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 25 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Apr 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles


The 2013 Ford Focus has a dual clutch automatic transmission which is a design defect. The vehicle stalls, bucks, jerks and rolls backwards on inclines. Had I known these about all of the complaints surrounding this vehicle, I never would have purchased it. The vehicle is only 5 months old and needs the clutches to be replaced. This transmission is a safety hazard and falls well short of performance expectations for an alleged automatic transmission.

- Hagerstown , MD, USA

problem #42

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
Was told by dealer transmission was normal if it jerks hard and grinds and knocks, dealer was checking transmission the whole time. Transmission had a seal leak( dealer stated you can run those transmission without fluid), dealer fixed so they say, dealer left ratchet the size of my forearm on transmission when I pulled away from dealer I thought transmission had fell out. Dealer could have been bought for a dollar. Dealer placed dye in transmission offered free oil changes no thank you I replied. Three days later back in shop transmission still bad along with a bad miss. Now the clutch plate is bad. Got car back drove three more days, car shaking was told cant do anything about that( didn't do the hard shaking until they messed with transmission), transmission still isn't right in low gears hard shifting and grinds. Took car back to dealer refused service I was told to take car somewhere else that nothing was wrong with. We feel all the transmission fluid leaked out causing all this. This car was taking in to dealer after I came off a exit all was clear transmission would not in shift in gear to go all to soon a semi-truck was on me if he had not had room to get over it would have been fatally. That's not a new normal transmission. I have filed a lemon law suit. Ford notified made all the excuses that everyone else has been told, car will get better the more you drive it, parts on backorder, that's the way it is, car has to learn your driving habits. All the same stuff.

- Broadway, NC, USA

problem #41

Aug 122013


  • 1,123 miles
This applies to the Ford Focus electric. I was backing out of my driveway when I heard a load clunk. I instantly felt the power steering fail and the motor cease function (lost all power rendering me immobolized in the middle of the street). The dash displayed the warining "stop safely now". this indicates an electrical fault. Note the battery had a full charge. The symptom I was able to drive a few blocks with the same behaviour. I was able to drive the car back to my house and called roadside assistance. I was lucky I was not on the freeway when this happended.

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #40

Jul 132013


  • 17,042 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the vehicle began to jerk with an accompanying rattle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who reprogrammed the PCM and the tcm. The clutch assembly was replaced on a separate visit. After the repairs were performed the transmission failed to shift correctly from first to second gear. The jerking became progressively worse whenever the contact was driving at low speeds. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 17,042.

- Charlestown, WV, USA

problem #39

May 062013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,200 miles
Brand new 2013 automatic. Apparently, my automatic has a manual transmission to improve fuel efficiency. Around may my vehicle started acting up when I would pull forward or back up - the transmission would shudder causing a delay in acceleration. I took the car to the dealer who did a software update, no change. They told me to drive it for awhile to allow it to reset. After about another few hundred miles the problem was still there- took it back and they put in a new clutch. Same issues - same response, drive it for awhile and let it break it. Took it back - told it was within standards and I was to expect the shudder!? it's brand new - according to the sale rep and maint supervisor its part of the design, but customers and even Ford sales and maint was not told until complaints came in. Ford will do nothing but tell me I can take it for another opinion and pay for it. No matter, they feel it performs within their standards. The problem is I'm paying for the car and when I pull into traffic I expect it not to pause - that is dangerous and could cause me to get hit. This is unacceptable! I can't believe Ford will not make this right.

- Hartville, OH, USA

problem #38

Nov 212012


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle failed to respond to acceleration attempts. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the transmission was re-calibrated. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Wells, ME, USA

problem #37

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 536 miles


May 1st: Significant vibration, vehicle shutters when shifting 4th: No changes in performance. Shutter and vibration continues; no work performed. Advised all of this is a "normal characteristic? of a dual clutch transmission. 10th: Significant shaking at idle continues 17th: Vibration continues; transmission continues to buck and stall. Vehicle does not respond well to sudden stops" significant shuddering and RPM gauge has rapid fluctuations. Gears still making grinding noise. 18th: Transmission problems felt worse than usual today. 20th: Vehicle does not drive well. Transmission continues to click/pop/grind; gear changes are rough, similar to someone who cannot drive a manual transmission 24th: Rough idle persists; car slow to engage in first gear; feels like it is going to stall. June 4th: Rough idle continues 26th: Gear changes are not smooth and in fact are quite rough; car does not function normally. No improvement whatsoever since last update. 29th: Vehicle shakes badly upon start; very rough shifting; car does not feel safe July 5th: Gears are not engaging properly; delayed acceleration from 0mph in drive 11th: Vibration is as bad as ever; no improvement. 17th: Had two cases of delayed acceleration & bucking today 19th: Vehicle shuttered significantly today; RPM gauge plating continues to rattle; passenger door would not unlock with remote key; beginning of electrical problems 21st: Transmission stalled upon acceleration again; substantial hesitation 22nd: Loud grinding noise shifting to reverse; RPM gauge went to about 2500 26th: Stalling, shuddering/bucking continues; gear changes are not smooth 28th: Interior electrical problem; interior overhead lights do not illuminate nor do the A/C & radio lights; 29th: Experienced a very hard jolt upon acceleration so much so that it jarred the entire car.

