2013 Ford Focus problems: read this before buying one!

2013 Ford Focus problems

If you are thinking about purchasing a used compact car, it’s hard to go wrong with the Focus (hatchback or sedan). However, there are a handful of 2013 Ford Focus problems that you need to be aware of.

On the one hand, the Focus offers a smooth ride with comfortable handling. It’s a good looking car, with a well-designed interior. It was even somewhat innovative for it’s time, featuring a hands-free parallel parking assist option.

That being said, compared to the competition, the 2013 Ford Focus suffers from a poor reliability rating, plenty of transmission problems, and clunky controls. These issues make it difficult for me to recommend this vehicle over others.

Keep reading for more pertinent information regarding recalls, additional problems, and what you can do to make your 2013 Ford Focus last longer.

Common problems with the 2013 Ford Focus

If you read my 2013 Ford Focus Hatchback review, you’ll already know that I liked it quite a bit. It seemed solid and reliable at the time, and I assumed it would hold up well to daily abuse. My assumptions were incorrect. Here are some of the most common problems of the 2013 Ford Focus:

General transmission issues

Over time, there have been numerous reports of transmission problems for both the manual and automatic transmissions of the 2013 Focus.

  • Some owners have complaints about the vehicle losing power or losing speed as they try to shift between gears. This is often caused by an incorrect transmission control module calibration, and it also affects the transmission engagement.
  • Owners have also complained about their cars rolling backward when they are on a hill, as well as abnormal noises and shudders while driving.

That being said, transmission issues are common in lower-priced cars, and it’s something you need to expect. For example, my list of 2010 Honda Fit problems includes a rant about it’s weak drivetrain.

2103 Ford Focus sedan
Beneath that pretty snout is an irritable transmission. You have been warned.

Dual Clutch (PowerShift) Transmission issues

The PowerShift transmission option on the 2013 Ford Focus doesn’t have a torque converter. The absence of a torque converter results in better fuel efficiency (since the engine doesn’t need to work so hard).

However, this particular transmission has proved to be unreliable over the years. Owners have reported issues such as the entire car shaking and stuttering, as well as the gears slipping and shuddering when driving the vehicle at higher speeds.

IMHO, transmission problems are a dealbreaker for me, since they are usually the most annoying to deal with. For comparisons sake, my list of Kia Forte problems didn’t include anything about the transmission, and therefore, it’s one of the reasons why I’ll usually recommend a Forte over a Focus.

However, it should be noted that even “high quality” cars such as the Toyota Camry are plagued with transmission issues as well. You can read all about that silly drama in my list of 2013 Toyota Camry problems.

Fuel system issues

Due to an excessive amount of vacuum within the car’s gas tank, the 2013 Ford Focus fuel system has been recalled (see the list of recalls below).

Faulty fuel systems can cause the car to stall, and you may not be able to restart it until the issue is resolved. As you might expect, this is a hazard to both the occupants of the vehicle and everyone in the general vicinity.

Having a car quit on you on a busy street (or freeway) is not only dangerous – but ultra embarrassing as well.

For what it’s worth, one of the first thing I tell new owners of secondhand Focuses (Focuii?) is to read my article about what to do if your car smells like gas. At the very least, bookmark it. Chances are pretty good you’ll need to refer to it later.

2013 Ford Focus engine
Open the hood of any 2013 Ford Focus, and inhale deeply. You’ll probably smell gas.

How long will a 2013 Focus last?

Given the problems of the 2013 Ford Focus, it could last between 200,000 and 250,000 miles. That averages out to about 15,000 miles a year for 13-16 years.

If you maintain your car regularly, you should even be able to cross that 250,000-mile threshold. Always stay on schedule with getting regular filter replacements, brake fluid and oil changes, and any other routine services.

Additionally, as much fun as the Focus is to toss around, try not drive it aggressively. I know that little tidbit of info will fall on deaf ears to anyone under the age of 20, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Is the 2013 Ford Focus a reliable car?

Despite the poor reliability ratings (and complaints that the 4-cylinder engine feels slow as **** when accelerating from a dead stop), consumers have stated that they liked the 2013 Ford Focus overall. Heck, even I agree that it’s a fun little car.

interior of the 2013 Ford Focus
I quite like the interior of the 2013 Focus. It’s not that bad!

