Welcome to the FAQ, hopefully your problem has been identified somewhere below with some basic tips to identify the problem and how to resolve it. For a quick find press the CTRL + F Keys on your keyboard, and type the keyword (for example, Battery, MPG, Error) this should hopefully allow you to find your error by searching through the post. If not, have a read through:
Disclaimer: The below is a guide only, and is not intended to guarantee a fix to your vehicle, this is to help you identify where your issue may lie, in order to attain more professional support. It is the personal opinion of its authors and does not represent a guarantee or the views of the forum ownership. Please proceed to use this advice as nothing more than
suggestive guidance. The forum, management, moderator team or any other affiliates will not be held responsible for any damage caused by the misuse or unsafe practices that you may operate whilst trying to diagnose your vehicle. Nor do we accept any damage to persons or property caused by this advice.
All issues on a car can be covered under four main categories...
- Electrical Faults (this includes interference)
- Mechanical Faults (faulty moving components)
- Component Failure (this includes the degradation of seals, brackets mounts, some switches etc)
- Sensor Faults.
Most Common Faults:
Ford Focus MK1 / MK 1.5 Faulty Instrument cluster, NEW: Now being seen on MK2's also!,
- Randomly the instrument cluster will drop out of service, it will often fail without reason, and may return immediately or after the car is switched off and then on. You may be suffering from a known fault that had a recall previously, Ford would likely need to replace the instrument cluster, however they may not do it free of charge, or they may do it on a good will gesture at a discounted rate.
My Speedo drops to 0 randomly, then comes back.
This is normally (on the MK1 and 1.5 Focus, and some other earlier than 2004) an issue with the Vehicle Speed Sensor. If your car does not have ABS, then you will likely have a Vehicle Speed Sensor on the gearbox. This becomes faulty and then results in you losing your speed reading. If you have ABS, it could be an indication that either your short looms to the sensors
Noises / Rattles - Start by trying to identify the location of the noise. Is it inside, or outside the car?
have a friend stand near the car as your driving it around (for example in a car park) to see if they can identify where the noise is.
If the noise is inside the car, start by checking the basics, remove loose articles including coins, or any other clutter from in the car. Take the car for a drive and see if the empty cabin removes the noise. Also remove all articles from the boot to try and identify if this is the location of the noise. You may find that the noise is in the dashboard, as a loose wire, so take your time to try and identify the noise, but its best to have a passenger focusing on the noise finding to ensure that you do not take your attention away from the road.
Whistles - Whistles most commonly are caused by a damaged hose or pipe. This normally is due to an air intake hose having a small hairline crack, often in the bend of a hose. As the air pressure builds, the air escapes through this fine crack and makes a whistling noise. Look at all the hoses that you can get to and remove the offending hose, replace it with a silicone based hose, as opposed to a rubber one, as these are much more durable than the rubber hoses.
If you have an intermittent issue on a car, no rhyme and reason to its occurrence, you may have an electrical fault. First thing to do is look for the earth points on a car.
Start by checking the earth point under the bonnet nearest the battery. Check if its clean, ensure that all electrical contacts can make a clean and uninterrupted connection to the chassis of the vehicle.
Find the main fuse box, one is in the engine bay, the others reside in the passenger foot well, and behind a panel in the boot (vehicle dependent). Check all wiring / harnesses are secured in place onto the fuseboards, ensure all the latches are
firmly in place. If you are unsure, and feel comfortable to do so, Disconnect the battery before proceeding. Allow 30 minutes to pass to allow all electrical charge to dissipate disconnect any harnesses, and re-seat them securely, and ensuring there locking clips are fully fastened.
Switch not working: When you operate a switch (indicator, switch light, press button) go through the operational checklist below:
- Does any position of this switch work?
