2011 Ford Fiesta problems – read this before buying one!

2011 Ford Fiesta Problems

Now that the 2011 Ford Fiesta is rapidly approaching “classic” status, you should be aware of potential problems with this vehicle. Below, you’ll find a quick summary of all the 2011 Ford Fiesta problems that have popped up over the years.

These cars are reliable, but as with other Ford cars and trucks of this era, they have their issues (mainly in relation to the transmission and locking systems).

If you’re feeling brave (and nothing will stop you from buying one of these things), it’s not going to be a totally unpleasant experience IMHO. Just be prepared to be constantly fixing little issues that will inevitably pop up over and over again…

What problems do 2011 Ford Fiestas have?

There are many reasons people report having issues with the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The most overwhelmingly popular reason is transmission problems.

  • Many owners report issues with the car jerking or hesitating when attempting to accelerate (which just so happens to be one of the biggest 2013 Ford Focus problems). Other problems regarding the transmission include having to replace the clutch due to high mileage.
  • Some owners have reported issues with the locking system. The doors will stop latching or locking altogether after some time.

Like any car, reports of failed brake systems and engine issues seem to be the most common. However, it is necessary to remember that while these problems have been reported all over the internet (and social media), it is not in overwhelming numbers. We’re not talking about Jaguar XF problems here – the Fiesta is generally a reliable car for it’s price point.

Here is a breakdown of the most customer-reported issues found with a 2011 Ford Fiesta:

Transmission hesitation / jerking

The transmission issues are the most reported problems by owners of the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The main issue reported is jerking or hesitation when accelerating. It’s basically the same feeling I described in my list of 2011 Ford Escape problems.

  • Other main transmission issues include failed transmission and leaking transmission fluid. Owners have reported problems with the car not staying in the correct gear, falling out of reverse, and rattling sounds.

The good news is that many owners have reported that Ford has paid for all transmission repairs and updates regardless of warranty status.

2011 Ford Fiesta red
Wait. Before I go any further…are you really sure that you want a 2011 Ford Fiesta?

Latching and locking system

The latching and locking system is one of the recalls by the NHTSA. These recalls are due to the malfunction of the door locking system which led to doors flying open while driving.

There have also been reports of doors not locking and latching at all. Owners have reported having this issue fixed quickly.

Note that locking system failure is a common issue for many cars. As a matter of fact, most Kia Forte problems are largely focused around an electrical system which causes complete failure of the door locking system.

Engine issues

  • The main engine issue reported on the 2011 Ford Fiesta is stalling.
  • Another main point of concern is that the engine leaks oil, thus requiring more frequent oil changes.
  • There have been some reports of the gas tank being hard to fill and hold gas.
  • Some drivers have reported major engine issues like the timing belt breaking while driving. This causes the engine to seize (which is a very expensive repair).
rebuilding an engine
Did you really think that you wouldn’t see a picture of a guy rebuilding an engine in an article about the problems with the 2011 Fiesta?

Issues with the brakes

The main issue with the braking system is that it tends to wear out prematurely. Many owners have needed to replace rotors and pads at only 40,000 miles. This is a common issue with Ford vehicles. For example, premature brake failure was one of the most significant things in my list of 2017 Ford Escape problems.

  • Many owners have reported hearing their brakes squeal or grind.
  • Some reported issues with the antilock system not activating when it should.

Interior accessories issues

Interior accessories issues have been reported by owners as well. These include static in the speakers and rattling in the dashboard.

  • The design of the rear seats have been an issue for drivers. Many report that the head restraints on the rear seats cause a major blind spot for the driver.
  • Many owners report having issues with the air conditioning system. In some cases, the air conditioning system completely goes out for seemingly no reason at all (which is another very expensive repair).
  • There have been reports of the audio entertainment system going in and out intermittently. This includes losing Bluetooth connectivity entirely (which can be especially annoying).

Electrical issues

  • Some customers report having issues with the battery dying too soon (which will prevent the car from starting).
  • Other battery problems include the battery melting due to high heat. This issue does not come with any warning signs, and as you might suspect, is extremely dangerous.
  • The NHTSA has reported electrical system failure based on customer complaints. This electrical system failure often has to do with the battery prematurely dying or issues with the Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
  • Others mention having issues with their headlights not working as they should or the horn going out. These kinds of electrical issues (while annoying) are usually easily fixed by a repair shop.

Airbag trouble

The airbags in the 2011 Ford Fiesta have been an issue for some owners. The main problem (and it’s a major one) is that they sometimes do not deploy when they should. This is serious issue that should make you think twice about buying one of these cars.

The airbag in question is the passenger-side curtain airbag. The report states that it will not deploy in the event of a side collision if there is no passenger in the passenger seat.

Thankfully, there have been recalls to address this issue, so your local Ford dealer would be able to fix this issue at no cost to you.

ford dealer sign
I have a suspicion that you’ll get to know your local Ford dealer well if you pull the trigger on that Fiesta purchase you’ve been thinking about. Just sayin’.

Is the 2011 Ford Fiesta a good car for daily driving?

Overall, the 2011 Ford Fiesta is okay for daily driving. If you are needing to get from point A to point B, and it is only a few miles per day, the Fiesta is a fine choice.

Be aware that transmission issues plague nearly every one of these cars, so be ready to have to deal with those problems as they arise.

Besides the recalls, which may have already been fixed for you by the previous owner, other common problems with the 2011 Fiesta are easy to fix. Sometimes Ford will cover the cost of repairs depending on the status of your warranty.

If you commute an hour to and from work every day, this may not be the best car for you. With reports of breakdowns happening only about 40,000 miles in, a 2011 Ford Fiesta bought today may not be the best choice for long-haul daily driving.

I’d actually recommend a Ford Escape instead. 2015 Ford Escape problems (for example) are a lot less severe than the Fiesta’s. Not only that, it’s a better vehicle for long-distance commuting.

Finally, to put things in perspective, I’d actually recommend most any BMW (car’s notorious for problems) when it comes to daily driving. For example, 2015 BMW 328i problems are just as bad as the Fiesta’s, but it’s a far more comfortable car for commuting. The most interesting part about it is that a BMW of that era isn’t all that much more expensive than a 2011 Fiesta. 

How many miles will a 2011 Ford Fiesta last?

Most owners report getting 150,000 miles (maximum) with their 2011 Fiesta – which, for reference, is FAR short of Ford F-150 life expectancy. However, with routine maintenance, you have a chance of getting about 200,000 miles before it completely falls apart on you.

Up until about 100,000 miles, Ford Fiestas do not require maintenance past oil changes and topping off fluids.

Drivers of Ford Fiestas have reported rust on the inner wings of the car after about ten years. And now that the 2011 Fiesta is getting on in years, you may want to stay clear of any of these cars that you find that have significant rust decay. More rust means a significantly shorter life.

Recalls

There have been three recalls on the 2011 Ford Fiesta by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

  • The airbags in 2012
  • The latches, locks, and linkages system in 2015
  • The latches, locks, and linkages system in 2020

Both recalls for the latches, locks, and linkages system were issued because people were reporting that the doors would no longer lock or latch. This resulted in doors swinging open while driving and users never being able to lock their cars.

The airbag recall was issued because the passenger side airbag was designed to not deploy if there was no one in the passenger seat during a side collision.

The recalls have been taken care of by Ford with no out-of-pocket expense to the owner. The good news is that many owners have reported that, even though that their warranty had expired, Ford still took care of the recall at no cost.

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