The Ford Focus, a compact car available in a manual or automatic transmission with a 2-liter engine, was introduced in 1999. Despite its affordability, Auto Beef reports that 2000 to 2003 Focus models are "clunkers" due to their numerous mechanical problems, which include automatic transmission issues.
Ford technical service bulletins (TSBs) issued from November 1999 to March 2005 report that 2000 to 2003 Focus models suffer from shifting difficulties. Transaxle failure may result in "harsh" shifting and/or vibration while shifting. A faulty transaxle is often indicated by an illuminated "check engine" light and requires immediate replacement.
Ford TSBs issued in November 2002 and December 2004 indicate that powertain control module (PCM) failure is prevalent among 2000 to 2003 Focus models. PCM failure may result in an improperly working transmission control module (TCM), which affects shifting and acceleration. Since the PCM is a computer it can be fixed by performing a software update at a dealership.
Ford TSBs issued in April 2000 state that a common transmission problem with the 2000 Focus is transmission leakage. TSBs report that the transmission may leak from the cooler line fittings. Fluid leaks result in improper lubrication, which contributes to shifting difficulty. In the case of a leak, the cooler line must be replaced.