[Top 10] Ford Fiesta Transmission Problems & Fixes [Fiesta Years to Avoid]

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Robert Wilson

Discover the Ford Fiesta specs and learn about the most common Ford Fiesta problems that may arise with this popular car model.

From airbags to transmission problems, we cover everything you need to know.

Read on to gain expert insights and find out how to tackle these problems like a pro.

The Ford Fiesta has been in production since 1976, and over the years, it has undergone several updates and improvements.

It is available in various trims and engine options, catering to different preferences and needs of drivers.

Its compact size makes it ideal for city driving, while its responsive handling ensures an enjoyable driving experience on the open road.

The Fiesta’s fuel efficiency is another attractive feature, making it an economical choice for daily commutes and long journeys alike.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore some of the most common issues that Ford Fiesta owners may encounter during their ownership journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned Fiesta owner or considering purchasing one, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to handle these problems effectively.

Most Common Ford Fiesta Problems

  • 1. Airbags
  • 2. Rear Axle Problem
  • 3. Fuel Pipe Problem
  • 4. Steering Problem
  • 5. Cabin Filter Problem
  • 6. Water Pump Problem
  • 7. Hydraulic Clutch Problem
  • 8. Exhaust Problem
  • 9. Suspension Problem


One of the most critical safety features in any car is the airbags, and the Ford Fiesta is no exception. However, some Fiesta models have experienced issues with faulty airbag sensors, leading to potential malfunctions. If your airbag warning light stays illuminated or if you notice any irregularities in the airbag system, it is crucial to get it checked by a certified mechanic immediately.

Rear Axle Problem

Some Ford Fiesta owners have reported problems with the rear axle, particularly in 2002 older Fiesta models. The rear axle may develop excessive wear or looseness, leading to unusual noises, vibrations, or difficulty in handling the vehicle. Regular inspections and prompt repairs can help prevent further damage and ensure a safer driving experience.

Fuel Pipe Problem

In certain Ford Fiesta models, the fuel pipe may suffer from corrosion or leaks over time. This issue can lead to fuel leakage, posing a fire hazard and compromising the vehicle’s performance. If you notice the smell of fuel or any signs of leakage, it is essential to have it inspected and repaired immediately.

Steering Problem

A common problem reported by some Ford Fiesta owners is steering-related issues. These issues may include power steering fluid leaks, a stiff or unresponsive steering wheel, or unusual noises while turning. Addressing steering problems promptly is crucial for safe handling and to prevent any accidents on the road.

Cabin Filter Problem

The cabin filter is responsible for keeping the air inside the vehicle clean and free from pollutants. Over time, it can become clogged with dust and debris, affecting the air quality and the efficiency of the vehicle’s HVAC system. Regularly replacing the cabin filter is a simple yet effective way to ensure a comfortable and healthy interior environment.

Water Pump Problem

The water pump plays a vital role in maintaining the engine’s temperature by circulating coolant. In some Ford Fiesta models, the water pump may fail prematurely, leading to engine overheating and potential damage. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of the water pump can help avoid costly engine repairs.

Hydraulic Clutch Problem

For Fiesta models with a hydraulic clutch system, there have been reports of clutch-related issues. Problems may include clutch slippage, difficulty in shifting gears, or a soft clutch pedal. Ignoring these issues can lead to further damage to the transmission system, so seeking professional assistance is essential.

Exhaust Problem

Over time, the exhaust system of the Ford Fiesta may develop leaks or rust, affecting its performance and emitting harmful emissions. Addressing exhaust issues promptly not only improves fuel efficiency but also helps in keeping the environment clean.

Suspension Problem

The suspension system plays a critical role in providing a smooth and stable ride. However, 2011 Ford Fiesta model may experience suspension problems, such as worn-out shocks or struts, leading to a bumpy and uncomfortable driving experience. Regular inspections and necessary repairs can help maintain optimal suspension performance.

