I have a 2001 Ford Focus 2-door hatchback with 61,000 miles. I’m the original owner and it has been perfectly maintained. Even the oil changes are every 3,000 miles. I live in Minnesota. The extended warranty ends this year, and so far it’s covered a new transmission, power steering rack, and front wheel thrust links at only 38,000 miles. At 60,000 the battery and valve cover gasket were replaced along with the ignition having to be redrilled and keyed due to sticking (also under warranty). I’m worried the car isn’t reliable (mainly due to needing the transmission) and will cost me big money in the long run. Do you think I should trade it in now for a new car (I’m considering a Honda Civic) while there is trade-in value, or could it be ok enough now to go the distance with only routine wear and tear expenses? I like not having a car payment!
The car has low miles and if properly maintained could last you many years to come, but it does sound like a bit of a lemon. I am curious as to why you needed a new transmission. Is this an automatic or stick-shift? If it’s a stick, is it your first?
Personally, I would upgrade to a pre-owned Honda Civic such as a 2004 or 2005 EX model which will be worlds better than your current car and has the potential to go 250,000 miles without many (if any) problems if properly maintained. Not only that, they achieve excellent fuel mileage in the real world.
It’s just a nicer car all-around as well.
It sounds as though major repairs have been performed. The transmission and the power steering rack are big bucks. I think you got more than the expected life out of the battery. Valve cover gaskets occasionally leak, but again this isn’t among the expensive repairs. You’ve kept the car maintained for the next owner who will reap the benefit if you trade it. If the transmission is working as it should, my tempatation would be to keep the car. You can do a lot of repairs for the cost of a new or newer car.
I think that I would consider a trade at this time. It sounds as if the focus is problem prone and that your wallet’s been saved by the extended warranty. Moreover, we all need to have reliable vehicles if not just for safety but for convenience and financial reasons.
A used Civic or Corolla would be a good bet. With your trade and maybe $1-2K down your car payment shouldn’t be onerous.
Don’t drink the “Honda” kool-aid. They go a long time true, but they require repairs and maintenance items just like any other car. I owned a pair of Civic’s(new till 200k+) and while I would not label troublesome past 150k both required occasional repairs.
Personally I would keep your paid for Ford Focus. Trade-in is around $3000 on this vehicle, hardly much value.
I forgot to mention that this is an automatic (and I’ve had both sticks and automatics in the past). It is the first car I’ve bought brand new, though. Thanks for the replys!
Let the car’s history be your guide. If it’s had that many major repairs already, it’s unlikely to not have more as it ages.
Go for the Civic.
All that stuff was replaced and should be fine for many, many miles. I’d keep it until it proved to be too expensive to maintain.
“Honda Kool-Aid”?? There’s no imaginary mystique around these cars- they are well designed, simple and durable. I have plenty of experience with all makes of cars and it’s hard to beat the bullet-proof nature of a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.
This car had a lot of teething problems abd recalls. It is now an average car from a reliability point of view. Since Ford looked after the probems with recalls and warranty fixes, the worst is over now for you. The car is not worth much on resale, and mileage is relatively low. I would keep driving it, and be prepared for a few more repairs.
A Honda Civic is a better car, but you have to balance the extra outlay for buying a new one with the cost of some possible future repairs on the Focus.
i am the 2nd owner of a 2001 ford focus zx3. i bought the car in 2002. mine is a manual with about 27,000 miles on it. the only problem besides three or four recalls done on it, is i had to replace the windshield wiper motor about 9 months ago and the hood release lever under the dashboard broke about 2 years ago. remember you should be close to needing the timing belt changed. if you take it to a shop that is going to run you about $200-$400.