Mk3 Focus - Auto Transmission Fault Warning light and whole gear system malfunction following recharging battery


Asked by Dellywelly Feb 04, 2019 at 07:21 PM about the 2013 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Mk 3 2013 Auto Focus. Had to recharge flat battery from none use. Car
started up fine, but Auto Transmission Fault warning light on constantly. Car
drives, but doesn't lock into gears normally. Can reach 3rd with difficulty, but
no lower. Then sometimes it'll slip out of gear, rev highly with no torque and
eventually lock into gear again.
I was told by local Ford garage, an extended warranty was given by Ford,
from 3 - 5 yrs. I've only had the car 10 months, and it's now just out of
warranty. I'm awaiting the diagnostic report, but have been advised may be
the "Clutch Pack" or "Control Unit" - either likely to run to approx £1,000.
I had a Mk2 Focus Auto 2005 prior to this, that had an intermittent fault with
transmission also. But was traced by my own mechanics laptop diagnostics
(specialises in Aston Martins!!) to a speedo fault !!! Was sorted, never to
happen again. Was tempted to take back to him, but with it being a younger
car, felt it more likely to be manufacturers fault, hopefully covered by a recall.
But not so far.
All this from recharging a battery?? Knocked all the automatic Transmission
haywire?? !! How fffflippin ridiculous is that?
Pleeease does Anyone have any ideas or light to shed on this poor maidens
Doubt I'll be having another Ford again, except maybe another Mk1 - A lot
more "Simples" to maintain.
Many Thanks for reading, Delly

6 Answers


To add insult to injury, I've since found out extended Transmission Control Unit warranty extension, was extended from 3 to only 5 years in the UK, but 10 YEARS in the USA!! WHAT?!!! WHY?!!!! That's so unfair/unjust. "Peed off" is being polite! Anyone any suggestions as to what to do?? Answers much appreciated Dellywelly

2 people found this helpful.

Hi, Did you figure out what was the problem/ fix for your problem? I have a 2012 Ford Focus Auto, and even I tried to recharge the battery after not using it for a week or so in the current lockdown time. And I am consistently seeing that Transmission Malfunction message on the dashboard. None of the local garages around me ready to fix - they say I need to contact an Automatic car specialist garage. Also I don't know how to get my car from my house to a garage; is it ok to even drive it? Please share any information you can. - Anitha

1 people found this helpful.

Hi Anitha I hadn't used my car for about 6 mnths - hence flat battery and need for recharge. Yours shouldn't need recharging after just a couple of weeks of no use. Anyway - Yes I drove it, "carefully" with the difficulties of driving described, to my local Ford garage (approx 2 miles away). Was the Transmission Control Unit. The Ford Mechanics recommended fitting a new one. When I nearly fell over ( ;-( ) at the £1,000 expense, they said they "could" try "re-booting/readjusting" it, so to speak. Which they did, and it worked (yippee!) - so cost £220 instead of £1,000 rip off. Been fine since. Anitha - A "specialist" Auto garage may be cheaper than Ford?? It's a common fault so it's likely to be the same. Otherwise try your local Ford, if you have one. But be wary of telling you needs a NEW Transmission Control Unit rip off, as oppo cheaper reboot. Good Luck with flower. Delly.

1 people found this helpful.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. A couple of days back, I had my car delivered to a garage specialising in Ford Automatics. He claimed that the diagnostic did not show up anything and that the clutch and something else needed replacements...totalling up to £1500 + VAT. I found this unsettling and wanted a second opinion, and by then saw your response here. Then took the decision of getting the car delivered back without any fix. Took it to another local garage who was willing to look at the car. And after running the diagnostics said most error codes had turned up due to low voltage from the dead battery. He did a complete reset and the car is running fine. He did mention that the battery was weak and that's why it went down just after a week and suggested replacing the battery, which we are doing so. Will be getting my car later today or tomorrow and hopefully, it will run as before. Thanks again for sharing your experience in detail; it really helped me to hold onto my gut feeling and get a second option done.

1 people found this helpful.

Hi again Anitha So glad you got another opinion. All these electronics in cars these days, make people even easier prey than before for less scrupulous mechanics. Women especially! I meant to ask you if your battery was still the original Ford one, now 8 yrs old. And that if so, sounded like it may need replacing. Had to have mine (7yrs old) replaced a few months after "said" incident, as wasn't holding charge. That factor wasn't picked up by the Ford garage diagnostics. Don't know if your mechanic said the same, that it may take a while of driving for your Transmission and computer to settle down after its reset. It has to "relearn" apparently. Hope all's okay with yours now, and not too high a bill. Despite all above, I'm pleased with Mk 3, but the Mk 2 was a much smoother drive and far more comfortable seats..

1 people found this helpful.

Hi Dellywelly, though it was not specifically told to me, I am guessing that my battery was an original Ford one. The garage guy said that "batteries usually run for about 10 years, but 8 years in the case of an automatic..and your car is that old now."... he said I could continue using the previous battery for some more time, but the risk of this low voltage and the Transmission error could happen again.. didn't want to risk it so went ahead for a new one... Exide cost us about £95. And no, he didn't tell me anything about the transmission and computer having to settle down...and the car seems ok for now, though I haven't been driving around much at all in these times now....just once a week... Hope all is well with your car now!

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