Common Problems with the Ford Fiesta

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 17 days ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • carproblems
  • Mazda
A white Ford Fiesta from 2018 driving on a wet road.

WhoCanFixMyCar covers the most common Ford Fiesta problems, discussing overall reliability and repair costs.

Small, colourful and packed with the latest kit, the Ford Fiesta - a "cracking car", according to Jeremy Clarkson - is one of the most popular models on UK roads. Its iconic status isn’t just because it’s immense fun to drive - though that’s certainly a contributing factor - but also because it’s practical and comfortable. 

We could keep throwing flattering adjectives at the sporty-looking Fiesta all day, but they mean nothing without two crucial pieces of information: how reliable is it, and what common problems might you encounter if you own one? Read on to find out.

Ford Fiesta common problems include:

What’s wrong with the Ford Fiesta?

Ford Fiesta owners frequently research the following issues.

Ford Fiesta EcoBoost problems

The most common issue with Ford’s EcoBoost engine is overheating caused by the cooling system. However, this primarily affected early Fiesta models, whose nylon coolant pipes were prone to failing at high temperatures. Ford issued a recall and repaired most of the affected models.

Ford Fiesta gear selector problems

The gear selector actuator of Ford’s Durashift gearbox is notorious for developing problems when internal components fail, causing skipping gears, no gear selection, no gear display and, in some cases, failure to start.

The actuator needs replacing to fix these symptoms. On average, Ford Fiesta gearbox repairs cost £338.75 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

Ford Fiesta door lock problems

Central locking systems can develop various problems, from seized locks to faulty wiring. One of the most common symptoms is a car alarm that keeps going off, but your key fob may also stop working. 

This guide discusses how to identify the causes of different car locking problems and which repairs they require.

Central locking system repairs cost £105.68 on average for a Ford Fiesta, according to WhoCanFixMyCar’s data.

Ford Fiesta starter motor problems

When your Fiesta fails to start, two of the most likely culprits are the battery and the starter motor. If the latter is to blame, you will likely experience the following symptoms:

  • The engine won’t turn over

  • Smoke from under the bonnet

  • A clicking noise when you turn the key

Some starter motor problems can be repaired, while others require a replacement. The average price of a starter motor replacement for a Ford Fiesta is £203.20, according to WhoCanFixMyCar’s data.

Ford Fiesta 2002-2008 faults

Drivers have encountered the following problems with Fiestas manufactured between 2002 and 2008.

A red Ford Fiesta from 2008 driving down a road.

1. Broken rear seat handles

The Fiesta’s interior isn’t much to look at, but for the most part, it’s sturdy and well-made. There is, however, one exception: the handles that give you access to the rear seats in the three-door version are known to break.

What repair is needed for broken rear seat handles, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

The broken handles need repairing; you can expect to pay around £70. Given the age of this generation of Fiesta, it might not be easy to source matching handles for a replacement.

2. Knocking suspension

It is common for the suspension to make knocking sounds caused by the roll bar ball joint links. These play a crucial role in keeping the car steady around fast corners and over uneven road surfaces.

Find out other reasons why cars make knocking noises.

What repair is needed for knocking suspension, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Numerous suspension components could make a knocking sound when they become loose or worn, but in the case of the Fiesta, it’s the roll-bar ball joint links that are usually to blame. As soon as they become noisy, you should replace them.

The average price of suspension repairs for a Ford Fiesta is £134, according to WhoCanFixMyCar’s data.

3. Sticky solenoid

Solenoids convert electric energy into mechanical motion. The Fiesta has a starter solenoid - also called a starter relay - between the ignition switch and engine and has one in the rear hatch. Unfortunately, the solenoid at the rear of the car sometimes sticks.

What repair is needed for a sticky solenoid, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

If your solenoid starts to stick, you’ll have to replace it. You can get hold of a new one for around £20 and either fit it yourself or find a mechanic to do it for you.

4. Corroded exhaust pipes

The pipes running beneath the inlet manifold tend to perish faster than expected. When this happens, you will probably notice hissing sounds and rough idling.

What repair is needed for corroded pipes, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

When your exhaust pipes are corroded, the only thing you can do is replace them. Otherwise, the damage will worsen with time, leading to a more expensive repair.

On average, it costs £116.04 for a Ford Fiesta exhaust repair based on WhoCanFixMyCar’s data. However, this price covers a range of exhaust problems; contact a garage directly for a quote about your car’s pipes.

Ford Fiesta 2002-2008 recalls

Recall dateReason
12-Aug-02Airbag warning light may fail to illuminate
07-Mar-03Weld seam on rear brake axle not to specification
11-April-05Leaking fuel return pipe
06-Aug-07Potential loss of steering control
28-Nov-07Power steering may be lost

Ford Fiesta 2009-2017 faults

The following issues are common in Ford Fiestas from this era.

ford fiesta 2009

1. Faulty clutch

Nobody wants to be told their clutch needs replacing. It’s a time-consuming and - most importantly - expensive job. If you take a Fiesta for a test drive, pay attention to any warning signs that the clutch might be going. If you notice it slipping, it’s best to steer clear.

What repair is needed for a faulty clutch, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Sometimes, repairing a faulty clutch is possible rather than replacing it, but it’s usually a lengthy and complex process. The best thing to do is consult a clutch expert who can advise you on the best course of action. 

The average price of a Ford Fiesta clutch repair when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £498.20; the average cost of a replacement is £487.09, which shows that booking a repair isn’t necessarily the cheapest option.

