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 19 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #310

Jul 192014


  • 53,683 miles


It does not shift correctly. Slow and sluggish to shift. Very jerky. Especially at lower gears. Jerks forward when not expecting it. Have taken it back to dealer twice. Had a new clutch put in. Was good for a day or two. Doing it again!!!! this car should be recalled & returned to owners only when this is fixed. Ford knows this experiment did not work & it is time to make it right. I work hard for my money & this experience has left me very unhappy. I was sooo happy to get a new car. Now I am left with this. As a single working mother, I was appalled that I was not informed about this transmission being manual hybrid until I took it in for service. This is fraudulent salemanship from Ford.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #309

Aug 242014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
On August 24th, when driving on a major houston highway at 64mph, I lost all drive-train power. My check engine light and drive status indicator immediately started blinking, and I had no response from my throttle. I was simply coasting. Thankfully, I was able to safely take an exit ramp and pull into a relatively safe location off the major highway. I waited some time with the car shut off, and after starting it back up, the cel cleared itself and car was functional again after leaving my car at tomball Ford for a week, the dealership was unable to duplicate the issue, and found no record of the cel in the system. I was forced to pick the car back up from the dealership, and upon repeated inquiries from my wife as to whether or not the car was safe to drive, the service technicians would not tell her it was safe. On September 7th, only a few short days after picking the car back up, the same thing happened again during busy weekend traffic with my pregnant wife and baby daughter in the car. I had the car towed to my house, as the dealership was closed (it was a Sunday). Upon starting the car later that day in my driveway, the cel again, cleared itself. I dropped the vehicle off at the dealership again, and the service adviser informed me, that once again, they are unable to duplicate the failure. This car has now shut-down twice on me, with my family in the car, on very busy houston highways. I feel incredibly unsafe driving this vehicle, and question my dealership's ability to fix the issue after they willingly admitted they've "never seen this failure before." I managed to record the transmission failure on video, which can be seen here: Https://

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #308

Sep 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 54,125 miles
I was driving home when a light message on my dash came on saying "hill start assist not available" and the car lost complete power to the wheels, motor revved but I wasn't going anywhere. I tried putting in a sport mode to see if could shift via toggle switch, but still no gears. I got to the side of the road and my check engine light was on and traction control light was on. I shut the car off hoping it would reset something, but once did that the car wouldn't start, I had power and all but when turned key to start nothing happened. It's sitting at the dealer now. I check some mark II Focus forums and this seems to be a very common issue and when taking to dealership nothing is being done.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #307

Sep 042014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles


Driving in heavy traffic on a limited access highway, the transmission apparently shifted into neutral, and would not respond to shift level action [shifting from 'drive' to 'sport' modes]. I was able to coast to a stop on the shoulder. After shutting off the engine, and waiting a few minutes I restarted and the car drove normally. The car drove normally for the next two days. On the third day, the same failure. After restarting, I turned around and it failed again [200 yards from the previous failure]. the car was towed to a dealer's service department, and is waiting for inspection.

- Mastic, NY, USA

problem #306

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
My car shudders very bad taking off from a stop and almost comes to a complete stop then takes of like you have jerked it into gear its makes a horrible noise in and out of the car and will continue to do this until you let the car cool down for a long time. Its been repaired once buy Ford and now there telling me there's nothing else they can due for me because its in spec.

- Fayetteville , TN, USA

problem #305

May 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,161 miles
Ford Focus titanium hatchback (2012) has transmission/clutch problems. Ford service dept. Has "fixed" over three times with no result. Leak between engine and transmission, als leak. At one point the service change was put on hold due to parts being unavailable. Ford refused to provide rental car or and extras to help with the inconvenience.

