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 17 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #203

Mar 102014


  • 8,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While attempting to park, the vehicle lunged forward. On a separate occasion, while idling at a traffic light, the vehicle hesitated when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The dealer stated that the transmission was faulty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 8,000.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #202

Dec 092013


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving at low speeds, the transmission hesitated while shifting gears. The failure occurred intermittently on several occasions. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #201

Apr 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Car transmission constantly slips/lurches and grinds. Dealer says this is "normal". car has been close to several accidents due to transmission slipping/lurching at intersections I do not feel safe to drive this car.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #200

Jul 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 200 miles


When you step on the gas the car hesitates then makes a grinding sound and lurches as the transmission engages. The problem has existed since we purchased the car its been in the shop multiple times, each time we get it back the problem still exists. This is completely unacceptable as we use it for a drivers education car!! the dealership was aware of this problem and they are just as culpable as for is for putting out an unsafe vehicle.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #199

Jul 112013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
The transmission shakes, jerks, miss-shifts, and makes noises on starts from dead stop. It is horrible in stop and go traffic situations. I've had it serviced twice at the Ford dealership, and the car runs well leaving the shop, only to return to the above mentioned problems within a very short period of time. I as well as all of my family members have experienced the problems, and the response I have gotten from Ford's representatives is that it is just a minor irritation and not a serious problem. I beg to differ with Ford in that it is a serious defect, which is potentially hazardous.

- Albert Lea, MN, USA

problem #198

Jun 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The Ford Focus 2013 seems to have a lot of issue with transmission. I have taken my car about 8 times now to fix the grinding problem when it changes gear. A software fix was mostly done which solves the issue (may be) for a week and then it starts all over again. They changed the clutch or something related to that and worked fairly better during the winter of 2013 but come summer of 2014 same issue. In fact the grinding issue got so bad that I had no option but to take it back in. It started to grind in every gear possible. Going up the hill was a huge nightmare. It used to grind all the way on the third gear till it shifted to fourth. So imagine sitting inside the car during that time. Also, with the ac on it was a nightmare. I drive a little longer to work than most people and it is a scary drive every single day. The gear does not change smoothly, it does get stuck occasionally and I get huge jerks before it changes, and the dealers and Ford have no clue what the issue is. They wont order a recall to fix it nor will they give me a new car. It is potentially unsafe to drive these Focus cars. I am scared if the car will stop in the middle of the highway. I hope such a day does not come.

- Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #197

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 #196

Jun 022014


  • 20,153 miles
The car is experiencing transmission problems. It shudders and bogs down as I am accelerating, and often lurches forward unexpectedly. The car makes a loud grinding noise when shifting through gears. The problems began in low gears, but I am now experiencing problems at all speeds, including lurching forward. I have taken the car back to the dealership twice, only for them to tell me this is a normal occurrence. I am afraid the transmission issues will cause an accident. I am also concerned that the grinding of the gears will cause damage to other components of my vehicle.

- Edinburg, IL, USA

problem #195

Jul 132014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,066 miles
Alarms went off, loss of instrument panel, complete loss of transmission power and engine cut out. "transmission fault, service transmission now" was the message received. Had vehicle towed to Ford service center. On August 17, 2014 at 60 miles an hour it happened again. Have had car towed to service center again.

- Chelan, WA, USA

problem #194

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
Shifting into neutral (while decelerating/braking) will intermittently cause engine rpms to rapidly drop, resulting in engine failure/stall. Attempts to restart the engine are typically successful, although occasionally requiring multiple attempts, due to engine re-stalling. Key factors seem to be engine oil temperature, and braking/decelerating.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #193

May 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


We purchased the 2013 Focus at apple Ford in red lion pa. We had that car approx 1 month and it would not go in reverse, we were told the jerking grinding hesitations were all "normal". after over a week in the garage it was determined by dealer they would swap out for another Focus same year, but had more miles than the original Focus. The first VIN # was [xxx]. we continue to have all the above symptoms with the 2nd Focus they traded us. I am taking back to garage this week for worsening issues with my transmission. I called Ford and they told me that they (Ford) could not send a copy of the letter that was mailed out explaining they have extended the warranty to 100,000 miles or 7 years because it is done by a "third party" "? this includes the input shaft seals, the clutch & or a software calibration. My car is paid off in full and it is ridiculous that I am having to waste time going back and forth with Ford about this. I have filed several complaints with no resolution. What happens when the warranty expires, by then will I even have a car that is drivable" I do not even feel safe driving M car, therefore I only use it around home and never on trips or anywhere else. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dover, PA, USA

problem #192

Aug 142014


  • 26,000 miles
Experiencing shuddering with acceleration from a stop position. My car makes a very loud noise along with vibrations, took my car into the dealership today, they checked the transmission said it was fine, they test drove it and of course since it is intermittent it didn't do it. I was told this is normal due to the fact that the transmission is an automatic but functions like a manual transmission. Soon as I get in the car drive it about 5 miles and it starts doing it. I'm nervous driving it cause it also feels like it's going to die in the middle of acceleration. I feel that safety is compromised by this issue. It shudders the most at about 18-20mph from 0mph. I don't see how this can be normal, it feels so unsafe.

