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 18 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #330

Oct 012013


  • 30,000 miles


The transmission in our Focus stutters and grinds when shifting from 1st gear to 2nd.

- Beech Grove, IN, USA

problem #329

Mar 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,146 miles
While driving my car, it often hesitates when shifting, turning, accelerating, or decelerating. I had it "repaired" at a Ford dealership, which including replacing the entire clutch, in March 2014. The problem continued with added loud noises and grinding/shuddering. I returned it to a dealership, where the clutch was replaced again in July 2014. The car was fine for awhile, but after 200 miles, started having the same issues as before. The dealership replaced the clutch again in September 2014. On my 4th clutch, and it continues to have the same problems. I lack confidence in Ford that they can fix the problem and I am continuously concerned that my car may have unexpected problems causing serious safety concerns.

- Ft. Thomas, KY, USA

problem #328

Oct 132014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 59,500 miles
Driving during very heavy morning rush hour traffic (at approx 25 mph). Car began to shudder/hesitate very bad and would not accelerate - I was about to get onto the interstate. The check engine light came on and I was able to limp the car the remaining few miles to the office. The check engine light stayed on in the afternoon on the drive home. Was able to plug in my own obd computer and received the code P0902 (clutch actuator control circuit low). Next day, started car and the check engine light is off and car drove fine. Have appointment for 10/15 to take car to dealership but fear that because the check engine light is no longer on they will be unable to "recreate the issue" and will not fix it. I have already had this car in multiple times for transmission reset, but this occurrence was by far the worst. Had I been trying to pull out into traffic, there would have been an accident because the car stopped accelerating. I have printed the code description along with the sync vehicle health report I ran proving that the check engine light was on. Hopefully, this (along with the code information I pulled myself) will be enough for the dealer to take this seriously and fix the problem.

- Lithia, FL, USA

problem #327

Oct 062013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


On-going issues with the transmission shudder, jerk, choking at lower speeds especially at about 15 mpg to 40 mpg. There has not been an accident yet but many close calls. During stop and go traffic, or making a turn from a stoplight, or in a construction zone where speeds are slower - driving this vehicle becomes an issue. There are time when the car will not move even with the gas pedal pushed, it jerks and chugs until the transmission kicks in causing a delay in acceleration, or it chokes as if it will die on the spot. These are all opportunities to cause an accident or to be hit because you cannot get your car to move. In detroit traffic is brutal - they do not stop for anything. I purchased the vehicle in may of 2012 - I only have 21,000 miles on the vehicle ( currently 10/15/14). I cannot trade it in since the vehicle valued so low. I cannot sell it since no one will buy a vehicle that drives the way it does. Ford has provided a 7 yr. 100,000 mile warranty for the transmission but that is of no satisfaction to me. No one knows what the wear and tear will be as the car ages and someone dies because of it. These vehicles need to be seriously addressed. I don't drive the vehicle much because I do not feel safe - you cannot predict how much worse it is going to drive on any given day. Dealer repairs do not fix the problem, it never goes ways and the car behaves badly every day - throw in a major meltdown for the really bad days.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #326

Oct 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 71,754 miles
Clutch chatter at low speed, start off and shifting from 1st to 2nd, only seems to do it after its warm or under a load.

- Harrison, MI, USA

problem #325

Sep 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 22,100 miles
Purchased vehicle new from golden circle Ford, jackson tn. I have made complaints to Ford corporate about the transmission and tremendous shudder, loosing power and not shifting into lower gears. Area rep advised for me to get another opinion from dealer 100 miles from me and he would call back but he never did. Local service department says shudder is normal and service manager has same vehicle that does the same. Tells me this is the way transmission is made to get good gas mileage. I was recently rear-ended B/C my vehicle stalled and would not accelerate. I took it in again, after body repairs made, they told me, "normal, just the way it is". while sitting at intersection stopped, light turned green, I accelerated, vehicle stalled, was hit. Other party assumed liability but asked why I did not go ahead and move. My car did what it does constantly. RPM's rev up to 3500 once vehicle decides to take off. Retired on fixed income, this was to be last vehicle. Afraid to pick up grandchildren and Transport them. Where do I go from here" using husbands big truck to go places which is very hard for me to do. We have been doing business with gc since 1984 and extremely disappointed in response. This car should not be on the road. In the event I have a more serious accident, please look into why Ford would not recall this vehicle. If they rode in it, they would not want their family members using it. This issue has changed my way of travel and dependency. I say a prayer every time I get in it. I ask for protection and safe return to my spouse, 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Please help!!! what do I do?"

