How Long Do Ford Focus Last (& Which Years to Avoid)

The Ford Focus has been the Blue Oval’s biggest hit in the last couple of decades. It’s been acclaimed for its direct handling, practical cabin and value for money.

However, while that’s great to have in a car, does a Focus last a long time?

How Long do Ford Focus Last?

Typically, a Ford Focus can keep going for about 200.000-250.000 miles. You have to remember, these things are built for fleet work as Fords have traditionally been a favourite for fleet sales. As a result, they have to be built to handle the heavy mileage fleet cars will usually endure.

European Fords are some of the most reliable cars out there. Their engineering is impressively well thought out and there have been few signs of it slipping. Not to mention, their efficiency and value have been very hard to combat for rival carmakers.

Overall though, you’ll find a Focus can last around 200,000 or 250,000 miles according to customer reports. If you drive around 15,000 miles a year in one, then chances are you’ll have it around for 16 years. Not a bad lifespan and if you take good care of it, then there’s a high likelihood of seeing it stick around even longer.

Have you wondered how expensive Ford parts are? Well, here you have the answer.

Why Does Ford Focus Last Long?

As mentioned, Fords are very popular in the fleet sales market. Why is that? Well, fleet customers will look for cars that are both good value and will keep going without the need for heavy servicing or repairs. Ford has spent decades building such a reputation and as a result, they’re one of the big sellers in the fleet business.

While American Fords have had a slightly shakier history with reliability, Fords in Europe are highly dependable. It’s not uncommon to still see quite a few MKI Focus’ running on the road or any generation of Focus for that matter. It’s this reliability that greatly appeals to fleet buyers and Ford knows this, so their cars are known for being unfussy and engineered not to cause too big a repair bill.

It’s no surprise then that this easy-to-maintain ability has caused the Focus to be one of the most common cars you can find.

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Does Ford Focus Last Longer Compared to Other Competitive Cars?

Truth be told, they actually can. While you can easily find a Focus from as far back as 2001 on the road, rival cars from that era are a bit rarer. For example, seeing a 20-year-old Opel Astra or a Volkswagen Golf going strong is slightly harder to spot than a Focus.

That’s not to say the Focus’ competitors are unreliable, it’s more to do with the Focus being that extra bit more long-lasting. That 200,000 to 250,000-mile lifespan I talked about is quite a bit more than other hatchbacks like it. Some can only manage an average of half that.

Looking at the larger picture puts the Focus in a very good light. Every generation has a history of being usefully dependable and repairs have a habit of not being too sky high.

What Usually Breaks Down in Ford Focus (and After How Many Miles)

The most typical problems with Ford Focus are:

  • Fuel pump problem
  • Camshaft belt drive problem
  • Pulley and belt issues
  • Particulate filters problems

If you’re looking at an MKI Focus, then there are still a few issues to look out for. The 1.8 diesel could have suffered from a fuel pump to camshaft belt drive that would need replacing every 36,000 miles. Other problems to look for are pulley and belt issues that can need replacement parts at 60,000 miles.

For the MKII cars, you’ll need to look out for the diesel version and its diesel particulate filters as they can give up at 100,000 miles. Be careful about misfiring on the 1.6 petrol as well and the 1.6 Ti-VCT petrol will need its rubber cam belt changed every 36,000 miles. All the other engines use cam chains.

The MKIII is very well regarded, but with some cars reaching ten years old, there are possible troubles to look out for. Early versions of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol from around 2011 up to 213 possessed some issues with quality that could cause failures at 10,000 miles. One of these possible problems was the Degas hose, a plastic coolant pipe that could split and if it did at speed, the engine might get ruined. Be sure to check it’s been correctly modified as a dealer recall helped fix the pipe.

Finally, there’s the current MKIV, which has only been on the market since 2018. Seeing how it’s still very young, there’s not been too many major issues reported, though nevertheless, there are a couple you should know.

Two recalls were made (one for cars made between March 2018 and March 2019 and another for cars made between July 2019 and March 2020) in order to fix a stud on the gearbox that damaged the engine’s wiring loom. While the recall should have solved the problem for most cars, it’s best to be careful and check.

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If You Do This, Your Ford Focus Will Last at Least 300,000 Miles

There are several methods in making a Focus run past the 300,000-mile barrier. This can range from just cleaning the engine to more investigative work like reducing friction and giving the fuel injectors a clean.

To make it easier though, I’ll run down a list of methods that can assist in making a Focus, or most cars for that matter, keep on rolling for many more miles.

  • Cleaning the engine: Keeping an engine tidy and cleaned up has more benefits than people would expect.
  • Anti-Friction treatment: This involves special lubricants that lower the friction engine parts may suffer. On a microscopic scale, the lubricant is essentially little ball bearings that make the engine run smoother.
  • Routine inspection: It should go without saying, but having your car regularly serviced and kept in check will ensure it carries on for far longer. If done frequently enough you can catch any possible issue early and sort it out before it turns into a major repair.
  • Changing filters: Oil and air filters can become clogged and less effective over time. Changing them or even cleaning the air filter can do a lot in keeping sure the engine runs smoothly.
  • Regular servicing: This is especially key in having a Focus or any car go the distance. Having the car serviced on a regular basis ensures any potential trouble can be dealt with early which will reduce costs and any damage that might happen if the problem develops any further.

Is Focus among the best Fords for the money? Find it out here.

Which Years to Avoid?

Typically, the older the car, the more likely there is to go wrong, so if you’re looking at possibly buying an MKI Focus from as far back as 1999, then be prepared for possible trouble. It would be wise to be wary of any generation of Focus that was built in the earliest years of its production.

For starters, this would mean the car is older and because it was only just being made at the time, there were higher chances of problems. These problems would be rectified with cars produced in later years.

For more specific years to avoid, the third-generation Focus with its early EcoBoost petrol engine can have some issues, assuming it wasn’t recalled. This means being cautious on ones from 2011 to 2013.

  1. All Ford Focus Years and Their Life Expectancy

From 1998-2004 (First Generation): 100,000-150,000 miles if you’re not careful. Otherwise, it can be from between 200,000 and 500,000 miles for cars that have been well looked after.

From 2004-2011 (Second Generation): Anywhere between 150,000 miles and 400,000 miles. Although, as long as its condition is looked after, it should go even further.

From 2011-2018 (Third Generation): 200,000-250,000 miles. You can expect to get even more out of it if you or previous owners treat it well.

From 2018-Present (Fourth Generation): 200,000-250,000 miles. Since it’s still a young car, there’s not as much data to fully know its average lifespan, but so far, this generation has been as reliable as its predecessors.


I hope you found this article helpful. Broadly put, the Focus, regardless of generation, is a satisfyingly reliable car that handles heavy mileage without any massive repair bills down the line. However, if you want to be on the safe side, it’s best to keep an eye on the condition of older cars.

Focus’ made later in their production cycle will have any bugs ironed out and thus will enjoy improved durability. Not only that, but if anything does go wrong, parts will be in plentiful supply.

To answer simply on “do Ford Focus’ last long?”, it can be safely said that yes they do and not just last long, but longer than most.