- Belton, MO, USA

problem #191

Jun 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
When starting to accelerate there is a skipping and/or surging, with an accompanied shuttering coming from the transmission until the car reaches as fast as 25 mph. This defect has almost caused one accident. I have been in contact with two dealerships to try and get the problem repaired however the parts are on back order for as long as 4 more weeks. The dealerships have stated this is a common problem with various service notices on it. They have informed me that it is due to faulty seals that cause leaking lubricant.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #190

Jul 122013


  • 500 miles
Bought a new Ford Focus hatchback. Transmission problems from the start. Hesitates and jerks with grinding sounds. Took to dealer twice and they did nothing.

- River Falls, WI, USA

problem #189

Jul 232014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 26,700 miles
Note: The following issues are intermittent but progressive I.e., getting worse. Erratic transmission shifts: (1) lags (opposite of #2 next) during acceleration from full stop. (2) sudden high speed acceleration that is out of proportion from force applied to accelerator pedal from full stop I.e. the front wheels brake traction and spin. (3) transmission shutters during normal acceleration. (4) transmission appears to gear search during normal driving conditions at speeds from 40 to 50 mph. This is indicated by changes in tachometer readings (up and down) as well as feel to the driver. (5) vehicle will not maintain position I.e., rolls backward, on the slightest incline. Brake pressure must be maintained to prevent roll back.

- Granbury, TX, USA

problem #188

Aug 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 24,408 miles
While accelerating from standing position (at stop light pending green left turn) I hear grinding and a pop noise coming from engine when transmission apparently slipped (disengaged) so that the forward drive will not operate. Car's momentum kept car moving forward but without power from drivetrain. Putting car in reverse gear causes severe grinding noise and no change in motion. Car does not have forward or reverse movement when put into gear and is completely disabled. Car that was behind me suddenly swerved to prevent rear-end collision with my rapidly decelerating vehicle (with no brake lights activated to warn of rapid deceleration).

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #187

May 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 260 miles
My Focus has been in the shop 3 times to keep fixing the same transmission problem and now it is going back in to the shop for the fourth time for the same problem. The transmission keeps on shuddering, jerk S and slips out of gear. It has rolled back on take off. The engine goes but the transmission doesn't. I have took my car to into 3 dealers hoping that another can fix the problem. I feel unsafe for my wife driving it to work. She has to be very careful when she gets onto the highway and at stops. She has to drive with both feet so the car won't go backwards. She also has to worry about the cars behind her when she tries to take off at stop lights. Ford has offered me a free oil change which I thought was funny. My wife has to drive it to work we have no choice in the matter since it is our only car. If my wife gets hit or if she hits another car I will be getting a lawyer because Ford knows about our problems. I asked to trade it for another but they don't want to fix the problem or do a trade. They did offer me 1400 dollars off a new 30,000 car but we just bought this one and can not afford another at this time. Please help us get this unsafe matter fixed. Thank you very much from my family to yours on this very unsafe matter.[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Saint Augustine, FL, USA

problem #186

Oct 302013


  • 17,328 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle shifted into a different gear independently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician diagnosed that the computer needed to be reset. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 17,328.

- Alvin, TX, USA

problem #185

Jul 012014


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving 15 mph, the transmission shifted with little acceleration and all the warning indicators illuminated. The failure occurred numerous times. The dealer stated that the transmission control valve needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 55,000.

- Houma, LA, USA

problem #184

Aug 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 24,916 miles
This is a follow on to an original complaint submitted. This first time the entire transmission was replace and fixt the issue for 10,000 miles. The new transmission again started to hesitate when the outside temperature is over 80 degrees. Severe shudder when shifting from 1st into 2nd. Then the vehicle would reach 5 mph accelerating from a stop and the engine rpms would jump to 5000 and the vehicle would only creep along at 5 mph. This happened in heavy traffic without warning. Limped the car into the dealer who had to replace the transmission tcm. The controllers seem to last between 10,000 and 16,000 miles. When the vehicle experiences a failed transmission controller in heavy traffic, this poses a very unsafe condition as other cars are trying to drive around at 45 mph.

- Barrington, IL, USA

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