Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: You should probably steer clear of the 2012 Focus. Otherwise, you might not be able to steer at all.

The 2012 is the first Focus to offer Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS). It's also the first year with massive power steering failure. These things are not mutually exclusive.

And while you wait for your steering to disappear, you'll be greeted with a transmission that shudders, vibrates or won't shift at all.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
18 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
10 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,930 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Ford Focus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 10 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #490

Aug 102015


  • 64,000 miles


While driving down the freeway the car started to coast and engine went to an idle. The indicator for transimission position went blank. I was nearly hit by the vehicle behind me. The next week I was pulling out into traffic and it did the same thing and was almost broadsided by a delivery van. The car moved out into traffic and then stopped for almost 2 minutes. Later down the road it cut out on the highway again, twice more on a side street, and then again as I was near the dealership. I took it direct to the dealership where they performed a computer upgrade. I received no notice of this issue from Ford. I could have been seriously hurt or killed by this and now know it is a known issue at Ford. They need to address this issue for all owners of the vehicle as it happens suddenly with no warning.

- Tigard, OR, USA

problem #489

Aug 312015


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled and the transmission warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission module and seals needed to be repaired and replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 50,000. The VIN was not available.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #488

Jul 202015


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at 25 mph, the engine vibrated and the contact could heard a metal to metal grinding noise. In addition, the vehicle would roll back and lose power when stopped. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that there was a transmission failure. The technician cleaned the engine and replaced the clutch and rings, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Adel, GA, USA

problem #487

Aug 232015


  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. As a result, the contact ran over a concrete curb. The vehicle restarted after the incident, but failed to move. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the tcm short circuited and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 75,000.

- Troy, IL, USA

problem #486

Aug 282013


  • 27,000 miles
Early 2013, experienced daily violent "shuddering" while accelerating from a stop, going around corners and going up hills and any kind of incline. Ford service dept. Diagnosed my car on 8/28/13 as needing a new clutch which was on back-order due to high-demand. On 9/17/13, my clutch was replaced. Slowly the shuddering returned and March of this year (2015), it was again shuddering violently. On 3/26/15, Ford service dept. Diagnosed my car as needing the transmission to come fully out and be repaired. On 5/5/15, the transmission was removed and both input shaft seals were found to be leaking. The seals were replaced and the clutch assembly was cleaned. Almost immediately thereafter, the car started shuddering again and on 8/14/15 as I drove with my toddler in the backseat, the car started shuddering and lost power as I was exiting the freeway and an alarm sounded inside the vehicle with a message on the dash that read " transmission malfunction - service now". on 8/17/15, Ford service dept. Diagnosed the transmission needed to again be removed and repaired which is now scheduled for 9/15/2015. Please do not wait until someone dies before making Ford deal with this very serious issue. Many Ford Focus owners are losing power while driving on the freeway. This would be very scary, not to mention potentially very dangerous if this happened to me while driving the very busy L.a. freeways with my toddler to/from school/work every morning and evening.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #485

May 102012


  • 8,000 miles
I bought my car brand new and have had problems with the transmission within a month of driving it. The first time I took it in they reprogrammed the powertrain to fix shuddering and rollback as well as fixed the nameplate that fell off my car. The transmission seemed to shudder way more than before after this. The second time I took it in they repaired a leaky seal and reprogramed the powertrain control module. Since then it still rolls back on slight inclines but not as much. Also, my car still makes loud grinding sounds as well as shudders and hesitates at low speeds. I'm going to bring it in for a third time, because of the excessive shuddering, hesitation and is leaking transmission oil. Besides the transmission problems the quality of my car seems to be an issue as well, as water seems to collect inside the doors after it rains. This is very frustrating as this is my first brand new car and my first time buying a Ford.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #484