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #324

Sep 222014


  • 20,000 miles


I purchased this Ford on Sept 22, 12... it had 83 miles on it.. I am the only owner. Since then its been in the dealer for service over 10 times. I am on my (3)third clutch system to stop the shutter and loud noises it makes. The last clutch was installed on Sept 23, 14. And after a week its back to its same jerking/shutters and the noise is loud when you make turns. Its really nice when I try to get a buyer to test drive it. I pray it does not make a noise during the test drive. And, the front shock suspension made crunching noises at low speeds on un-even road surface. (like driving in and out of drive way and in parking lots). And, the way to fix the front suspension.... the Ford service tighten the front end down. And. Believe me you feel every impact of the bumps. Ford put out a paper that the service people gave us the 1st time we when it. The car needs to learn your driving patterns. And the most resent one is the car might drive like a manual/standard car- with jerks.. and make noise. This is the transmission. This would be nice to have this info. Handed to me before I purchased the auto and then I could make a good choice is this purchase. But the information was given to me when I had issues with the Ford. Any, buyer read other drivers comments. And, if you really like to buy the Ford Focus. Get the manual one. It has no.... issues because you shifting manual transmission. And not have the issues with this auto clutch. And, the 2013 to 2014 have the same issues as the 2012. Ford just can't get the problems fixed or they don't want to correct the issues on the Focus..

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #323

Jul 282014


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle accelerated slowly on occasion. Other times, the rpms would race and the vehicle would jerk forward. The dealer stated that the body control module needed to be replaced. The contact stated that the dealer was not able to reprogram the computer to install the new part and had to re-install the old part. The manufacturer was notified and the vehicle was taken to the dealer a fourth time to have the new part installed. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The sensors intermittently illuminated for the brake assist and parking aide. In addition, while making a right or left turn, the steering wheel locked intermittently more than once. The contact also stated that the clock intermittently shorted out and the time display was incorrect. The dealer provided an interim remedy and suggested that the contact turn off the gps. The interim fix remedied the failure as long as the contact used the feature to disable the gps auto clock manually each time. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #322

Oct 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
For several months I noticed significant shuttering of the transmission when accelerating from a stop into low gears. Took the car to dealership for repair, per warranty extension provided by Ford (field service action number 14M01). Several days after that completed service, the engine light turned on -- and was on and off over a period of approximately one week. The car also periodically jerked forward unexpectedly while accelerating in low gears, and the same unexpected movement happened occasionally when in reverse. I made a follow up service appointment during this time. Then two days before the service appointment, after filling the car with gas, the engine would not start. When turning the key in the ignition, the car shuttered violently with a great deal of noise. After calling a tow truck and resting the car for approximately one hour, the tow truck driver was able to get the engine started -- commenting that first and reverse gears felt unstable and unsafe. Car has since been towed to the dealership for a second round of service. Problem and solution are yet to be determined.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #321

Aug 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 29,550 miles
This was the first time my service engine soon came on. The transmission was slamming into every gear. I was stuck in 3rd gear revving at approximately 3500 RPM going 30 mph. I was able to drive the car home. The day after I took into spikes Ford where the problem was then fixed on 08-11-14. I picked up the car and drove home. 2 hours later as I'm entering a highway to go to wal-mart, the car lurched forward, RPM's flew way above 6000 and car sped up for a second then slowly declined down to 30 on the highway!! the check engine light came on again. I drove the car to the dealership and they felt the problem so they took the car yet again. Next day they called and said they fixed it. Another 3 hours later, check engine light came on and they reflashed it for the 3rd time in a 4 day period. Check engine light came on again so I decided to take it to boggus Ford. I took it to boggus Ford and within 3 days the car was out from the shop. All was well until later on in the night, the check engine light came on. I took it once last time furious already with the car and once again said it was fixed. I drove to school and as I was finding a parking spot, the check engine light came on. Right after, a message said, "transmission hot" pull over safely. Another message came on and said, "wait 7 minutes". embarrassed that my brand new Focus was doing this I let it cool off. A salesman we worked with, was kind enough to pick up my car and I from school. We took it back to the dealer where we then talked to a service manager. The service manager, laughed about our situation and said as long as we drive slowly the car will continue to heat up and said that Ford knows about this. I told him, I almost ran over other students, and he just continued to say as long as you drive slowly, it will keep doing that. The check engine light comes on and off now, but transmission still shifts hard.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #320