Ford Fiesta Best Years to Buy

According to carcomplaints.com, here are some of the best years for the Ford Fiesta you may consider to buy:

  • 1991 Ford Fiesta
  • 1995 Ford Fiesta
  • 1996 Ford Fiesta
  • 2006 Ford Fiesta
  • 2007 Ford Fiesta
  • 2008 Ford Fiesta
  • 2009 Ford Fiesta
  • 2010 Ford Fiesta
  • 2017 Ford Fiesta
  • 2018 Ford Fiesta
  • 2019 Ford Fiesta
  • 2020 Ford Fiesta

These models soar far above the Ford Fiesta years to avoid, sure to appeal to any driver on the hunt for a smaller vehicle.

Ford Fiesta Years to Avoid

These years are considered to be avoided, however, if you are in search of used ford fiesta you may look at some of these worst years:

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta 
  • 2012 Ford Fiesta 
  • 2013 Ford Fiesta 
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta 
  • 2015 Ford Fiesta 
  • 2016 Ford Fiesta 

Ford Fiesta Gearbox & Transmission Problems

Ford Fiesta 2011: Broken Transmission

One of the most significant and distressing issues that Ford Fiesta owners have faced is a broken transmission in the 2011 model. A broken transmission can leave you stranded on the side of the road and cause severe inconvenience. The signs of a broken transmission may include strange noises, gear slipping, and difficulty shifting gears.

How to Address a Broken Transmission?

If you suspect that your Ford Fiesta 2011 has a broken transmission, it’s essential to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Safety First: If you notice any transmission issues while driving, pull over to a safe location away from traffic.
  2. Contact Ford Service: Reach out to your nearest Ford service center and explain the problem you’re facing.
  3. Towing Service: If your vehicle is not driveable, request a towing service to transport your Fiesta to the service center.
  4. Diagnosis and Repair: Let the experts at Ford service diagnose the issue and recommend necessary repairs or replacements.

Remember that a broken transmission might be covered under warranty, depending on the circumstances. Let’s explore Ford’s warranty coverage for transmission malfunctions in the next section.

Ford Fiesta 2011: Is a Transmission Malfunction Covered by Ford?

Warranty coverage is crucial for vehicle owners, especially when facing significant issues like transmission malfunctions. If you own a Ford Fiesta 2011, you may wonder if such problems are covered under Ford’s warranty.

Ford’s Warranty Coverage for Transmission Malfunctions

Ford typically offers a powertrain warranty that covers major components like the engine and transmission. The duration of the warranty may vary based on your vehicle’s mileage and age. For example, a new Ford Fiesta might have a powertrain warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles.

Is a Broken Transmission Covered?

In most cases, if your Ford Fiesta’s transmission malfunction occurs within the warranty period and isn’t the result of user neglect or abuse, it should be covered. However, warranty terms can be complex, and it’s best to check with your local Ford dealership to confirm the coverage.

My Ford Fiesta’s Transmission is Making a Bad Sound

Unusual sounds coming from your transmission can be concerning and indicate potential issues. Identifying the type of sound and its possible causes can help you understand the severity of the problem.

Types of Bad Transmission Sounds

  1. Whining Noise: A high-pitched whining noise could indicate low transmission fluid or worn-out transmission bearings.
  2. Grinding Noise: Grinding or growling sounds might suggest worn-out synchronizers or clutch issues.
  3. Clunking Noise: A clunking noise during gear shifts might be due to worn-out U-joints or driveline components.
  4. Humming Noise: A humming sound might be a sign of damaged planetary gears or a worn-out transmission pump.

Addressing Bad Transmission Sounds

Identifying the specific sound is the first step in addressing the issue. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Check Fluid Levels: Ensure that the transmission fluid levels are within the recommended range.
  2. Consult a Professional: If the sound persists, consult a qualified mechanic or visit a Ford service center for a thorough diagnosis.

Remember, addressing transmission problems early can prevent further damage and potentially save you from expensive repairs.

Ford Fiesta 2012: How to Get Ford to Buy It Back?

If you own a Ford Fiesta 2012 with recurring and severe transmission issues, you might consider exploring options for Ford to buy back the vehicle.

