The Ford Focus is a compact car produced and manufactured by Ford Motor Company from the model years 1999 until 2018 in North America, and 1998 until the present in other parts of the world. Available in various body styles like a 3 or 5-door hatchback, 5-door estate, 2-door coupe, 2-door coupe-cabriolet, or 4-door sedan, this car’s versatility has not outweighed the prevalent Ford Focus head gasket problems.
Over four generations, the Ford Focus has been a popular car worldwide throughout its entire production span. The best years in sales were the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2012, and 2013 model years, with the other years showing numerous Ford Focus head gasket problems that deterred potential car owners from trying their luck on this car.
Let’s see what a head gasket is, the function of this part in your vehicle, the worst model years of the Ford Focus, and the overall repair cost of your head gasket.
Head Gasket Function
The head gasket is a circular-shaped panel located between the cylinder head and engine block. The cylinder head sits above the cylinder block, helping to form the closure on the top of the combustion chamber. The upper part of the engine is the cylinder head, while the lower part is commonly referred to as the engine block.
The engine block is the lower part of the engine that houses all of the major components of the bottom of your car's motor. This is when combustion occurs in an internal combustion engine and houses important components like the crankshaft. If the crankshaft or engine block is faulty, this can lead to immediate Ford Focus head gasket problems.
As you can see, the head gasket, cylinder head, and engine block help make the engine run. Without these three components, your car would not be able to drive, and you’d have an extremely high head gasket repair cost.
Worst Model Years of the Ford Focus – Ford Focus Head Gasket Problems
The Ford Focus has had a few problematic years over the entirety of the production, with the most concerning being the 2001-2003 and the 2012-2014 years.
2001 Ford Focus
The 2001 Ford Focus has many problem categories, with the worst being the engine, interior accessories, windows and windshield, fuel system, and the transmission. Owners cite issues with the loud noises heard while in reverse, the reverse no longer working, and the car not being able to shift out of gear. Any of these problems in your car can quickly lead to a high repair cost and further Ford Focus head gasket problems.
2002 Ford Focus
The 2002 Ford Focus has a significant engine defect, causing the intake manifold to fail prematurely. Further, the valve then falls into the cylinder, destroying the engine, and causing expensive Ford Focus head gasket problems.
The top transmission concerns from owners focus on the car losing gears, problems shifting, the shift cable breaking, and the transmission failing prematurely. If you find that your car is losing gears, the most common solution is to replace a transmission solenoid or rebuild the transmission for a hefty price of nearly $700 at 95,000 miles.
2003 Ford Focus
The 2003 Ford Focus has the main problem categories of the interior accessories, engine, brakes, exterior accessories, and the transmission. Owners complain about premature transmission failure, transmission slips and jerks, faulty transmission mounts, and the gear shift cable breaking.
To fix the transmission failure in the 2003 Ford Focus, owners have to pay around $1,650 to replace the transmission or rebuild the part at around 79,000 miles. If you let your Ford Focus head gasket problems go on for too long without addressing the issue, it can lead to a complete replacement.
2012 Ford Focus
The Ford Focus owners have cited numerous safety issues, specifically regarding the electronic power assist steering system and the shuddering transmission that leads to performance issues.
Owners complain about the transmission shuddering and vibration on takeoff, multiple shit problems, transmission failure, hesitation in lower gears, upshifting too soon, slipping during a gear change, and the car rolling backward while in gear. The most common solution for the shuddering vibrations is to replace the dual-clutch system, replace the clutch, or replace the transmission at around $1,650.
2013 Ford Focus – Ford Focus Head Gasket Problems
The Ford Focus is now in its third generation, so you would think that it would have fixed the prevalent Ford Focus head gasket problems – you would be wrong. The car still suffers from a jerking and hesitating transmission, with the new electronically-driven power steering failing and stalling without any warning.
