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 24 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #63

Sep 232013


  • 4,500 miles


Vehicle warning "stop safely now" appeared and the ev lost all its motive power and stalled. Repeated attempts to restart the vehicle failed.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #62

Sep 212013


  • 1,350 miles
This applies to a Ford Focus electric, not a gasoline model. Was traveling approximately 30 mph when "stop safely now" indicator appeared. Vehicle slowed and came to stop within a few seconds while still in traffic lanes. I placed the car in park and switched the system off, then on again. It started normally and drove normally for approximately 50 miles while I went home. There is no apparent valid reason for the vehicle to stop itself. Under other circumstances this could have been extremely dangerous. Checking reports on the internet, it appears that this problem is very common, and many people have reported repeated occurances of this problem. Weather at the time was moderate (70 to 75 degrees F). This is a new car (two weeks old, approximately 1350 miles) while I don't suggest that the following are contributing factors, I list them because they were unusual for me and this may be helpful to reviewers looking for common circumstances: 1. the vehicle had been given a level 1 (120 volt) charge earlier in the day, bringing the state of charge from approximately 60% to 70%. this is unusual because I usually use level 2 (240 volt) charging. 2, the vehicle had been switched "on" with the air conditioner operating for about an hour but without driving anywhere. The problem occured shortly thereafter, after driving approximately two miles. 3, no other unusual circumstances were noted. Car drove normally before and after this incident.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #61

Sep 202013


  • 1,245 miles
This is for the Ford Focus electric. I was driving on a busy road going approx 50 mph when all of a sudden I lost power and had no acceleration a message came on the display that said stop safely now in red with a exclamation point inside a triangle at that point I was a hazard to other drivers as the vehicle was slowing down as I was trying to merge to the right hand side. I finally was able to stop and I turned off the vehicle. I let it sit for a minute and tried to restart and it would not, I tried a second time and it finally came up ready to go. I contacted the dealer and they advised me to take to the service dept in the morning. This was a safety hazard that needs to be fixed.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #60

Sep 192013


  • miles


Traveling at approx. 35 M.P.H. on county road, pull over safely light came on, unable to pull over immediately due to traffic, traveled a short distance in attempt to find a shoulder to pull onto, car died in a curve. No power at all.

- Alpine, CA, USA

problem #59

Sep 132013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,744 miles
This is regarding Ford Focus electric vehicle 2013 model. This is the second time it has happened. While driving it suddenly beeps and displays message "stop safely now" and car just stalls and stops running. Quite dangerous while driving. It has been to Ford dealership after the first incident and they were not able to diagnose the issue and after a couple of weeks that I got back the vehicle, it happened again. It is again in the service center of Ford dealership, but they still do not know why this happens or what is the fix. This needs to be addressed by Ford asap as it is a huge safety issue.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #58

Sep 182013


  • 1,024 miles
While driving at 30 mph, the car quit running and displayed "stop safely now".

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #57

Jul 252013


  • 2,935 miles


I was coming back from school to my house. The engine light came on asking me to pull over safely. I did that, the car stalled. I freaked out, and called my dad. He said not to worry as it had happened to him in his Ford Focus electric too. He asked me to wait for two minutes and then restart the engine. I did that, the car was fine then. Please talk to my dad if you have any questions. His contact information is listed below. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #56

Aug 132013


  • 4,530 miles
I lease two Ford focuses; one for me and one for my daughter (under my wife's ownership). The car has stalled on me twice and once on my daughter. The first time it happened at speed of 35 miles per hour in June 2013 and the second time at less than 2 miles hour in August 2013. The first time, it asked me to pull over to the side and stalled. I pulled over and parked the car, looked at the wheels thinking that it may have happened due to low air, however, nothing. I shut down the car and then restarted after two minutes, it started just fine. That is until the second time when it actually happened at the corner of 11th and J street in sacramento, ca. I got out of the city garage made a right turn on 11th to make a left on J street. At the light, it just shut down with the warning without ability to pull over. I had to waive the drivers behind me to go around. I could not do much. Same thing, after two minutes, the car restarted. At both times, the car was fully charged. Similarly, this happened to my daughter, who freaked out and she called me. I told her it may be glitch as it had happened to me the first time around. She pulled over, parked, waited for two minutes, restarted and so far her car is fine. Whom should I report this to? the first time, it gave me time to pull over, however, the second time, it just shut down. I thought Ford knew about it thus did not report. Please help me report this. I love the car as there is no more gas station trips, however, it needs to be addressed. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #55

Aug 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
- while in drive and moving forward at 55 mph the transmission disengaged and no power was transmitted to the wheels of the vehicle for about 2 seconds in heavy traffic. This also happened at 15 mph going around a turn for 4 seconds before power to the wheels resumed. During these two occurrences the engine was still running and behaving as if the car was in neutral. - after backing out of a parking spot I put the car in drive and it moved forward as expected about 2 feet and then the transmission disengaged and the vehicle began rolling backwards. The transmissions would not engage until 4 attempts of putting the vehicle in park and stopping and restarting the vehicle. - on several occasions the transmission would rapidly shift up and down while moving forward between 5 and 40 miles per hour. By rapidly, I mean it was shifting in and out of gears at a rate of about 4 shifts per second. This resulted in erratic speed at congested intersections as well as in heavy traffic on the highway and regular roads. - on 2 occasions the vehicle failed to start at all. This is most likely related to the before mentioned issues because the car was confused and thought it was in gear. - shifting from 1st to 2nd gear would cause the car to lag and then lurch. - 1st gear was mushy when taking off then would suddenly lurch. These are serious safety concerns. The dealership found fluid on the clutch pads and most likely also caused damage to the sensors in the clutch assembly. Full clutch assembly and shaft seal replacement is being performed by dealer. Vehicle is only 4 months old with about 4K miles.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #54

