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 4 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #463

Feb 022015


  • 19,613 miles


Rear main seal failure causing complete loss of transmission fluid and engine oil, this could cause the engine to seize unexpectedly, leakage noticed and this has required the replacement of seal and clutch 3 times in past 15 months

- Babylon, NY, USA

problem #462

May 142016


  • 24,000 miles
I have had 5 transmission failures since I bought the car. The last 3 failures occurred in less than 3 weeks (and less than 30 miles on the road!) and, when the last one happened, my wife and I have almost crashed. We were driving downhill on a very steep road and suddenly the clutch disengaged and went to neutral right before a curve. I think this is a very dangerous problem, not taken seriously by Ford

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #461

Dec 202015


  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. After shifting into the drive position, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate. In addition, the vehicle jerked forward and the rpms revved without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch module and clutch package failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired twice, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Harrison, TN, USA

problem #460

May 012016


  • 68,000 miles


The car shudders when taking off from a stop sign or light. This is ridiculous!

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #459

Nov 022015


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle began to vibrate. The accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate and lost power. The check engine warning light illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission control module and clutches in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken to another dealer, but was not diagnosed or replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 79,000.

- Black Wood, ID, USA

problem #458

Mar 042016


  • 29,000 miles
When accelerating from a complete stop or when the car is running in a low gear, the car will hesitate, shudder, shake, jump violently, stall, grind gears, and/or make other noises at varying levels. Was first noticed when making a turn from a stop sign. At first I thought it was my front driverside tire rubbing the wheel well as that was the type of sound I was hearing. I then started experiencing the shuddering and stalling behaviors. I also began hearing noises that sound like the grinding of gears like may occur when driving a manual transmission and missing the gear. Most issues occur during city street driving. This went from an occasional occurrence to an every time I drive the car situation. This in no way feels normal or sounds normal.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #457

May 142016


  • 52,000 miles


With an automatic transmission and at slow speeds the engine stalled, and jerked especially in congested highway traffic such as stop and go speeds. After a new clutch was installed by the local Ford dealership, the engine now surges and hesitates at slow speeds and when in the passing mode at highway speeds the engine keeps accelerating even when the gas pedal is released.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #456

Apr 292016


  • 54,000 miles
I was driving home and noticed a slight loss of power to transmission via the gas pedal. The next morning in rush hour traffic on I-20 my transmission failed. I was unable to move my car for several minutes and then it seemed to catch enough for me to pull to the side. I turned my car off and restarted it and was able to make it to work. I drove it to dealership and told them what happened. They called me Monday night to say it was fixed. I picked it up Tuesday after work. I was in rush hour traffic on weds morning and it failed again. This time it would not move at all. I put my flashers on to avoid being struck. I tried several times to get it to start again and go. Finally I was able to get the transmission to engage. I took it back to the dealership and the transmission failed again. I restarted my car and made it to the dealership. They said they fixed it. I don't trust it since they had just "fixed" it before and less than 24 hours later it failed again. I told them when I brought it in the first time it was a safety recall. I tried to recall all I could about when and where. My impression is that the transmission failed in all instances when I had been driving it for at least 20 minutes. I was in rush hour traffic but moving traffic the first time and the second time I was in stopped traffic due to an accident on I-20 and the last time also in moving traffic. Time seems to be the common factor, at least 20 minutes of driving time before it shuts down.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #455

Apr 022016


  • 48,000 miles
After having the car from new for 3 years and 5 months, the car has been to the dealer for transmission issues and repairs multiple times and with a computer failure for the shifting. The computer failure left us stranded 80 miles from home and with out of state family. It took 4 complaints initially before the dealer finally looked and noticed leaking from the transmission to get the parts to replace the clutches, seals and other parts at 30,000+/- miles. Then the computer failure was at 48,000 miles. I don't trust the car now due to reliability issues with the dct transmission. The transmission computer failure happened while driving down the highway and pulling off to check things out. Complete failure happened once I tried to get going again. Dealer said the computer was under a recall that I was never notified on.

- Waterford, CA, USA

problem #454

Oct 262015


  • 65,000 miles
Since I took the car off the lot it shuddered when shifting from first to second gear. It never felt completely right but since it is a new car I assumed that's how it's supposed to feel. Well the shuddering progressively got worse and turned into grinding. I got new transmission fluid and cleaned out the system checked the plugs nothing got better. I took it in a few times to the dealership they said that the transmission was fine and that's how it is supposed to drive. Well I was on my way to work and the car kept slipping out of fourth gear and then it completely lost power every time I pressed the accelerator the engine revved but there was no power. This car is less than three years old it shouldn't have this type of problem. The check engine light never came on and I couldn't even get above 30 mph on the car. I looked online and this seems to be a recurring problem.

