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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,666 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 012011


  • 60,000 miles


This is a ongoing problem with this vehicles suspension since I have had this vehicle I have replaced the tires on it 4X the rear suspension cups the tires and makes it bounce I have had multiple alignments and I bought it a 52.000 miles N for the last 4 yrs I have bought many types of tires and this car has ruined them all, also strut replacement and tie rods and I just got a new rackon pinion for the steering was affected and the fluid leaked out and I highway drive, it would not perform over 65mph without shaking terribly I see more complaints about this car and this supension problem and steering and idol jerks me forward and feels like its going to stahl, the moter mounts an trani mounts are always loose or need to be replaced, an the ac went on it an because it's behind the dashboard the housing unit for the evaporator it cost 1000 to replace because it is hard to get too, the intermitten fan does not come on at all it never cycles so it smells like burnt engine coming in thru the vents that makes me sick, I have had nothing but problems since day one after I took it back after 2mons they wanted to keep it and re-do the whole engine and told me I would have to pay for it, thats when I should of reported it as a lemon, is Ford going to wait until someone has a major blow-out an flip the car an die this should be a automatic recall for safety this car is so unsafe, the frame is all wrong and the rear is not aligned from the factory this is an in house problem.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Oct 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The car hesitates and stalls when accelerating from a stop (especially on a hill). Sometimes the "wrench" warning light comes on indicating (electronic throttle malfunction). When the wrench" warning light comes on it does not store a code. When it stalls it always will start back up and drive fine (unless I am on a hill) this happens when accelerating from a stop. It also happens when moving and accelerating. The last time it happened the car went into "limp home mode" there was a line of cars behind me and no place to pull over. I was moving about 10 mph. When I finally was able to pull off the road I was able to restart the car and drove home with no problem. This is very dangerous in traffic. The car runs perfect in all other instances. I am sure this is an electronic throttle control problem. Ford has admitted there is a problem with these on other models of Ford cars my 2008 Ford Focus has the same problem.

- Waterville, NY, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Dec 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while at traveling at unknown speeds, the vehicle suddenly accelerated on its own, and crashed into a tree. The contact sustained lacerations to the face. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 74,000. Updated 02/11/14

- Red Jacket, WV, USA

problem #7

Nov 042013


  • 41,000 miles
I have a Ford Focus 2008 and mileage of 41,000 I drove the car to work the car abruptly stop in the middle of the road. The car is brand new when I purchased and never use much. I went to Ford service center and check it out and said there is a problem that needs throttle body and reset. Why service area of this Ford company charging me in the amount of $730 dollars. This car is a recall and very dangerous to drive to going to work, please take note that we are talking about safety here. Ford company pay attention my issues. At least to fix the issues throttle body for free for any Ford company services.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 302013


  • 100,000 miles


Throttle cut out several times while on the freeway and the check engine "wrench" would light up. Engine would idle, but stepping on the gas pedal would do nothing. Turning the car off and back on again would temporarily fix the issue. Searching the internet shows this to be a massive problem with electronic throttle bodies. Cannot believe Ford hasn't issued a recall. Dangerous!

- South Jordan, UT, USA

problem #5

Mar 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2008 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle sudden acceleration. The consumer stated he was pulling into his parking space, when suddenly the engine surged and the vehicle shot forward. He immediately slammed on the brake, which caused the occupants in the vehicle to be thrown forward. The consumer stated that was one of the four times, the incident occurred.

- Jensen Beach, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly lost acceleration power. The vehicle was moved to the shoulder, shut off and then restarted, as it began to function normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was confirmed that the throttle body failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 57,000 and the current mileage was 57,300. Updated 1/17/13

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #3

Jul 092009


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Focus. The contact stated while driving at unknown speeds with the air conditioner activated, an unknown warning light displayed on the dashboard similar to a wrench. The vehicle then began to hesitate and jerk excessively. The contact attempted to accelerate but the vehicle would not move forward. The contact was able to move the vehicle off the roadway, shut off the engine and when restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The failure persisted when the contact would drive with the air conditioner activated. The vehicle was diagnosed at a local repair facility where she was informed that the throttle body was defective. The dealer was contacted where she was advised that the part needed to make the repair was on a national backorder for approximately two weeks. The vehicle was left with the dealer where the contact was awaiting repairs. The failure and current mileages were approximately 64,000.

- Bowir , MD, USA

problem #2

Jul 052010


  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 65 mph, the contact stated that the vehicle suddenly exhibited an extremely slow response at an idle speed. There was a ninety percent loss of power. The contact drove across two lanes with caution onto the emergency lane. The engine was turned off and restarted. The vehicle resumed normal operation. The failure occurred intermittently whenever the vehicle was in operation. The contact stated that the failure occurred five different times within the same day. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The failure was contributed to the throttle body. The technician stated that the part was on back order. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. The contact had significant concerns about the potential safety hazard. The failure mileage was 88,000.

- Valparaiso, CA, USA

problem #1

May 242010


  • 66,400 miles
While driving at highway speeds (60-65 mph), with the cruise control set, the vehicle has twice lost all engine power, though it remained running at idle speeds. The first time this happened, the car seemed as if it had turned off, though the engine was still running at idle speed. After pulling over, with the car in neutral, pushing on the accelerator pedal did remained at idle speed. A dash light came on, indicating a throttle sensor fault. After turning off the car and restarting, everything seemed to be working fine. The second time this happened was about 2 weeks later under similar conditions, though this time was in heavier traffic on a multi-lane highway. It was difficult, not to mention dangerous, to cross two lanes of traffic to pull over.

- Baxter, MN, USA

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