pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
66,250 miles
Total Complaints:
17 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (15 reports)
  2. new alternator and battery (1 reports)
  3. replace vacuum hoses (1 reports)
2004 Ford Focus engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #17

Feb 162016

Focus ZTW

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,740 miles


Similar to what other people have said. I was revving the engine at highway speeds when the lights started to flicker, all of the display lights flickered and then suddenly the engine went dead. Wouldn't restart. Took it to the mechanic and it was a dead alternator that'd been overworked by constantly charging a near dead battery. Wouldn't yah know it I was on my way to work, my first day at a new job when it died. But despite my misfortune, there was a tow truck across the road from where I had come to a stop. The driver towed my car to my mechanic, dropped me off at my apartment and told me that everything happens for a reason. I don't believe in that stuff, but I'll really never know. Either way, it all worked out in the end.

- Fred S., London, ON, Canada

problem #16

Sep 012015

Focus ZX3 2.0L Zetec

  • Manual transmission
  • 168,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine stalls/dies while driving

This problem is repeatable. After warm-up and in CL, the engine will chatter and die when coming to a stop at an intersection or in idle/neutral and requires heel & toe to keep the revs up. Otherwise, the engine runs fine. Cleaned MAF sensor, replaced PCV valve, replaced upstream O2 sensor and checked for vacuum leaks, none of which helped. No DTC was set during/after the stalls at idle, but P0171 and P2195 were occasionally set when driving.

Update from Dec 13, 2015: Found a break in the PCV hose near the EGR valve. This is almost certainly the cause of the problem and has been reported by others as a common problem with ther Focus.

Update from Dec 16, 2015: The photo shows my fix which includes cutting out the damaged section of the PCV hose and then splicing in a short piece of copper tubing held together with small hose clamps.

- lakejoyguy, Carnation, WA, US

problem #15

Mar 302010

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,852 miles

I was told that the vacuum hoses were bad. I got it fixed for $150 and now the car is good, but now the alternator is going.

- focus-sport2004, Palm Harbor, FL, US

problem #14

Feb 242010

Focus ZX5 2.3L

  • Manual transmission
  • 58,000 miles


Car simply turns off while driving. Dash lights up as if in pre-ignition stage. Lose power-steering. Electricity to radio is uninterrupted.Turning the key the car starts up like nothing.Took to mechanics for another problem, was told they were unable to replicate the problem. Fine on my way to school. Kills twice on my way back home. Still wondering how to fix this.

This car has cost well over $3000 in repairs. Half as much as i purchased it for, ill never buy Ford again.

- xz3r0, Whittier, CA, US

problem #13

Jun 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Don't buy a 2004 Ford Focus. The brakes have no warning,they go out fast.At 64,000 miles the lifter went out. The engine light goes on and off. Nobody can find out whats wrong with it.We have had seals replaced due to leaks. The latest was a hamn (not sure spelled correctly) seal and a timing belt. We bought this car with only 16,000 miles on it.We have kept the maintenance up on it. Everyday I pray driving it.I never know if I'll get where I need to go.

- Vicki R., Phx, AZ, US

problem #12

Jul 102009

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

my 2004 ford focus is the biggest piece of crap!!!! i have only had the car 8 months it was used but come on the check engine light has been on since i have had the car of course they say nothing was wrong. but now my battery light is on i had the battery changed not the problem had the wireing harness changed not the problem now it goes dead every time we stop at a light my husband has to drive it by putting it in nuetril then drive after we get going . this car has cost alot to try and fix.and it is still not FIXED!!!!!!!!

- Medina H., Montgomery, AL, US

problem #11

Dec 152005

Focus ZX3 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles


My car is working fine, now, after the mechanic cleans the throttle or something (I can't remember). Ford didn't seem to be able to do as much with fixing it, though.

- folger, Stephens City, VA, US

problem #10

Dec 162008


  • Manual transmission
  • 66,000 miles

My husband purchased this car in September. Since then, the car has died out on us three times while driving within 3 months. Once in October where it wouldn't restart. I was pregnant at the time and leaving the hospital after a false alarm with our two toddlers in the back seat. Luckily his mother was following us and we left the car where it was and it had to be towed. The dealership said there was a problem with the module. They replaced it and said it was fixed. The second time happened in November. We were driving around and the car started to sputter and was on the verge of dying. My husband kept it going on a back road. He struggled to keep driving it. Then the car picked up in speed and it was fine. He drove it back to the dealership where they checked it out again and said it is all fixed. Then it just died on us on a very busy road by a dangerous intersection. We had all three children in the back seat. The car died at the intersection just as the light turned green and my husband accelerated. We coasted into a fire station and had to wait an hour for a tow truck as no one was able to pick us up because we had three car seats this time. It was extremely dangerous as we were on Route 6 and there are numerous accidents at that intersection. As we were waiting there was a five car accident a few minutes after we pulled into the fire station. The car was looked at, driven for 7 miles, and all set to be picked up because it was "All fixed!!!" How can a company sell a car without knowing how a car runs? If dealerships have no clue on how to fix this problem, shouldn't they have courses on each individual make and model of car?

- Kristie P., Danielson, CT, US

problem #9

Mar 252008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

My 04 Focus cuts off while driving and at times will start itself back up again. At other times the transaxle light comes on for a couple seconds.

I finally was able to get an appt with the dealership and was told if nothing is found I would have to pay for testing. If they found a problem they would have to contact the after purchase warranty people.