(if its the windscreen wiper, does the rear operate, do the windscreen washers operate correctly, does the main beam flash work etc) - If any of the remaining switches work fine it is likely a fuse has blown, locate the appropriate fuse and check for damage to the fuse wire. Replace as necessary. Otherwise you may have a fault in the switch, and this may need to be replaced.
- No other parts of the switch work?
Its possible that the issue lies with one or more fuses, check all fuses to ensure that they are not damaged in any way. If not, check all electrical items work and note if any do not work. It may be that the wiring connector has come loose from that switch, or it may be a relay / harnass issue. Follow the advice above to reset the harness.
- Can you hear a click from the fuse board when you set a switch position?
If so then the issue may be isolated to just that part, the click indicates that the signal is getting to the cars control systems, and
the issue may be related to a faulty motor, electrical connection or a faulty relay. Investigate accordingly by swapping a relay for a working one to see if this resolves the issue, or investigate the wiring at the end where the suspected faulty appliance resides.
Car wont start
Check that when you insert the key and turn to position III (electrics only) do you see any lights flash up on the car?
-If you see a flashing red light,
this indicates you may have an issue with the immobilizer or the key. If you have a spare key, try and do the same with this spare key.
- If you attempt to start the car and it wont turn over,
if you hear a lot of clicking from the fuse box, and the lights flickering, this indicates your vehicle battery may be depleted. Jump start your car with a power pack (DO NOT JUMP START OFF ANOTHER VEHICLE, THIS MAY DAMAGE YOUR SMART CHARGE SYSTEM!) or call an appropriate recovery agency to assist.
- Car struggling to start,
if the car is struggling to start, then it could be an issue with the fuel not getting to the engine efficiently. It could also be that the engine is unable to breathe, check the air filter and make sure its not clogged up. Check the service history and identify if these have been done recently. Another symptom of a fuel filter change required is the car cutting out randomly. This can include the car cutting out on motorways under heavy acceleration above a certain number of revs.
- Car speedo sweeps up then down on trying to start the car.
This tends to indicate that the battery is getting low, or is nearing the end of its serviceable life. You would probably want to look for a replacement SILVER CALCIUM battery. Do not be fooled by any agents wanting to sell either silver, or calcium, it must be both! I personally can recommend the Bosch S4.
- Disruption of service,
This includes Interruption of
Radio signal (This can be due to the replacement of filament bulbs with CREE bulbs, as they can generate electrical interference),
GPS signal (This can be due to RF interference, it could be generated by electrical interference of additional electrical components, replacing of in cabin bulbs with LED bulbs, and also the additional installation of other wiring - For
example, foot well lighting, ignition barrel, where wiring is run from the map lights).
- Unidentified errors -
This includes conflicting warning signs and errors appearing on the car. This can be due to the installation or use of OBDII code readers, or a short circuit within the OBDII port. If you have an OBDII code reader of any form, disconnect the hardware from the car. This includes also OBDII based tuning boxes, Ford IDS clones, F-Super etc.
If you do not have any of this hardware, just check to ensure there is nothing of an obstruction in the port.
Otherwise, the conflicting issues would indicate an electrical short circuit somewhere. This can include the wiring harness in the engine bay (average of around £500 cost for a medium sized Ford and above for larger). The short circuit could occur anywhere from the engine bay, to the tail gate. An Auto Electrician would be best to review the wiring to identify any issues.
- Battery Warning Light
A flashing battery warning light, or a periodic light then extinguish, may indicate that the battery is not being charged correctly. this can indicate that the battery has a faulty cell, is low on ionised water, or is the wrong type of battery for your vehicle. Always ensure that you have a Silver Calcium battery in your car, as this is required to work with the ford Smart Charge system. If you have a standard lead based battery, you would need to replace the battery with an appropriate type. Swap the battery in the meantime if you have access to another to identify if the fault is battery based, or alternator based.
Permanent lit battery light, would indicate that the issue is a faulty alternator, and the battery is unable to be charged. This could be due to a worn, or faulty axillary belt which is not allowing the alternator to work correctly.
