Which Ford Focus Years To Avoid and Why? (Explained)

The American multinational automobile manufacturer Ford Motor first introduced its compact car line Ford Focus in 1999 and discontinued its production in 2018.

Ford Focus is the perfect compact car for family-oriented and budget-friendly consumers, which delivers solid fuel economy, exceptional fuel efficiency to ensure better performance, and comfortable drivability on the road.

But unfortunately, Ford could not equally maintain the quality assurance with all of its Focus model years, and some years model came up with lots of flaws.

That’s why let’s learn which years of Ford Focus cars you should not consider and avoid from this following article.

Ford Focus Years to Avoid (List of Years)

Ford Focus was widely popular among most car enthusiasts, and as a result, even after the brand discontinued its production, many still only consider Focus whenever they need a used car.

Although Focus is one of the successful lineups of Ford and has been one of its best-selling car models, this lineup also came up with a fair share of reliability issues, and some of its released years are considered the worst years.

Remember to avoid the following Ford Focus Car years-

  • 2000 Ford Focus: Blown engine, ignition key won’t fit or turn in, transmission failure, other interior accessories issues, faulty AC or heater, transmission system, and suspension problem.
  • 2001 Ford Focus: Problem with the engine, interior accessories, windows or windshield, and fuel system.
  • 2002 Ford Focus: Engine & shifting failure, ignition key issue, window or windshield, and transmission system issues.
  • 2003 Ford Focus: Engine and transmission failure, faulty ignition key, electrical system error, faulty interior, and exterior accessories.
  • 2007 Ford Focus: Dead alternator, excess tire wear, engine & suspension problem, rattling and wobbling while going over bumps.
  • 2012 Ford Focus: Transmission failure, power steering failure, multiple shifting issues, shudder, and vibrates while taking off.
  • 2013 Ford Focus: Transmission and electrical power steering failure, fuel system error, paint problem, jerks and hesitates while taking off.
  • 2014 Ford Focus: Grinding noise, shuddering problem, transmission, and engine failure, badly hesitates and jerks while starting from a stop position.

What Makes These Ford Focus Years Worth Avoiding? 

In this section, I will briefly be discussing the most common issues that make those earlier mentioned Ford Focus years’ worth enough to avoid.

So, let’s start the discussion-

1. Engine Problem:

Frequent engine RPM fluctuating is one of the most common problems that occur with most Focus years cars.

According to CarComplaints.com analysis and several consumer complaints reports some Ford Focus models have major engine problems, where the engines stall, abruptly die during the operation, or tend to jump RPM while shifting the gear into the parking position.

Especially during the Focus car’s initial released years like 2000, 2001, and 2003, several similar engine issues were present.

Some Focus users also claimed to notice blown engines, which led them to deal with the costly comprehensive repair or outright replacement services to fix their vehicle engines.

Even with some of the Focus car years, consumers have encountered the pre-ignition issue on lower speed RPM.

In this scenario, before the car’s ignition system can fire up the spark plug, the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder ignites and eventually damages several internal parts, such as the pistons.

2. Transmission Failure:

Another most common issue that most Ford Focus users mentioned is encountering several issues with the car’s transmission system or complete transmission system failure.

People started noticing this problem first in the 2011 Focus car equipped with the PowerShift automatic transmission.

Originally the featured Dual-clutches and dry clutches were problematic enough, so the newly added PowerShift feature made things turn worse.

As a result, all the Focus models released between 2011 and 2016 suffered from numerous PowerShift transmission issues.

The PowerShift transmission tends to delay the acceleration or surge and tremble during drives. Users also claimed to notice continuous jerking or vibrating issue while shifting the gears from one to another.

According to several users’ experiences, those Focus cars tend to hesitate aggressively while on acceleration and fail to downshift accurately.

In the worst cases, users had to completely replace the transmission, which is undoubtedly an expensive deal to handle.

3. Steering Failure:

Initially, the complaints started surfacing about the 2012 Ford Focus, where many users claimed that the Vehicle’s EPAS or electronic power-assisted steering system tends to shut down while driving.

Reportedly, the 2012 Focus models steering system tends to restrain the power steering or lock up as soon drivers start the car, which can potentially cause hazardous situation and increases accidental risks.

Later on, to fix further steering wheel or system failure, Ford included the Hydraulic Power Steering instead of EPAS.

Ford mainly replaced the initial electronic power-assisted steering system with the hydraulic power steering for ensuring more MPG and extra power while driving.

But in reality, that idea did not work and resulted in insufficient or loose steering power, which sometimes causes abrupt breakdowns while driving on the road. 

Also, some Focus models came with defective torque sensors that cannot send accurate information to the ECU and cause further troubles.

4. Ignition Key Issue:

Have you gone through each of the individual Focus model years’ major problems that I mentioned in the previous section?

If yes, you must have already noticed that one common problem vastly available in most models is the ignition key issue, where the key refuses or fail to fit or turn in when needed.

In some cases, users also noticed that the ignition keys tend to get trapped in the ignition. This problem mainly occurs due to Powershift transmission system error or failure.

5. Problem With Exhaust & Fuel System:

Do you know Ford had to recall more than a million units of Focus models released between 2012 and 2018 due to their exhaust system error?

The main issue was the defective purge valve in those Focus models’ exhaust system, which can potentially damage the fuel system indirectly too.

According to the Consumer reports, people have noticed issues, such as major power loss, fuel gauges malfunctioning, or unable to restart the vehicle engine after a stall.

This commotion arose because those Focus models did not have complete software updates and needed additional reprogramming done. That’s why Ford recalled those Focus cars in 2017.

Besides those earlier discussed common issues, Ford Focus models were also reported due to other major problems, such as door latch failure, broken windows or windshield, electrical system error, tires wearing issues, suspension failure, faulty AC or heater, as well as interior and exterior accessories problems.

Which Ford Focus Years are Safe to Buy Used? 

According to the published FORD FOCUS MODEL YEAR COMPARISON report provided on the CarComplaints.com, the following Focus car years are considered the best years-

  • 1999 Ford Focus
  • 2006 Ford Focus
  • 2009 Ford Focus
  • 2010 Ford Focus
  • 2011 Ford Focus
  • 2015 Ford Focus
  • 2016 Ford Focus
  • 2017 Ford Focus
  • 2018 Ford Focus

Based on the CarComplaints.com detailed graphical representation, the most preferred Ford Focus years are 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2018


Ford Focus is undoubtedly one of the ideal choices while looking for a decent sporty yet budget-friendly compact car.

But since Ford has already discontinued its production and all you can get now is the used models, it is important to confirm which Focus years are worth investing your money in first.

Hopefully, after reading the entire article, now you know which Focus years to avoid and which not to.

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