Ford's Dual-Clutch Transmission Continues To Be A Disaster

Illustration for article titled Ford's Dual-Clutch Transmission Continues To Be A Disaster
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Ford’s dual-clutch transmission, code-named DPS6 and used in its Fiesta and Focus, has been troubled for years. It’s the subject of a potential $4 billion lawsuit. It had Ford secretly telling dealers to fix it. Worse, Ford reportedly knew it was bad for years and failed to make fixes. Ford said today it would be extending warranties on some Fiestas and Focuses because of it, in what has surely been an utterly humiliating episode for the Blue Oval.

Here are the details, per Ford:

Extend clutch warranties for even more customers from five years/60,000 miles to seven years/100,000.

This covers 2014 through 2016 model-year Focus (built from July 4, 2013, to Nov. 5, 2015) and 2014-1015 model-year Fiesta vehicles (built from July 4, 2013, to Oct. 15, 2014).

Ford will reimburse customers in this new group receiving extended warranties who have paid for clutch repairs out of pocket.

The action means warranty coverage for these vehicles is the same that has been in place since July 2014 for earlier Focus and Fiesta models.

Ford took this initiative based on the latest in ongoing analysis of customer-satisfaction and quality data.

Ford will also reach out again to a small percentage of remaining affected customers (~165,000 owners, 16 percent of the original, in the U.S.) and provide them another opportunity to get an important free software update. Eighty-four percent of affected owners have already received the update.

The update provides an enhanced warning if a transmission control module begins to fail. Where necessary, Ford will replace modules for this group of customers free of charge for up to six months even if the 10-year/150,000-mile warranty has expired.


And here’s part of Ford’s statement on the matter, attributed to :

First, we are extending the warranty on clutch and related hardware in certain 2014-2016 model-year vehicles, and will reimburse customers for repairs that now would have been covered. Second, we are providing the small remaining population of owners who have not already done so an additional chance to get an important software update.

While these vehicles always were and remain safe to drive, we regret the inconvenience our customers have experienced.

“Inconvenience” is a euphemism in this context, since, according to the lawsuit, the transmission can cause “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration,” per the Detroit Free Press.

Around 560,000 customers will be affected by the warranty extension, according to Automotive News, and it will also cost Ford some cash, though we won’t know exactly how much until the company reports its third-quarter earnings. Ford previously did a similar warranty extension with 2011-2013 model year cars in 2014.


And while the transmission—branded PowerShift—continues to be a headache, you can still, somewhat amazingly, get it on a 2019 Fiesta today, though Ford claims all issues have been fixed on it now. That is over eight years since some of the first complaints came rolling in. I’m assuming the warranty for that car and others will also be extended in a few years, long after the Fiesta and Focus have been phased out of existence.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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I’ve never driven a DCT that I liked. It’s the worst of both worlds from an automatic and a CVT. I’ve heard good things about Porsche’s PDK, but I’d still spec it out with three pedals.