Ford S-MAX (2006–2015)

What's good

The rear bumper of the Ford S-MAX rated as ‘Good’ in ABI Thatcham damageability crash test results published December 2007.

Ford S-MAX named winner in the large MPV category at the 2008 British Insurance Car Security Awards for the second year running.

Ford S-MAX once again won the large MPV class in the 2009 British Insurance Car Security Awards, for the third year in a row, with Galaxy again named as runner-up. Supported by security experts Thatcham, the Department for Transport, the Home Office and UK insurers, the awards are the highest official recognition of vehicle security in the UK.

Ford S-MAX won the 1725-1899kg category in the 2009 Towcar Awards, as judged by experts from What Car?, Practical Caravan and The Camping and Caravanning Club.

Ford S-Max had proper, "plug and play" connection for a trailer or caravan present in the boot for all the towbar wiring.

Report of 2010/60 reg Ford S-Max 2.0TDCI reaching 250,000 miles; only replacements: tyres, exhaust, battery and timing belts. No oil usage between services.

Club for owners of all Fords, old and new:

4-1-2018: Report of 100,000 trouble-free miles from a well-liked 2007 Ford S-Max.

23-1-2018: Report of 284,000 trouble-free miles from 2010/60 reg Ford S-Max 2.0TDCI Titanium "that I’ve had from new. It was used for business 40-50K miles pa. I retired a few months ago and now am only going to do around 6k a year. It has 284 thousand on the clock and runs brilliantly, no major problems, still has original clutch. Since retiring I have only put Shell V power diesel in and am getting 4-5 mpg more. Although used for short journeys it gets a day trip of 380 miles once or twice a month which seems to keep the filter working ok, it’s always been serviced at 12k intervals. Great car." GB, Altringham.

10-9-2018: 2010/60 plate S Max diesel Titanium now at 286,000 miles (due to illness, now recovered). Still no problems.

27-7-2019: Report from owner of 2010 Fors S-Max 2.0TDCI, now at 293k miles on original clutch. Owner switched to Shell V-Power diesel in 2017 and has seen an improvement of 5-6mpg.  

What to watch out for

No spare tyre and nowhere to store one. Only a tyre sealant and re-inflation kit that cannot seal and re-inflate a shredded tyre.

The flaps to fill in the gaps in the floor when the seats are folded are a bit fiddly and weak looking. Some councils will not certificate S Max as mini cabs because they have no spare wheel and cannot be fitted with one.

2.2 turbodiesel apparently only fitted with one turbo instead of two sequential turbos, and sometimes suffers hesitation and loss of power under 2,000rpm. No 2.2 diesel auto. ECU mapping fault on 2.2 diesel apparently to be cured by the end of June 2008.

Poor economy and sluggish performance from the 1.8TDCI can be cured by an ECU download. There is now a a new one. The previous one ended in "LG". There is now a new one ending "LH". That's the one you need.

Powershift dual clutch automatic transmission requires fresh fluid every 3 years at a cost of £250.

Teething troubles developing include "humming noise, that sounded like a fan running when none were, a very annoying whistle that develops at 55mph+, a faulty rear de-mister, the 'usual' rattle here and there", and ABS failure (on a 2.0 TDCi). "Humming noise" later identified as a symptom of the ABS pump failing.

Reports of leaking panoramic roofs.

Numerous complaints of problems with alarm system, gives message "Alarm Service Required" and in August 2007 dealers did not know how to fix it.

Complaint of split a/c pipe flooding footwell and rear door handle disintegrating.

Spare body parts a problem in first year due to all parts going into production to feed very strong first year demand.

Report of 2.0 petrol engine cutting out and stuttering in idle and a knocking noise whenever the brakes were used. Brake master cylinder replaced but stuttering and cutting out at idle still continued and within 5 weeks knocking noise when brakes were used returned.

Minor complaints of poor trim finish: problems with centre armrest, bonnet release and rear ashtray.

Report of gear lever selector mechanism problem engaging 1st instead of reverse and vice versa.

Front parking sensors (where fitted) seem to be unduly prone to interference.

Blocked ventilation well drains can lead to flooding and severe damage to the wiring loom costing £2,000 - £3,000 to rectify. Make sure no water is slopping about in the vent well under the windscreen and if it is, clear the drains.

Also seems to be a problem of water ingress into the wiper motors and the alarm sounder module inside the nearside front wing, causing the alarm to go off at random.

Quite a lot of reports of premature dual mass flywheel / clutch failures on diesels.