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 500 miles


Transmission shudder. Rebuilt 3 times. Software reset 5 times. Transmission computer replaced 1X. Still shudders, drifts back when on a hill, jerks into gear suddenly. Service station advised me when they replaced the computer (not under warranty) that the shudder and other characteristics were normal for the transmission and did not do anything about it. This began when I purchase the car in spring of 2012 and is still an issue now at about 82,0000 miles. Most of the work was done while under the normal warranty. The last service, when they replaced the computer was done in September 2014. The transmission is not operating normally and seems dangerous at times when it jerks into gear or rolls back when at a stop.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #319

Feb 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Transmission malfunctions causing long delay/hesitation when shifting and slow/delayed acceleration. Noticeable shuddering and vibration when shifting between gears and occasional hard, pronounced shift changes causing driver and passengers to lunge. This creates very dangerous driving conditions mainly because it's difficult to control the acceleration of the vehicle. The check engine light comes on and a warning message appears in the dash stating ┐┐transmission malfunction service now┐Ł this event occurred the first week of vehicle ownership (I purchased the vehicle brand new January 2012). At that time the dealer recalibrated the transmission and it┐'s been performing satisfactorily until recently. This event has now occurred on four other occasions with the most recent event occurring on 9/30/2014. The 9/30/2014 event was the most dangerous and severe so the vehicle is now at the dealership for service.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #318

Sep 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 40 mph, the automatic transmission was unable to shift into different gears. The vehicle was towed and taken to an independent mechanic. The technician stated that a part known as the "fork" fell within the transmission and the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 86,000. Updated 12/17/14

- Katonah, NY, USA

problem #317

Sep 022013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
The automatic transmission shifting is horrible with excessive shuddering and lurching.

- El Paso, IL, USA

problem #316

Sep 222014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I purchased a used 2012 Focus recently and a few days later on 9/22/14 I was driving around 50 mph when the rpms just shot up. I let off the gas and pressed down on it again and the engine revved up but again the car did not respond. I pulled over to the shoulder and tried to change the gear to neutral, then reverse, then back to drive and each gear did not respond to the gas. After shutting the car off I tried to start it up again and the car would not start. The traction control light and the message "hill start assist not available" came on. After letting the car sit for a few minutes it started up and drove fine for the rest of the day. Two days later the same thing happened on the freeway and I had to cross three lanes of highway traffic without being able to accelerate. After letting the car sit for a minute the car started back up and drove for about a minute and then the same thing happened again. The check engine light also came on this time and stayed on. I managed to get to school although a little late. On my way home the issue occurred multiple times. The first time the car was jerking forward and loosing the gear and then jerking forward again. The issue occurred a few miles from my house and this time the car would not start up on multiple attempts like it had previously. I disconnected the battery thinking that would help reset whatever was stuck but when the battery was connected back up the car still would not start. After looking over fuses and disconnecting and reconnecting the battery multiple times the car finally started back up and I was able to make the last few miles to my home. The car is very unsafe to drive and I was almost rear ended on the freeway when I had to pull off to the shoulder without power to the drive train. The car has also been making a grinding noise when shifting between gears since the first day.

- Antelope, CA, USA

problem #315

Aug 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Car stutters and does not shift. Severe shaking and loss of cruise speed is effected. The car does not accelerate properly and seems to lose speed while driving. I am scared to let my daughter drive this car and only have owning it for several months it has been in the shop once and going back again. There is no apparent fix for this problem and they will not do anything about it. The clutch was replaced and reprogrammed and this did nothing to fix the issue.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #314

Sep 202014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
At a stop light car in drive brakes lock, shift gear locks. Message appears transmission not in park. Car takes at least 5 to 10 minutes to turn back over to start up. Car stalls to go into different speeds, accelerates when turning a corner.

- Irvington , NJ, USA

problem #313

Aug 232014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 70 mph, the check engine indicator illuminated and the vehicle went into neutral gear. The contact heard a loud banging sound from the undercarriage before the vehicle went back into gear. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was brought in for repair and service updates were performed for the transmission, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000...updated 10/15/14 the consumer stated the vehicle was not repaired because the problem could not be duplicated. Updated 4/1/2015

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #312

Sep 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The engine light came on while driving, saying check transmission. The transmission is not shifting the car shakes or vibrate when the peed change.

- Branson , MO, USA

problem #311

Jul 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
At random times the car will just shut off leaving a coasting vehicle down the highway, or leave you stalled out in the middle of an intersection. If you leave it sit for 30min-1hour it may restart. If you press the accelerator it was not respond. After a couple minutes the vehicle will recover from a rough idle and try to lunge forward even when vehicle is in park. Problem: Transmission control module.

- Jennings, OK, USA

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