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:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,570 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Aug 282013


  • 1,378 miles


My daughter was driving our new 2013 Ford Focus electric home from school at approximately 35mph when the "stop safely now" message appeared on the instrument panel. She started to pull over to the side of the road but before she could get safely to the curb, the car shut down. She was unable to get the car started and we had to have it towed to a Ford dealer. After reading about this 'stop safely now" warning online it seems to be a common problem. I understand that cars break down but completely disabling the car in this way could lead to a serious crash.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #13

Aug 252013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I went and traded in my mustang for something with better gas mileage which ended up being a 2013 Ford Focus (manual automatic transmission). The first one I got was in the shop 4 times for grinding noises when it tried to shift into gear. The first time they barely had it a day and told me there was nothing wrong with it. The second through the rest of the times I had it out there they just rebooted the computer and said it is fine and will be fine. Not even two days later I was on the side of the road and could get the car to move. I barely made 3 payments on that car. I kept telling them this was a lemon and they wouldn't take it back. When I took it back to the dealership the lady I talked to said "well my sons Focus hasn't been giving him any trouble. That made me really pissy. I told the lady I didn't care about her sons car you should fix mine. I went to another dealership to see if they had another Focus that didn't have the "manual automatic transmission" and they did so I got that one instead of the piece of crap I had. Now I have not even made a single payment on this new car and it is doing the same thing again. They keep telling me this is normal. I will never purchase another Focus or Ford again. I don't care what kind of Ford it is.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #12

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 #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 112013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,179 miles
While aggressively shifting from 1-2 and even sometimes 2-3 there is a hard thumping bang that occurs when shifting over 3K...multiple Ford owners are aware of the issue and state that the problem depends on the build date of the vehicle...supposedly stating its the engine motor mount. Upon reading into the problem Ford isn't sure if the are going to make it a recall or not.

- Sayreville, NJ, USA

problem #9

Nov 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
My performance concern started within the first week of ownership. I had reported what I perceived as a performance issue to the dealer but opted to give a new car time to "break in". 4 weeks into my owner experience, the service department held and drove the car for 5 days and had determined that a transmission component was the cause of the issue I was experiencing. I now have over 10K miles on the vehicle and have had the same experience. The service department has since told me that the rough idle in park or in gear with brake applied is the result of the "direct injection" technology used in this vehicle. The hesitation experienced during 0 to >0 acceleration (gradual or hard) is also the result of the "direct injection" technology coupled with electronic clutch technology used in place of a torque converter. This combination has yielded numerous "almost stalled" conditions during normal driving maneuvers including acceleration during the completion of a left turn crossing oncoming lanes of traffic. I raise this concern as I understand there is an investigation of F150 vehicles with "direct injection" technology as a potential cause for the loss of power. My experience with the Ford Focus has not resulted in an accident. My goal is to raise awareness to a similar condition from the same manufacturer utilizing the same technology. I also have a second vehicle ([xxx]) that is leased and has the same performance issue described above. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #8

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 #7

May 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,200 miles
Vehicle has been leaking oil since it was purchased. (2) Ford dealerships have attempted repairs multiple times to stop engine oil leak(s), all of which have been unsuccessful. Was under vehicle on 5/12/13 and noticed there is still engine oil leaking from area around engine/transmission. Defect allowing engine to run without optimal amount of oil, leaking oil creates fuel for potential fire, used engine oil is known carcinogen, which is being deposited within engine compartment and allowed access to passenger cabin.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 122013


