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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
120,813 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #8

Jan 202010


  • 113,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Focus. While driving 5 to 10 mph, she heard a loud banging noise. She drove onto the emergency lane to inspect the vehicle and noticed that the front axle looked as if it was going to break. She safely drove the vehicle to her residence. The dealer inspected the vehicle and stated that there was nothing wrong with it. The failure continued to occur and it was inspected by the dealer again. The dealer advised the contact that both front axles needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure continued to occur. The dealer advised her on the third visit that the front axles that were replaced were defective and that the wheel bearings needed to be replaced. The contact stated that the vehicle also had an exhaust leak. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 113,000 and the current mileage was 123,000.

- Nanticoke, PA, USA

problem #7

Mar 042009


  • 640,000 miles
Details: The car's check engine light came on and started stalling, had it checked and was told it needed a timing belt and tune up. After $1400 later and still the same problem that the car was only running on 3 cylinders and was recommended to put an additive in the engine to try to loosen up stuck valves... still same problem. Then tearing the engine apart found damage done to # 4 cylinder.

- Acme, PA, USA

problem #6

Aug 212008


  • 190,000 miles
We bought this two yrs ago from Ford dealership and up to the date it broke down not one problem. We do all the maintenance plus some all buy certified mechanics. This was our only car. The engine blew at under 200xxxkm. These are all highway km as we are commuters. There is no way this engine should have blown at that many km without some kind of warning sign. Before the day it blew there were no knocks nothing ran like a top. We have never taken this car over 100km on the highway as its our only mode of transportation. We still owe 140000 on this hunk of crap. Im just wondering if this is the norm for the Focus engines. Im just baffled because like I said there was absolutely no warning signs up till the morning it happened it started to sputter and lose power. The misses dropped me off at work made it to the shop barely and its never started since. The mechanic says there is no compression in number 4 cylinder and it was just in the shop for a tune up maybe a month tops before this happened. Any help or info would help. There aren't that many out there that care about the little man so I'll take any help or advise I can get. Thx tania and derrek eberlie

- Kendal, 00, USA

problem #5

Oct 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,002 miles


Problem I'm still having and was reported to dealership is car pulls to left, ( not corrected) back end of car or tires bounce on road and especially when hitting a bump, cannot stay on road in slush or snow, back end is all over road, ( nothing done) tires are completely groved in many spots on the tires, caused by rear end bouncing on road, Firestone won't replace they say it is focas's rear end and it wears out the tires, dealer or Ford won't do anything about rear end or tires, car vibrates badly, rear doors barley open are so stiff, looks like door locks are coroaded nothing was done by dealership even though they said they lubricated, nothing is on the locks to show lubrication of locks.

- Friendship, WI, USA

problem #4

Aug 012003


  • miles
While traveling on the highway and without prior warning there was an odor coming from inside of the vent area.

- Loudon, TN, USA

problem #3

Nov 232003


  • miles
There was a bad odor in the vehicle that made the occupants sick. The smell existed even when the air vents were closed but worsened when they were open. The dealership could not locate the of the odor.

- Canada, 00, USA

problem #2

Feb 112003


  • Manual transmission
  • 8,500 miles
2002 Ford Focus will not run in sub zero weather due to condensation in the exhaust system. The fix is to drill holes in the exhaust and let out the water. This change in back pressure, salt in the system, fuel efficiency, and leakage of exhaust into passanger compartment had not been determined. This modification should only be performed after factory certification.

- Alvin, WI, USA

problem #1

Sep 022002


  • miles
Just completed 3 hour trip in heavy rain. Had driven through area of road with several inches of water. While vehicle approached from opposite direction the resulting splash caused the engine to fail. Towed car to a local Ford dealer and they said the cause of the engine failure was due to too much water in the engine. We also found out that the air intake valve is located near the bottom of the front bumper. This has caused us to need a new engine on a car that we haven't even had for three months. Ford refuses to pay for a new engine and insists it isn't a design flaw. The insurance adjuster stated that it is odd that the engine would fail due to water intake.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

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