As I knew would happen they said nothing is wrong the car is GREAT. I asked how could it be great when it CUTS OFF when I'm driving and then start itself up again at other times as well as the transaxle light coming on. All they could say is everything checked out great. I asked for them to keep the car another day and keep driving it.

I wanted him to drive it back and forward to home & work but he said he couldn't. How can they find a problem when they drive a car for 5 minutes? I'm afraid I'll be driving one day, the car will cut off and I'll be in a major accident. Anybody else have a focus that does this?

- annsank, High Point, NC, US

problem #8

Mar 142007

Focus ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

This has been occurring for the past year and the mechanics can't find the problem.

I have it towed and when they go to work on the car it runs fine.

This is a big pain.

- mcraig, Idamay, WV, US

problem #7

Jan 272008

(reported on)

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


You could be going down the road and the engine shuts off and restarts on its own. There was a recall on the door latches, and I was never notified. I found out by browsing the web. There is a noise that sounds like lifter clatter as well.

- Paul C., Garden City, MI, US

problem #6

Dec 032007

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I am a college student on a very limited income. Choosing the Ford Focus was to save gas and for the reasonable price. At 27,000 miles, my air conditioning went out and

it cost me around $400.00 to repair. About a month later, the EGR broke in half, the mechanic told me this was a common problem on the Focus due to the welding. This cost me about $200.00. It is a month later now and my car is dying on me when I drive

and when I am idling. From what I have seen on line, this is going to cost me around

$200 to $300 to repair. The car is at 34,000 miles now and I cant imagine what problems will come when the car has high mileage. The Ford Focus has been a big disappointment. My other complaint is with the Ford Dealership. Before the EGR broke, I was having some problems that later I found out were because of the EGR. When I called the Ford Dealership as I was still under a warranty, the mechanic told me it would cost $75 to put it on a machine to see what was wrong with it and that if they found nothing, I would have to pay the cost. After it finally broke completely in half and I went on line to see what it might be, there seemed to be many complaints about this happening. My question is, if a Ford Dealership mechanic works on these cars all the time, then why would he not have known this was a common problem? It could have been repaired under warranty but he scared me from getting it put on a machine. Thanks alot Ford! You are helping young Americans out of much needed money and you should be proud of yourself! "Ford Built To Break"

- lbagwell, Port Aransas, TX, US

problem #5

Aug 132007

(reported on)

Focus LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Regarding the 2004 Focus dying while driving, it is not a battery issue. It continued to happen to me the very next day after installing a new battery. Also, the only way I was able was to make it home was to perform the following procedure every time it stalled: I shifted to "Neutral", started the car, then quickly shifted to "Drive" while simultaneously accelerating (but not too hard). If I didn't accelerate while shifting to "Drive", it would immediately stall again. After numerous attempts at this, I was able to get off the main road. I pulled into a parking lot, sat for about twenty minutes for the engine to cool (or recover), then drove home without incident. I don't know if it has any bearing on anything, but while I was waiting, I checked under the hood. Even though the temperature gauge was reading "Normal" on the dash board, the radiator hose was extremely hot and was constantly spurting coolant into the reservoir tank despite the fact that I had only driven a few miles. I think that they should recall the 2004's as well.

Robert B.

Rockville, MD, USA

- Robert B., Rockville, MD, US

problem #4

Jul 312007

(reported on)

Focus SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Ford Focus Se 2004. Light with exclamation come on soon after there is a "CLUNK" noise from the engine or other. Car stalls and starts up again. Took car to ford dealership in C. PA who can not find the source of the problem.

- bumbaman, Halifax, PA, US

problem #3

Nov 062006

(reported on)

Focus SE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Purchased this used 2004 Focus 2 months ago. Brakes continue to squeal, rattling noise under car and now the car dies while driving it. I took the car back on 10/24/06 for repair. I picked the car up on 11/04/06 and after paying $226.55 drove away and noticed that the brakes still squeal, the rattling noise is still going on and then the car died on me twice while driving home. It comes to an abrupt stop in the middle of the road and dies. A light comes on with a little exclamation point in it and then it restarts. This is VERY scary, especially since I was driving with a 4 yr old child in the back. I could be hit from behind. The car is back in service and I am still waiting on the results. NEVER buy a Ford focus.

- Diana R., Tomball, TX, US

problem #2

Sep 072006

(reported on)

Focus ZX5

  • 40,100 miles

My car simply died while I was driving it. There was no warning... just died. I was able to restart it again and get it to a dealer, who kept the car for a couple of days and claimed they couldn't replicate the problem (though it happened a couple of times again on the way to the dealer!) A week later, the car did it again, where it was taken to a different dealer that claims it's my battery, but I remain dubious, and so I'm now stuck with a car that I'm scared to drive because it simply won't work. Fun, huh?

- Tim B., Houston, TX, US

problem #1

Jul 042006

(reported on)

Focus LE

  • 40,000 miles

So if the faulty brakes were not enough, today my 2004 focus just died while driving. This has never happened before. Luckily, I was able to restart and get home. I then did a search on issues with the focus and discovered that the focus had a huge recall in 2000-2001 for this type of issue. Hopefully, this will just be a battery issue, but I have a feeling it will be way more than that. First the faulty brakes now a dying car? I will never buy a ford again!

- go_gauchos20, Merced, CA, US

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