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There’s a reason that the Ford Focus is the 2nd most popular second-hand car in the UK. It’s an iconic vehicle with different models that match whatever needs you’re looking for. But, is the Focus really all it’s cracked up to be? Are there any versions you should avoid? What are some common problems you could face when buying a Focus?

The Ford Focus is, by and large, so popular due to its reliability, practicality, and drivability. However, there are certain years where the Focus wasn’t quite so stellar.


2012 Edition

One of the models of the Focus that came under a lot of scrutiny was the 2012 edition. Upon release, many buyers found that the transmission was struggling when switching between 1st and 2nd gear. This could even lead to the car stalling, which can cause some serious problems when pulling away from junctions or other high-traffic areas. This problem affected both automatic and manual versions.

Be careful when buying a 2012 edition of the Focus as these problems are still being discovered in 2017. Many customers report that there are a few fixes for the transmission problems but they are expensive. A full transmission change often fixes the problem, as can changing the clutch.

A new transmission and clutch are, of course, very expensive. If you find yourself with this problem, consider visiting a breaker yard and saving yourself a lot of money on purchasing a replacement. Take a look at our part finder or part directory if you’re looking to get this issue sorted.


2003 Edition

Whilst the 2003 edition of the Focus wasn’t as poorly received as the 2012 model, it did have some problems you should be aware of.

A common problem with a second hand ’03 Focus is the ignition. It can get stuck, meaning that you can’t turn the key and are unable to use the car. This is a problem that can occur at any time in the car’s lifecycle but is far more common in ones with higher mileage.

Supposedly, there are several known fixes for this problem. A locksmith can often fix the issue, or a new ignition switch can be bought and installed by a mechanic. Alternatively, you can visit a Ford dealership where they should be able to fix it.

This isn’t as expensive a problem as the 2012 Focus has, but it can cause a lot of distress and frustration if it happens at a time when you really need to be driving somewhere! If the key starts to stick or get difficult to turn, consider pre-emptively replacing the ignition switch.

A breaker yard will be able to provide you with a cheap ignition switch that you can then install yourself or take to your local dealer! Either way, you’ll be saving money.


We’ve covered two models of Ford Focus in this blog but there are more common problems with these models that you should be aware of before driving. Remember, always do your research when purchasing a second-hand vehicle!

If these problems or any others happen to you, remember to visit a breaker yard when buying a replacement part. You’ll save yourself some money and generally won’t have to wait for the part to be delivered either! Take a look at our part finder or part directory and get started today.