Used Ford Focus – Buy This Year, Not That One!

Car Talk Car Complaints

Car Talk Car Complaints | Oct 05, 2016


The Ford Focus is a great used car choice, but we have recent data reported by owners that show there are specific years to watch out for if you are shopping. Though data shows the Focus as being mainly complaint free, there are some model years we suggest buyers avoid.


The first Ford Focus year to avoid is 2012. That year is prone to having its driver’s and passenger’s door latch break, according to data. The door the pops open and won’t stay closed. Robin N. of El Paso, TX recently told, “Not only did my driver's door latch break in June, now my passenger front door's latch broke. I was picking up my grandchildren in the ER parking lot because my daughter was having complications with her pregnancy. We had to tie the door closed to get them home. Now I'm fearful the back doors will break, and it's unsafe for anyone to sit in the back seats. I'm getting NO help from the National Ford number, and NO help from my local dealer.”

The 2012 Focus has 21 such complaints recorded by and what we find interesting is they are all similar, and relatively recent. The typical mileage of the vehicle when this happens is 71,500 miles and the cost is surprisingly high at $420 on average. Ford recently posted a press release video talking about the kooky stuff its engineers come up with in their spare time. Maybe Ford should refocus its technical folks on the basics, like the ins and outs of long-lasting door operation.


Interestingly, the door latch issue is not the top complaint about the 2012 Focus. Rather, transmission issues are. Cathy I. from Hope Valley, RI told in May, “Car started shuddering every so often at low speed then it got to be all the time, and I drove to the dealer and was told it was a faulty clutch. Be advised that over a couple of years I told them of the slight shuddering, recall, etc., and each time they said to wait until it got worse. When it did, I paid $1,300 to get a new clutch. One month later it now seems to go into neutral when going from 1st to 2nd or from 2nd to 3rd. No power and it revs up to 5 or 6 RPMs. Service told me that this was "normal," and there was nothing they could do. The number of transmission complaints reported is highest in 2012, but the 2013 and 2014 model year cars also have numerous reports of this problem.  We would avoid them.


If you really want a Ford Focus, take a look at a 2011. That seems to be relatively trouble free according to complaint data. Our pals over at BestRide show many good condition 2011 Ford Focus cars for sale under $9,000. The older Ford Focus also seems to be a relatively safe bet. We would avoid the 2002 and 2003 due to higher than average complaints of keys getting stuck in the ignition, but the 2004-2006 model years are also relatively low regarding complaints.

The Ford Focus is affordable transportation with good fuel economy. Like all used cars, some model years are better than others, and we suggest buyers choose wisely when shopping.

Curious about a used car? Send us a note, and we might research it for an upcoming feature.

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