrow, the repair is yet to take place.

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #3

Oct 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
There is a line that went straight into the engine's intake that has been leaking fluid since 2,000 miles and was inspected by deler who told to me that it was nothing. But the engine case should not have a large leak of fluid that soon. Finally now, they have done something on this and replaced the hose, as it was seen once more and knows of all the times reported. I hope this is just not a easy fix or this now hasn't caused any damange to the inside of the engine itself, as the engine has been in the shop for riding rough. They told me last time that the part of the transmission that was fixed would fix this. I think it is due to the oil leak on the top of the engine case since it was new. A new car should never have a oil leak on a engine case.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 0 miles
I have experienced problem after problem since purchasing my 2002 svt Focus. Random stalls, leaks, and noises. Shift linkage failure, wheel bearing failure, power window problems. Intake manifold failure, wrong idle speed, loss of electrical power. 35 days in the shop so far and counting, all within 11mo of purchase. Don't buy a Ford car, you'll regret it.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #1

May 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 11,870 miles
Excessive gear chattering has necessitated the replacement of the final drive gear. Was told by dealership that final drive gear was defective and a redesign was placed in vehicle. Because of redesign I needed new drive axles. Torque converter was also shot and a new differential was put into vehicle. New bearings had to be ordered but was told by dealership they are on national backorder untill December of 2004. Yes if you can believe it, 20 months from now. Dealership is ordering bearings that are close to the backordered parts, and measuring for fit. Total time in shop: 32 days and counting. Costs associated with car being on lift for 21 days is $13,860 excluding parts and labor of the master mechanic.

- Germantown, MD, USA

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