Notes: Ford changed a lot of things for its 3rd generation, just none of them were a good idea.

The transmission tends to hesitate and jerk when accelerating. The new electronically-driven power steering can fail suddenly and without warning. Even Ford's SYNC can be a headache. Actually, scratch that last one --- it's always been a headache.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,281 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.

2013 Ford Focus brakes problems

brakes problem

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2013 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #14

Nov 282016


  • 103,000 miles


While driving home on a very busy freeway in dallas the steering default warning came on. Shortly thereafter numerous other warnings displayed on the dashboard, my car immediately lost acceleration and the engine default light came on causing me to completely stall. I almost caused a major accident being rush hour. I was towed to the dealership where they said I needed a new battery. Over $400 later, 4 days later, I picked car up and 5 hours later it did it again. Returned car to dealership and this time they reported an evap code. This has nothing to do with the steering and I knew this. I contacted a friend who is a master technician who went into the dealership with me and subsequently I was not charged the diagnostic code again. He discussed this issue and they said the steering was fine and until it happens again there was nothing they could identify to fix!! (however, the repairs the dealer wanted me to agree with now-the evap code"- were just under $2,000 and didn't address the steering code warning in any way. Fuel tank, lines & purge valve" all in need of repair 6 hours after car was fixed via a brand new battery) I am at 103,000 miles. I drove the car that night fine, the next day and then again it repeated the steering warning and shut down while in motion on a major freeway that evening. Four times later since 11/29/16 I have had this steering warning/subsequent results of almost crashing. This is thee most unsafe vehicle being driven on american roads today. Ford should recall this, fix this steering issue once and for all. I will never, ever buy or drive a Ford car again.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #13

Sep 092016


  • 37,000 miles
One Dec 24 2015 driving down the freeway my car had full loss of steering, the engine light came on, the pedals stopped working and I nearly crashed the car. After pulling off the freeway I turned the car off and it would not start back up. Moments later I could start the car, I ran a vehicle health report to prove to Ford that something had happened. I then drove my car which was stuck in 1st gear to my destination. The steering was very heavy, the pedals were not working well at all. After leaving it parked for 30 minutes I turned the car on and the check engine illuminated, but the problems had cleared. This feature is very deceiving, as some may assume the car is now safe. I took the car in for repair, and they simply reprogrammed the car. I continue to this day to have transmission issues, and have had the clutch only replaced one time dispite bringing it to them constantly for repair. In January of this year my cars clutch and transmission failed, the car seemed to make a loud acceleration noise and then become forced into 1st gear. This made steering heavy or hard, & the pedals not work with the usual weight on them. I drove my car to Ford like this, stuck in 1st to show them finally that the whole time I knew something was wrong. My various other complaints of this vehicle include regular acceleration between 1st and 2nd gear, there is the standard shudder. In addition, my visiting family became stuck in the back seat with indoor latches not working - the child locks were off. I feel as though I was sold a "dud" car & that the salesperson lied to me about the transmission. If I had known it was an "electronically controlled manual car" I would not have purchased it. Now I can't get my car appraised, no dealer is willing to buy this car form me. Kbb states my current value is at around $9000 and 12 months ago I paid $16000, close to $17000 including financing

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #12

Jan 012013


  • miles
The car has jerked, shuttered, and shook from almost the day I bought it, I have battled these issues from the very beginning. It won't accelerate for a few seconds when I push on the gas I have almost been in an accident because of it. The flashers come on when I unlock my door, my horn doesn't work, my driver window doesn't work, I have had the clutch replaced, the cluster was fried twice, and the control module has been replaced. Then driving on the freeway my car engine revved way up and the rpms went to 7000 and I lost power to accelerate my car. I was in the middle lane when I lost the power to my vehicle I put my flashers on and coasted to the side of the freeway. Thankfully the freeway wasn't busy. The reverse also went out on my car. The car is now in the shop for the 6th or 7th time for the same issues but it is never fixed.