- Downers Grove, IL, USA

problem #36

Dec 202012


  • 3,500 miles
December 2012 - while stopped on hill car put itself into a hard reverse without driver input - could have killed someone - March 1, 2013 near 8700 mi on od while driving car in traffic car quit communicating with transmission - car dash lit up with everything message: Transmission fault, then made it last 1/4 mile in low gear. In driveway - starting car - trans. Would not engage. Car then went into limp mode. After forced to take car back from dealer not fixed car failed next day - car flashed messages - hill start assist not available. Car went into limp mode. After 1/2 hour or so, drove car to my mechanic where car completely failed again while diagnostic being run. Car then towed to dealer - dealer gave joneses run around - forced again to take car back not fixed on 3/19/13. Documented on release form that car generating multiple nondescript error codes. Car has always run rough, unpredictable and unreliable. Consider too dangerous to drive on fwy. Car sold as traditional automatic and find out 2 manual transmissions operated by computer that has trouble figuring out what driver is doing at stop or low speeds. This car is a nightmare someone could get killed. Lemon law blogs and other blogs full of Ford Focus owners with transmission problems. Lemon law suit pending. Ford and dealers game customers to not document problems. Dealer called hard reverse incident "normal operation" and refused to document it. Ford just as bad. Someone with clout needs to step up & protect consumers.

- Phelan, CA, USA

problem #35

Sep 262012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission would hesitate when shifting between gears. The manufacturer advised that the action was normal for a 2-clutch transmission within the first 5000-6000 miles. The contact stated that the failure continued for an additional 10,000 miles. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who performed service to the transmission but the failure persisted. In addition, the transmission emitted an abnormal ding when completing a turn in either direction. Or when shifting between first and second gears. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 20 and the current mileage was 13,300.

- Loveland, OH, USA

problem #34

Jul 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,740 miles
While driving residential streets at approximately 25mph, the car sounded an unfamiliar warning tone along with the message "stop safely now" - at which point, I coasted the car to a stop (unfortunately this happened to be in the middle of an intersection). Even though I had no throttle control at this point, the car refused to shut down after multiple presses of the "start" button. I eventually took my foot off the brake, hit "start" again, opened the door and this seemed to cycle the car to "off" mode. I then tried again to start the car and it worked - after about 10 seconds of driving the "stop safely now" error came on again. I pulled over this time and shut the car down for 10 minutes - I was able to later drive the car home. Waited an hour and decided to have my wife video tape me while driving incase this happened again.. the error occurred 3 more times and is all on tape - all while coming to a stop or accelerating from a stop. I shudder to think what would happen if this occurred on my normal commute on the carpool lanes of the 405 or 110 -or worse, decided to power down in the middle of a left hand turn!- this would be a huge liability and safety risk for myself and family. The car is currently with Ford and I'm in a rental until we have a resolve - I didn't find out until after signing a 3 year lease that this is now a well known issue (at least to the NHTSA and on many Ford forums and in articles on the internet) it's an amazing car and I hope Ford figures this out very quickly.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #33

Feb 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,156 miles


While driving at low speeds and stop and go situations, the auto transmission has a loud grinding noise and the car bucks, shutters and feels like it will stall out. The car rolls back immediately on hills even though it is supposed to have a hill start assist system that holds the car in place for 2 to 3 seconds. While making a left turn onto a busy highway and applying the brakes, the car jerked and pulled strongly to the left and four loud grinding/popping noises came from the transmission. It sounded like applying the brakes with no pads. The car has been brought to the dealership 3 times and every time they say it is normal. I even received a letter from Ford describing the above as common characteristics of the powershift transmission. I do not feel safe driving this car.

- Fairhope, AL, USA

problem #32

Jul 172013


  • 922 miles
"stop safely now" indicator came on while driving vehicle. At a stop light approximately 5 minutes later, the vehicle lost all power in front of intersection. This is an all electric vehicle. I placed transmission in park and attempted to power cycle car with no success for approximately 2 minutes. Once I opened the driver side front door, the car was then able to power back on. The "stop safely now" warning did not reappear.

- Cardiff By The Sea, CA, USA

problem #31

Jul 012013


  • 532 miles
The same afternoon after picking up my new car I noticed jerkiness while accelerating from a stop to around 30 mph. I blew it off and thought they maybe it was bad gas that was making car run funny. It only got worse from there. So bad I was scared to even pull onto a highway cause it would act as tho it was going to stall out. Then I started noticing noises kind of a grinding noise along with the hard shifting. I took it in a dealership said it was normal and give transmission time to get " use to how I drive" the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Needless to say my new car is in shop for however long. I'm not sure I even want it back from all the other horror stories I've read. Some catching fire and such. Ford needs to recall this vehicle and put a normal transmission back into it before something serious happens to someone.

- Conway, AR, USA

problem #30

Jul 072013


  • 298 miles
This complaint applies to the Focus electric. While turning into a parking lot, going approximately 5mph, the vehicle abruptly lost power, the "stop safely now" warning light came on, and I coasted the car to a halt at the side of the lot entrance. No other warning lights illuminated. Although the vehicle was inoperable, it also could not be turned off. Usually, pressing the power button to turn the car off disconnects the high voltage battery from the rest of the electrical system and shuts the car down, but in this situation it would just cause the warning bell and "stop safely now" light to pop up again in the instrument panel. After maybe 45 minutes, right as the tow-truck driver arrived, I was suddenly able to turn the car off by pressing the button. It then functioned normally when turned back on. Luckily I was in a reasonably safe situation when the failure occurred. However, many similar complaints exist for the Focus electric (many more in public forums than here), and the failure has occurred on the highway and in traffic for some people. Clearly the issue needs to be addressed.

- Williston, VT, USA

problem #29

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,183 miles
I recently purchase this 2013 Ford Focus SE 6spd powershift with appearance package on June 8 2013. When I took it only had 7 miles. As I drove the next couple of days I heard noise coming from underneath when accelerating from stop and go traffic and this happens between 5 to 20 miles per hour as I accelerate and then it disappears. I went online and google this noise and read the threads looks like it needed to break in. When I reached around 700 miles on the odometer the noise is almost gone but still there and not as bad as before. Today June 30, 2013, it has 1183 miles on the odometer as I was making a turn from the light accelerating I got a sudden shift felt like something hit me from behind and heard a thunk when it shifted after that it went through the shifting sequence as I accelerated. This is the first time I bought a new car and have this kind of issues. I read about the power shift tsb bulletin but something is not right in this car hopefully Ford will fix this problem before warranty runs out. I believe the way its shifting something will wear out fast and Ford needs to act on this.

- Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #28

Jun 262013


  • 250 miles
Purchased the vehicle last Saturday June 22. About 2 days after purchase the transmission started making noise shifting gears. Sounds like rocks in a aluminum coke can. It hesitates and shifts hard sometimes. Contacted dealer and was told if it should mess up I am covered by warranty. This to me is not normal and its quite scary. My car has 300 miles on it I shouldn't be having trouble like this. I read reviews from others and this seems to be a widespread issue. Also this is my first brand new car purchase and I am not very pleased.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #27

Jun 262013


  • 1,088 miles
Traveling on a road. Stopped at a stop sign. When the pedal was pressed the car showed an error of "stop safely now" and refused to move. The car had to be pushed around the corner of the intersection while vehicles tried to pass.

- Massillon, OH, USA

problem #26

Jun 232013


  • 1,425 miles
On Sunday June 23, 2013 at approximately 3:00 pm on or about buffaloe rd at southall rd in raleigh, nc, we were heading West bound in the right lane of buffaloe rd. Approaching a green light. Approximately, 700 ft from the limit line, the light changed to yellow and we slowed to stop. Stopping was a little more firm than the slow paced regenerative charging, a noise was from the front was heard, resembling that of a loose brake pad hitting metal and the vehicle them sounded a warning and flashed "stop safely now" visual warning as we came to a full stop at the limit line at the light. Although there was no power to the motor, the system was active and the green go car was not visible. We attempted to reset the vehicle by powering off and powering on to no avail. The light turned green and cars began to sound their horns. I immediately activated the emergency flashers and stepped out the vehicle to direct traffic around the stalled vehicle (not recommended unless properly trained). Traffic on several instances came dangerously close to collision as this situation presented a huge risk to personal safety. Had we just sat in the vehicle, we surely would have experienced a collision. Several minutes passed and we attempted to restart the vehicle from a cold start. It was only after the vehicle was completely shut down, rested and powered on that we were able to proceed. Having a vehicle just stop in traffic for no reason presents a huge risk not only to the owner but those around.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #25

May 082013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,200 miles
Vehicle abruptly lost drivetrain power and came to a sudden stop in the left-hand lane of a major surface street in san jose. The vehicle suddenly displayed the warning 'stop safely now". attempts to restart or reboot the car failed leaving us dangerously stranded in moderate traffic for over 20 minutes until a nearby resident helped us to push vehicle to safety. All electrical systems on the vehicle continued to function but the vehicle was immobilized. Pushing the vehicle was very difficult, as if the brakes were engaged. The Ford dealer reported that the regenerative braking system was engaged and could not be disengaged. Ford dealership reported over 30 diagnostic trouble codes appearing on the vehicle that proved to be misleading. Inexperience of service team with electrical vehicles provided low confidence that they understood and repaired the cause of this failure. Ford Motor Company instructed the dealership to replace the electric motor and control module. Ford Motor Company agreed to refund or replacement of this vehicle.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #24

Apr 172013


  • 500 miles
Transmission sputtering, hiccuping going through low gears. Sometimes it seems fine.

- Vienna, VA, USA

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