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:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,569 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 12 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #303

May 312013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,164 miles


The car abruptly shudders/jolts between 0-20 mph. This occurs mainly during acceleration. The first time I took it to have it looked at, I was provided a piece of paper from Ford explaining that this was a typical, and normal, characteristic of the transmission within the 2013 Ford Focus models. The issue was verified, but no maintenance was performed. I again took my vehicle in for the same issue 06/06/2013, where it was one again verified, yet no maintenance was performed because Ford was still having dealerships give customers the piece of paper explaining the transmission. I asked that when the transmission blows if it would be covered, and I was told 'yes.' The car was taken in again 02/17/2014 for the same issue, verified, and maintenance was performed this time because Ford has recognized that it indeed was an issue, and not a characteristic. The problem continued to exist, and my transmission was removed and cleaned on 06/30/2014. My car has gone in for additional service due to this shuddering transmission; I was turned away once when I arrived a dealership on a Saturday for this issue, and was told 'it was a known issue, ' and on April 22, 2015, I was told I needed a new clutch, which is on backorder for 12 weeks. The problem will not go away; I do not feel safe driving my car.

- Guilderland, NY, USA

problem #302

Oct 082012


  • 1,422 miles
First incident 10/8/12: Vehicle shuddered violently on acceleration from a stop and shuddered in between gear shifts. Reprogrammed PCM/tcm module, TR sensor relearn, shift drum motor and clutch relearn. Second incident 9/25/13: Vehicle vibrates on acceleration. Reprogrammed PCM/tcm per tsb 13-9-4. third incident 10/29/13: Vibration again on acceleration. Ordered parts per tsb 13-9-4. fourth incident 12/19/13: Install 29 parts ordered on 10/29 visit on transmission including clutch assembly and seals. Fifth incident 10/8/14: Vehicle started shaking and shifting strange on the highway and check engine light came on. Very scary incident as I was afraid the engine was going to die and I would lose control. Managed to get off the highway and was near Ford dealer in downers grove who diagnosed code P090C (transmission) and said he could not get the car in as they were full but said to take it slow and managed to get it back to van drunen Ford for service. Service department reprogrammed PCM/tcm and performed pinpoint test per wsw procedure. Sixth incident 4/16/15: Check engine light came on, vehicle shuddered and tachometer was fluctuating at steady speed. Replaced tcm, reprogram and perform adaptive learn. Seventh incident 5/12/15: Shudder has become worse than when it was repaired the last visit. Vehicle is presently at the dealer after filing complaint with Ford customer care. Vehicle has been in seven times for the same problem and Ford refuses to replace this transmission.Ford has extended the transmission warranty to 100,000 miles and I was outwardly told this was due to the fact that they know there is a problem with this transmission on this vehicle type. You only have to surf the web to find out how many people are having the same problem with this Focus transmission. They need to replace this transmission or extend the warranty indefinitely.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #301

Aug 012014


  • 55,000 miles
My 2013 Ford Focus has demonstrated jerky shifting, engine sputtering and stalls related to ineffective shifting of the transmission since it was first purchased. However, at approximately 55,000 miles, the transmission was sputtering and stalling excessively. At that time, we were notified of a recall on the transmission. On September 16, 2014, my transmission was "reprogrammed" by a local Ford dealership. Thereafter, the sputtering slowed for a short period and my gas mileage was also reduced. Not long after that, the sputtering and stalling returned. In October 2014, my local Ford dealership replaced the electronic clutch in my Focus. During the week of May 4, 2015, the car failed to accelerate on the highway approximately three times. On the morning, of May 12, 2015, my transmission failed to shift while I was attempting to exit the highway onto a busy, three lane exit ramp. I put on my flashers and tried frantically to get my Focus to shift into gear and move forward. Rather, it started rolling backwards. Next, a mack truck nearly rear-ended my car. My car has been towed to a local Ford dealership, and I have been told that the Ford dealership will evaluate what is wrong with my transmission, but they have not seen any other Ford Focus automobiles in our area demonstrate these symptoms. I see endless blogs with Ford customers who do have this same problem. I believe that a further recall is required regarding the 2013 Ford Focus.

