13th Mar 2015, 01:09


It’s March 12, 2015 and the Focus has 51,237 miles.

Since my last update, the Focus received its seventh (7th) set of windshield wipers. Seven sounds like a lot, but my dealer runs a free wiper special on Wednesdays, so I keep getting the same ones from Motorcraft. I’m really trying hard to find things that have gone wrong with the Focus, but nothing has arisen outside of general maintenance.

The dealership looked at the tires about 600 miles ago and said that the front tires were at 4/32" and the back tires at 3/32". I'll likely have new rubber on the Focus for my next update in June. The Focus is now on its second set of tires; the factory ones made it to 22850 miles, and the replacement Hankooks (rated for 40000) made it just over 28000 with regular rotations every 5000 miles. I'm not thrilled with the life of the tires, but I'd consider them again because they absorb bumps well and make for a quiet ride.

50,000 miles crossed and my mechanic told me it was time for new brakes. I had the front pads and rotors replaced, and the back brakes adjusted, and the pulsating that I've had ever since I got the Focus is now almost gone. Looking through the review and previous comments, it looks like I never mentioned this. The brake job ran me $328.11.

The driver’s seat is starting to show wear, but there are no tears and it doesn’t appear that the fabric of that particular seat, any other fabric, or any of the plastic pieces have faded. Other than the aforementioned steering wheel wear and small crack in the dashboard, I'm generally happy with the way the interior has held up.

As everyone knows, Pittsburgh had record-breaking low temperatures this winter and the Focus never failed to start, all the way down to wind chills in the negative twenties. There were plenty of days I used the factory remote start, and I told myself, "If the Focus doesn't turn over today, I won't go to school." Not once did the Focus chug - it started every time.

Gas mileage generally dropped to 23-23.5 MPG on a 79-21 city-highway commute this winter, which was fully expected. My commute changed in January 2015 when I joined the Civil Air Patrol; my commute now includes a weekly 40-mile round trip, which of itself is a 41-59 city-highway commute. I'm already seeing my gas mileage figures back up in the 27-28 MPG range again, with the new commute.

The rust spots I mentioned in September 2014 have not seem to gotten any bigger (at least not to the naked eye). I keep the paint as clean as possible and I have not noticed any rust anywhere else, including surface rust.

Thank you for following my thread - my next update, excepting any extraneous events, will be commemorating the four-year anniversary of me taking delivery of the Focus - so stay tuned!

6th Jun 2015, 16:58


We made it - today marks the fourth anniversary of me taking delivery of my Focus. I've been driving more recently, and the current mileage of the Focus is 55435.

I took the Focus on yet another Student Government Conference, but this one was much shorter than the one on November 2014 (this one was 390 miles, round trip). My friend who rode with me drives an '04 Neon with 95000 miles, and she commented that the Focus was more spacious than it looked, the sculpture of the seat was leagues better than her Neon, and the Focus rode much smoother. She also said that she wouldn't trust her Neon to go the distance we drove the Focus.

The tire wear has not changed since my last update, and the rust I mentioned earlier is not spreading.

On the inside of the front doors, the plastic that houses the window switch is beginning to fade to more of a deep gray than the armrest next to it. This is evident even after a good cleaning, but I don't think anyone has noticed except for me. The dashboard appears to be fading at the same rate as the housings for the window controls. If I really want to get picky, the symbols on the headlight switch have almost worn away entirely (only the part you grab with your fingers), and the cruise control buttons look a bit chewed up from chipped paint.

I don't track the fuel mileage in a spreadsheet the way I should have, but the last 5 tanks have all ranged in between 28.4 and 30.1 MPG, with mostly city driving and warmer PA temperatures. My commute has lost some consistency since I'm on summer break from school; since my last update, the miles I have driven each week has ranged from 194 miles to 526 miles. I do keep a spreadsheet of the mileage, and I record the mileage at the end of the day every Thursday.

The first 55000 miles of my Focus's life have been trouble-free. At current rates, I figure that when I graduate from school (May 2016), I'll have approximately 66300 miles on the Focus. I figured after that, I will have a job, and for the time being, I'll end up staying near the Pittsburgh area. I'm looking at living in suburbs near the city (between 20 and 30 miles away, on average). I will probably end up somewhere in the middle of that range, but for my numbers, I used a 30-mile one-way commute, five days a week (I figured this would also compensate for leisure, family, and volunteer activities). Per my calculation right now, and holding constant any extraneous variables, I'm looking to cross 100000 miles in June 2018. I figured I'll keep the Focus at least four years into the new job (May 2020), and the Focus will then have a mileage of about 129000.

