Here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Ford Focus

Since its debut in 1998, the Ford Focus has been a bestseller in the UK’s used family car segment. There are hardly any boxes the Focus doesn’t check: it offers highly responsive handling, comes with a large variety of engine trims (all of which pack a punch), it’s fun to drive, and is easy to maintain and repair.

You can’t go wrong with a Ford Focus, or can you? Like any other car long in the running, there are definitely Ford Focus models you do best to avoid. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of buying a used Ford Focus and some suggestions for better model years.

RELATED: This Is The Best Feature Of The 2022 Ford Focus

Hesitate Before Buying The 2012 And 2014 Models: They Too Will Hesitate and Jerk In Takeoff

The Focus’ clear report card as a quality used buy has two small stains. Most people assume the more recent the model year, the more reliable the vehicle, right? Not quite. In 2011, Ford upgraded the Focus by giving it new “PowerShift” transmissions that soon proved to be more problematic than anyone expected. In fact, the 2014 Ford Focus received so many complaints that it earned itself the #10 position in CarComplaints’s worst vehicles. Yikes.

The problem has long been known in the industry, and many dealers specify that the car grinds and shifts due to its Dual-clutch transmission. The Focus’s jerking is the most noticeable when going from stop to start, and many owners have pointed out that it shutters and hesitates, with some cases even drifting backward. Over time, these issues can lead to a complete transmission failure.

Things may not have been so bad had Ford not opted to use dry clutches over wet clutches to improve fuel economy. Wet clutches are regularly lubricated with oil, whereas the dry ones are not, leading to higher temperature and performance problems.

Since then, there have been numerous recalls and attempts at resolving the issue with either software updates or complete replacements of the transmission. Still, we recommend you avoid any 2014 Ford Focus with a PowerShift transmission.

The 2014 Ford Focus isn’t the only Focus on CarComplaints’ worst vehicles list. The 2012 Ford Focus has also made highlights (including a New York Times report on the steering failure problem) and is ranked the 14th worst vehicle at the time of writing this article.

Owners have reported intermittent power steering on both hot and cold days, regardless of the speed. The steering failure can easily cause panic in novice drivers and lead to dangerous crashes, not to mention most solutions will likely cost you at least $2,000.

Unfortunately, the steering failure problems have been overshadowed by the transmission issues common to the 2014 models and go unmentioned by most dealers. Several other Ford models have since been recalled for steering problems, but the 2012 Focus has yet to make it to the recall list.

The problems don’t end there. Ford Focuses built between 2012 and 2018 underwent a fuel-system-related recall. These cars would stall due to a malfunction on the part of the valve in their exhaust system, which reportedly disfigured Ford Focus’s plastic gas tank. American buyers should also note that some models, such as the new Ford Focus ST Edition, are not available in the US.


RELATED: 20 Cars People Should Avoid Buying Second-Hand (At All Costs)

Stay On Top Of Maintenance, And The Ford Focus Will Last You For Up To 200,000 Miles

With proper maintenance, the Ford Focus will drive for 200,000 miles without needing any expensive replacements. This means that a new Ford Focus has a life expectancy of about thirteen to sixteen years if you drive an average of 15,000 miles a year.

You might still come across cars with around 300,000 or 400,000 miles running on their original engines. As we mentioned before, Ford engines come in various trims, and a properly maintained Diesel has the potential to reach the 400,000 mark.

According to Repair Pal, you can expect to spend $569 annually on Ford Focus’s repair and maintenance costs. Of course, the age of your car, where you drive it, and the accumulated mileage affect this price.

As Ford Focuses are among the best daily drivers, we recommend you keep the following maintenance schedule in mind to help you join the 200k club:

  • 7,500 Miles: Change oil and replace the oil filter.
  • 20,000 Miles: Replace the cabin’s air filter system.
  • Every 30,000 miles: Replace the engine’s air filter.
  • Every 100,000 Miles: Replace platinum spark plugs and change the orange coolant. Inspect drive belts at all services following this point.
  • Every 150,000 Miles: Replace accessory drive belts. Also, flush and replace the Ford Focus’ transmission fluid.


In its own segment, the Ford Focus has higher maintenance costs when compared to more power brands such as the Mustang. Although it cannot compete with Toyota Corolla’s maintenance costs, as far as repairs are concerned, with its annual average of $569, the Focus is among the cheaper models available.

RELATED: These Are The Most Reliable Used Cars Money Can Buy

The Ford Focus: An Award-Winning, Best-Seller, And Quality Used Buy

This article focused on some issues you should expect when buying the 2014 and 2012 Ford Focuses. Still, apart from these models, the Focus has amassed a reputation for being the prototypical do-it-all car, and rightfully so.


The Focus offers you a plethora of trims to pick from (the Zetec and Titanium trims are two of the honorable mentions, along with the now-forgotten but always beloved RS models), topped with unmatched steering responsiveness. Their 1.0-liter EcoBoost ST-Line won Ford many awards and gave the owners excellent fuel economy. Plus, their sporty looks aren’t hard on the eye either. If anything, the Focus’ continual appreciation by the public is a tell-tale sign that you really can’t go wrong with a Focus.


Ranking The Best Ford SUVs To Buy Used

Read Next


About The Author

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: