Ford Focus Transmission Problems

The Ford Focus transmission problems are a hot topic on car forums across the internet. A cursory Google search shows car owners and enthusiasts trying to get to the bottom of a seemingly inescapable shuddering problem. A class action lawsuit, settled recently, threw the problem, and Ford’s involvement with it, into the spotlight., a popular website which catalogues car problems reported by consumers, features hundreds of complaints about the Ford Focus unreliability. The top three reported problems with the vehicle involve the transmission, whether it shudders, jerks, or hesitates. Average prices for repairs to the transmission fall between $1,000 and $2,000, though the problems usually arise well within the first 30,000 miles of operation.

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The problem involves the dual-clutch “PowerShift” transmissions used in 1.5 million 2012-2016 Ford Focus and 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta vehicles. The lawsuit, Vargas et al. v. Ford Motor Company, was recently settled and the court is currently reviewing the terms of that settlement.

The lawsuit alleges Ford failed to disclose the PowerShift transmission’s design and/or manufacturing defects, which cause problems and unsafe driving conditions.

According to the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Ford, the PowerShift transmission would lunge or jerk forward when attempting to decelerate. The plaintiff said the vehicle would also hesitate when attempting to accelerate.

The PowerShift transmission uses one clutch to operate the even numbered gears while the other clutch operates the odd numbered gears. Both clutches share the same inner transmission shaft. Several possible explanations proposed for the shuddering and jerking include clutches slipping or fluid leaking into the clutch.

Ford issued two customer service programs throughout the years regarding the transmission, which extended warranty coverage for its input shafts, clutch, software calibration and transmission control module. However, plaintiffs in the lawsuit said no remedies by the company successfully fixed the problem.

The expected terms of the settlement include cash payments and reimbursements for Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta owners, as well as credits toward the purchase of new vehicles. Repurchasing vehicles with the PowerShift transmission is available through an arbitration process allowing claims to be submitted for up to six years from the date of the original sale.

If your car is still under warranty, they are compelled by its terms to fix any of these problems. If the dealership refuses to repair your warrantied vehicle, contact the manufacturer immediately. If the manufacturer does not remedy the situation, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to help you.

Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.

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