Thinking of buying a MK3 Focus? You would be better off nailing your hand to a timber bench. These cars are nothing but trouble. We knew they were problematic based of our hands on experience with them, but after doing some more in depth research we are gob smacked at how many common faults the Focus seems to have. For a car to have a common fault for “wiring causing vehicle to catch on fire” one must raise an eyebrow. We have to admit that the reports of Focus randomly self combusting are reports out of Europe and not a fault commonly recognised on the Australian market.
First up the MK3 covers the production of the Ford Focus from 2011-present (2017).
So what are some of the common things to watch out for on the sexy little hatch? First and foremost seems to be the automatic transmission. A new technology that Ford has unveiled called a Duel Clutch transmission is a perfect example of a great concept on paper that is about as reliable as Peter Griffins dietician in reality.
The transmissions give shuddering when taking off, have had electrical control module faults (also Known as TSM) and are known to drop itself into neutral when sitting stationary and proceed to fail at reengaging drive. Some owners have reported having to wait ten minutes at the lights before the transmission gets back into gear. So if you’re one of those people who love to be late to everything, thoroughly enjoy getting verbally abused at traffic lights and in some cases rear ended at intersections this is the perfect car for you.
Hundreds of US lawsuits have been filed against the company for these faulty transmissions and the official statement listed on wikipedia (a site striving to be source of all known human knowledge) states “the problems have never been resolved”.
Australian consumers beware, no such law suits have been recorded on Australian soil. This is probably because we Aussies are marginally more reluctant to “sue thy neighbour” than our US counterparts. Official reports from Australian customers experiencing faulty duel clutch transmissions, is that the dealers are telling them it is a “characteristic of the vehicle”and you need to drive it more aggressively. “Drive it like you stole it” was the exact words we received from a Ford Australia representative when we were dealing with this particular fault several months back.
This is somewhat amusing when taking into consideration that the designers of this car specifically targeted the elderly when making it. So much so that they had a special suit made that a designer wore. This suit limited the users movement, simulating the physical limitations of an elderly person and thus giving insight as to where changes needed to be made to make the car more desirable for our senior citizens. By Ford Australia’s logic they then added a transmission thats perfect for sending said elderly person around Wakefield in record time, causing blood pressure problems, heart palpitations and instigating bouts of incontinence. They should have come factory fitted with a bed pan if this was the case. If nothing else all they have done is made a car cable of launching itself through the front window of coffee shops quicker than most.
Manual transmissions seem to be far less problematic, however some owners have reported clutch wearing out prematurely and some having hydraulic faults with the clutch operations. This is hardly a “common fault” as the vehicles are now at the age that these would be considered normal wear for vehicles of that age and milage. Additionally keyboard warriors burning up NBN data on German pornography and Ford Focus chat forums are unlikely to specify that they abuse their car before complaining that it has failed on them.
The Focus has a long list of factory recalls globally (some of these may not apply to the Australian delivered vehicles), including wiring problems causing vehicles to catch on fire, insufficient friction assisting components in the steering systems causing concern for possible road collisions and several service bulletins covering everything from faulty VCT solenoids to faults with the in car entertainment centre.
To be fair to the Focus, the engine seems to be a fairly solid unit with very little in the known faults category when it comes to the donk. It would seem everything else built around it was based of the foundations of the Versailles Weeding Hall. The result is a very ordinary car indeed.