Most of the owners that I talk to say that the Focus is a nice, fuel-efficient, compact vehicle. A perfect daily driver. And while it may not offer the best utility, it’s a solid option to get you around.

Overall, however, there are far more reliable cars on the market for the same price. Personally, I’d recommend a Kia Forte instead. Or, if 2004 Nissan 350Z problems don’t frighten you, that could be a fun alternative for the same amount of money.

Recalls

The 2103 Ford Focus has had a total of 8 recalls, which are listed below:

1. Fuel system (fuel tank)

The underlying problem of the fuel system is that the fuel tank will hold high negative pressure. That causes the fuel tank to become deformed, which may result in cracks.

A cracked or deformed fuel tank can result in your engine stalling because it’s ingesting air instead of fuel. Be sure to replace the tank entirely over opting to repair the existing one.

2. Latches and locks

Due to issues with proper latching and locking, the door locks and latches have been recalled. There’s a possibility that the doors can come ajar when the car is in motion.

3. Lighting system (exterior)

As ridiculous as it may sound, the lights that originally came on the car were not bright enough to operate the vehicle safely when driving at night.

4. Electrical system

Ford eventually admitted that the electrical system on the Focus had issues. Owners were complaining of sudden engine stalls, which was eventually traced to shorts in the electrical system.

5. Hatchback latch

The 2013 Ford Focus hatchback features a latch that requires one press to open the door. Because there’s only one press needed, the driver could unlatch the hatchback by accident, increasing the risk of injury for passengers that are unsecured in the back.

6. Child locks

It was found that the left rear child lock was defective. Consequently, there’s a chance the child lock may not latch when using normal force to engage it. The door could then be opened from the inside, leaving an unrestrained child open to the risk of serious injury.

7. The canister purge valve (CPV)

The canister purge valve has been known to malfunction, causing too much vacuum in the fuel management system. This can result in the engine stalling while driving without any warning (and it may not restart until the issue is resolved).

8. Windshield wipers

The windshield wiper wiring system was found to be problematic due to debris (and water) easily getting into the system. This often caused shorts in the electrical system of not only the windshield wipers, but the entire car itself. For what it’s worth, the odd design of the windshield wiper system was something that I took note of when putting together my 2013 Focus Sedan review.

Check here for additional information concerning these recalls and whether your specific vehicle has been affected.

2013 silver Ford Focus sedan
It seems to be screaming “take me in for a recall!” from this angle. Normally I’d blame the voices in my head, but not this time. The 2013 Focus has had it’s fair share of problems.

Tips for making your 2013 Ford Focus last longer

Based on what I’ve seen, the 2013 Ford Focus begins to show irreversible signs of death at around 250,000 miles. However, there are some things that you can do to make it last a little longer:

Change the engine oil

Changing the oil on your Ford Focus is by far the most important bit of maintenance that you can do. Most Ford vehicles have an Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor, which tells you when it’s time to change the engine oil.

When the oil life on your vehicle reaches 5%, the car will inform you to drain and change your oil soon (you’ll see the notification in the message center). If the oil life gets down to 0%, it will notify you that the oil change is required.

Change the transmission fluid

Change your transmission fluid when it is due in the maintenance schedule! Ford recommends a full transmission service before or at 150,000 miles for the 2013 Focus. Your mechanic will let you know if it needs to get done sooner based on its condition.

Lubricate your suspension components

Tie rods and ball joints are suspension parts that come equipped with grease points. Suspension joints on the Ford Focus tend to wear out quickly when they’re not greased regularly, which can cause bigger (expensive) problems in the future.

Change the brake fluid

Blake fluid absorbs water to keep the brake system from corroding. Water finding it’s way into the brake system is a common problem for the 2013 Ford Focus. Your mechanic will inform you when it needs to be changed on your vehicle.

Rotate the tires

Tire rotation is perhaps the most neglected maintenance tip for Ford Focus owners. These are fun little cars, and most people tend to drive them hard. FYI, tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to maintain even tread wear.

Don’t ignore the warning lights on the dash

Take warning lights seriously! If you see that your ABS light, MIL light, Airbag light, or any other warning light is on, don’t let the problem persist. It could be a minor repair – or something more critical for the safe operation of your vehicle.

Flush out the cooling system on a regular basis

Engine coolant keeps the internal parts of your Focus’s engine from corroding and running hot. They need to get flushed at 100,000 miles, and then every 50,000 miles after that.

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