- Gray Summit, MO, USA

problem #300

Sep 082014


  • 18,257 miles


Vehicle shudders, bucks & hesitates upon take off and acceleration. Feels like its going to stall. Makes grinding noise when changing gears. Have had it "repaired" twice at the Ford dealership where purchased for same issue. First time on 9/8/2014 & 2nd time on 5/4/2015.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #299

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
I bought the 2013 Ford Focus brand new and it has been the biggest headache. The transmission is no good! the car will hesitate to take off and then take off really fast after revving up to over 7500 RPM before shifting into gear and taking off very fast. This is very dangerous and unsafe to me and other drivers on the road! it shutters and shakes, sometimes doesn't want to start. This car is a lemon and not dependable. I sure hope a recall is issued because this is not fair to the consumers who are paying for a car that is defective.

- Granbury , TX, USA

problem #298

Jan 132015


  • miles
Ford is experiencing significant repair obligations due to the defective design of their clutch/automatic transmission arrangement on their 2013 Ford Focus models. The owner of this vehicle is driving a car that has a tendency to stall at intersections and at highway entry lanes. I have been told this condition is being experienced by many other Focus drivers. This is a hazardous condition and as far as I can tell, Ford is telling owners of these vehicles to keep on driving them until the parts can be replaced and the wait time in many cases is extending 90 days or more.

- Nyack, NY, USA

problem #297

Jun 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 9,200 miles


I was starting to accelerate up a hill and the engine lost all power and was revving at a high rate as though it were in neutral. I had no idea what was happening. It was scary. After shifting a few times it eventually recovered in a weird, sluggish way. I took it to the dealer (torrington Ford, Lincoln and Mercury in torrington, ct) and they "reprogrammed the PCM and tcm to the latest calibration" and claimed it road tested ok. However, the car still shuddered excessively at times when shifting, especially at low speeds. I brought it in again two months later and the dealer report said "the shudder is present but not bad enough to perform any further repair, currently below 250 RPM difference and no repairs are needed at this time." A few months ago I had the salesperson drive it and he acknowledged the shudder was way more than what it should be with this transmission. He said he would speak with the service department but I never heard back from him until today when he sent me a "hi, how's your car doing" email that was a standard blast email to all his customers. I reminded him of the problem I am continuing to have with the Ford Focus and told him I don't like driving it. I haven't heard back from him yet. Actually the car scares me. Sometimes, like yesterday, the shudder lasts a full 3 seconds. Something is very wrong with this vehicle. Ford keeps saying it is supposed to shift differently than other cars but nobody would buy one if they experienced this kind of shuddering during test a drive. I first noticed the problem at around 7,500 miles, maybe a little sooner but I probably thought it was my imagination or that I was actually feeling a rough road surface.

- Litchfield, CT, USA

problem #296

Apr 232014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,648 miles
Clutch shuddering - vibrating at 13,648 miles - took in for repair - car was never quite right after that - now again at 29,000 miles its shuddering and vibrating again - Ford telling me the parts may arrive sometime between 8 to 12 weeks for the repair.

- Orchard Park, NY, USA

problem #295

Jan 302015


  • 14,000 miles
I'm not sure of the exact date of the incident, but I started the car and shifted it into D (drive), and the vehicle revved, jerked, and the "check engine" light came on. I drove the car home carefully, pulled it in the garage, and went to adjust it by putting the car in R (reverse), and the transmission would not engage. I did call Ford up, and the problem was "fixed" but since I have had this car the transmission has always jerked some, and I have heard some rattling in the transmission/power train often. I do not consider these good signs as to the reliability of the 2013 Ford Focus.

- Chandler, IN, USA

problem #294

Apr 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
Purchased a Ford Focus in 2013 and have had consistent issues since purchase. Am currently on the waitlist (parts are back-ordered and not expected for 3-4 months) for the second clutch replacement. Car shudders when accelerating. Feels unsafe to drive as I can't predict when it will happen. This is a known transmission issue that Ford has acknowledged, however, the clutch replacements can not be the fix since I have already done that. They have also reprogrammed my "brain" so that wasn't the fix either. Now, for the next 3-4 months I have to continue driving an unsafe vehicle waiting for parts. This vehicle should be recalled before thousands of Ford Focus drivers get T-boned by a tractor trailer as their car shudders it's way across an intersection. The NHTSA needs to step in, as Ford isn't aggressively fixing this issue.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #293

Apr 172015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,500 miles


My vehicle downshifted from approx 60 mph- 20mph immediately and unexpectedly in rush hour traffics. I temporarily lost control of the car and if I had not been able to get it back under control and almost ran off the side of the road rt. 7 traveling North towards winchester and almost was hit by a tractor trailer in the right lane it lurched. I decided to turn off N aback road to see if this was just a, fluke and it seemed to do its and off, but not as roughly, revving up and down and shifting up and down, then wa fine until I turned onto rt.81 North towards inwood, wv. The vehicle continued to have was seems to be continuous revving and shifting problems, I drive it home and had my best friend follow me slowly to the parsons Ford dealership to be looked at. There is a transmission/computer programming issue that Ford is aware of. I had this issue in the first 1000 miles that occurred once in front of my house on bac creek valley drive, upon parking the vehicle, turning it off and restarting the problem disappeared. I commented on it during the 30,000 mile maintenance and chalks it up to a glitch during the normal break-in period of the vehicle. The last incident almost resulted in a potentially fatal condition, here I almost caused an accident with an 18-wheeler and other vehicles. I do not want my wife to drive this vehicle and feel it is unsafe and should be immediately recalled before anyone gets killed as a result. Based on a research Ford has upgraded the transmissions in the 2015 line of the Ford Focus line, and should replace the vehicles.

- Hedgesville, WV, USA

problem #292

Jun 202013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
Transmission clutch makes vibration noise, slips, rolls backwards when on hill when you first start, clutch and associated parts have been fixed or replaced at different times, was told at last inspection by dealer there is nothing they could do with it and would have to live with it due to Ford motor specifications. Car has refused to move at different times when you start up from a complete stop.

- Iuka, MS, USA

problem #291

Apr 092015


  • 64,800 miles
Car shuttered, grinded and rpms went up and down, and have temporary loss of power. Took into Ford and replaced transmission. After breaking in the transmission, it has started to shutter and grind again once the car warms up. Car had grinded ever since we purchased it and was told by Ford many times that it was normal, but found out later it was not normal.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #290

Aug 052013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,736 miles
This vehicle has been into Ford service for a continuous oil leak from the transmission 4 times, 8/5/13, 8/25/14, 1/13/15, and 4/15/15. The transmission oil is leaking onto the clutches causing violent shuttering when the vehicle is shifting.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #289

Apr 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
Car would not start, would not go into gear. Clutch has been replaced twice. Car shuttering on acceleration in low gears and hesitates when changing gears and sometimes lurches.

- Plant City, FL, USA

problem #288

Feb 262015


  • 28,643 miles
While driving 40 mph behind a pickup truck, I came over the top of a hill and down to bottom where road is flat and was able to pass the truck. I slowed down to 30 mph when attempting to make the pass (I had my foot off gas and brake both). I could start the pass without pushing on gas at this time. I was beside the truck when I started pushing on gas to speed up then instead of up shifting, the rpms went up and acted like I was in neutral. I kept letting off gas and slowly pushing on gas. The truck ended up stopping in the road behind me. I almost had to stop with foot off gas till the transmission caught and I was fine the rest of the way home. This was not the first time it happened but this was the first time that it affected another driver and could have caused an accident. Luckily for me, the driver stopped and gave me the room to slow way down. Reading in the book from car says when foot of gas it shuts gas flow of for fuel economy. Saving money on gas is not worth getting in an accident. It looks like the torque converter clutch did not unlock to allow fuel to flow. I have only got 28,643 miles on this Ford Focus and I am not happy with this problem.

