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 22 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #103

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 #102

Apr 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,700 miles
When going up hills the car's transmission refuses to shift instantly and makes loud grinding noise. It would eventually shifts but the split seconds of not shifting causes me anxiety and implies a safety issue. I brought this problem to the attention of Ford of kirkland's service department the first time in April and was told that the car was still "learning" my driving habits because it is still breaking in. The second time I brought my car in was in 12/2013, I was told that what I am experiencing is a known issue to the manufacturer and Ford is trying to come up with a software fix. No one knows when the fix will be available while drivers like me are suffering. In filing this complaint, I hope that with a help from a your Agency Ford will pay more attention to its customers who are enduring this problem when driving their cars every day.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #101

Jan 132014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,899 miles
Transmission started slipping, then complete loss of forward motion while in traffic lanes. Dealer says that this is common and there is a two week waiting list for repair.

- Gardena, CA, USA

problem #100

May 132013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 282 miles


The transmission does not shift right. It hesitates, jerks and surging. At lower gears or speed under 40, the car is difficult to control. It shift to higher gear when the speed is not high enough for the gear. This causes poor acceleration and dangerous when merging into highway from ramp.

- Rancho Cordova, CA, USA

problem #99

Apr 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
This car constantly grinds and shutters between the first few gears every day for the last 8 months of ownership. I bought this vehicle on Feb 2013 and it only drove good for 2 months and the remaining time I've had it, has been on the shop over 4 times for the same exact transmission problems. Symptoms; the transmission gears shifts incorrectly and makes louds grinding and shuttering noises. Sometimes the the transmission has power and sometimes it doesn't. not to mention I almost got myself into 2 car accidents because of this vehicle, during stop and go traffic the gears get stuck and I almost rear ended the vehicle in front of me. Please file a complaint to Ford and NHTSA to have these dct transmissions fixed or recalled.

- Lantana, FL, USA

problem #98

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,667 miles
As with over 100 other complaints, the transmission is very unstable. Hesitation and almost dying at a stop or in slow bumper to bumper traffic is a safety hazard. Attempting to merge on highways and attain higher speeds from a stop or slow (10-20 mph). Grinding noise from front end at low speeds.. the hesitation in acceleration and jerking at slow speeds, is a safety hazard and as previously stated almost caused numerous accidents. I had it reprogrammed at one dealer, with no results, and just two days ago, on 1-2-2014, another dealer replaced parts on the transmission and called me and said my car was ready. After leaving the dealer, the car started making a rattling noise every time I would accelerate at just about any speed. Took it back today, 1-3-2014, and had transmission tech ride with me. As soon as we pulled out from dealer onto highway, started making rattling noise and shuttering still happening.. now dealer has an actuator motor ordered. Who knows if this is a fix or another patch.

- Guin, AL, USA

problem #97

Dec 312013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,552 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate, the vehicle jerked violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 12,552. Updated 02/11/2014 the consumer believed there may be a problem with the transmission and the tie rod. Updated 02/20/14

- Hawthorne, FL, USA

problem #96

Dec 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,600 miles
I've driven over 5,000 miles on this new Focus. The first 5K were ok but lately the transmission has become extremely erratic in its behavior. It shudders violently and frequently after shifting in to 2nd gear and then hesitates to accelerate. The transmission also has started making a clanking sound like two pie tins being hit upon each other. I took it to the dealer.. they confirmed it, reprogrammed the transmission electronics and sent me on my way. That did nothing to help it. I took it back a couple of days later after almost getting rear-ended when I pulled into moving traffic and it shuddered and hesitated unexpectedly. The dealer kept it for 2 days and then gave it back saying they could not reproduce the problem. They only drove it 1 mile which is not exactly an exhaustive or good faith effort to reproduce the problem! so, I'm now headed for trip 3 to another Ford service center to see if they can do something about it. The regional customer service rep actually told me that these transmissions should be expected to shudder, grind and hesitate as part of their normal operation. That's insane.. who would buy or want a car that did that!!! had it operated that way when I test drove it.. it would have stayed on the lot to be sure.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #95

