Ford Focus RS Engine
The engine itself is bulletproof as standard and even tuning to 400bhp doesn’t seem to create any issues. If you’re considering a tuned car, check the service record even more rigorously. Ford’s recommended service intervals are long (see ’Servicing’); if the car is being driven hard regularly, some specialists recommend halving the intervals.
One weak spot is the original (plastic) intake plenum. Some early cars suffered from exploding manifolds, apparently caused by backfires. Ford addressed this with a change to the fuelling map (carried out as part of a recall for a hard brake pedal), but some tuned cars still experience problems. A number of companies offer cast alloy replacement manifolds.
Suspension and brakes
Tyres can last 10-15,000 miles, but can also wear out at 5000 if driven hard, so check to see how much life is left in them – at £200 per corner, they’re a major expense. Excessive wear on the inner edges suggests that the tracking’s out and corroded wheel-nuts are another sign that a car hasn’t been loved. A slight clunking sound from the rear when manoeuvring at low speeds isn’t a worry – it’s just the brake pads moving away from the discs.
No major rust issues yet. First place to go seems to be the rear wheelarches, so check for blistering or signs they’ve been touched up. If they’ve been wax-oiled, that’s good!
The front bumper, bonnet, rear arches and side-skirts are vulnerable to stone-chips, but these are cosmetic issues, as is the sometimes inconsistent colour matching between the main bodywork and the spoilers and skirts.
Check the rear-view camera works – it’s well worth having as rearward visibility is poor. Rattling windows are tough to fix, so a test drive on varied surfaces is advised.