- Groveport, OH, USA

problem #304

Nov 262012


  • miles


Multiple instance have occurred starting in 2013 regarding shuddering with the car on acceleration. It happens when starting from a stopped position or even just trying to accelerate while driving. It has caused some dangerous situations, the latest occurrence was when I was trying to get on the freeway and the car wouldn't accelerate. The person behind me was really upset about it and started tailgating me. He was so close we could have reached out and touched his car. I could not go faster, as hard as I tried by pushing on the gas. When I was finally able to get up to speed, the car continued to follow me way too closely for several miles before finally turning off the freeway. The clutch assembly on my car has been replaced twice for two different issues. The last time I took the car in ( April 2014), I was told that the shuddering is occurring but does not fall in the parameters set out by Ford, so there was nothing they could do. They said if it got worse, to bring it back. Every time I have taken it in, it has been a hassle and very stressful for our family.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #303

Sep 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Shutters/ grinding noise/ tugs and jolts at low speeds and up hills. When in bumper to bumper traffic message on dash, overheating transmission pull over wait 8 minutes.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #302

Sep 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100,300 miles
While coming to a stop at an intersection. A warning message appeared stating the "hill assist" is not functioning. When the light turned green and I gave it gas the car would not move and the engine RPM ran up. The car would not move in drive, reverse or standard. I turned the car engine off thinking it might reset itself. Instead, when I turned the key nothing happened. It would also not shift out of park. I was blocking traffic in the only lane open to allow cars to proceed straight. The right lane was closed due to road construction and I was blocking that road crew. Several times I neared receiving a rear end collision. The dealership repair shop tells me the transmission control module malfunctions and needs replaced at a cost of $1300. I find that curious as the car is only 2 years old and there was recall issues on that module for other 2012 Focus. That recall simply involved Ford re-programming the module.

- Chillicothe, OH, USA

problem #301

Aug 262014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 99,059 miles
Had an issue with the vehicle suddenly shaking, shuddering violently, and being unable to accelerate beyond 40-35 mph. I would attempt to accelerate and it would operate as though in neutral. The vehicle would then kick in and rev up to 6-7000 RPM and still not accelerate. Then it would finally feel as though it had downshifted but would not go above 40 mph. I took it in to the dealership to be looked at. They applied the latest computer updates and checked fluids. They told me the vehicle had a shifting fork code (dct), and that it would need to be replaced- yet the vehicle worked fine after the computer was updated. If there was a shifting fork issue, then it wouldn't magically disappear for a period of time after a computer update and come right back. The vehicle operated fine for several hours with no issues. Then I felt the transmission 'hitch', and the check engine light again came on. I was literally 2 blocks from the same dealership I took it to earlier that day, so I took it back in. They said the same codes appeared, but that they would attempt the computer update again. The vehicle again seemed to work fine. Then I was driving on a backroad highway due to my fear of the vehicle acting up while on the main highway and having my small children with me. The car again acted up and went from 65 to 35 rapidly and refusing to accelerate and acting as though it was in neutral. The transmission would occasionally catch, but would not go faster than 35 mph in a 65 mph area. This could cause a potentially fatal accident, and I cant help but wonder if there aren't any fatal accidents that can be attributed to this. I see that many others report the same exact issue I have.

- Durant, OK, USA

problem #300

Aug 262014


  • 60,828 miles


Car began to shudder and bog down as I moved forward. Then slipped going into 2nd. When given a good amount of gas the car hesitated and slammed into gear.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #299

Oct 092012


  • 500 miles
My wife purchased our Focus August 2012. Shortly there after we noticed the car shaking and shuttering. We took the car to the dealer two times each time it was put on a computer and given back to us. The second time we were told that's how Ford made this vehicle there was nothing more that could be done.(woody sanders Ford). The car only has 9000 miles on it and still drives like crap.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #298

Feb 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Ongoing issue with the transmission, even after 3 "fixes" at a Ford service center. Transmission hesitates, jerks, and shudders in gears 1 through 3 primarily, sometimes hard enough to spill a drink. Slow speeds and stop and go speeds result in horrible driving conditions as the jerks/shudders get worse. It feels unsafe to drive the vehicle. For example, I'll be preparing for a left turn across traffic (with more than enough time to take this turn), and the hesitation will be so bad that it's unclear if I'll make the left or get hit by oncoming traffic first. Transmission has now moved on to a grinding sound, jerking motion, sounds as if something's getting stuck. Each time I've taken the car into the shop, it runs well for a couple of weeks, and then starts the shaking and hesitating again. Slowly the results come back, at first subtle so you don't think to rush to the shop to do something about it again (it costs money each time you have to take it), and come a couple months the car is back to heavy jerking and grinding. I feel extremely unsafe in the vehicle, it's unclear if I'll make it properly across traffic at times, or be able to make to destinations on log car rides.

