2013 ford focus

Car Doctor Q&A: Diagnosing a Funky 2013 Ford Focus Transmission

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This week’s question for John Paul comes from a reader with a common automatic transmission complaint in the 2013 Ford Focus.

Q. My boyfriend drives a 2013 Ford Focus. It has about 29,000 miles on it with the majority of those resulting from commuting in slow to stop-and-go traffic in and out of the city.

This past week we noticed that the car hesitated from a stop when the accelerator was pressed and then some times it just takes off. Other times it runs and shifts great. It reminds me of the time an older car of mine had water in the gas tank.

2013 Ford Focus Interior

The car was taken to the dealer and they had a difficult time duplicating the symptom but they finally did. Their remedy according to the paperwork was to recalibrate the transmission through the computer; however, the hesitation is beginning to return. Can I assume this is not normal? Have you heard of an issue with this car/engine? What would you suggest she try next? Should we visit a different dealer?

A. You are correct this is not normal, although these dual-clutch transmission will shift a bit differently than a conventional automatic transmission it should never lurch on the road.

Ford has had many issues with this transmission; in some cases, it can be remedied with computer reprogramming and in other cases, the clutch needs replacing. I would return to the servicing dealer and have them continue their diagnostic routine.The dealer should also be looking for any technical service bulletins that could apply.

In addition if your boyfriend is a “two-footed” driver who rests his foot on the brake while creeping in traffic, this can have an odd effect on transmission performance.

This problem has been widespread enough where there is at least one class action lawsuit against Ford.

John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.