Police experiencing clutch problems with hard driven 2.5Ts after around 35,000 miles. The clutch goes "soft". Could be a dual mass flywheel problem.

Reports of manually operated parking brake failing to hold once the brake discs and pads cool down and contract. When parking on a slope, always engage 1st or reverse gear, or 'P', of course if it's an automatic.

13-7-2011: One report of the oil pump drive chain of a 17,500 mile 2007 2.0 TDCi failing prematurely leading to seizing of the engine.

25-10-2011: Timing belt tensioner of 2.5 litre Volvo engine in 2.5T can fail in as little as 50,000 miles, flinging off the belt and wrecking the engine, then landing the owner with a £6,000 bill.

8-12-2011: Timing belt failures on 5-cylinder 2.5 litre Volvo engine as early as 28,000 miles. Engine rebuilds cost around £6,000.

14-12-2011: Loss of power of 2.0 Ecoboost 240 under hard acceleration was because during a service Ford fitters had not tightened the jubilee clip holding the air intake to the airbox.

1-2-2012: Mixed metal pressure sensing tyre valves prone to corrosion.

26-10-2012: Catastrophic main bearing failure of 1.8 TDCi in 36,000 mile 2007 S-MAX.

12-2-2013: TPMS valves can corrode due to anodic reaction and fail leading to instant deflation of the tyre. Best to coat them in Vaseline to help prevent this from happening.

8-3-2013: Impending closure of Genk factory has led to interruptions in the supply of replacement parts for existing cars, for example instrument clusters for Ford S-Max.

16-5-2013: Report of 3 year old S-MAX needing new DMF and clutch at quoted cost of £1,600, together with new exhaust section costing £500.

28-7-2013: Another report of a 3 year old S-MAX 2.0 TDCi needing a new DMF, clutch and starter motor at 25,000 miles at a quoted cost of £1,500.

14-8-2013: Yet another report of an S-MAX needing a new DMF, this one at £55k miles, quoted the same £1,500, but, of course, that also includes a new clutch.

17-9-2013: 38k mile 2010 S-MAX 2.0 Ecoboost (203) broke down with injector problem. 2 week wait for dealer to obtain a specialist tool to change the injector, followed by a wait for four new valve stem seals.

4-12-2013: Ford S-MAX 1.6 EcoBoost with stop/start upgraded at some time in past 3-6 months with a more powerful battery, enhanced starter motor, neutral sensor in gearbox, clutch cylinder sensor.

11-1-2014: Powershift transmissions require a change of fluid and microfilter every 3 years or 3rd service whichever comes first. This is essential maintenance. To avoid excessive wear of the twin oil clutches it is also essential to avoid sitting in 'D' at a standstill. Change to 'N'. It's easy to shift between 'D' and 'N' and between 'N' and 'D' with a Powershift because, unlike a VWG DSG, you don't have to stamp on the footbrake to do this.

16-5-2014: Total engine failure of low mileage 2011 Ford S-MAX 2.2 TDCi in February 2013. (Car purchased used from Ford franchise in June 2012 with 5,500 miles and a 2 year warranty.)

17-8-2014: Significant problems reported with 42k miles 2010 Ford S-MAX 2.0 Ecoboost Powershift transmission. ( Getrag 6DCT450.) Judders or wheelspins on take-off since purchase in November 2013. Transmission fluid and filters changed and improved for 2 weeks then fault returned. Apparently needs new clutch dampers at a cost of £1,800. Apparently automatic transmission independent who works for Addison Lee said " these gearboxs are a complete disaster known to be so by the trade." The dampers often go, but once changed often don't recalibrate property so you end up having to replace the Mechatronic unit or full transmission.

21-9-2014: Problems with engine of S-MAX 2.0 203PS EcoBoost PowerShift. New engine fitted under warranty in 2013 after head gasket failure. Now engine warning light keeps coming on. Ford dealer cannot find the fault, but it might be the same wiring fault as identified with Ford Focus ST and also encountered with a Mondeo 2.0 EcoBoost PowerShift. Same hesitation problem reported with a 2010 Mondeo 2.0 SCTI EcoBoost PowerShift as reported with the Focus ST here

27-11-2014: Failure of Powershift transmission ( Getrag 6DCT450) on used Ford S-MAX Titanium X bought from a Ford dealer directly because the transmission oil and filter had not been changed at the 3 year (in this case 37,000) mile service. It is essential to change the oil and filter at 3 years or 36,000 miles.

11-12-2014: Parking brake cable failed on 49k mile 4 year olf Ford S-Max. Required complete new parking brake lever assembly at £220 for the parts alone, plus £300 labour to instal. Obviously a fault with the unusual 'aircraft' style double lever parking brake handle.

16-12-2014: More Getrag 6DCT450 Powershift problems, this time on a 2011 S-Max 2.0TDCI with just 22,000 miles, but out of warranty. Ford dealer quoting £2,200 to replace sensor and clutches.

20-1-2015: On 2009 S-Max 2.0i petrol, poor starting and catalytic converter temp light on diagnoses as failing dual mass flywheel affecting the timing and causing unburned fuel on start up to enter and burn in the car converter.

10-6-2015: Seems that the opening panoramic roof mechanisms on facelift S-Max re failing regularly. One reader's 2012 roof mechanism was replaced within the first year, but has now failed again, out of warranty and while Ford will pay for the parts, the dealer wants £500 for the labour. This can probably be fought.

11-6-2015: Report of clutches of 2012 S-Max Powershift pulling against the brakes while stopped. Might be that the idle speed is too high, software glitch or fault with the clutches. Best anyway to shift to N while stopped. Could also be the dual brake light switch: one for the brake lights and one to tell the actuator that the brakes are on. This can fail leading to the car pulling against the brakes and excessive clutch wear.

20-6-2015: 54k 2011 S-Max 2.0 EcoBoost 240 showed flashing engine warning light and sudden loss of power resulting in a limp home and a trip to garage. Cylinder 2 was found to have low compression (50psi) and piston crown damage, and a groove down side of cylinder. No sign of lack of lubrication , has been suggested injectors over supplying with fuel? Result a new engine?

12-9-2015: Whirring noise from front of 38k mile 2 year old S-Max turned out to be front wheel bearings needing replacement as well as tyres.

19-11-2015: DPF of 2011 S-Max 2.2TDCI Titanium failing to regenerate despite replacement of fuel vaporiser. Aftermarket DPF fitted then removed and replaced with £1,800 Ford OEM DPF, but this did not solve the problem for aftermarket DPF was re-fitted. Ford dealer unable to fix.

4-12-2015: Report of repeated problems with Getrag Powershift transmission of 2010 S-Max (bought used from a non-Ford dealer). In November 2014, when the car was 3 years 6 months old but with only 21,000 miles, the transmission failed. Reader spent £2,900 on a gearbox service and a new gearbox sensor. The fault then reappeared 10 months later and the work was done again FoC under the warranty of the repair. Now the fault has returned and Ford is saying it needs a new gearbox at £3,500 plus. Ford says that as this is a different fault to the first repair and the car is outside warranty Ford will not pay.

17-2-2016: Report of Powershift of Ford S-Max 1,999cc 16v Ecoboost SCTI starting to shudder/judder on take-off at 35,000 miles.

22-3-2016: Report of 117k mile 2007 S-Max 2.0TDI using oil, oil in radiator header tank forcing its way out of pressure cap. Probably head gasket.

2-4-2016: Report of total engine failure of 2011 Ford S-Max EcoBoost. 4,000 miles after having the engine replaced there were repeated problems with the engine warning light of the new engine coming on. Although the local Ford Main Agents provided excellent support, they were unable to find the fault in spite of the support of the Ford Technical Centre. Eventually, the Agent contacted Ford Research Division to find out that other EcoBoost engines had given rise to the same problem elsewhere in Europe. After this contact, the main agents changed a number of engine sensors which sucessfully solved the problem.

7-4-2016: Dash panel fault reported on used 2007 Ford S-Max. Dashboard computer information disappeared and all visible is a red line. This happens every few days with no rhyme or reason. Ford diagnostics showed a fault and estimated repairs may be £350 if loose wiring, or £850+ to replace the whole instrument panel.

25-4-2016: Report of failure of 2.5 litre 5-cylinder engine in 2008 S-Max at 45,000 miles. Rattled, then stalled (with steam emerging form the bonnet) at a set of traffic lights and would not start. Probably waterpump seized and threw off timing belt. No compression on 3 cylinders.

25-7-2016: Black smoke reported on acceleration from 100k mile 2009 Ford S-Max 2.0TDCI. Might be turbo bearing oil seals, might be valve sterm oil seals, might be dirty injectors.