Dec 112013


  • 4,215 miles
This is similar to the car that I am driving (another Ford Focus electric). My daughter was driving the car to school at the intersection of roseville parkway and douglas boulevard, in roseville, ca to day at about 7:15 am for no apparent reason, the car stopped. She was waiting for the light to turn green. My daughter freaked out and called me. I asked her to shut the car off, open one of the doors, wait for one minute and try to start the car again. After the second attempt the car started. Lucky for her, the other cars switched in the other lanes and she was able to move the car. Again. This is happening too often and feel this is a safety hazard. Same thing has happened in same model and make car that I drive.

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #94

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
As with over 100 other complaints, the transmission is a complete failure. Hesitation and almost dying at a stop or in slow bumper to bumper traffic is a safety hazard. Attempting to merge on highways and attain higher speeds from a stop or slow (10-20 mph) has almost caused me to wreck several times to due hesitation in acceleration. Grinding noise from front end at low speeds. Rolls back on a hill (automation transmission) almost caused fender benders. The hesitation in acceleration and jerking at slow speeds, is a safety hazard and as previously stated almost caused numerous accidents. I have had the fse inspect the car twice, a software "upgrade" that did no good, and everyone from Ford says it is operating as "normal characteristics". nothing is normal and someone is going to be seriously injured or die if these problems are not fixed. Dozens of complaints and nothing done.

- Soddy Daisy, TN, USA

problem #93

Nov 012013


  • 17,000 miles


I have owned this Ford Focus titanium for 11 months now. I noticed that the car would shudder while driving at lower speeds and just taking off from a stop position. Sometimes, the car would feel like it was going to stall. There is also grinding from the front end when the car is shifting form 1st-2nd or 3rd-4th gear. I took it in to the Ford dealer, was told it was a sensor and they re-set it and was also told it was a common issue, really?.. not normal to me. Well, it wasn't fixed, it went back to the dealer 4 days later for the same issue. Now I am being told I have to wait on a new clutch and that there is a long wait for the part (back ordered). If this is a major problem with the Focus, these vehicles should be recalled. I have been contemplating on whether to buy another vehicle and just let this one go... I bought the vehicle to last as long as my other Ford has (14yrs), I don't see that happening.

- Moyock, NC, USA

problem #92

Oct 122012


  • 900 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when accelerating from a complete stop, the vehicle would vibrate abnormally. In addition, there was a reduction in engine power when attempting to accelerate on an incline. The failures were recurring. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician advised that the clutches and seals needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 900.

- Bardford, PA, USA

problem #91

Nov 112013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,562 miles
Driving home from school with my grandson and the car started to jerk as we crept in the line of traffic. Almost sounded as if it was ready to stall! this car has just over 5000 miles on it and I enjoy driving it but this problem has persisted and is a safety issue as jerking makes it difficult to judge how close to get to the car in front of you ( because the "slipping " in and out of gear surges forward ) and could cause an accident. Even at speeds up to 35-45 mph the hesitation makes me feel as if it is going to stall. So today I researched the problem and am shocked to find this is a major issue and needs to be addressed asap by Ford. Also the door locks don't work properly when using as the manual states. I plan to be at my dealership first thing in the morning.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #90

Nov 242013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 301 miles
I have only had to car for a day. The car makes an awful rattling noise and hesitates when going in and out of traffic. To make matters worse, today I was in a parking lot and when I was in drive I pushed the gas to go forward and the car went in reverse! please recall this car. It's so unsafe and someone is going to get killed. Luckily no one was behind me when this happened. Awful transmission. A danger!

