Engine revving quickly and loud

I have a 2000 Ford Focus SE Wagon with a 4-cyliner engine and 106,000 miles. Recently the engine sounds to be revving very quickly and loudly, expecially on the freeway and above 60 miles an hour. What could be the problem?

Automatic or manual? Is the transmission shifting into 4th gear/Overdrive. Is the “O/D Off” light on? If so, the trans is limited to 3rd gear and will rev much higher at highway speeds.

It’s an automatic, I’m not sure about the automatic transmission shifting properly.

Does the car have a tachometer on the dashboard?
(The tach is the instrument that indicates the RPMs of the engine. It will show numbers from 1 to probably 6, 7, or possibly 8, and the face of the instrument will also have the words, “X 1,000”, meaning that a reading of…let’s say 4.5…means that the engine is turning over at 4,500 RPMs)

If you have an automatic transmission and the RPMs are very high, then you likely have a problem with transmission slippage. Ignore this for more than a few days and you can guarantee a repair bill of $1,500-$2,000.

If the RPMs are in a normal range, then it is more likely that you have a leaking exhaust system. Since this can introduce carbon monoxide (which is odorless, colorless, and deadly), this cannot be ignored either.

If it has a tach (as I surmise, since most small cars do), how many RPMs does the tach indicate at 60 mph?

If you don’t know, take the car out on the highway to take a look, and then report back to us. We will let you know if the RPMs appear to be normal or abnormal.

However, one way or another, you will need to get this car to a mechanic soon. If it turns out to be an exhaust issue, then a place like Midas, Meineke, or Monro is okay, but these chain operations are to be AVOIDED for anything other than exhaust work, in my opiniion. You would be far better-off with a well-reputed independent mechanic.

Please report back to us a.s.a.p.!

Take the car up to about 45 mph, and move the shift lever from “Drive” to 3rd gear.
Do you feel the transmission downshift (with an accompanying increase in RPMS on the tachometer)?

If yes, then it is apparently shifting properly.
If you don’t feel a downshift, then is appears that the trans is not shifting to 4th (overdrive).

Thanks, I’m getting the feeling that it is the transmission.