- Bardstown, KY, USA

problem #11

Dec 062015


  • 39,400 miles


Car makes noise. Car sluggish when I give gasoline. Went to dealer about 5 times before dealer decided I had transmission problem. Dealer told me would only repair transmission. Waited for part. Went back to dealer to say car almost stalled. Was applying brakes at the time on highway. Out of concern for condition car was in, had car on cruise control to limit sudden application of gas or brake. Was on road for about 20 minutes on highway. I worried car would stall and cause accident. Dealer later said machine review of my car says it was drivable. Advised dealer if it almost stalls, it may stall. Dealer said: I will have to wait for part. It has been over 2 months, part not at dealer. Latest is that Ford corporation advised me part was sent 8 days ago. Dealer does not have part. Last 3 days dealer does not call back after I left messages to tell me status of part. Car is unsafe to drive, need to drive long distance, but I do not want to risk it. Waited for part since 12/6/2015. Dangerous highway incident was 1/1/2016

- Ridge, NY, USA

problem #10

May 282014


  • 30,000 miles
I've had the transmission redone twice one at 58K the problem started at 31K and again at 86K two weeks later the same surging, jolting, loss of power is still happening. Ford Motor Co. And dealers are horrible to deal with. Ford Motor Co. Won't respond they take messages if you can actually talk to someone. There are thousands of these cars with this transmission which is crap. They need to discontinue use because the fix is not a fix. Someone needs to stop Ford from producing unsafe cars. Any time I drive this care the jolts start after second gear then it doesn' change gears correctly it's sluggish this happens on streets and highways or when slowing down and attempting to speed up it has very little power and I end up wasting a lot of gas so the mpg's aren't correct in rating. Vehicle health report in syn is a joke, it will tell you your breaks are ok and they aren't. it goes through a quart of oil every 6 K miles. Now it's hard to start I jiggle the key and it sometimes starts there's a loud clicking noise and all the lights and electronics flicker then it finally starts. Don't buy any Focus! I've submitted a previous complain not sure if this is even being read...I have all my service records. Don't have a scanner if you want to see them. Dealers initially told me several times I'm not "giving it enough gas" even though there was already a recall on the transmission and I had 30K on the care.

- Yuba City, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 182015


  • 35,400 miles
The vehicle has stalled multiple times. It has happens when the clutch is depressed. The rpms drop down below 500 and sometimes the engine stalls. Sometimes the engine will just waiver at low rpms and regain idle.the car has also stalled at high speed on the freeway, with traffic backed up, I depressed the clutch, and the engine stalled.

- Royal Oak , MI, USA

problem #8

Jun 192015


  • 44,000 miles


My car stalled going down the road at approximately 35 mph upon attempting to accelerate the vehicle revved to the red limit, and would not go into gear. I was thankfully able to pull to the side of the road and get myself and my child to safety by rolling in neutral. Ford Motor Company has had thousands of complaints about the transmissions in these cars stalling or completely malfunctioning while driving yet there has not been a recall on them. My infant was in the car! had I been entering a highway or something the results would have been terrible. All the company will do is extend the warranty to 100,000 miles and then we as consumers are screwed. Basically they "fix" it until the warranty is up. This is not acceptable or safe in any way.

- Lugoff, SC, USA

problem #7

Jan 152014


  • 10,000 miles
My car shutters and hesitates when pulling off, rpms rev up and gas mi is not as advertised. It also makes noises that I thought were the door locks clicking when car is off, later to be told its the transmission is re-setting? besides that I have had 3 flat tires on the same side of the car, from rivet looking things that I think are falling out of the wheel well (at least 1 did!) this is my 1st new car and I've taken care of it! in fact I got it early 2013, and as of now it only has 15,600 miles on it! the last oil change was due at 16,000miles and I had that done @ November because that date was recommended. Everytime I have mentioned this to Ford they blow me off and say there is no recall, well bs I want, and deserve what I paid for, a new car, not a big headache!

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #6

Nov 232014


  • 23,900 miles
Car went from 60 mph to 40mph to 20mph to zero and stalled and died in less than ten seconds while driving on the interstate North of atlanta, ga on Nov 23, 2014. Car came to complete halt when I tried to push the gas pedal and accelerate. I almost died. Car has been in the repair shop at Ford dealership for over 23 days now.

- Rex, GA, USA

problem #5

Jan 062014


  • 10,000 miles
When trying to drive in about 5 inches of snow, the traction/stability control kicked in and made my car go about an 1 inch a minute. Ever since that incident, whenever I start from a stopped position, the car will stutter and sometimes slow down after starting even though I have my foot on the gas. This is not a problem if there is no traffic, but in heavy traffic or fast moving traffic, a person can get run over. There have been several times that the flow of traffic has had to either stop or considerably slow down while my car is slowly getting up to speed. I have taken my car in and the dealership says there is nothing wrong with the vehicle. They state that it is running properly. I have tried to trade in the vehicle and 1 dealership told me that they have heard of this problem by other Focus owners. We have a friend that also has the same make and model, but it is an automatic, and they say they have the problem as well. So this is not just a problem with the manual transmission model.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #4

Jul 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


My car like the rest of the complaints does not shift right. It jerks and shudders and makes a loud noise when it shifts. I took it to my Ford dealership and they will not fix it because it does not meet Ford guidelines to fix. They say it is in normal operating standards but I dont think a brand new car should be shuddering when shifts. Now it has an alert pop up saying hill start assist not available and it wont go off.