Steps to Initiate a Buyback Request

  1. Document the Issues: Keep detailed records of all transmission-related problems, repairs, and interactions with service centers.
  2. Check Lemon Laws: Research the lemon laws in your state or country to understand your rights as a consumer.
  3. Contact Ford: Reach out to Ford’s customer service and explain the ongoing transmission issues with your Fiesta.
  4. Escalate if Necessary: If your initial request is not addressed, escalate the matter to higher levels within Ford or seek legal advice.

Keep in mind that a buyback request is a complex process, and you might need to provide substantial evidence to support your claim.

Ford Fiesta 2012: What is Oil Sweat from the Gearbox?

Oil sweat, also known as transmission fluid seepage, is a common issue reported by some Ford Fiesta 2012 owners.

What Causes Oil Sweat?

Oil sweat occurs when transmission fluid seeps out of the gearbox through various points, leading to noticeable dampness or oil stains.

Is Oil Sweat Normal?

While minor oil sweat might not be uncommon, excessive leakage could be a sign of an underlying problem. Addressing oil sweat promptly can prevent transmission damage.

Addressing Oil Sweat

If you notice oil sweat around your Ford Fiesta 2012 gearbox, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect Fluid Levels: Check the transmission fluid levels to ensure they are adequate.
  2. Examine Seals and Gaskets: Have a qualified mechanic inspect the seals and gaskets for signs of damage.
  3. Replace Faulty Components: If any components are found to be faulty, have them replaced.

Remember to address oil sweat as soon as possible to avoid more severe transmission issues.

Ford Fiesta 2013: Gearbox Shuddering

Gearbox shuddering, also known as transmission shudder, is an unsettling sensation that some Ford Fiesta 2013 owners have experienced during gear shifts.

What Causes Gearbox Shuddering?

Gearbox shuddering can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Worn Clutch: A worn clutch can lead to uneven engagement during gear shifts.
  • Contaminated Fluid: Contaminated or degraded transmission fluid can cause shudder.
  • Transmission Slipping: Slipping gears may cause the transmission to shudder during acceleration.

Addressing Gearbox Shuddering

To address gearbox shuddering in your Ford Fiesta 2013, consider the following steps:

  1. Transmission Fluid Service: Have the transmission fluid inspected and replaced if necessary.
  2. Clutch Replacement: If the clutch is worn, consider getting it replaced by a qualified mechanic.
  3. Transmission Diagnosis: If the issue persists, consult a professional for a thorough transmission diagnosis.

Ford Fiesta 2011: Clutch Replacement After Only 6 Months

Clutch replacement after a short period of usage can be frustrating and raises concerns about the vehicle’s durability.

Possible Causes of Premature Clutch Wear

Several factors can contribute to premature clutch wear, such as:

  • Driving Habits: Aggressive driving, such as riding the clutch, can accelerate wear.
  • Low-Quality Parts: The use of low-quality or aftermarket clutch components can lead to faster wear.
  • Manufacturing Defect: In rare cases, a manufacturing defect might cause premature clutch failure.

Seeking Resolution

If you’ve experienced clutch replacement after only six months of use in your Ford Fiesta 2011, consider these steps:

  1. Contact Ford Customer Service: Reach out to Ford’s customer service to report the issue and inquire about possible resolutions.
  2. Service Center Inspection: Have the clutch inspected by a Ford service center to determine the cause of the premature wear.
  3. Warranty Coverage: If your Fiesta is still under warranty, explore the possibility of having the clutch replaced under warranty.

Remember, addressing transmission noises early can help prevent further damage and more expensive repairs.

Ford Fiesta Problems by Year Model

2017 Ford Fiesta
The car jerks and shutters when pressing on the gas. The car loses power and will not go over 40-50 miles [per hour], which is very dangerous when driving on the interstate. The car is not changing gear properly.

2017 Ford Fiesta
On occasion while backing up steep at home driveway (approx. 15-20 degrees), the transmission slips out of gear and rolls forward. [I] step on brake immediately and [it] instantly shifts back into reverse. [This] has happened 3-5 times since vehicle was new.

