2009 Ford Focus mnual transmission will not shift into reverse or 1st when cold

Asked by Nov 04, 2015 at 06:22 PM about the 2009 Ford Focus S

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

We have a 2009 Ford Focus (manual transmission) that will not shift into reverse or 1st when the temps are below 50 degrees. Shifting is fine in warmer temps. In cold temps, the car must be warmed 10 - 15 minutes before being able to shift into reverse. Most times, the car must be turned off to shift into reverse. We had the problem in 2013 and took the car to the Ford dealer. The dealer stated that the linkage was set wrong at the factory. They set the linkage and that worked for a couple of winters.  Now, the problem is back with the exact same symptoms. We took the car back to the dealer.  They said the linkage was OK, but they found a small leak in a hydraulic hose. They can't explain why that could be the cause of the shifting problem and my impression is that they do not really think it is the cause of the shifting problem.  We will spend the $500 to get the hose fixed, but we expect continued cold weather shifting problems. I have found at least one instance in an online search where there were defective  synchronizers in the transmission.  The dealer said that if the hose problem correction does not fix the shifting problem, they may have to drop and inspect the transmission. We are reluctant to do that due to the fact that it could cost us $$$$ if the dealer can't find a cause.

6 Answers


When your car is cold then the transmission oil is thick and heavy. If you often times operate the car in cold temps changing the oil to a lighter weight or a multi-viscosity synthetic might help. I would suggest discussing this with your dealer.


Replacing the clutch hydraulic hose should not cost $500. This just does not sound right at all.


Must be a golden hose- anyway you said that adjusting the linkage fixed it for awhile- now with that information, and the dealer suspecting that the FACTORY is responsible, let's take it a step further and blame it on the engineers who couldn't design a manual shift linkage that would work consistently- this sounds weird, but, HEY! it's a Ford- get rid of it-

In regards to the cost of the hose repair, I must admit that I rounded up for simplicity. The actual quoted cost is $471.70. The cost breakdown quoted is as follows: Labor for diagnosis and repair (incl bleeding the lines, etc) = $352.95; part = $48.40 plus tax; Fluid = 436.18

Actually, the dealer is not blaming the most recent problem on the factor or engineers. At this point, they are fixing the most obvious problem (the small leak) before moving to the next and very expensive possibility. Our gamble will be that they find a problem in the transmission that is covered by the power train warranty or they do not find a warrantied problem (or no problem) and we are stuck with a big charge. Getting rid of the car is certainly a consideration. The car is a nice car otherwise. Anybody who lives in a warmer climate want to buy a Ford Focus??? :-)


I have a 2009 ford focus and it is doing this exact same thing. Can you share what the solution was if you have found it yet.

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