- North Potomac, MD, USA

problem #297

Jan 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,147 miles
Vehicle rolls backward while at a stop, I did not realize I was rolling and bumped the car behind me while at a stop light. Grade at stop light is 99% level ground. Has consistently attempted to roll backwards at all stops thereafter, dealer has serviced issue multiple times with no result.

- Hanover , MA, USA

problem #296

Aug 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Ongoing and persistent issues with the transmission; hesitation, jerking, shuddering, grinding, lack of power. Slow speed and stop-and-go driving results in very poor performance from the transmission. One occasion I did not have enough power to merge and had to pull over on the highway; the engine was revving but there was almost no power going to the wheels and a very loud grinding sound coming from the front. I have had the car into the shop twice to have the transmission worked on. They reprogram the software and it drives ok for a few weeks, then goes back to the original condition. The car in my opinion is unsafe to drive about half of the time. Ford has failed to address my concerns or correct the issue.

- Eldersburg, MD, USA

problem #295

Apr 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I cannot give exact dates and mileage because this problem has been form the get go and gotten progressively worse recently. The car used to simply struggle to go form a stop or low speed. We had the transmission reprogrammed but that did not help. It continues to act in that manner but now has gotten dangerous to drive. We bought the car new and it is driven from georgetown, ky to cincinnati 5 days a week for work. It now has roughly 105,000 miles on it, though that may be just a little high. The car is now losing power, not shutting down but losing power. It is happening at slow speed and at highway speed. My wife has reported it has nearly caused her to have an accident on more than one occasion. We have spent over $1100 trying to fix it based on what the dealership is telling the "codes" say is wrong but the problem persists. I am afraid this car will cause an accident and hurt someone or worse it we continue to drive it. We cannot afford to put any more money into it, trade it in, or stop using it. I have seen countless complaints about this vehicle and I have to wonder why there has not been a mandatory recall to replace the transmission, not just reprogram it since that doesn't work. Please put Ford on notice that this issue must be corrected and all outstanding vehicles that have reported this problem must be fixed before the cars kill someone. Thank you.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #294

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
When turning to make a right turn the front of the car makes a metal on metal scraping sound (intermittingly) also the transmission doesn't seem to always kick in when after coming to a complete stop the car shakes as the gas pedal is pushed. I've brought it to the dealership where I bought it and they keep telling me nothing is wrong with it, it is just how the car operates.

- St Bonifacius, MN, USA

problem #293

Aug 182014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle stalled and the rear assist malfunction light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Church Point, LA, USA

problem #292

May 232012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,050 miles
I bought the 2012 Focus around February of 2012. At first I was estatic and the car ran great. However, just a few months after I bought it the car started griding at low speeds had a lot of trouble going up a hill to the point it wants to stall. At one point I did get up the hill, but the car didn't seem to recover and about 2 minutes later the car did stall driving about 30 mph and we had to glide it through traffic and into a parking lot. The car would not drive for at least 15 minutes, and the check engine light came on. By the time I got it to the dealership the light had gone off, and they told me they couldn't "duplicate the issue", and that if the light had went off there wasn't anything they would be able to find. The grinding noises continued, and I complained everytime I brought it in for an oil change. It also started acting lethargic when making turns (specifically left turns). The car was brought into the dealership at least two more times over the same issue, had a reprogramming done, and it still continued to make noises, jerk, grind, shift widly, etc. Around may of this year (2014) I was stopped on a steep hill and the car started rolling backwards. At first it seemed normal because I applied the brake, but when I moved to the gas the car started rolling backwards in drive and would not stop until I applied the brake again. I almost hit the person in back of me. I insisted Ford fix the issue, and after having the car for almost a week they again said they couldn't duplicate the problem. The same issue happened two weeks later and I received the same answer. I have left messages for the manager over the whole dealer, and he won't return my calls. I am about to take the car back again since I only have around 300 miles of my warranty left, and the car has been having many issues lately. And then I'm going to call a lawyer and the news.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #291

May 012014


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the transmission was replaced, but the vehicle shifted roughly after the repair. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Spring , TX, USA

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