Ford Motor Company has owned up to the fact that some Ford Focus RS examples are exhibiting much more rapid head gasket deterioration than they should, and is now, at long last, offering a free fix for owners through Customer Satisfaction Program 17B32. The program will run through January 31st, 2019, and applies to all Focus RS examples built between August 3rd, 2015 and July 6th, 2017 – even those with branded and salvage titles – with no limit on mileage.
Under the program, Ford will replace the head gasket on each Ford Focus RS affected, and perform a pressure test to verify that the coolant system is water-tight. Should the engine fail the pressure test, Ford will also replace the cylinder head.
The automaker is even offering to reimburse affected customers for up to four days of vehicle rental (each repair is expected to take less than two days), although somewhat annoyingly, the company won’t reimburse owners for previously completed repairs.
Focus RS owners have complained on various online forums for months now about the car’s apparent penchant for prematurely blowing its head gasket, which can cause coolant consumption, a loss of power, and eventually, overheating, which can ruin vital engine parts like the cylinder head. The cause is still somewhat elusive, although a bombshell report by Bozi Tatarevic, published by Road & Track in December, provided a persuasive argument that the issue could have been cause by a parts mix-up at Ford’s Valencia engine plant in Spain. Some Focus RS engines, it turns out, may have had Mustang EcoBoost head gaskets installed, and the two engines don’t share the same coolant passage design.
Letters started going out to affected Focus RS owners this week.
In its announcement, Ford urged owners to “please have this service action performed as soon as possible,” saying that it “can deny coverage for any vehicle damage that may result from the failure to have this service action performed on a timely basis.”