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 3 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #483

Aug 302016


  • 54,265 miles


I was driving on the highway going about 60mph when the car felt like it stopped accelerating. It felt as though the car was put in neutral. The car's prndl also began indicating that the car was in reverse when it was not. The car's screen then indicated that the transmission was faulty and needed to be serviced. I bought this car used from a dealership about two weeks ago.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #482

Aug 202016


  • 100,400 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 10 to 35 mph, the vehicle lost power and would not accelerate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. In addition, the check engine light illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was driven to a mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission module and clutch sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 100,400.

- Marlow, NH, USA

problem #481

Oct 122013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. When the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate, surged forward, and the transmission warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was serviced per NHTSA campaign number: 15V813000 (electrical system); however, the failure recurred two additional times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Southbridge, MA, USA

problem #480

Aug 122015


  • 22,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission overheated and the "pull over" warning indicator illuminated. In addition, the vehicle hesitated and stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the vehicle needed an unknown software update. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The failure recurred on approximately four other occasions and was taken back to the dealer where the transmission was reprogrammed, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 22,000. Updated 09/20/16

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #479

Jun 132013


  • 10,000 miles
I purchased my 2013 Ford Focus SE brand new in June of 2013. I noticed the shuddering during acceleration immediately and mentioned it to someone at the dealership. I was told this was normal for it being brand new and that it would stop after awhile. We are now over 3 years later and it has not stopped. Someone finally convinced me to take it in. I've had several people that have been in my vehicle and can't believe that it does this and tell me that it is absolutely not normal. I took my car into the dealership a couple months ago and they said they reprogrammed something. This did not help. Took it back in again today and before even looking at it they are telling me that was I'm describing is normal and gave me a flyer explaining the transmission differences. I couldn't believe they thought I would buy into that. I immediately began researching the issue and am now finding out this is widespread. I'm beyond pissed. I was also involved in an accident on 11/13/14 in this vehicle where I hit the breaks and my car wouldn't stop right away so I rear ended someone. I just assumed I did something wrong but I couldn't believe that it wouldn't stop. I had plenty of room. The wheels did not lock up. The sensation I felt in the vehicle when I hit the breaks is hard to explain. It was as if I was pumping on the breaks as opposed to what I did, which was to put my foot all the way down full force.

- New Braunfels, TX, USA

problem #478

Jun 212016


  • 100,000 miles
Nov 2015, excessive transmission shudder on take off. Customer satisfaction program 14M01, 14M02. Software update program 15B22. Transmission control module electrical circuit failures (clutch replaced, tcm updated). June 2016, excessive transmission on take off, service engine light remained on, would not start-had to turn key several times before start. Software update 15B22: Customer satisfaction program 14M02, tcm replaced, tcm-PCM reprogram June 2016, unacceptable from Ford corporation. I asked service department if tcm had revisions to to correct problem, they did not know. So if replacing with same defective tcm this will be an ongoing problem. Was recommended to sell/trade car before 150.000 mile deadline on warranty. I have tried to trade in but no dealer wants because of known tcm ongoing problem. Next failure I will have it repossessed and let Ford corporate deal with it. Very unsafe to drive in my opinion with this ongoing tcm problem. Worst case scenario if tcm fails, vehicle will shut down completely and you have a Ford road side assistance number to call. Comforting ! unacceptable Ford corporation. I do not to appreciate Ford risking my families life for a problem they will not fix.

- Decatur, TN, USA

problem #477

Jul 252016


  • 13,500 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 70 mph, the vehicle suddenly lost power and would not accelerate. After shutting the vehicle off and restarting the engine, the vehicle operated normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission module was faulty. The transmission module was replaced, but the failure continued. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer who was unable to duplicate the failure and no failure was found. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 13,500.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #476

Jul 292016


  • 52,000 miles
Since the first week of purchase the car has had trans failure. It has been in and out of the shop at least 4-5 times for repairs with no avail.. the transmission shudders, makes loud grinding noises, stalls, loses power then violently jerks when accelerating. Because of this many times I have narrowly missed hitting other cars causing an accident. I drive everyday with fear and anxiety, this car is downright dangerous. To top things off, suddenly, my rear drivers side door will not stay shut, . it appears that the latch is broken even though I rarely if at all open or close this door. There are so many issues with this car. Ford should be ashamed for this atrocity they brought upon their customers.

- Coachella, CA, USA

problem #475

Jan 012013


  • miles
The car has jerked, shuttered, and shook from almost the day I bought it, I have battled these issues from the very beginning. It won't accelerate for a few seconds when I push on the gas I have almost been in an accident because of it. The flashers come on when I unlock my door, my horn doesn't work, my driver window doesn't work, I have had the clutch replaced, the cluster was fried twice, and the control module has been replaced. Then driving on the freeway my car engine revved way up and the rpms went to 7000 and I lost power to accelerate my car. I was in the middle lane when I lost the power to my vehicle I put my flashers on and coasted to the side of the freeway. Thankfully the freeway wasn't busy. The reverse also went out on my car. The car is now in the shop for the 6th or 7th time for the same issues but it is never fixed.

