Notes: Even though the first model year of a major redesign should typically be avoided, Ford did a good job & the 2008 Ford Focus doesn't appear to have any major defects.

That said, the following model years of this 2nd generation Focus (2009-2011) do appear to be slightly better.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,158 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.

2008 Ford Focus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #11

Dec 152016


  • 83,000 miles


The mileage on the vehicle was at 83,000 miles, at the time the issues began. When the car attempted to accelerate from a stopped position, the 1-2 gears started slipping, check engine and wrench light appeared. Took it to a mechanic, diagnostics test stated that it was a "shift solenoid D closed" had my mechanic replace it, it still did not work. I spent 400 bucks to replace the D solenoid, and the car is still in the same condition! I have seen countless complaints on this issue online, why hasn't there been a recall?! had I known the 2008 Ford Focus sucked this bad, I never would have bought it!

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #10

Sep 112014


  • miles
2008 Ford Focus SE automatic transmission began hard downshifting at about 30,000 miles. Dealership stated it needed"flashing". left it one day picked it up shifted fine. Had new battery installed approximately 2 years ago, bad shifting started again. Dealership maintains out of warranty. Car now has 58,000 miles on it and bad transmission. Engine flogs at slow speeds ever since purchased. No relief in sight. Warmer it gets outside, worse transmission behaves. These things happen all over town, the car is not choosey!!

- Liberty, MO, USA

problem #9

Apr 252015


  • 100,000 miles
Transmission began to sputter on the highway. This was the 4th or 5th time the car had this problem. After getting off the highway car struggled to shift into gear. The car would free rev and kick/shake into gear.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #8

Oct 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 99,794 miles


The vehicle does not exceed 50 mph. The car would stall and jump under the hood. The car does not accelerate up hill. The car also shakes continuously and roars loudly when 40-50 mph is reached. The wrench light comes on when driving but the wrench light also goes away when you restart the car. I took the car to mechanics who stated they could not service when wrench light is off. When I did take it to the mechanic when the wrench light was on the mechanic plugged up a system and informed me that it must just be a sensor. I avoid highways because the car does not accelerate after 40-50mph. I am concerned for my safety when operating the vehicle. I do not feel safe. I rely on my vehicle and am disappointed, afraid and uncertain what to do.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #7

Oct 232014


  • 68,500 miles
I purchased my Ford back in may of 2014, it had 60,000 mile at the time of purchase. The car passed all inspections. I did purchased an extended warranty. For the past week I noticed the car felt as if it was idling high and not accelerating properly, on and off. On October 23, 2014, while driving at 20-25 miles per hour, the car began to shake and it felt as if it was going to be loosing power, the car never shut off, it reduced in speed and would not accelerate, soon after the wrench sign appeared. I turned off the car and restarted it, the wrench sign was gone and the car drove as it had prior to the light appearing. I took the Ford into my local Ford dealership and they diagnosed the issue as being the throttle body and needs to be replaced. I was told that my warranty does not cover the throttle body and was quoted $840 for parts and labor.

- Melrose Park, IL, USA

problem #6

Jul 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
This 2008 Ford Focus has had slipping with the transmission in 4th gear from 30000 miles when I took to dealer they said until it has a complete failure they would not take down and inspect the is now out of warranty and I sold car taking a significant loss. At 58,000 the 4th gear completely failed car could not be driven over 30-40 mph.if this happened on a expressway a terrible accident could have happened.I'm am sure I am not a unique Ford owner with this problem. Ford should be held accountable and a recall on this car should have taken place.

- Northbrook , IL, USA

problem #5

Jul 212014


  • 61,640 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving, the vehicle loss power and stalled. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 61,640.

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 132014


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford edge. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into drive. The contact mentioned that he was able to shift into the reverse position and the service engine, traction and transmission light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed. The failure occurred on two separate occasions. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was not able to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 98,000 and the current mileage was 98,500.

- Monticello, KY, USA

problem #3

Jun 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 79,800 miles
I have an 08 Ford Focus S that has just under 80,000 miles and the car is horrendous recently it won't accelerate in low gear. You can put the pedal down but the engine rpms go up but won't accelerate until you slightly let the pedal go and it will jolt forward and engage the transmission. This isn't the first case from what im hearing and wanted to file a complaint on Ford transmissions being faulty and or defective.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #2

Feb 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
My wife was cut off on the highway she gave gas to move and the transmission band broke almost got hit. There's a huge problem with the focuses transmissions and should demand a recall. Car only has 77000 miles transmission should not break when given gas. Never buy a Ford again.

- Preston, CT, USA

problem #1

Aug 022010

Focus 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I own a 2008 Ford Focus. In 2010 my car would jerk badly when I would press on the brakes. I took it in to Ford and they said the problem was my transmission. Luckily I still had warranty and they gave me a new one. When I got my car back from the repair shop I still noticed some jerkiness to it and told them. I was told to keep driving it and it would go away, it never did. 6 mo.later I notice the car getting worse. The gas pedal is hesitant and the gears hesitate to shift. Especially when I drive uphill and turn a corner. It also takes a long time to go up to speed. I took it for service again and they said nothing was wrong with it. Note: They did not test drive my car. How can a doctor diagnose a patient if he doesn't give him a check up" I was very disappointed and they had the nerve to charge me $200. If I have a new transmission why is this happening" I service my car on time and have it well kept. It's now 2012 no one can tell me what's wrong with my car. I've had spark plugs, fuel filter, engine oil change, air filter changed and "new" transmission and the problem still exists. I am very disappointed in Ford.

- Rex, GA, USA

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