Ford Focus Transmission Problems

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The Ford Focus is a popular compact car known for its fuel efficiency, comfortable ride, and advanced technology features.

It has been a mainstay in the compact car market for decades, consistently receiving high marks for its performance, handling, and value.

If you’re in the market for a new car that will last a long time, this car should certainly be on your list.

Transmission issues can be a major concern for car owners, as they can lead to costly repairs.

While the Ford Focus has generally received positive reviews for its reliability, some owners have reported that the transmission is unreliable.

It’s important to understand the potential causes and solutions for these issues to decide whether the Ford Focus is the right car for you.

The most common Ford Focus transmission problems are:

  1. Hesitation When Accelerating
  2. Shuddering
  3. Gears Slipping
  4. Transmission Overheating
  5. Difficulty Shifting
  6. Gear Engagement Delay
  7. Solenoid Failure
  8. Grinding Noise

In the following sections, I will look closely at the problems and narrow down the possible causes.

It will also continue to discuss the models that have these issues the most and the preventative measures that a Ford Focus can take.

8 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Ford Focus

Is there a fix for my Ford Focus Transmission? Read my article to find out

Transmission problems can have a significant impact on the performance and reliability of a car.

If you own a Ford Focus or are considering purchasing one, it’s important to be aware of the signs of transmission problems.

1. Hesitation When Accelerating

Low or old transmission fluid can cause hesitation when accelerating, leading to reduced lubrication and cooling.

To address this issue, it’s important to regularly check and replace the transmission fluid according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

A faulty throttle position sensor can also result in this issue.

The throttle position sensor calculates how much air should be input and transfers the information to the vehicle’s computer.

If the sensor malfunctions, it can send the wrong information to the computer, resulting in this issue.

2. Shuddering

If your Ford Focus experiences a shaking or vibrating sensation when shifting gears, it could signal an issue with the transmission.

There are a few potential causes for this issue, including dirty transmission fluid and problems with the torque converter.

Dirty transmission fluid can cause transmission shuddering, preventing proper contact between the transmission plates.

Over time, transmission fluid can become contaminated or degraded, which can lead to issues with shifting and cause a shuddering sensation.

The torque converter is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the transmission.

If it is damaged or worn out, then the transmission may shudder. A faulty torque converter can also cause transmission shuddering.

3. Gears Slipping

When the transmission fluid is low, it can cause issues with shifting and result in a loss of power or a sudden shift in gears.

The transmission relies on the hydraulic pressure generated by the fluid to move the gears and engage the clutch, so a reduction in the fluid can lead to problems with shifting.

Worn-out gears can also cause gears to slip, as they may not mesh properly with the other gears in the transmission.

This can lead to difficulty shifting, which is another symptom that will be discussed below.

Finally, if the clutch has worn down to the point that the disc connected to the flywheel is not catching properly, it can lead to gear slippage.

4. Transmission Overheating

If your car’s transmission becomes too hot, it can lead to decreased performance and potentially cause serious damage to the transmission.

It can be caused by low or dirty transmission fluid. Low transmission fluid can cause the transmission to overheat because the fluid level is too less.

Dirty transmission fluid can also cause the transmission to overheat.

Due to it losing its cooling properties, the transmission will not be able to transfer heat. This will increase the temperature to the point that it can be overheated.

5. Difficulty Shifting

Lack of lubrication can cause difficulty shifting because the amount of fluid available to keep friction at bay is too little.

It can cause issues with shifting and result in a feeling stuck in a particular gear. This also causes hesitation when shifting.

Difficulty shifting can also occur in cold weather, as the transmission fluid can become thicker and less effective at lubricating the transmission.

This normally happens when a driver starts moving the car without warming it up. The fluid has not returned to its normal state. This can lead to serious issues down the line.

6. Gear Engagement Delay

Gear engagement delay is a common issue with the transmission in a Ford Focus.

This can cause a delay when shifting gears or feeling sluggish, which can be frustrating and potentially dangerous while driving.

High mileage can cause gear engagement delay, as the increasing wear and tear on the transmission results in the gears not being able to work in sync properly.

The issue can get more serious as the transmission experiences more wear and tear.

Extreme temperature can also cause gear engagement delay by affecting the transmission fluid’s ability to lubricate it.

When the transmission fluid becomes too hot, then the fluid can break down completely.

7. Solenoid Failure

Wear and tear is a common cause of solenoid failure, as the solenoids in the transmission are subjected to a lot of wear and tear over time.

As they experience more wear and tear, they can become less effective at controlling the flow of transmission fluid and engaging the gears, leading to issues with shifting and reduced performance.

Moreover, electrical issues can also cause solenoid failure.

If the coils are not given the correct voltage, this can result in the transmission’s solenoid failing and not being able to perform its job efficiently.

Solenoid failure can also result in a host of issues, some of which have been mentioned here.

8. Grinding Noise

Worn gears can cause grinding noise by causing the gears to mesh improperly or rub against each other.

As the gears become worn out, they may not fit together properly and can cause a grinding noise when shifting or driving. To address this issue, you may need to replace the worn gears.

If the fluid on the Ford Focus is not at an adequate level, then there is a possibility that the gears will grind.

As they are not lubricated enough, they will not be able to work smoothly. This can also result in them chipping, which will only add to the repair costs.

How Transmission Problems Affect Performance On The Ford Focus

Transmission problems can significantly impact the performance of a Ford Focus, as the transmission is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels and controlling the car’s speed and acceleration.

When the transmission is not functioning properly, it can cause a variety of performance issues, including:

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

If the transmission is not shifting gears smoothly or is having difficulty engaging, it can cause the engine to work harder, leading to reduced fuel efficiency.

Difficulty Shifting Gears

If the transmission is experiencing problems, it can be difficult or impossible to shift gears, making it difficult to drive the car and may cause it to stall.

Jerky Or Uneven Acceleration

When transmission is slipping or not shifting smoothly, it can cause the car to accelerate unevenly or jerk forward, which can be uncomfortable for passengers and dangerous.

Reduced Power

If the transmission is not transferring power effectively, it can reduce power and acceleration, making it more difficult to get up to speed or pass other vehicles.

Increased Risk Of Breakdowns

Transmission problems can also increase the risk of breakdowns and may require costly repairs or replacement.

Overall, addressing transmission problems as soon as they arise is important to avoid these and other performance issues.

Which Year Did Ford Focus Have Transmission Issues?

The following models of the Ford Focus have had the most complaints over the years.

If you want models free from transmission problems, you should avoid the following ones.

2010 Ford Focus

There were a few complaints that the 2010 model of the car would have difficulty when shifting. It would also shake, which meant that the transmission was unreliable.

2012 Ford Focus

The 2012 model had many complaints if we talk about transmission. It would vibrate a lot when accelerating.

There were even reports of complete transmission failure, as well as shifting issues in general.

2013 Ford Focus

Similar problems were reported in 2013 too. The transmission would jerk and hesitate when taking off.

It would also shift roughly. There were many complaints about complete transmission failure too.

2014 Ford Focus

The 2014 model of Ford Focus had the highest number of transmission complaints.

It would hesitate, vibrate, slip, emit grinding noises, and much more. It was the worst transmission ever to be in a Ford Focus.

2015 Ford Focus

The 2015 model had a considerably lesser number of complaints, but that still did not mean that it was perfect.

Ford was still unable to fix the transmission issue, shuddering and hesitating. There were also reports of it overheating.

2016 Ford Focus

2016 was a massive improvement. There were still complaints, but they were almost non-existent.

Still, some users had to face shudders and ride with the gears slipping, which no one wants.

2017 Ford Focus

It did look like Ford had fixed the issues, but that was not the case. Reports of shuddering came back.

There were also complaints that the transmission would not go in reverse and would slip too.

2018 Ford Focus

One of the better models was 2018 one. It only had one complaint that the transmission would not shift properly. That is something that could be fixed by reprogramming the TCM.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can I Tell If My Ford Focus Has Transmission Problems Just By The Sound It Makes?

Yes, in some cases, you may be able to tell if your Ford Focus has transmission problems by the sound it makes.

For example, if you hear a grinding noise when driving, it could indicate an issue with the gears.

Other common sounds that may indicate transmission problems include clunking, whining, or humming.

Q2. Is It Possible To Fix Transmission Problems In A Ford Focus On My Own?

In some cases, it may be possible to fix minor transmission problems in a Ford Focus, such as adding transmission fluid or using additives to seal small leaks.

However, trying to fix major transmission problems on your own is generally not recommended, as these can require specialized tools and expertise.

If you are experiencing significant transmission problems with your car, it’s best to have the issue diagnosed and repaired.

Q3. Is It Better To Repair Or Replace My Ford Focus’s Transmission?

The decision to repair or replace your Ford Focus’s transmission will depend on the severity of the issue and the age and condition of the car.

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to repair the transmission, especially if the problem is minor and the car is relatively new.

However, if the transmission is severely damaged or the car is older, it may be a better decision to replace the transmission.

To determine the best course of action, it’s important to have the issue analyzed and get a few quotes for both repair and replacement options.


In conclusion, it’s important for Ford Focus owners to be aware of the potential for transmission problems, as they can lead to costly repairs and reduced vehicle performance.

To prevent transmission issues, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, use the correct transmission fluid, avoid overloading the car and try to avoid driving in excessive temperatures.

If you do experience transmission problems, it’s important to have the issue checked.

By understanding the causes and fixes for Ford Focus transmission problems, you can take steps to keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs.