Ford Focus RS head gasket problems: owners get free fix for white smoke fault

Published: 24 January 2018

► Possibly due to block distortion
► Affects earlier models
► Owners get free inspection and repair, if needed

 The Ford Focus RS is a monster of a car, but it turns out selected models have one major flaw. According to accounts from several owners, some versions of the Ford Focus RS have a head gasket issue, which causes white smoke to billow out of the car. And now Ford wants to fix it for free.

Earlier versions of the Focus Focus RS engine appear to be affected by block distortion. This means the constant expansion and contraction of the engine begins to change its shape slightly – preventing the head gasket from properly doing its job. The result? Coolant leaks into cylinders, and billowing white smoke.

There’s no actual official line from Ford about what the problem is, but the above scenario is what most Focus RS owners seem to think. Either way, after initially replacing several units with brand-new ones, Ford is now rolling out a free repair scheme to affected owners.

‘Owners of 2016-17 Focus RS vehicles are being offered a free inspection and repair, regardless of warranty or mileage status, for concerns of white exhaust smoke and/or coolant consumption stemming from an issue with cylinder head gaskets,’ Ford said in a recent official statement. ‘Ford dealers will test the cooling system, replace the cylinder head gasket and may replace the cylinder head, as required, at no cost to the customer.’

Interestingly, there’s still no mention of the exact cause of the issue – though the checks Ford engineers will carry out on the 2.3-litre engine pretty much confirm our current suspicions.

Do you own a Ford Focus RS affected by this head gasket issue? Let us know

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast