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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,736 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2013 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

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 #19

Jul 292013


  • 889 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while stopped at a stop sign the vehicle stalled. The contact stated he was able to restart the vehicle after waiting approximately thirty minutes. The failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was awaiting inspection from a Ford engineer. The approximate failure mileage was 889.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #18

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

problem #17

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 #16

Oct 312012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
When you turn on the headlights or if you turn on the front windshield wipers, the instrument cluster gauges, get "very dim". when the head lights are turned to off, all of the gage lights get brighter. This makes it very difficult to drive and see the speedometer during the daytime. I would like to drive with my running lights "on" during our travels in the daytime. But the gauges get to dim to read in the daylight, so we travel with our running lights in the "off" position. Our local Ford dealer says that is the way they are designed at the present time. The local dealer does not have a "fix".... this is a safety issue for me and my wife.

- Lake Wales, FL, USA

problem #15

Aug 082013


  • 2,328 miles
While driving an alert comes on stating "stop safely now", then the vehicle starts to lose power, giving the driver little time to pull over. If you are in the far left lane, it could be a really dangerous situation. I've taken it to the shop once before. This is the second time it happened and it is becoming an issue of concern. From the internet searches on Ford Focus electric stop safely now it appears to be a pretty large issue.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #14

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 #13

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 #12

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 #11

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 #10

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 #9

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 #8

Jun 092013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,140 miles
While traveling at approximately 50 mph on a busy highway, the car suddenly lost power and the "stop safely now" warning was displayed. This vehicle is the Ford Focus electric. The car would not respond to the accelerator and was coasted to a stop on the side of the road. The highway patrol promptly showed up to lecture on how this was a unsafe place to stop. No kidding. It was explained that we had no choice. Internet research has shown that this condition has happened several times to Ford Focus electric operators. One Ford spokesman has been reported to say that like a gas car, this warning is similar to the "check engine" light and can be caused by any number of things. However, unlike a gas car, when this happens on a Focus electric it may render the car powerless and may expose the driver to a very unsafe condition.

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #7

Oct 102012


  • 500 miles
My 2013 Ford Focus hatchback, in the daytime you can not read the speedometer gage in the cluster panel. The gage lighting needs to be brighter. The speedometer gage is set back in the dash and the dim lighting make it very hard to see how fast you are traveling. We live in sunny Florida and the bright sun during the day makes it very difficult to tell your mph. The instrument dimmer switch is adjusted to the highest setting. On a cloudy day or at night it is not a problem to see & read. I drove 2 other 2013 Ford Focus hb and they all have the same problem. The Ford dealer said there is no known fix. This is a serious hazard, if one can not clearly read the speedometer gage. I sure hope at some point in time, this can be corrected. Thank you.

- Lake Wales, FL, USA

problem #6

May 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,802 miles
I purchased the 2013 Ford Focus brand new on 2-09-13. Car barely has 1800 miles on it. While slowing down in a school zone to 15mph, I noticed the car seemed to lose power, and feel shaky. Once past the school zone I accelerated to 20mph and car shifted roughly into gear with a bumping noise. I pulled over and stopped and turned off the engine. After restarting car initially seemed fine. Exactly one week later same thing happened again when in supermarket parking lot. This time however the orange engine service light that looks like an outline of the engine appeared on the dashboard panel. I stopped the car again. When restarting the light went out but reappeared on the 2 mile drive home from the store. Car also seemed to lose power and not accelerate when I needed it to. I called my dealership 1st thing and was told it's most likely a sensor issue and very minor but I made an appointment and took the car in. The dealership ran computer diagnostics and service mgr. Came in and told me 2 error codes showed up of transmission malfunction/ and possible failure! a brand new car!!! they started talking about replacing the transmission and the on board computer, etc.. but dealership can't repair my car at this time because a specialist they don't have on staff needs to be called in. So I have an un safe, unreliable new car sitting in my driveway. 15 calls to dealership and to Ford's customer relations number and I can't even get an appointment to get the car looked at further to determine how defective it is!!! what a lemon! no matter how this is resolved, will never do business with Ford again. They seem unconcerned with the safety issues this defect is causing and they have the worst customer service I have ever dealt with!!

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #5

May 162013


  • 1,800 miles
Ford Focus electric vehicle stops suddenly with "stop safely now". when this occurs driver (me) looses all ability to accelerate. This even occurred today and left us in danger on the highway while we nervously waited for professional assistance. Many reports of this exact issue with this make/model vehicle on the public forums. Concern of loss of power train could mean injuries or death depending on the moment a car looses it's ability to drive while mobile.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #4

Mar 302013


  • 220 miles
I bought a 2013 Ford Focus hatchback on March 22, 2013, less than two weeks. All sudden my car died wouldn't start. I called Ford roadside assistance, the guy came and jump start my car 5-6 times in order to get car started, but the hood/ and dashboard had burning smells and it went dark completely, no lights display on dash, the signal light didn't even work too. I checked online, many people complaint Ford Focus has electrical wiring problem since year 2000, and it is continued using on year 2013 model, the wire cracking in insulation. Ford should recall cars to fix their design problems, but I believe government needs to step in before the big 3 motor manufacturers would take consumers seriously.

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #3

Feb 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,800 miles
Vehicle lost all power while driving at 45 mph with no warning. After attempting to restart for 10-15 minutes, the car did re-start, but the check engine light stayed on. Took to dealership on 2/22. Awaiting information from dealer.

- Burtchville, MI, USA

problem #2

Jan 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,200 miles
Incident happened while in park - stopped the car and placed it in park (thought I did) shut the car off and locked the vehicle and entered the store. The vehicle rolled backwards and hit another vehicle. Vehicle was obvisiously not in park but allowed me to exit the vehicle and lock the doors while not in park. I have noticed this before and find that you need to always double check to make sure it is in park. This is a keyless vehicle - other keyed vehicles that I own will not allow you to pull the keys out if the vehicle is not in park. This appears to be a flaw in this keyless vehicle..

- Green Lake, WI, USA

problem #1

Oct 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 340 miles
The instrument cluster gauges are hard to read on a sunny day. The vision of the speedometer, while driving on a sunny day is very hard to read. It is a distraction to stare at the speedometer, to see the speed of the vehicle. The instrument cluster lights are set at the brightest setting. The glare from the polished aluminum on the steering wheel is also a distraction while driving on a sunny day. The cluster gauge back lights need to be brighter. My local Ford dealer was not a help...

- Lake Wales, FL, USA

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