The Ford Focus is an impressive economy car that’s all about gas mileage.
From 2007 until 2015, not a single Ford Focus model got less than 28 miles a gallon. And, both the 2009 and the 2012 models got more than 30 miles a gallon.
However, while the gas mileage for the Focus is efficient overall, there are some mechanical issues you need to consider before determining the model best suited for you.
1) Check the Transmission on the Ford Focus
The Ford Focus has a PowerShift Dual Clutch Transmission that has experienced a few issues. According to consumer reports from Car Buzz, “The models of Fiesta and Focus from 2011-2015 and 2012-2015, respectively, were infected with a horrible issue where the transmission would shudder while going from first to second gear, with the issue sometimes continuing into third gear.”
Yet, not every vehicle that came off the assembly line showed symptoms of transmission issues. Plus, it is relatively easy to tell if the vehicle you’re driving has problems.
2) Checkout the Engine
The Ford Focus is generally reliable and a sound used-car choice for anyone whose priority is fuel savings. There is certainly evidence to support Rory White at What Car who states, “The Ford Focus has been at the top of the sales charts since its introduction in 1998.”
However, the Focus has experienced some issues as well. Potential issues to review during a test drive and to ask your mechanic to evaluate include:
- The powertrain control module (PCM) software on a Focus made between 1998 and 2004. A common PCM malfunction causes the cars of these years to lose power and cut out.
- On models between 2004 and 2011, “Misaligned oil feeds between the cylinder heads and camshaft bearings reduced oil flow, causing premature wearing of the camshaft bearings and engine seizure.”
- The 1.6 TDCi Estate Car on the 2004-2011 models has been known to have problems with the cooling fans. The metal alloy used is known to corrode. Review the fan before buying.
3) Check the Warranty
Ford is the most popular and successful American car manufacturer, and part of the reason is due to the warranties Ford offers on its vehicles. If Ford doesn’t get a vehicle right, it does what it can to protect consumers.
On a 2012 or 2013 Ford Focus, for example, there is a good chance the transmission is still under warranty, since Ford extended the warranty for those years.
Find out if the Focus you’re considering is still under warranty.
4) Test Drive the Focus and Have a Mechanic Inspect It
Test drives are about the sound and the feel. Listen for knocks, squeaks, rattles, shimmies and shakes. If the body doesn’t sound tight, you can assume the engine is in a similar condition.
Drive the vehicle harder than you would if you were the owner. Does the Focus shift smoothly? Does the suspension feel solid? How does it handle around corners?
Finally, how does it look? It is fair to judge a car by its cover.
5) Review the Service Records/Background Checks
If an owner or local Ford dealership does not have the service records, don’t purchase the Focus. Anyone who takes care of their vehicle will take care of the service records.
Has the vehicle had any major engine problems? Has it been in an accident?
Consider how much money you may have to put into repairs. Does the Ford Focus you’re considering need new tires? Are the problems you discover during the test drive inexpensive, or are they costly to repair? Does the price account for repairs?
And again, is there any warranty left?
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