- Bardstown, KY, USA

problem #474

Jul 062015


  • 38,000 miles
I have problems with this car the day it from enterprise the transmission slips from first and second junks forward with foot on the brake had it at Ford dealer 4 times in a year they tried to fix it 3 times but still doing the same thing now I have to wait 8/11 weeks for them to fix it again, these cars should be, pulled off the road before someone gets hurt or killed and yes Ford tells to drive in because, I have free towing and enterprise is no help either they, tell, me the same thing, so I have a car in paying on and can't drive it, because no wants to help

- Coraopolis, PA, USA

problem #473

Jul 082016


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While the vehicle was merging into traffic, the vehicle failed to accelerate for approximately ten seconds. The vehicle was diagnosed and the transmission and power control module were replaced, but the failure continued. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #472

Dec 312015


  • 30,000 miles
2012 hatchback Ford Focus automatic the vehicle stalls whenever accelerated. It feels as if the computer sends the signal to maintain the speed or speed up but the transmission can not keep up with it, therefore it stalls. It does it when I'm driving on the city street and on the highway, the speed does not relate to when it occurs. In order words, if I am driving at a constant speed for a lapse of time it will still stall and if I need to speed up, for example when making a turn onto a street it will stall or when making a lane change.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #471

Aug 102015


  • miles
Car shudders and jerks when driving, particularly when shifting automatically between 2nd and 3rd gear. This is problematic when accelerating to merge into fast-moving traffic, going up hill (which is virtually impossible), and when attempting to drive in stop-and-go heavy traffic. Car is slow to accelerate due to difficulty shifting. Once it does, it unexpectedly surges forward. Based on discussions with Ford dealership technicians and numerous other online complaints, the problem is obviously the new dct transmission. We were told the car had to "learn" our driving style and the problem would fix itself. There have been no improvements and it hasn't "learned" anything over the last year. The car is barely 3 years old and has already been taken to the dealership several times for transmission issues that haven't been fixed and apparently will not be fixed.

- Buford, GA, USA

problem #470

Jul 052016


  • 21,000 miles
In February 2016 clutch tcm and seals were replaced in May 2016 vehicle started to act up again while merging onto highway vehicle RPM would go to 6K car would not move car intermittently stalls while in reverse backing this car will end getting someone hurt or killed on 7/5/16 trans overheat message popped up took to dealer mccarthy Ford Chicago they said it was safe to drive.

- Oak Lawn, IL, USA

problem #469

Mar 052014


  • 29,800 miles
Transmission/clutch problem. Consistently grinds, lunges forward, sputters when taking off, turning & slowing down. It feels like the car is going to stall out. Worst when it is hot outside. Have been back to the dealer 3 times for the same problem! I have read the numerous complaints about this vehicle and it seems that I am not the only one that this problem is happening to. It all started 6 months after I bought the vehicle 4/2013.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #468

Jun 152016


  • 54,672 miles
I have had this car for 2 years and it constantly shudders. Each time I go to Ford they do a "software" upgrade but it did not fix the problem. More recently my clutch went out and nearly killed someone when it jumped back into gear. They replaced the clutch but not the problem that caused it. So when does someone have to die for Ford to recall the vehicle? it still shakes and shudders.

- Bridgeview, IL, USA

problem #467

May 182016


  • 113,000 miles
Horrible transmission shudder / slippage when accelerating from a stop through the first few gear changes. Ongoing issue.

- Rancho Mirage, CA, USA

problem #466

Jun 122016


  • 21,000 miles
The 6-speed auto transmission, when accelerating the vehicle from a complete stop, the transmission components that the car is equipped with causes hesitation and shutter on take off. The electronic control module and the electronic clutch have both been replaced on recalls. The electronic clutch engages erratically, causing the car to shutter and larch forward as it engages. When changing oil in this car, the owner tried to drive the car up a ramp in L range on the gear shift, the engine would increase in RPM's but the clutch would not engage fully to allow the vehicle to go up the ramps, like it was in neutral. I had to check the the gear shift, thought it might have been in neutral, in wrong shift position. When explaining this to the service manager at our local dealership, we were told that the car can not go up a ramp, the transmission is designed for high speed take off. We were told that it is only intended to be lifted, never in my 58 years have I ever seen a car that would not go up a ramp, the ramp to me would only simulate going up a steep incline, which causes more concern with my 19 year old daughter driving this vehicle to and from college. Ford keeps telling us that this car is operating like it is intended to, they acually gave us a print out how the car should feel and react. One comment read that the car feels like it is pulling a trailer, who wants a car that feels like it is constantly pulling a trailer? this vehicle has been in the shop eight to ten times, we get the same explanation each and every time now. It is working the way it is intended to, they say it does not shutter or larch on take off. Numerous times my daughter has had someone with her that has experience the shutter and recently the car not going up the ramp without the cars engine racing and the clutch not engaging allowing the car to move forward. This car was purchased new,

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #465

Jun 052016


  • 0 miles
Vehicle was parked. I went to turn on the car, and the steering wheel was locked and would not turn at all. Had the car towed to the dealership. The service manager says the electric steering rack and pinion has failed and has to be replaced at a cost of $1,497. In addition, the car has also had numerous repairs to the transmission system. The car has had problems with the transmission since the very first day of purchase. The car will vigorously shudder at random times. The shuddering occurs every time I drive the car and it causes the car to violently jerk forward. We have taken the car in for all of the service updates/recalls, and the transmission problems still persist. The computer screen also will turn off randomly while driving. One time while driving on a highway, the car died. It was very dangerous. I should not have purchased this car.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #464

Mar 032015


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle stalled and the instrument panel lights illuminated. The "transmission not in park please select (P)" message appeared; however, the vehicle was already in park. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was being repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000.

- Spring, TX, USA

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