23-8-2016: Report of Powershift transmissionon of 2010 Ford S-Max failing at 88,000 miles. Quoted £4,500 to replace. But transmission had never had the required 3 year fluid and filter change because Ford dealer had never mentioned it.

17-10-2016: "Catastrophic" engine failure reposted of May 2011 Ford S-Max in August 2016 at 44,000 miles. Piston failed. Did not say which engine. Quoted £8,100 for new engine and turbo at cost of £8,100. Ford Head Office refused to help with any cost and liability is with owner stating "because its just over 5 years old."

21-12-2016: Gasket/cylinder head/waterpump/turbo failure reported on 2012 S-Max 1.6EcoBoost 160 in Holland. Quoted €1,000 to fix. Later turned out to be a cracked block, possibly caused by overheating in the hands of a previous owner. Bill for new short engine fitted quoted at €3,000.

2-5-2017: Report of problems with Powershift transmission of 2012 Ford S-Max 2.0TDCI Titanium at 45,000 miles, bought in 2015. (Owner had similar problems with a previous S-Max Powershift.) Dealer told owner he was not aware of any Ford technical bulletin on the fault and considered it a one-off and we shouldn't worry about buying the second one. Owner asked Ford to repair or replace the current Powershift free of charge. So far, Ford has refused.

12-5-2017: Report of problems with Powershift transmission of 2010 Ford S-Max 2.0 Ecoboost 203PD at 79,000 miles. Car holds on to first gear until 2000-3000rpm without wanting to change, but when switched to manual control will seem to change gear as normal. The engine may also rev up to 2000rpm when braking to a stop. Between times it has faltered like it is going to stall before picking up again. May be overdue a transmission fluid and filter change.

6-6-2017: Report of engine malfunction light coming on in 2006 Ford S-Max 2.0 petrol, followed by "a horrible judder." Owner could only get home whilst keeping the clutch depressed halfway down, otherwise the engine felt like it would cut out. A few hours later, after re-starting it and its shot straight up to 3,000 revs and a bit of blue smoke coming out of exhaust. Suspect possibly inlet manifold swirl flap failure.

2-2-2018: Report of coolant hose failing on 2012 Ford S-Max 1.6 EcoBoost at 84,000 miles causing the engine to run dry and seize. Ford dealer quoted £7,000 to replace. We advised a member of to either econdition the existing engine or sourfce a used engine and recondition that.

25-2-2018: Report of 2014 S-Max bought in Norway suffering failed Getrag Powershift transmission at 75,000 kilometres because 3 year Powershift oil and filter change was missed. New transmission: £5,500.

29-5-2018: Report of 2013 S-Max 2.0TDI 140 suffering failed Getrag Powershift despite transmission having undergone aoil and filter change at the required 3 year interval. Onwer quoted £4,000 to replace.

19-11-2018: Report of failure of Powershift transmission of used 2012 Ford S-Max purchased in November 2018 soon after purchase. Car came with a 6-month aftermarket warranty, but warranty insurer found that Powershift transmission had not undergone its essential 38,000 mile fluid and filter change so warranty was void but supplying dealer is 100% liable. WARNING TO ANYONE WITH A 6-SPEED WET CLUTCH POWERSHIFT: THE 38,000 MILE FLUID AND FILTER CHANGE IS ESSENTIAL.

27-2-2019: Report of failure of wet clutch Powershift transmission in pre-facelift 2014/2015 Ford S-Max that had not received a transmission oil and filter change at 3 years or 38k miles, whichever came first. Estimate for repair £4,000.

16-5-2019: Report of wet clutch Powershift transmission failing in 2015 Ford S-Max at 46,000 miles. Dealer quoted £4,000 to replace it.

9-6-2019: Report of failure of clutch pack of 2014 Ford S-Max Powershift at 62,000 miles. (Car purchased used at 50,000 miles in April 2018; failure occurred at 62,000 miles in August 2018). Clutch packs replaced under dealer warranty at cost of £2,400 and repair warranted for 6 months. Original dealer warranty ended on 24th April 2019 and on 29th April at 73,000 miles the clutch packs failed again. transmission specialist told owner that because he did not pay for the warranty repair rthe only warranty was the original dealer warranty. Now wants £2,750 to replace clutch packs again.

46 dated faults reported since January 2011


'Emergency' 2006 TSB 58/2007 to cure an earthing fault that leads to rapid battery draindowns.

16-12-2011: Ford TSB over S-MAX 1.6 TDCI 115 electrical starting problem, junction box relays 1U396.

Ford Recalls by VIN: Ford Recalls

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