- Wathena, KS, USA

problem #3

Jan 162013


  • 2,000 miles
I was backing out of my driveway and was putting some gas on to make it through the deep snow to the center of the road where the snow was compacted. I would have made it to the center; however the traction control reduced the power to the drive wheels getting me stuck in the snow, blocking half of the lane. If this would have occurred in oncoming traffic I might have been hit. I had to get out of the vehicle which also put me at a higher risk of getting hit by a car, or slipping and falling, or getting frost bite. If I had the option of turning off the traction control I could have gotten myself out of the snow and continued on my way safely. Conversely, if I did not have the traction control on in the first place I would not have gotten stuck. This brought to mind a few critical questions: 1. what if this had happened in a more remote area and I had been stranded in freezing weather without help; and 2. what if this had happened in a more congested roadway and I would have gotten hit due to the random operation of the traction control without a way to disable the feature. Because of this incident I feel unsafe with the traction control on, so I have disabled it. To do so I had to pull the fuse, which also disabled the ABS. I have driven for over half of my driving career without ABS and traction control and I can honestly say that ABS and traction control has never benefited me, even when I needed the features. A concerted investigation needs to be made to determine if forcing this feature on drivers is a better policy than allowing the driver┐'s experience and training to be the controlling force when behind the wheel. I believe that there must be, in all cases, a way to turn off the traction control feature in a vehicle for the safety of the driver and their passengers.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #2

Aug 202013


  • 3,637 miles
This is actually the 3rd time in a month this occurred. The "stop safely now" warning comes up. 1st time on 7/29, I was able to safely pull into a parking lot. The car would not restart, and the wrench symbol displayed. Turned off and tried again 5 minutes later, and the car worked fine. The next day, the car gave no notice as I moved to accelerate at a green light. A clunk, and no power, and the "stop safely" now warned occurred at the same time. I turned the hazard lights on, a pedestrian assisted me in pushing the car out of the traffic. It restarted 5 minutes later, I drove it straight to the Ford dealership. They replaced the computer did the software update. After waiting over 2 weeks for the car, the "stop safely now" occurred again 5 days after being released from the dealership. This time, I was able to safely pull over. I took it back to the dealership, and do not know how long it will to take to fix the issue. I no longer feel safe driving this car, knowing the power can be disabled anywhere at any time. I hope Ford takes these issues seriously.

- North Hills, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 122013


  • 1,600 miles
I was driving about 40 mph. Suddenly an error message popped up "service advancetrac". then the car was disabled. The speed automatically reduced. The speed did not respond or increase at all when I stepped on the accelerator pedal. Luckily, I was able to pull over to safety. Then the car stopped completely. I turned off the car, then turned it on again. The error message "service advancetrac" popped up again. This time, the car automatically accelerated from 0 to 30 mph, then it ran constantly at 30 mph. This time, the speed did not respond at all when I stepped on the accelerator pedal. It was like the car was on cruise control, without you being able to turn off cruise control! extremely dangerous! I brought it to the dealership for service the 1st time. They replaced the accelerator assembly. About a week later, the same issue happened again. I brought it to the dealership for service the 2nd time. I even took a picture of the error message on the dashboard and shown it to the service adviser. They couldn't reproduce the issue, and told me there was nothing that they could do. Then it happened again right after I drove off the dealership. Then, I managed to drive back to the dealership with the error message still on and with the issue occurring. Service was able to collect some kind of code from that error message, but could not figure out what was wrong with my car, and told me they will contact Ford directly. It has been 3 days and I have not received a response at all. This morning, I turned on my car and drove for 2 minutes and the same issue occurred again! as for proof, I was able to record a 30 second video clip while the car was running on a constant speed of 30 mph without me stepping on the accelerator pedal. I do not feel safe driving this car anymore because this problem can occur randomly anytime in the middle of the road! not safe for driving!

- Houston, TX, USA

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