2018 Ford Fiesta
Vehicle [was] driving on interstate when a vibration was felt through the steering wheel, then the vehicle started lose power. Gear shift still in drive, engine still running and [it] coasted to a stop on side of highway. Vehicle was rear ended. [I] found out that the left drive axle had become disconnected at the transmission end. When this happens, the [SUV] has no way to maintain a safe speed.

2018 Ford Fiesta
While driving, the automatic transmission shutters when going into second gear and stalls before accelerating. Sometimes, the car won’t start and it’s not related to the battery or the starter. It also had a purge valve replacement three months after purchase. A few months later, I had to replace it again. This time it wasn’t under warranty. I purchased this car brand new in 2018 and it had all these issues in 2018, and October of 2019 is when the transmission began to shutter.

2019 Ford Fiesta
My 2019 Ford Fiesta automatic [transmission] does not shift gears properly, my car would not reverse and therefore caused a small fender bender. It has no speed and runs rough.

2019 Ford Fiesta
The vehicle has a problem with the PowerShift automatic transmission. It’s very sluggish when shifting. When you tap the accelerator with your foot after being at a stop sign, the car jolts like previous year and models of this car.

Revving up the excitement, I’ve recently taken the wheel of a sleek 2011 Ford Fiesta! Now, let me tell you, this ride is quite the adventure, but there’s one tiny twist that keeps adding a dash of thrill to my journeys. Picture this: as I hit the road, every now and then, there’s a playful jerking and lunging motion when the transmission decides to downshift. It’s like the car is telling me, “Hang on tight, we’re about to go turbo!”

But here’s the thing – and believe me, this got my heart racing even more – on two occasions, I found myself flirting with danger as I almost got caught up in an accident because of this quirky downshifting dance. It’s as if the Fiesta has a secret mischievous side that loves living on the edge!

John, Fiesta Owner

Q: How often should I replace the cabin filter in my Ford Fiesta?

A: It is recommended to replace the cabin filter in your Ford Fiesta every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. Regular replacement ensures clean air circulation inside the vehicle.

Q: Are there any recalls related to airbag issues in the Ford Fiesta?

A: Yes, there have been some recalls related to airbag issues in certain Ford Fiesta models. If you suspect any problems with your airbag system, check the Ford website or contact your nearest dealership to see if your vehicle is affected.

Q: Can I continue driving my Ford Fiesta if I experience a steering problem?

A: It is not advisable to drive your Ford Fiesta if you experience any steering-related issues. The steering system is crucial for safe handling, and driving with a faulty steering system can lead to accidents. Have it inspected and repaired immediately.

Q: How can I prevent fuel pipe problems in my Ford Fiesta?

A: Regularly inspect your Ford Fiesta’s fuel system for any signs of corrosion or leaks. Additionally, avoid driving through flooded areas and ensure that you use high-quality fuel to minimize the risk of fuel pipe problems.

Q: What should I do if my Ford Fiesta’s water pump fails?

A: If your Ford Fiesta’s water pump fails, it is essential to pull over safely and turn off the engine immediately. Continuing to drive with an overheated engine can cause severe damage. Have your vehicle towed to a trusted mechanic for repairs.

Q: How can I maintain the suspension system in my Ford Fiesta?

A: To maintain the suspension system, have it inspected regularly by a qualified mechanic. Replace worn-out shocks or struts promptly and avoid driving over potholes or rough terrain whenever possible.

In conclusion, the Ford Fiesta is a reliable and efficient compact car that brings joy to drivers around the world.

However, being aware of the common problems that can arise with the Fiesta is crucial for responsible car ownership.

By addressing these issues promptly and following regular maintenance schedules, you can ensure that your Ford Fiesta provides you with many miles of enjoyable driving.

Remember, your safety and the safety of others on the road should always be a top priority.


  • Robert Wilson

    Introducing Robert Wilson, your go-to source for automotive technical solutions. With 5 years of industry experience and a mechanical engineering background, Robert's expertise was honed at the heart of Ford Motors in Michigan back in 2010. Join him on this blog as he shares his knowledge and practical fixes to keep your vehicles running at their best.

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