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #453

Jan 022015


  • 3,680 miles


After purchasing this vehicle in 2013 we found out the transmission does not have a torque converter. Therefore, the transmission shakes, makes noises, and seems to grab, feeling like the vehicle might stall although it never has. We have had it in to the local Ford dealer two times and both times we were told that the transmission is "within specs". the vehicle seems to be better when the vehicle is cool. Once it warms up the issues seem to occur regularly when driven on city streets. We were told at the car dealership that one half of these models for this year vehicle have transmissions like this. The other half of vehicles have regular transmission that have torque converters.

- Cocoa, FL, USA

problem #452

Dec 222014


  • miles
Trouble shifting between 1st and 2nd gears, when turning a corner won't stay in gear, feels rough and studders between 1st and 2nd gears. Have been told by a Ford technician to drive the car "like I was an 18 year old" or told transmission is working as should be.

- Magna, UT, USA

problem #451

Apr 292016


  • 136,000 miles
New dealer maintained 2013 Focus titanium Focus 6 months old about 18000 miles had bad wheel bearing on the drivers side, at 46000 transmission was overhauled due to poor shifting, AT120000 catalytic converter failed, AT136000 car died due to bad wiring harness and fried several sensors, at 143000 transmission control module failed, at 144000 the transmission module failed again on a 3 year old car.

- Stockbridge, MI, USA

problem #450

Oct 302013


  • miles
My daughter bought this lemon new. She has had it back to the dealership just for transmission 5 times. It has stalled out on her many times while driving, at a red light, stop signs, etc... we've have had taken it to two different dealerships to no avail. I've tried to call Ford Motor Co directly, that was a joke. The customer service specialist would not listen or let me talk. They stated last time that she needs a new clutch, which is backordered. Which brings up a red flag!!! my husband works in the automotive parts field and stated you can get a complete new transmission in a couple of days however we can't get a clutch"??" this is not the only problems with the vehicle we have had but these are the ones with the power train.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #449

Apr 092014


  • 9,000 miles
Shifts into neutral when upshifting (automatic). Shudders & grinds when shifts. Have almost been rear ended numerous times due to late shifting or going into neutral. This happens on city streets and expressways. On third clutch and still happening.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #448

Apr 082016


  • 39,000 miles
2013 Ford Focus with 39000 miles on it. I have noticed the shudder on acceleration. Returned it to dealer, they reset computer. The shudder has returned.

- Ridgely, MD, USA

problem #447

Oct 022014


  • 37,584 miles
The transmission in my car has failed 7 times since 7/15/2014. The transmission fails and causes the car to jerk, shudder, lag and jump in traffic. I have nearly rear-ended many vehicles and was nearly hit 3 times because the transmission slipped while making a left hand turn. This car is not safe to drive.

- Boone, NC, USA

problem #446

Jul 152013


  • 8,000 miles
We bought our 2013 Focus brand new at carl gregory Ford in auburn, al for my daughter as her first car in 2013. Soon after that we began having problems with the transmission shuttering badly and the car acting like it was going to stall or loose power which is very dangerous especially for her. We took it to the Ford dealership here in tallassee, al and they said they just needed to flash the computer and this would fix it. Well it did we went back again and again the same procedure again. So we went back a couple of more times and they tried other fixes. Then we took it back again to the same dealership and the said they would tear it down and clean it and check it out. It was there for a few days, we picked it up and a few days later it started. Even the mechanic said it was not going to work and that we would be back. He was right so we took it to another dealership, carl gregory Ford in auburn, al and they looked at it and said the same thing. So at this point we need some help. This is extremely unsafe to drive this vehicle. I'm going back to tallassee motors tomorrow (4-25-2016) to start all over. Please help us!!!!

- Tallassee, AL, USA

problem #445

Apr 182016


  • 34,000 miles
Transmission causes the vehicle to shutter when accelerating from low speeds. The transmission also makes a grinding noise with varying performance in gear shifts and acceleration speed. The issue is intermittent, making the performance of the vehicle difficult to predict. This creates a dangerous situation when accelerating from a stop, e.g. when pulling through an intersection from a stop.

- Enola, PA, USA

problem #444

Apr 202016


  • 60,000 miles
My 2013 Ford Focus has 60K miles or less and the rack and pinion went out while I was driving and other than that I got the car at 36K miles and has had it in the shop twice because of shuttering in between gears which is scary sometimes. Needless to say the software was updated twice and clutch was replaced and it still shutters.

- Sikeston, MO, USA

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