The Ford Smart Charge system outputs from the alternator anywhere between 13 and 15 volts. Normally 14.4 is an expected value at the point of output. When the car is switched off, a multimeter, or another form of reading the cars voltage should be between 11 and 12 (less than this could indicate a faulty battery) when the engine is running, you should expect the 13 - 15 volts.
The Battery and alternator should be considered in the event that the car misbehaves / loses efficiency / performance when a high usage of electrical equipment is present.
Mechanical Failure -
Mechanical failure is the failing of any moving parts. This includes everything from CV joints, to turbo failures, Engine belt pulleys to EGR valves. This is often (along with electrical failure) the only failure that would be covered by any warranties.
Failure of CV joints -
This can often be noticed as a knocking noise whilst driving the car, specifically when turning. Check the CV joints to ensure there is no oil leaks, or damage to the joints itself.
Bushings - Bushings can often be identified by a knocking noise when you are driving over bumps, kerbs, or speed bumps. Check that when you
Turbo - Turbo failure can often be identified by a blowout of oil around the turbo unit, and into the air filter, this can indicate a failing or failed turbo. If you remove the air intake hose and can move the impeller rather vegerously, then your turbo may be close to failing.
Gearbox - Gearbox Oil is one of the primary culprits, and can be the cheapest fix to a lot of gearbox issues.
Clutch - Clutch can be identified as an issue by the over revving of the car and the under acceleration - this is often accompanied by a poor bite (clutch pedal nearly all the way up before you see any bite).
Component failure is the degradation of non-mechanical parts, such as
Poor engine seals (for example, failure of the injector seals may be identified by a fuel smell in the cabin)
Blue Smoke could indicate an exhausted head gasket,,
Worn engine or gearbox mounts (vibration at speed)
Rusted exhaust clips (rattling from under the car),
Worn seals may also allow water ingress into the engine bay (water in Spark Plugs issue).
- Fuel Filter (more likely diesel owners)
Diesel fuel can become waxy and clog the fuel filter. This can also include a damaged fuel filter housing.
- Diesel Particulate Filter
This is the dreaded filter, it is for Euro IV compliant vehicles and above (Fords between 2004 and present day). DPF's can cause the MPG to drop, and can cause the car to go into limp home mode when they are in trouble. If you own a diesel and rarely
drive on motorways, find yourself a fast dual carriageway, or a motorway and drive your car (as one member said) "like you stole it" - keep the revs high (aim for 4000 revs) and drive this way for 20 - 30 minutes. this completes a "Passive regeneration" borderline "Forced regeneration". This will get the exhaust gasses hot enough to assist the removal of the carbon from the DPF and should help to clear it, and stop you ending up in limp home mode.
PLEASE NOTE: 1st generation DPF filters require replacement at 6 years / 75,000 mile service. If you are looking to buy a vehicle of this sort of age / mileage - check that this has been done. Also note that the EOLYS Additive fluid is based on a
3 year topup, or every 30,000 miles. This can cost around £150 - £200 at the dealers to get everything input and reset. This is only really applicable to Fords before 2009 / newest shape models. You may also want to consider a DPF removal service, this costs around £359 - £450 on average and is a way to remove and remap the DPF out of the system, preventing limp home mode, and expensive topups of EOLYS fluid.
Boot Switch Failure / Boot randomly opening
If you find that your boot switch does not open the boot all the time, or the boot randomly pops open, then start by removing the rubber cover from the boot lid handle (flat blade screwdriver at the edge of the rubber cover and pull the handle outwards to force a down and back action against the cover). Check that there is no water in there causing a fault in the connection. If there is no water then you may need to replace the switch. See the guide here (courtesy of Lippo) although for CMAX the practice is in essence the same).
Bonnet wont open with the key
If you find that you cannot open the bonnet reliably, then follow this guide courtesy of Brigante.
