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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,736 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. a solenoid in the transmission was replaced (4 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
  3. rebuild transmission (2 reports)
2002 Ford Focus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #9

Jul 012012

Focus ZTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,000 miles


Have had problems in the past with this Focus. This time it slipped out of gear on the highway on-ramp. Engine light came on, RPMs spiked every time I grazed the accelerator. Shop said it would cost $600 to flush transmission with additive put in new plugs and wires to "maybe fix it." I think I'll start to search for a new car.

- , Concord, NH, USA

problem #8

Oct 152011

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,200 miles

the transmission seems to frequently slip out of gear while merging onto a highway and while trying to accellerate. some times it slips back in within seconds and sometimes it takes a minute or more and frequently it slips in and out several times before catching finally. possibly for several miles resulting in me getting on the highway at speeds 20 or more miles per hour under the speed limit.

- , Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 202010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This is probably the most serious issue I've had with my Focus. I am not sure of the exact mileage of the car but it was between 75,000 and 85,000 miles. Likewise, repairs were between 400 and 600 dollars. I had no transmission issues with the car until one day when I exited the interstate and proceeded down the road. The car suddenly refused to go past second gear and if it did, it would lurch horribly and not run right at all. I limped home and called around to a few places before settling on a local mechanic. I had to keep the car in first or second because there was no way I could drive it in 3rd. It was the most miserable drive ever.

The mechanic first tried simple things, like changing transmission fluid and filter, etc. That didn't work. Finally, he said that the shift solenoid had to be replaced. I don't remember which one, though. That was exactly what it needed.

However, even since then, it's never run the same. Sometimes it hesitates but most of the time, it runs as it should. I fear the transmission going completely.

- , Pace, FL, USA

problem #6

Mar 232011

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,023 miles


I had read about all the problems with this car but decided to take a chance and the gamble did not pay off. First the transmission started to buck with a loud thump then I had no overdrive. Replaced solenoid and lasted 2 weeks then completely went out while driving home, luckily was near where I get my car repaired. They said the transmission was shot and the earlier replacement of the solenoid failed as well. I have been a loyal ford owner for years but 1500.00 to rebuild a 4 cylinder transmission is outrageous I'm putting a low mileage transmission in it and selling it before the engine blows. Thanks Ford

- , Gautier, MS, USA

problem #5

Feb 042010

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

I have been having trouble with my 2002 Ford Focus since I purchased it. First my radio stoped working, then my check engine light came on and has been on almost nonstop for the past few years. I take very good care of my car and now I'm being told by a non Ford mechanic that my transmission needs to be built. This is after I had the Ford dealer check my car and tell me the only thing that needed to be done was replace a PVC hose and battery cables for over $1000. After reading many blogs about this car I see that many people are having the same issues with the transmission that I am and I just wanted to make sure that it was reported because it appears to be an issue with the transmission that Ford placed in the car.

I am constantly going to the mechanic for this car and each mechanic I go to tells me that the repairs they do will definitely fix my car and take care of the check engine light. I had Ford replace the thermostat and gasket in my car with a guarantee that that would fix my car. Needless to say it didn't when I took my car back they had a whole new list of problems that were guaranteed to fix my car. I have spent $1000s on repairs on this car in the last two years alone and nothing seems to fix the problem. I was just told today, 2/9/10, that my transmission needs to be rebuilt for $1200 and this will take care of the check engine light and the shifting of gears that the car just started doing. However, I am a little leery about this because every single repair I have had was to fix the car and check engine light issue, but it never does.

Now I'm faced with paying over $1000 again for a car repair and I'm worried that I will be right back in the shop in a few months with the same issues. I'm at a point where I don't know what to do.

- , Charleston, SC, USA

problem #4

May 012009

Focus SE Zetec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,400 miles

The transmission went on neutral after the 3rd gear. I could drive it (using only the first 3 gears) after selecting O/D OFF.

- , Montreal, Quebec, Canada

problem #3

Jun 172009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


At 53,000 miles my transmission is dead. I have paid to change 2 solenoids and the problem is not repaired. When the vehicle is in drive and hits 3,000 rpm's, the transmission fails. It revs up but does not catch a gear. I have to drop it into "L2" to drive, which allows me to go 35 mph (tops). Two mechanics have assessed the expense at $2,400 to replace the transmission. Again.....53,000 miles??? We contacted Ford and they said that it was our problem. Ford just lost a customer of over 15 years..... never again....

I have owned Ford's since 1993. In that year I bought a brand new Ford Ranger. In 1998, I traded the Ranger for a brand new Mustang. In 2000, I traded the Mustang for a brand new Explorer. In 2002, I traded the Explorer for a brand new Focus.

Sorry Ford, your problem.

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #2

Apr 222009

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Focus that I bought new. It has been a great car until last week when it reached 30 MPH and wouldn't engage 3rd gear. I took it to a local Ford dealer to have it checked out and it took them 1 1/2 days to come back with an "I think it's this problem, but not fully sure". They want to take out the transmission and check what they think it is.

This " I think it's this" will cost me over $400 just to have the transmission removed and put back in. I have noticed a lot of other Ford Focus owners on here have had the same problem, so before I go and spend any large amounts of money on this piece of crap do any of you have suggestions other than trading it off ASAP? Thanks.

- , Rochester, MN, USA

problem #1

Dec 032008

Focus ZX5 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I took my car in for inspection, to the dealer because they are open on Saturdays, the notice the engine light so automatically the state inspection fails until the light is out. The cause 4th gear gone, reason, solenoid that controls the engagement and disengagement of that gear needs to be replaced. They quote 740.00 dollars for a part that cost's 50 dollars. 20 bolts on the transmission pan, one bolt on the solenoid and the draining and replacing of transmission fluid, Labor 400 dollars freaking priceless, I found the solution on the internet could have save myself the labor costs by doing the work myself, diags charge 150 waived, but I found out that autozone will read diag codes on your car for free so next time the engine light comes on go to autozone and not the dealer! I got my state inspection sticker but lost my car for 3 days how does 5 hours of labor equal three days without my car, until I bitched that I was unhappy they were trying to stick me with an 800 dollar bill, but finally I got them to reduce to $620 next car is going to be a toyota!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Bedford, NH, USA

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