Aug 202015


  • 59,175 miles


On August 20, 2015, I was driving my Ford Focus on route 38 in Illinois; dashboard light came on indicating "malfunction transmission service now." Immediately, I visited the nearest vehicle service repair shop and requested that the serviceman check my transmission fluid. I just thought that maybe something happened while I was getting an oil change. The serviceman was very nice to check my vehicle at no charge. Serviceman said, there is an internal malfunction with your transmission. He referred me to a Ford dealership. Of course my first step was to check on line to verify if there were any recalls on my Ford Focus sel. I visited the following website ( the sight showed "NHTSA vehicle safety recalls. Recall number 13V523000 recall date: 10/30/2013. Component: Power train automatic transmission control module (tcm.PCM) on August 20, 2015 at 11:12 am, I contacted Ford customer service at (800) 392-3673. I told forest (customer service phone rep) the problem that I was having with my vehicle. He asked if he could place me on hold to check for recalls; the call was disconnected.. I call (800) 392-3673 again, I spoke to a customer service representative named gabriel. Gabriel informed me that there were no recalls on my vehicle. Gabriel said, Ford program has extended the warranty on my transmission and it is covered up to $150,000 miles. Why is Ford extended the warranty, if there are no problems with the transmission. Why wasn't this vehicle recalled for the power train? after all, NHTSA vehicle safety recalls did indicate that there was a problem with the power train. It has been my experience that power train do not usually require repair on vehicles with only 59,000 miles. Ford needs to immediately repair my vehicle or replace it at no charge.

- Bellwood, IL, USA

problem #483

Aug 162015


  • 74,000 miles
On the date of the incident my family and I were getting on the highway headed to the beach, when I went to press the accelerator to merge on the highway the rpms went up but the car lost all acceleration for for about 5 seconds causing us to lose speed while merging. The car then changed gear really hard and jumped us forward almost causing an accident. The check engine light came on. This vehicle has been in 3 times now for transmission/clutch replacement. It will randomly shutter, hesitate, jerk and jump forward. On one other occasion it almost caused me to rear end a vehicle in front of me. The last time we brought it to the dealer upon picking the vehicle up for a dual clutch replacement I was told it would probably need to go back in soon and be replaced again. This is a known issue with this year and model and is unsafe

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #482

Aug 072015


  • 58,100 miles
Car loses power when in drive at 20mph on street. Pulled over, turned engine off. Restarted normally. No prior notification on dashboard. The next day while in rush hour traffic on the freeway car loses power. It resumes acceleration after stalling for approx 10 secs. Check engine sign appears after resuming acceleration. I exit the freeway and make my way back home. Transmission fails twice while en route on freeway. Both occasions I manage to merge to the emergency lane while in neutral. Once it resumed after a few seconds, another time I restarted the car after turning it off for approx 10 seconds. I take it to bob wondries Ford in alhambra for tcm replacement. Transmission problems resume one week later, with slow acceleration on freeway, loss of power when driving uphill, transmission shuddering, and transmission grinding.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #481

Feb 192013


  • 12,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle new in May 2012. From the start the tranmissions shifted rough and jerky. I was told that it was normal for this type. Conditioned worsened and it was taken to dealership in November 2014. I was told that it was within "limits" and was reprogrammed. A few months later, I was at a red light and went to accelerate. Tranmission shuttered and car did not respond, I was rear ended causing 2,000 in damage. Transmission continues to shutter and hesitate. Causes car to lurch forward or backwards from a stop, I took back to dealership purchsed from. I was told to complain to Ford and most likely would only be reprogrammed again. This is what happened. Car is unsafe to drive. If it shutters or mis shifts at highway speed, could result in serioius incident. Help please.

- Sellersburg, IN, USA

problem #480

Oct 072014


  • miles


On October 7th, 2014 my car (Ford Focus 2012) began experiencing some transmission issues. It would jerk extremely hard when the gas pedal was pushed. It would only accelerate a little before finally jerking into second gear. The car acted as though it didn't want to shift gears. I took the car into the Ford dealership where I had purchased the car and they told me that it needed a new clutch piece and resealed the transmission seals. Afterwards, the car was still doing the same as before. I took it back in January of 2015 and was told that there was nothing wrong and the car was performing to the specs. After that, I continued experiencing the same problems and returned with the car again in late may of 2015. This time they said the computer needed to be reprogrammed and synced and it would fix the problem. After I received the car back it still made the same problems. On August 19, 2015 I was at a stop sign and pushed on the gas when the car shuttered as if the transmission was going to fall out it jerked so hard. It finally accelerated and started moving.

- Elizabeth, IN, USA

problem #479

Aug 082015


  • 64,000 miles
While at a dead stop my car failed to respond to the accelerator, two times. The engine would rev and nothing would happen except that the "P-R-N-D-L" indicator on the dash would flash. Eventually the engine stalled and couldn't be restarted for 10 minutes. This is a sign of of a faulty tcm (transmission control module). 2011 & 2102 Ford fiestas and 2012 Focus are prone to this type of failure. Ford replaced the tcm under the emmissions warranty. I believe this is a safety issue and a recall should be issued. I have seen posts on the web where this failure happens while driving.

- Rockville Centre, NY, USA

problem #478

Aug 192013


  • 15,377 miles
While dirving our 2012 Ford focuse which was bought brand new, the transmission would start to slip and chatter. It took longer to acceralate to speed. Took to dealership on 19aug2012 and they calibrated the transmission. We drove the car until it started again two months later. Took to dealership on the 22 Nov 2013 to a different certified Ford dealership and they had to replace a seal on the clutch which was allowing fluid to drip on clutch plate and allow to slip will driving. Drove the car and it was working better. But over time the car started again and then got worse. Took the car bake in because on the 9aug2015 I was driving 60 mph and the car started to slip again then it over heated and had a malfunction. I had lost all my gears on a highway at 60 mph. They replaced some parts and when 2 days of getting it back it is starting to slip again. I am calling dealership in the morning. This is not a safe car to drive unless they fix their transmission.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #477

Oct 022014


  • 23,000 miles
When starting from a complete stop, the car jerks, shutters and the gears grind & despite having this vehicle in for service over 12 documented times, nothing has ever been done. Just as recently as 8/4/15 the transmission was serviced again, replacing the clutch, and it drove great for just under 5 days and then I simply stopped at a stop sign and when I went to pull out the vehicle jerked and bucked, nearly striking another vehicle and then for the 50 mile drive home, the vehicle would grind through the lower gears, making driving very difficult. The vehicle is now back at the dealership with no resolution in sight, Ford should just recall this vehicle before someone is seriously injured and why are we all to suffer because Ford is no longer the company they used to be, I will never own another Ford vehicle and I am trying to get out from under this vehicle, but will do so at a loss.

- Greenfield, MA, USA

problem #476

Aug 032015


  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to transmission control module problems. Consumer has previous complaint on another vehicle in artemis. The consumer experienced an intermittent loss of power. While driving, it seemed the engine was no longer connected to the transmission. The consumer stated the transmission control module was replaced. However, it was replaced with the same part number as the original.

- Oakland, MI, USA

problem #475

Aug 082015


  • 73,000 miles
Purchased a 2012 Ford Focus in December of 2014. The transmission has had shifting issues almost the entire time that I have had the vehicle. In may, the transmission began stuttering at low speeds. When reaching speed on an interstate on-ramp, the vehicle showed the message "vehicle not in park" and shut off as I was pulling into traffic. A day later when driving it, it stuttered again and the check engine light came on. Took it, along with a defective part notice to the dealer for the automatic transmission clutch system, which the dealer said was the issue and supposedly replaced it under the warranty. The dealer also reset the "autolearn" feature in the transmission. For a few days it worked fine, then the stuttering and shifting issues began again. On August 8th, 2015 the vehicle was driven to the store, and worked as it usually did, with minor stuttering and grinding that appears to characterize the Ford transmission. It was parked for roughly 30 minutes while in the store, upon starting and putting the vehicle in reverse, the transmission would not turn or gain enough power to propel the car out of the parking space. As it rolled back, it was shifted into the drive position, the vehicle began to propel until it went to shift and the car "missed" the gear and stuttered losing all momentum. This continued from every start/stop. Stopped at another store, when came back out the car would not start on the first crank, and the check engine light came back on. The power issues to the transmission on take off and the missing gears continued all the way to my home.

- Mebane, NC, USA

problem #474

Apr 222014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
I was making a left turn on a blinking yellow arrow. Seeing a coming break in traffic, where it would be safe to execute the turn, I began inching forward. When the car passed, allowing me to safely turn, I pressed the accelerator and the car did not respond. For several seconds, my car sat in the intersection with traffic oncoming, without moving forward. The type of hesitation has happened to me a total of 3 times between April of 2014 and August of 2015. In addition, the car handles roughly in low gear, making grinding noises, stuttering in changing gears between 1st and 2nd, and sometimes shaking the car. The transmission on the car has a service notice. I did take the car in in December 2014 for the recall, where it was tested and a new seal was installed. I drove the car for 8 months before experiencing the 3rd hesitation to respond. However, the grinding noises, stuttering, etc. Never did improve. I believe these cars is unsafe not only for the owner-operators, but also other motorists on the road who have no way of anticipating that a car pulling into traffic may intermittently fail to respond to the driver pressing the accelerator. Updated 9/28/15

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #473

Jul 102015


  • 36,670 miles
After driving for about a half hour in rush hour traffic in the southern California area, my car slipped from active gears (I believe 2nd gear) and right into neutral. I couldn't accelate and drive with trafffic, while travelling up hill my car decellerated quickly. In trying to get to the shoulder, I narrowly avoided an accident. After finally reaching the shoulder I was able to put the car in park (it started to roll downhill) and then apply the parking brake. 10 seconds later my car was running fine again. That following Monday I brought my car into the dealership to be serviced. This was the second time that this exact issue happened. The first time was the week prior to.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #472

Aug 302012


  • 45 miles
My transmission doesn't work right and never has, from the minute I drove it off the lot. It jerks, very hard at times, it shudders, and worst of all, it hesitates, so when you pull out at times you pray it kicks in before you end up getting hit and killed. I told my son after less than six months of owning this car that if I get killed because of it, I want him to sue Ford. They refuse to fix it because they don't stand behind their products! they don't care if consumers get hurt or killed, obviously. It looks good and rides good, but is a lemon because of the trans. They maintain that it only makes it miserable to drive, but they doubt you'll get killed, so refuse to help. These are some sort of transmissions that were converted from manual to automatic and not very well, at that. I've been to three dealers and they won't help, saying their hands are tied because corporate doesn't feel it's going to kill anyone. I thought I would buy a Ford, being from SE mi. Talk about misguided loyalty! just because nobody's been killed yet doesn't mean it won't happen. It doesn't work, plain & simple. And if it's this poor now, what will happen in another year or two? I am beyond disgusted and completely frustrated with this uncaring company who sells you junk for top dollar and then refuses to help you with a problem that is totally and completely their fault!

- Brownstown , MI, USA

problem #471

May 232012


  • 4,699 miles
7/28/15 while on highway and driving in fast lane, car loses ability to accelerate creating very dangerous situation. Can not accelerate in order to move into safer lane. Manages to get off roda and drive slowly to repair shop. Car shudders and nearly stalls. Check engine light on but not blinking. Repair shop gets transmission code P090C. Car is towed following morning and repair shop checks again and finds same code and check engine light still on. 7/30/15 customer speaks to service dept manager named john explaining all of the above. Agrees car is unsafe and when asked if he would let his daughter drive it, he replies no. Still won't repair car based on code provided but agrees that is the likely cause. Customer offers to pay for repair even though vehicle is under powertrain warranty based on letter sent out by Ford and he refuses saying he doesn't want to guess and offers to keep car but still can't recreate problem. Implies that code was cleared and history erased by "someone". customer says maybe that someone just might be the dealer's own mechanic trying to avoid repair since they have so many cars with transmission issues. Customer explains that dealer theory on erasure of codes is suspect since repair shop retained code info, and towed car. Asked why would they do that if the check engine light wasn't on and why would the repair shop erase it. More likely lazy tech at dealer did it. Dealer still wants to play wait and see. It could take thousands of miles before issue reappears and dealer has no reply as to what customer is to do. Customer escalates issue to Ford corporate and as of now still no repair, car at dealer and unsafe to drive.

- Middletown, NJ, USA

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