My heater is only blowing cold air?
Does the fault occur on all four of the heat settings? if so then it may be a heater matrix issue, or it may be a failed resisitor issue. If your handy with a soldering iron, start with the resistor, they cost less than a pound, and the hardest part is the soldering. If your not, then you may wish to consult a garage.
Sensor faults can be difficult to locate, and can happen as a now and then error, or a continuous fault. Sensor faults can nomally only be detected by the presence of a code reader, either an OBDII code scanner, F Super, ELM327 ford IDS (clone, or genuine) or the dashboard trick. Please click here. Also click here to interpret the results
Common sensor failures:
Vehicle Speed Sensor
- This is the sensor that tells the car what speed the wheels are turning at and what speed your car is doing. The instrument cluster may have erratic speed reporting, and you may notice that the Automatic Volume Leveling of your standard Ford Audio kit is erratic and drops the volume / increases it noticeably even when you are travelling at motorway speeds. these can coincide with the instrument cluster speed dropping out.
Gearbox reverse - This is more of a switch than a sensor, but if you note that your reverse lights are not coming on when the reverse gear is engaged, and all fuses and wiring appears to be correct, then its likely this switch that needs replacing. This tends to be on the gearbox towards the middle of the engine bay and can be replaced by unscrewing the old and !Removed! in the new. You will need deep sockets for this job.
Mass Air Flow Sensor / Idle Control - These can include symptoms of high idling, slow rev come down speeds when in
neutral or with clutch disengaged. These can be cleaned, or may need to be replaced.
Why is my MPG so bad?
If you have an issue with your MPG being lower than you would expect then the best thing to do is to ensure that your tyre pressures are all at the recommended pressure and remove any unnecessary weight from the vehicle. If this has already been done then start by disconnecting your battery for between 30 and 60 minutes. If after driving for a tank of fuel you find that you still have no real improvement, then give your car a basic service. Also have a look here for a guide I have put together. This teaches you how "itchy toes" can save you fuel!
Air Filter Replacement
You can buy these from euro-car-parts for about £10 and is a 15 minute swap. general figures are 2 - 3 MPG improvement, personally I have seen up to 10 MPG improvement, but this is mostly down to how dirty the old filter was.
Oil / Oil filter replacement - You can get a "kwik oil" service at Kwik Fit for around £40 - £45 from Kwik Fit (http://www.kwik-fit.com/mot-and-service-pricing.asp) if you don't want to do this yourself.
The lubrication and effort required for the engine to operate can be improved, and this can offer an MPG gain.
Fuel Filter - although its a bit fiddly, allowing the fuel to flow freely will also improve the MPG.
These cost around £30 from euro car parts, and its advisable to have a small amount of fuel in a cup and pour this into the filter before fitment, this will allow you to reduce the problems in priming, not doing this can make the car difficult to start, if not unable to start altogether.
The above would normally boost your MPG rather significantly if your car is "under serviced", if your car is well serviced and still has a problem then you would need to look more into clogged injectors and an inefficiency of burning the fuel as well as injecting it to the engine block. You would want to look at injector cleaners, fuel system cleaners etc. A can of BG244K is a good place to
start. This can be picked up from around £20 from ebay or Kwik Fit.
Stop 'n' Go failure
The Econetic range of vehicles includes the idle stop and go functionality. The functionality will only operate when the battery is above a certain charge, or if the ambient temperature is warm enough. If either, or both of these conditions are not met, then the system will not operate. If your car has been in for a routine service, you may find that Ford have applied an update to the instrument cluster, or ECU which may have disabled the functionality. Check with your dealer as to what was done,
and if needs be, request they reactivate the feature.
Why do I have unpleasant smells in the cabin?
The smells would often be related to problems with bacteria in the air circulation system. Purchase a can of one shot air con deodorizer from Euro Car Parts (Prices between £3 and £7 (for two). Set it off in the car, close all doors and windows and set the fans to go full whack with the engine running. Leave for around 15 minutes to allow it to go through the system and kill bacteria.
