Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2001 Ford Focus, Warning Light

My sister drives a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 hatchback, automatic transmission. She is in DC right now for Grad school, and does not have her car because of the Metro system in DC.

Here’s the deal. There is a light on the left side of the dashboard which Ford refers to as the “Multifunction automatic transaxle / cooling system light,” which looks like an exclamation point with a star pattern around it. It has been going on and off periodically for the last few weeks. We took it to a shop last weekend, and they replaced the spark plugs and wires, flushed the coolant, and removed battery corrosion, but it is still going on. The temp gauge is in the normal range, and there’s no indication that the engine is overheating. Anyone know what else this could be?

The trouble may be with the transaxle system. I’m not sure if there is a way to retrieve codes from that system or not. You may need to check with the dealer service about it.

Here is this type of question answered by a Ford mechanic: In one of these, wires were found melted on the exhaust manifold.
The warning light can be warning about many things. Has there been any engine performance problems? Have there been any periods of jerking, or stalling, or otherwise poor behavior?
There may be trouble codes in the engine computer (PCM). Some auto parts stores will scan those codes for you. If they do, bring those codes here for dis-cuss-ion and advice.

I have had the same problem that is rapidly getting worse. The car used to idle roughly. I changed to very expensive spark plugs. Then it started to jerk when going up a hill (mostly when it was a warm engine) and now the engine races in super fast gear but the car hardly goes anywhere! If I let off the gas, the engine slows down and seems to shift into a low gear that works right. I can’t remember it ever jerking while going downhill- only uphill or accelerating on level ground. I assumed it was the transmission but when I had the fluid flushed and a good cleaning done, it didn’t show anything bad inside- no burnt oil. Someone mentioned a transaxle problem. What exactly is it, and where is it? Sounds REALLY expensive! Dean