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #89

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
I purchased a 2013 Ford Focus titanium in October of 2012. Shortly after, the transmission began to hesitate and shudder when accelerating or driving at low speeds, including pulling into and out of the driveway of my home. It then began rolling backwards on inclines. I have never had an automatic transmission freely roll backwards on an incline, much less on that is not very steep. I brought it into the dealership where I bought the car for repairs. They did a reprogram on the vehicle and sent me on my way. Shortly after it began doing it all again. I am currently waiting on a reply from Ford as to what my next step needs to be to get this resolved.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #88

Jul 012013


  • 10,600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the accelerated pedal would become stuck to the floorboard abnormally. In addition, the rpms exhibited abnormal readings. The dealer performed a diagnostic and advised the contact that the transmission needed to be recalibrated every three months. The transmission was recalibrated. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 10,600.

- Hamilton , OH, USA

problem #87

Oct 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,250 miles
While driving my Ford Focus it "stuttered", I.e. while I was pushing on the gas the vehicle stopped responding and jerked as though I had shifted to a lower gear. I have had this happened before, but didn't really pay attention to it until the 15 Oct. Incident. I mentioned it to my wife who also just bought a Ford Focus 2013 model and she confirmed her vehicle had the same issue. Several google searches later I found out that NHTSA is investigating these electronic propulsion transmission failures. Please add our two vehicles to this report. Thank you.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #86

Nov 012013


  • 19,000 miles
This incident has now occurred twice in one week. The first time I was driving out of my apartment complex and the car just died. The fuel light never went on and still said I had about 30 more miles until E. was towed to the dealership, and they told me they put gas in it and it started right up. It said I had 144 miles until E and they calibrated it and the mileage decreased to 133. I drove the car 80 miles and happened again yesterday, but this time I was on a busy state road going about 55 mph with my son in the car. The car jerked and I could tell it was losing power. Luckily I was able to coast into a subdivision. The fuel light never went on and also stated I still had about 33 miles left until E. the car has been towed again to same dealership and no word on what is wrong. Was told they were on the phone with Ford to solve the problem. I am currently in a rental and scared to drive my car as I am afraid this will happen again. Also, had many transmission and clutch issues this summer and those parts have since been replaced. The car is a year old and been in the shop more times than my old car that I traded in for my new Ford.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #85

Sep 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
The contact owns 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would stall and exhibit an abnormal grinding noise when driving 20-30 mph. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 7,000. The consumer stated the vehicle exhibited a rough jerk, when shifting into lower gears, as well as a shudder and grinding metal sound when accelerating. The vehicle was sluggish, and did not perform as a new care should. The dealer was unable to find a problem and the technician informed the consumer, the vehicle was performing as designed. Updated 05/05/14

- Golfport, FL, USA

problem #84

Sep 272013


  • 21,755 miles
I have owned this Ford Focus for approx. 1 year. 10 months into owning it, I noticed the car would shudder when I was driving at lower speeds, or pulling into the driveway which has a slight incline. The car felt like it was going to stall unless I gave it a lot of gas to keep it moving. There is a loud grinding noise coming from the front end. After about a week of this I took it to a local Ford dealer, a tech. Rode with me and agreed it was shuddering and making grinding noises. They said this was common in this vehicle, but they had a fix for it. They reset the transmission strategy and said it should take care of it. Within a week the same thing started all over, the jerking, the grinding noise was louder than ever and more chronic. I took it back to the same dealership that had reset the transmission. Again a tech drove it, confirmed my concerns. I was informed Ford would not authorize any additional repairs on my vehicle, and that the grinding is "normal clutch ratchet noise". I took it to the dealership where I purchased the car this time, explained my concerns. I waited for approximately 2 hours while they inspected my car. I was informed that my car was operating normally, and no further repairs would be authorized by Ford. The service consultant told me there were five other customers ahead of me for clutch replacements for the same kind of issue I am having. He stated the clutches were on back order due to the high number of problems with these vehicles. Talked to the regional customer service manager today, she told me Ford was only responsible for mechanical failures. Her words to me were that I would have to "live with the grinding noise, the shuddering and jerking."what happens when I get rear ended at a stop light because my car shudders at low speeds and takes off slowly?" 3 times in for service within 30 days. No help from Ford!

- Hilliard, OH, USA

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