Consider also replacing your pollen filter, as this can be a bacteria breeding ground.
If your smelling fuel in the cabin, then check the injector seals, and have a cylinder leak test completed. These tend to show if there is any fault in the seals, then the fuel / oil vapours can leak when under high pressure, and escape into the engine bay. As the air intake for the cabin is under the windscreen and taking in from scoops which are most of the time underneath the bonnet, then these fumes are sucked into the car and circulated to you and your passengers.
Should I fork out and buy "super fuel"?
The simple answer is not really. If you are running a non 'sports car' you will find that your MPG is barely affected, and you wont really feel any power under your right foot. If you have a super tuned car, you might see a small benefit, but for the 'average Joe' around the forum, its highly unlikely you will see a benefit worthy of the extra notes you hand over in exchange.
Should I use "branded" fuel as opposed to "Supermarket" fuel?
If you want to. Many people (myself included) swear by the likes of Shell Fuel save. I get a better MPG tank after tank, than I do with comparable driving on any supermarket fuel. It is said that supermarket fuel is topped up with additional chemicals and cleaners that do not allow it to ignite as efficiently as branded fuels. Some argue that it all comes out of the same hole in the ground, but we all know that every company will take a raw product and do whatever they want to it, for the better or for the worse. Some people swear by supermarket fuel, others swear at it (I know a few folks who have sworn that it has ruined there car!).
If you have a branded fuel station close enough to you (in comparison with a supermarket) it is my personal opinion that you should spend the extra £1 per tank, and get a better turnout in MPG. Give it a try and see how you feel after a few months!
Does my car have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)
best bet is to check Ford Etis here... pop your registration in and see what the engine is, if its Euro 4 complaint, it probably has a DPF that requires maintenance (EOLYS fluid every 3 years, DPF replacement every 6 years),
If it is Euro 5 then you probably have one also.
As a general rule of thumb, 1.6 Diesel and 2.0 Diesel Focus from 2004 - 2009 have a DPF fitted, which uses the EOLYS fluid
(system to clean the DPF).
The good thing is its good to the environment,
The bad thing is it costs £150 every three years to top up the fluid,
The ugly... It costs the best part of £1000 to have the DPF replaced every 6 years...
The 1.8 Diesel Focus from the aforementioned years, generally does not have a DPF.
From 2009 onwards, I believe most Diesel vehicles have a cDPF, which is self managing and clearing, and does not require the EOLYS Fluid, or replacement. Please bear in mind that you might find yourself buying a car that was built before then but registered after and therefore may have a normal DPF.
I believe diesel Mondeo's up until around 2007 had a standard DPF and above then a maintenance free.
I believe this was the same for the Fiesta, however I recommend visiting ford etis (link at the top of this paragraph) and see what it says.
If you are still unsure, contact your local dealer, and provide them VIN or Registration and they will confirm for you if you do, or do not have a DPF. Alternatively, contact Fords customer service team via email, they tend to respond within a week, but are very good to deal with, and they confirmed that my car does not have a DPF (oh how I dance around the room!!!)
My Car is driving but has no power and wont exceed 40MPH?
Your car is protecting itself, and is currently in "limp home mode". This can be for any number of reasons, a faulty sensor may cause this error, or a serious mechanical defect. If you can check the error codes, they may give you an insight into the error. Otherwise, if you do not have the ability to do so, you should get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible by a specialist.
Why Does my car make a "clunk" noise at 12MPH?
This is a standard, dont worry about it. This is the ABS system completing a self test. It is perfectly normal even if it sometimes sounds a bit much.
If you think we should add anything to the above, please visit this thread and post your recommendation. If there are any inaccuracies, or you would like to add more information, Also post on this thread.
TDCiST made a winter specific thread HERE if your question is not answered above.