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The Ford Focus RS is the epitome of the modern hot hatchback. Though Ford discontinued it, car enthusiasts worldwide still love it to pieces. Unfortunately, pieces might be a bit more of an issue than you’d think. If you’re considering buying one, these Ford Focus RS problems might make you rethink signing the paperwork.

What year Focus RS had head gasket issues?

Ford Focus RS Mustang Explorer Ecoboost 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Ford 2.3 Ecoboost Engine | Ford

Those familiar with the Focus RS are probably familiar with the fact that they have head gasket issues. Head gasket failure can be completely detrimental. At the very least, it requires major disassembly of the engine. On the worse end of things, coolant in the combustion chamber could bend connecting rods, and without coolant, the engine could overheat. Furthermore, extreme heat can warp the engine block or cylinder head, requiring major machine shop work or outright engine replacement.

According to Road and Track, 2015 through 2017 model year Focus RS examples are the ones prone to head gasket failure. That being said, Ford offered a program through the end of 2019 offering to repair affected cars. So, if you’re shopping for a used Focus RS from these model years, be sure to see if this repair has been done.

Depending on leak-down test results, the repair from Ford either consisted of replacing the head gasket alone or both the head gasket and cylinder head.

Complaints of build quality

Gray Ford Focus RS Autocross
Ford Focus RS | Ford

According to HotCars, a myriad of Focus RS owners complain about the build quality of the car. One owner reported that the seat rails for the driver’s seat came loose twice. In addition, many report having issues with the HVAC system and rattly interior components. Though, that one feels like a bit of a stretch.

Obviously, to keep the cost relatively affordable for the performance, Ford had to make some compromises. Going into a car like this and expecting a world-class interior experience is a bit questionable, to begin with. Still, it’s worth noting since minor interior issues and rattles can be a major hang-up for some folks.

Finally, many folks complain about the ride quality. That, however, is worth ignoring entirely. Much like with the Focus and Fiesta ST, the Focus RS is built with performance in mind, not road-trip comfort. If you’re not prepared for a rougher ride, you’re not prepared to buy a car with a performance suspension.

Ford Focus RS Problems should not stop you from your dreams

Look, if you want a Focus RS, you want a Focus RS. They’re fantastic cars, and they are absolutely killer to drive. They are, however, something you should really take your time when shopping for one.

If the car doesn’t have service records, receipts, and proof of repairs (such as the head gasket for applicable model-year cars), you’ll probably want to pass. Otherwise, you could be diving straight into a world of expensive headaches. Nobody wants to spend more time repairing their new car than driving it!


Does the Ford Focus RS Deserve the Hype?