- Frazeysburg, OH, USA

problem #287

Dec 062013


  • 10,194 miles
At 10K miles I took my car into dealer to have service and ask about continued issues with shuttering and jerking of transmission. I was given a piece of paper from Ford stating this was a known issue with the transmissions. The dealer told me there was nothing they could do. This was not disclosed to me when I purchased the car and was told it was an issue with "break in period" and would go away; it did not, worsened. At 20K I went to a different Ford dealer for my service as the issue continued to get worse. At low speeds or coast into acceleration the car would jerk violently at times. A known seal leak that had damaged the clutch was found. I was told this was probably an issue from time-of-purchase since I there were signs of long continued leaking and clutch wear. At 30K I went to a different Ford service and asked to go to have my transmission looked at again as I felt unsafe. The car will need a 2nd new clutch replacement. However... the parts are on backorder from Ford and won't be available for 12 weeks!! that's 3 months waiting to repair a new car under warranty!!! I absolutely hate to drive the car because I never know when it is going to bolt forward or slip and not accelerate when the need is urgent. I have spoken to many many other Focus owners who have similar nightmares, out of pocket costs for rentals during service and lost daysâ¿¿ work for service repair. I skimped and saved to pay cash for this car and it is heartbreaking to be told I have no recourse. Please please please... have someone look into this safety issue and lemon of model transmission. Thank you! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #286

Apr 072015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 24,300 miles
Transmission shudders & make a grinding sounds & sometimes jumps forward.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #285

Apr 012015


  • 71,200 miles
Upon entering the highway and merging into the passing lane to pass a semi truck, car lost all transmission gears and entered "transmission fault mode" resembling a neutral transmission selection. The car immediately decelerated towards a closely following semi truck in the fast lane. This has occurred to me, a few months prior, at an intersection (from a stop) in which I had to place the transmission in park-then back to drive, which seemed to calibrate the computer in selecting a gear (quite harshly I might add) and allowed me to travel in transmission fault mode until I reached home. In this instance on the highway, I attempted placing the transmission in neutral then back to drive, which once again appeared to allow my transmission to roughly select a gear at a decelerating highway speed and slowly remove my car out of the passing lane out of the way of fast-moving traffic. Upon leaving the highway, I was stopped at a stop sign and learned that I had lost all gears once again. After rolling some many feet, it engaged into gear and slammed through multiple gears until I arrived at the car dealership, at which I had purchased the car. I later found that the car had lost reverse capabilities as well. The dealership subsequently (4/3/15) replaced the transmission control module (tcm) on the car for the second time and updated the software. After receiving the car, the same situation occurred on the highway on 4/6/15. Now I am awaiting the dealership's course of action. Am told warranty will only cover the clutch and tcm. Transmission has been defective since I purchased the vehicle. Have spoke to Ford customer service representatives and have been told that the two extended warranties are all they are willing to provide for transmission related issues. I fear driving this car, as I have now been placed in three separate incidents which put myself in immediate danger.

- South Charleston, WV, USA

problem #284

Sep 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 16,600 miles
I was in heavy stop and go traffic. Every time I would start to go the car would shudder, buck and stumble. It actually stalled in traffic. I continued to stumble, shudder and buck shifting gears until I got to free flowing traffic. I had been to dealer several times prior to reprogram the transmission but it never fixed the problem. The car got so bad in October 2014 that Ford authorized the dealer to replace the dual clutch unit to the transmission. That temporarily cured the problem. The car has since started to shift rough, shudder and stumble in slow traffic. The dealer is documenting the dual clutch unit is failing again. Ford refuses to replace the new dual clutch unit at this writing. The car currently has 20,800 miles on the odometer 4/2015.

- Monrovia, CA, USA

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