Sep 092013


  • 1,800 miles
I was approaching an intersection at approximately 15mph and noticed the stop safely now icon alerting on the dash. I was able to safely stop the vehicle. When I went to proceed through the intersection the car was stalled with the stop safely now light still illuminated. I tried to restart the vehicle but it would not activate. I exited the vehicle for fear of being rear-ended. After 5 minutes I attempted the ignition again and was able to drive away. The car is now at dealer.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #53

Nov 062012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 650 miles


Tried to tell dealership about stuttering of car when it is shifting, response was not enough miles on it, nothing was checked out. Also called dealership again about the stuttering, had the feeling they thought I was crazy. Oil change at 5000 miles, was asked about how I liked the new standard automatic transmission, was not impressed, was taken out on the road, had a loud screech in the front of the car on the highway, was told sometimes a something gets loose and air gets under it and it screeches**.2nd oil change, had enough of the run around, made some noise and got the car checked out on a computer, low and behold, they found a bad clutch, they are replacing it at no cost to me, problem is I don't want this car anymore, I feel very unsafe driving this car, & I feel it is a " large red lemon "& I want it replaced with a good dependable new car, I don't have to be afraid to drive. Thank you, would like to think this would help my cause.

- Fond Du Lac,, WI, USA

problem #52

Aug 132013


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle hesitated to shift gears and shook. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the clutch needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 1,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #51

Oct 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Vehicle stutters and grinds when shifting gears. It is an automatic transmission, but it doesn't seem to shift soon enough and frequently will lose power to the point of almost stalling out. It is very dangerous to pull out in heavy traffic, so I have to make sure there is plenty of room in case it takes a couple seconds for it to get moving again. It also rolls backwards on hills and every once in a while keeps running for a couple of seconds after I've turned the car off and removed the key.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #50

May 132002

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,230 miles
The car has locked me out three times when I had the keys in my pocket the electrical went out the car stalled and I had to call for help and the blue tooth was out. I got out of the car and called the dealer 25 miles away. I got the car started and drove to dealer and they put a new sd card in the console, saying the wrong card was being used. Now, the transmission shudders and I took it to the dealer for a test drive and they said the tires are out of balance and never balanced at the factory. The car looses power on steep hills and some times rolls back on hills. The dealer says the transmission will memorize my driving habits. The transmission two months later still shudders until it warms up and hesitates to shift T times and I feel the need to use the throttle in between shifts. The transmission will clunk every now and the as the gears are out of sync now, this car has a mind of its own and seems to try and correct itself electronically. The transmission feels like it's going to loose one or both of its clutches at anytime. The car is an accident waiting to happen. An example the car down shifted on me and a car behind me almost hit me. The dealer knows there is a problem, but tells the same story. That's how a dct is. Ford needs to help the dealers and step up. The government ought get after Ford. The car is unsafe, unreliable and needs a recall. The car has 3600 miles on it and runs like 1936 Ford manual shift. What a waste of 25K, no more american cars for me.

- Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #49

Aug 262013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles
This vehicle shutters, jerks at each stop. It feels like it gets no power when pressing on the gas pedal. Sometimes its light shuttering/jerking, other times its violent shuttering and jerking to the point where it jerks so bad the car shuts off. We have been to the dealer and they keep telling us its a "green clutch" and just keep driving it to get it broken in. We do not see an improvement over after a week of daily driving. We have visited many sites and realize there are alot of people who purchased a 2012,2013 Ford Focus having this same problem.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #48

Aug 242013


  • 3,184 miles
As I was coming to a stop at a light, an alert came on instructing me to "stop safely now!" and the power train lost all power.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #47

Aug 232013


  • 785 miles
Stop safely now (ssn) came on while I was driving 45 mph. This caused power to be cut and would not allow any further driving of the car, which only allowed for coasting to a stop while in traffic.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #46

Aug 222013


  • 4,093 miles
This is an electric vehicle. While approaching an intersection, the "stop safely now" light came on. I attempted to accelerate to make it through the intersection, but realized I had no power. I coasted to a stop at the curb. There was a hazard symbol displayed, but I could not bring up any other information to give a clue what might be behind the problem. I noted the green vehicle symbol light was off, indicating power is not available to the drive train. I tried doing different things to restart the car, but all attempts failed. The car was towed to a Ford service center. After the car was rolled backwards off the tow-truck flatbed, I tried once again to start the car. It started right up, as if nothing had been wrong.

- Encinitas, CA, USA

problem #45

Apr 112013


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission failed. The vehicle rolled backward while the contact was driving uphill. The vehicle also jerked when shifted from first to second gear and would lose acceleration power when driving in traffic. The vehicle was taken to the dealer numerous times for the failure. The dealer test drove the vehicle and was able to duplicate the loss of acceleration power only. The transmission computer was reprogrammed; however the failure was not corrected and the dealer advised the contact that the transmission was operating at normally. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 10,202.

- Mcrae , AR, USA

problem #44

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

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