2. Turbo failure

Some drivers have reported problems with the turbo in their Ford Fiesta, though not all models are fitted with one. Turbo failure can be caused by excessive carbon build-up in the engine or an overboost problem, which makes the bearings overheat and various components become worn or loose.

What repair is needed for turbo failure, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Turbo cleaning may solve the problem if the failure is caused by carbon deposits. Otherwise, you’ll need to book a turbo repair or replacement, which is likely expensive.

The average price of a Ford Fiesta turbo replacement booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £898.38.

3. Bad fuel injectors

Ford Fiesta fuel injectors are prone to getting clogged with dirt and carbon deposits, leading to inefficient combustion. When this happens, you might notice increased fuel consumption and rough idling, and the check engine warning light may appear on your dashboard.

What repair is needed for bad fuel injectors, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Cleaning your fuel injectors will likely solve the problem. Knowing how to locate, remove and clean them correctly isn’t straightforward, so unless you’ve got decent mechanical know-how, we’d recommend contacting a mechanic to do it for you. 

On average, Ford Fiesta injection system repairs cost £165.43 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

4. Water leaks

Numerous drivers have reported water leaks in the front of the vehicle, dampening the footwells. Over time, this moisture can lead to mould if it doesn’t dry out, creating foul smells and an unpleasant driving environment.

What repair is needed for water leaks, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Water leaks are usually caused by faulty door and window seals. It’s reasonably easy to fix this problem yourself using weatherproof sealing strips. You can get these for between £5-10.

This guide provides more information about identifying different types of leaks. If you’re still unsure whether the leaking fluid is water, seeking an expert opinion will give you peace of mind. Ford Fiesta leak repairs cost £83.83 on average when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

5. Suspension problems

Some Fiestas manufactured in 2011 suffer from suspension issues relating to the bolts used at the rear, which can snap off. However, this problem is specific to certain models and was identified in a recall.

What repair is needed for suspension problems, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Since this issue was part of a recall, Ford should have already repaired the affected models for free. Still, before buying a 2011 Fiesta, it’s worth double-checking whether the vehicle was affected and, if so, that the correct repair was carried out.

The average price of a Ford Fiesta suspension repair is £146.13 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

Ford Fiesta 2009-2017 recalls

Recall dateReason
12-Dec-11Fumes may enter the passenger compartment
28-Feb-12Rear suspension bolts may fail
05-Nov-14Possible risk of fire
16-Jan-15Rear seat belt buckle latch may fail
04-Mar-15Relay may overheat and catch fire
01-Sept-16Fire may occur
14-Oct-16Rear axle may detach
27-Oct-16Failure of braking system vacuum assistance

Ford Fiesta 2018-2023 faults

The following problems have been identified by 2018-23 Fiesta drivers.

Ford Fiesta 2021

1. Blocked DPF

A blocked diesel particulate filter can happen in any diesel car if it is driven on many short journeys, and it is a common occurrence in Fiestas. When you drive a short distance, the engine doesn’t get hot enough to regenerate (which means burning excess soot), causing it to build up and eventually block the filter.

You can avoid this by regularly taking your car on a long journey, ideally on a motorway.

What repair is needed for a blocked DPF, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

The solution in this case is to book a diesel particulate filter clean - the average price for a Ford Fiesta is £153.02, according to WhoCanFixMyCar’s data.

2. Contaminated engine oil

This problem is also related to the DPF. When the car is switched off mid-way through regeneration, it can cause the engine oil to become contaminated with fuel, leading the fluid level to rise over time, which damages the engine.

What repair is needed for contaminated engine oil, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

If the DPF is blocked due to incomplete regeneration, you must get it cleaned. Then, the cause of the leaking fuel needs to be repaired, and the engine oil needs to be replaced - the system should be completely flushed.

As mentioned above, you can expect to pay £153.02 on average for a Ford Fiesta DPF clean. Leak repairs cost £83.83 on average, according to WhoCanFixMyCar’s data, and an oil change will set you back £91.50.

3. Worn clutch

Fiesta clutches can wear down quickly; when this happens, you may notice juddering when you change gear. This guide discusses other clutch failure symptoms to look out for.

While clutches naturally wear out over time, there are things you can do to slow down this process, such as not riding the clutch.

What repair is needed for a worn clutch, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

Once you notice your clutch slipping, juddering, or otherwise behaving unusually, it’s time for a replacement. The average price for a Ford Fiesta clutch replacement booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £487.23.

4. Faulty seatbelt latches

Ford recalled some models manufactured in 2019 due to an issue with the rear seatbelt latches, which may not have been tightened correctly, presenting a potential safety hazard.

What repair is needed for faulty seatbelt latches, and how much does it cost for a Ford Fiesta?

This problem should have been fixed for free by Ford since it was part of a recall. If you’re considering buying a second-hand Fiesta from 2019, double-check whether it was affected and that the necessary repair was done.

Ford Fiesta 2018-2023 recalls

Recall dateReason
19-Dec-19Rear seat latches and centre seat belt retractor bolts may not be tightened to specification
08-Jan-20Out of specification steering column
14-April-21Seatbelts may have a defective low G locking mechanism
27-Oct-21Wiring harness for the crankshaft position sensor may not be secured
08-April-22Right-hand engine oil separator may have been damaged prior to assembly
28-June-23Front suspension lower ball joint bolt/nut may not be torqued correctly

Having trouble with your Ford Fiesta? Whatever your car needs, WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find the right garage at the right price.

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