  • 1,600 miles
I was driving about 40 mph. Suddenly an error message popped up "service advancetrac". then the car was disabled. The speed automatically reduced. The speed did not respond or increase at all when I stepped on the accelerator pedal. Luckily, I was able to pull over to safety. Then the car stopped completely. I turned off the car, then turned it on again. The error message "service advancetrac" popped up again. This time, the car automatically accelerated from 0 to 30 mph, then it ran constantly at 30 mph. This time, the speed did not respond at all when I stepped on the accelerator pedal. It was like the car was on cruise control, without you being able to turn off cruise control! extremely dangerous! I brought it to the dealership for service the 1st time. They replaced the accelerator assembly. About a week later, the same issue happened again. I brought it to the dealership for service the 2nd time. I even took a picture of the error message on the dashboard and shown it to the service adviser. They couldn't reproduce the issue, and told me there was nothing that they could do. Then it happened again right after I drove off the dealership. Then, I managed to drive back to the dealership with the error message still on and with the issue occurring. Service was able to collect some kind of code from that error message, but could not figure out what was wrong with my car, and told me they will contact Ford directly. It has been 3 days and I have not received a response at all. This morning, I turned on my car and drove for 2 minutes and the same issue occurred again! as for proof, I was able to record a 30 second video clip while the car was running on a constant speed of 30 mph without me stepping on the accelerator pedal. I do not feel safe driving this car anymore because this problem can occur randomly anytime in the middle of the road! not safe for driving!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #5

Apr 102013


  • 500 miles
The car sputters and rattles when letting the foot off the brake when it is at a stand still. It feels as if it is trying to start in 2nd gear. The problem is getting increasingly worse. I have had an issue where the car wouldn't go past 15 mph. I turned it off and started it again and the speed problem seemed to be fixed. It still sputters. I have also noticed the transmission shifts rough.

- Gahanna, OH, USA

problem #4

Apr 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,200 miles


As I pulled out into the flow of traffic from a gas station, I realized my car would not accelerate beyond 15-20 mph. I immediately pulled over to the right hand lane and proceeded to the stop light, which was about a 100 yards down the road. At the red light I placed the car into neutral and discovered the engine would not go beyond 3500-4000 RPM's. I then turned on the warning flashers, and when the light turned green I pulled over to the side of the road and proceeded at 15-20 mph until I could turn into a safe area about 1 mile down. I then had the car towed to the local Ford dealer. When the dealer ran my VIN# through their system, it showed that a technical service bulletin had been issued regarding this very problem. They then repaired the car and it now seems to be running ok, although I don't feel real good about it. Hopefully something like this will not happen again, especially if I am in a situation like driving on the freeway at high speeds. Myself and my wife were knowingly put into a potentially unsafe risk by Ford Motor Company, which I feel could have been avoided if Ford Motor Company had been a little more proactive in notifying their customers of the possibility of something like this occurring.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,800 miles
Vehicle has leaked engine oil since new, which was first discovered at 500mi. Engine oil contaminated clutch discs in automatic tranmission, which resulted in replacement of rear main engine seal, transmission clutches, etc. Which was supposed to resolve problem. Attempted repair took place at approx. 7500 mi. At 7800 mi, engine oil is still leaking oil, covering the bottom on the engine and pooling on the under-engine cover. Suspect new clutch discs also contaminated, which is causing jerky transmission action in drive.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #2

Feb 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,200 miles
Noted jerky movement of car during turns and immediately upon acceleration. Was minor at first, but appeared to increase in duration and intensity with additional mileage. Quality of shifting between gears very poor - surging and lurching noticed. Slight oil leak detected towards front end of engine at first oil change. Under engine cover also coated with engine oil residue. Took vehicle into Ford dealer for above complaint, was informed that engine had lost oil due to leak and had contaminated its clutches (even though it is an automatic, it has 2 clutch discs) which caused erratic performance and required replacement and repair. Initial guess is defective rear main seal is at fault. Concern over damage to engine dismissed by shop supervisor. Personal concern was that volume of oil soaking into under engine cover could be ignited by engine and cause fire. Safety concern over defective transmission is that decreased performance would leave vehicle stranded. Complete loss of engine oil would result in car stopping, and could possibly cause accident, damage, fire, etc.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #1

Feb 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I own a 2013 Ford Focus hatchback titanium model. Purchased the car in January 2013. Currently has 1100 miles on it. Car has a six-speed automatic transmission that Ford has dubbed "powershift". transmission is very jittery at all speeds when shifting gears while accelerating. It is also hesitant to shift gears and pick up speed. It seems like something is going to break inside the engine and the car jerks when shifting gears. From a standing stop the car will start to roll back when you let off the brake and step on the accelerator pedal. This is an accident waiting to happen and is very dangerous.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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