At the beginning of my ownership, I told myself that I wanted to keep the Focus running for 10 years (putting us at June 2021) or 200,000 miles. At the 10-year mark, based on my calculation right now, I will be at approximately 146000, and I will hit 200000 miles in November 2024. I'm curious to see how accurate these numbers will be later on. Up until now, using my college commute, I've averaged 12850 miles per year.

I was taught not to live beyond your means, and I know that parts will start wearing out on the Focus. But as long as it is economical to do so, I will continue to drive the Focus. Regardless, I have confidence that the Focus will continue to be a faithful daily driver. I'm looking forward to many more miles! See you in September!

6th Sep 2015, 05:01


Today is September 6, 2015, which means I've owned my Focus now for four years and three months. The mileage is now 60318, meaning I drove 4883 miles this quarter, and 16517 miles this year. With more nighttime classes this semester and 23 credits of coursework, my volunteering time will be dropping and I don't think I'll accumulate miles nearly as quickly this upcoming quarter due to missing Boy Scout meetings and Civil Air Patrol functions. These last three months have only seen routine maintenance.

My tanks have been averaging between 29 and 31 MPG on the whole this quarter, with the best one being 33.15 MPG. I've found out by trial-and-error that the Focus seems to use BP gas quite a bit more frugally (between 1.5-3 MPG more than Sheetz, Getgo, Sunoco, or Shell gas).

At 56231 miles, I finally replaced the old Hankook tires with Definity HP 800 from Pep Boys. They're quieter than the Hankooks ever were, the grip is better, and the ride is harsher (I personally prefer a harsher ride. I hate that feeling that you're riding on a cloud). With the alignment (and a deal where I bought three tires and got one for free), the tires cost $375.48. I drove on the PA Turnpike in varying conditions only to find that the Focus had not been aligned properly (pulling severely to the left), so at 56470 miles, I had the Focus re-aligned with no problems since.

Also noteworthy, somewhere around 56800 miles, the brakes started squealing loudly (I didn't write down the exact mileage when I first heard the noise). At first, they only seemed to do this when cold (i.e. the first few stops of the day) or when I'm making a hard stop (like stopping for a deer), but now the noise is more persistent and more loud. The brakes do seem looser than before, but I will have them checked at my 60,000 service in a few days and then report back (even though they were all changed about 10,000 miles ago).

My grandparents also own a 2010 Focus SE, and their example has slightly less miles on it than mine does. They visited me in early August, and their car (at the time) had approximately 55000 on it; mine had 58140. They noted that mine ran smoother and quieter, and mine got better gas mileage. They live in Florida, so even though their Focus doesn't see the winter like mine does, I guess them driving in the city with the air conditioning on all the time really flattens their fuel economy (they get about 24 in the summer and I get about 29). My grandfather, who is 70 years old, stands tall at 6'3" and weighs 220 pounds, fit comfortably in the back seat (although, as you could imagine, entry-and-exit was painful due to his height).

At 59633 miles, I replaced the battery when the Focus wouldn't start at the mall. It cost $139.04 and 90 minutes labor (the battery is under warranty for 96 months). Oddly enough, I had no warning the battery would die as the Focus still turned over just as quickly as it did when it was younger and all the accessories still worked flawlessly. I was planning on getting a new battery before winter anyway, so I'm okay with it.

As of this writing, I have not yet had the 60000-mile service done, but I should be having it completed in the next week or so. I am predicting at my 60000 service that they will tell me some suspension components will need to be replaced; the Focus is riding a bit rougher than it used to, and I have a few rattles coming from the trunk area, particularly when I go over bumps or potholes (and I ride with the trunk empty, except for 3-4 college textbooks and a spare sweater). I've done basic troubleshooting like making sure the trunk latch and spare tire are secure, so I'd guess now rear suspension. My father has had a few Tauruses (2001 and 2005) and some suspension parts were at the end of their life between 60000 and 65000 on both models. I guess it's a Ford thing?

Something else worth mentioning is that the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) is poor. I never really noticed it until I was driving one day and I had two CD cases on my shotgun seat. At idle, you can hear the CD cases rattling against each other. It also happens if you have small objects (like coins, pens, or a tie tack) in the cup holders and in what I call the "pit;" that little tray under the buttons for the trip computer. The NVH doesn't really bother me, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

One can conclude that this quarter was a little more eventful for regular maintenance. When I have the 60000 service completed, I will do an intermediate quarterly report to provide an update on mileage, an insight on Ford's most in-depth servicing, and possibly the suspension components.