The top transmission concerns focus on the car jerking and hesitating when you take off, the transmission lagging and shifting roughly, the transmission failing, the grinding noise when shifting, and the transmission shuddering and failing. To fix the jerking and hesitating transmission, the most common solution is to replace the clutch or rebuild the transmission for around $1,060.
When looking at the common fixes for the lagging transmission, the most common solution is to replace the clutch discs or update the module software below 13,000 miles to fix the Ford Focus head gasket problems.
2014 Ford Focus
For the third year in a row, the Ford Focus experienced significant transmission issues due to the expensive and severe Ford Focus head gasket problems. The 2014 Ford Focus has numerous issues of the car shuddering in transmission, the transmission slipping, the transmission making a grinding noise, and the car hesitating and stalling.
Fixing the shuddering transmission, the most common solution is to replace the clutch assembly, install a new transmission control module, and update the computer software at around 18,000 miles.
Ford Focus Recall
The 2012-2016 Ford Focus has a dual-clutch transmission subject of a class-action lawsuit due to the frequent Ford Focus head gasket problems. Almost 2 million people earned one of the 2012-2016 Focus cars, with the PowerShift transmission causing some serious issues with this car’s performance and reliability.
According to reports, the Ford Motor Company was aware of the problems with the Powershift transmission. Before the part was added to the cars, the company knew there were safety concerns and went ahead with the construction, even though the part was noticeably problematic.
By now, in 2021, it is a well-known problem that the PowerShift used in Ford Focus cars has caused problems for owners of various model years of both Fiesta and Focus cars. The Ford Powershift transmission has recurrent shudders, acceleration problems from a stop, and a clutch that does not work properly.
Furthermore, along with the Ford Focus head gasket problems, the car has a rough upshift that sends a vibration through the vehicle, making the car ride uncomfortable for drivers and passengers alike. To fix the head gasket issue and shift, owners have to bring their car to a mechanic to carry out a software update.
In 2014, Ford extended the powertrain warranty for Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta vehicles by an extra two years of 40,000 miles. After the recall, Ford made various improvements to the PowerShift transmission after the 2016 model year, hoping to solve the prevalence of Ford Focus head gasket problems.
Can I Drive My Ford Focus With a Head Gasket Problem? – Ford Focus Head Gasket Problems
Driving with a damaged head gasket is problematic to your engine, transmission, and other internal components that help your car run. In some cases, the head gasket damage may be so serious that your car will not even turn on or run at the right performance level.
A failing head gasket will generally lead to engine friction, overheating, and internal engine damage, leading to a very expensive head gasket repair cost. A car with a blown head gasket or damaged engine should immediately be towed to your nearest mechanic to prevent unsafe driving conditions.
Replacing Your Ford Focus Head Gasket
Head gaskets can fail at any time – unfortunately, the failure will differ depending on variables like coolant levels, car lifespan, and type of car make and model. Head gaskets generally last around 100,000 miles, especially if you take care of your vehicle and bring it to the mechanic during regular intervals to check the oil and coolant levels.
However, if you do not stay on a maintenance schedule and notice coolant leaks, this will lead to a higher head gasket repair cost. In order to keep the head gasket working properly and in good condition, any discolored oil, dirty fluid, or contaminated coolant should be replaced.
The best way to keep your head gasket working well and the engine at a high level is to ensure the engine runs at a proper temperature. Preventing overheating and excess friction can help reduce the overall head gasket repair cost.
Ford Focus Head Gasket Repair Cost – Ford Focus Head Gasket Problems
Analyzing how much you could spend on a head gasket repair cost depends on your specific car make and model. Unfortunately, this repair or replacement can be quite costly for any driver. With a scale on a price that depends on your mechanic and the cost of other parts, you can still expect to pay around $400 for your head gasket repair cost.
The Bottom Line
Figuring out the function of a head gasket, the most common Ford Focus issues, and the overall head gasket repair cost can help you figure out what Focus models to avoid and which ones are safe for you to purchase!