Diagnosis Focus – 3 Main Areas And How To Save


I’ve had this focus now for 5.25 years, which is the longest I’ve had any one car. Like most of us who have had our motors for a while, you learn to ignore some of the foibles and make the car work for you. Believe me, the focus has more than a few. There are one or two more common annoyances that are worth mentioning in greater detail. When I first bought the car back in 2015, I didn’t take it for a fast test drive, which ended up being a bit of an error. Time to have more of a focus on diagnosis. As I mention in my used car buyers guide, there are certain issues that only really make themselves know when speeds are higher. One of those is the issue of wheel balance.

(Before we get into the details, don’t forget our 10% Referral Refund Scheme, for anyone who sends a customer to Motorkwirks Finder and Consultancy Services. Could you be the next to benefit?)

Wheel Balancing is a process whereby weights are added to particular parts of the wheel rim so that it will rotate evenly and consistently. It’s not expensive and doing this will prevent untimely wear of other components, like brakes, suspension and tyres. If there is an issue with the wheel balance, you may not notice until you’re out of town. Then if your front wheels are out of balance, you will feel the steering wheel shake. If it’s the back wheels, you might feel your seat vibrate unusually. Both are very noticeable and for me quite irritating on long journeys. Before we pay a garage money, it may be worth checking that our tyre pressures match. I’ve fallen foul of this before, and matching pressures can go a long way to mending a vibration problem.

Tiny silver balance weights to allow for smoother, cheaper driving

The vibration may be a combination of factors, and not an exact science, but since wheel balancing is one of the simplest to mend, we can start there. No point delving into complex suspension or brake disc fixes if the solution is much simpler than that. Always start with the simple items first. The exception of course being if we know categorically what the problem is. A warped brake disc or suspension issues should be fixed immediately if identified.

Wheel balancing left untreated can cause a lot of damage. And it will cause a lot of annoyance. I once bought a BMW in Selby, and after completing the purchase, started the long journey back to London. Only then, I discovered it had unbalanced wheels. Not the happiest 200 miles I’ve ever driven.

The Misfire is my second main problem. Like most everyday cars. mine has four cylinders, which are meant to fire at even intervals. If one of them doesn’t fire, we’ll experience rough running, slower progress and possible engine damage. A confession now. The focus that I own (the one all over this website) is not the first mk1 focus I bought. It’s actually the third one. The version I had before this hadn’t been very well maintained and blew one of its spark plugs while I was sat calmly in traffic.

The result? One of the cylinders stopped functioning and the car started to sound like a lawn mower. Or should that be, even more like a lawnmower. Either way, I made all the mistakes that I mention on here. I went to the main dealer, they tried to get me to remortgage the house etc etc. I didn’t have the money to fix it there, so the car went. If only I had seen a website like this, that car could have been saved. Anyhow, we live, learn and educate from our mistakes.

So if your car develops a similar problem, spend a few quid on some spark plugs in the first instance. Then maybe have a go yourself. Remove, replace, remember not to tighten too much when the new plugs go in. You will save a lot of money, and gain a lot of satisfaction. Saving money doesn’t have to mean being miserable. Maintenance needn’t be expensive.

Light bulbs are my third main problem. These are a common MOT failure. Some cars these days have their engine bays so heavily congested that changing a light bulb is only marginally easier than building a replacement Eiffel tower. Or fathoming our lockdown restrictions. Anyway, on the focus there is space for people with hands to access the headlights and change the bulbs.

Once the headlights are out, bulb changes are easy! Diagnosis becomes easier too!
Once the headlights are out, bulb changes are easy!

Good job that, because this car does get through bulbs, particularly the ones at the base of the rear bumper. Rain spray off the tyres and light bulbs seemingly do not mix very well. I find it easier to remove the headlight assembly altogether, and there are plenty of upgraded bulbs available for us. They may be more expensive, but they make a noticeable difference to driving at night. A good value safety upgrade. Can’t be a bad thing eh? A slightly brighter bulb should last as long as standard. A much brighter bulb may have a shorter lifespan. Personally, I think the extra illumination is worth it. Keep a spare set in the car and don’t worry.

These are just a few of the problems that I encountered while in ownership of this car. All cars have their ‘kwirks’, but these are some that I know a few have experienced across a number of different models. None are overly expensive to fix, and keeping on top of items like this will help keep serious problems away. Saving us more money, gaining us better peace of mind. What problems have you had? Let me know if there’s anything more you’d like me to include. Feel free to join the family and comment below. Thanks for reading!

What are your thoughts?