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 2 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #650

Aug 262016


  • 75,000 miles


While traveling home from work, my car stalled briefly on main street. I immediately pulled into a parking lot to get my car out of the street. I turned it off and back on and resumed driving. I made it to my destination and got in the vehicle to drive again and the car would run go anywhere. The Ford dealership said to bring it to their shop for a diagnosis. I was on the way to take my 2012 Ford Focus titanium to the service department at empire Ford in abingdon, va. They stated the car would be ok to drive if I could get the vehicle to go forwards. I was traveling 65 mph down the interstate and the vehicle stalled out on the interstate. I tried to give the car fuel and began pressing the gas and the car would not move. Speed limit is 70 and 70-75 mph cars were coming towards me. I was forced to cross over the on ramp where cars were merging on to the interstate to get to the emergency side of the interstate. It was a pretty scary event and I felt that my life was put in danger. So, now Ford is saying there is nothing they can do but fix the tcm (transmission control module). There is no fix!!!! if there was, I feel like it would have already happened. So I am stuck with a vehicle that has been in the shop five times now for transmission issues. It is clearly unsafe to drive. What is it going to take in order for Ford to see there is not a fix for these models, someone losing their life?

- Meadowview, VA, USA

problem #649

Aug 012016


  • 30,000 miles
This has been an ongoing problem. The transmission in my Ford has stopped functioning and left me sitting on the side of the interstate many times. I have been lucky in that I have only been stranded in a traffic lane once. I have taken it to Ford and gone through the same things that so many people have already stated: First they blamed it on insufficient electrical grounds, then they charged me $200 to reprogram the transmission control module. The transmission then failed in the dealers lot. I finally had the tcm replaced under recall in fenruary 2015 and have been lucky when compared to many others. The vehicle has recently begun shaking violently, lurching forward, and sometimes not moving forward at all. I never know what gear I will get when I press the accelerator or if I will get a forward gear at all. The most dangerous thing is the unpredictability. It happens frequently at highway speeds but city driving is intolerable. The Ford mechanic told me I need a new tcm (again?), both clutches, and the slave cylinder replaced. I asked how long I could expect that repair to last. He admitted - away from other employees - that the vehicle should not be allowed on the road because it is too dangerous. The Ford service consultant advised me to park the car and to sell it but my conscience will not allow me to put someone else at risk by driving it. I have parked the Focus and will not allow anyone to drive it. A used car lot employee told me on 27 August that she refuses to sell them because they are too dangerous. A brief search of the net reveals lawsuits in australia, Canada, Illinois, and California all for the same problems. These vehicles must be recalled and the transmissions must be replaced with a system that actually works, not with the same bad system. It is a matter of time before one of these defective transmissions gets someone killed.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #648

Aug 012016


  • 490,000 miles
I purchased this car used in may of 2015.. I immediately noticed the car running shaky and attributed that to bad fuel. It was intermittent and would come and go. May 2016, my husband, son and I are traveling to his track championship and were stopped at a red light. The light turned green and my husband stepped on the gas to accelerate. The car jerked us all forward hard and would not accelerate with cars honking behind us. We had a message ┐transmission malfunction service now┐. he called a Ford service center and was told my transmission was under two separate recallscar fax report shown at the dealership). We had the car towed to the Ford service center. They explained that there are three steps to try to get this corrected. They performed the first step which was to reprogram the transmission control module. I was driving to work the next day and pulling out into a busy intersection. My car jerked me forward hard and doesn┐T accelerate and I am facing traffic from both directions. I crept out slowly, shudder, shake, shudder shake and narrowly miss a collision from both directions and had the same message ┐transmission malfunction service now┐. I had my car towed for the second step of the recall. The second step is to replace the transmission control module. I am pulling out of a local store and again my car jerks me forward hard and failed to accelerate with a logging truck coming upon the driver's side of my car. Once again, I narrowly escape another collision. Third step of the recall which was to clean the clutches. I got the car back and a week later. Again, my car jerked us both forward hard and wouldn┐T accelerate. My son is yelling ┐mom, get going they are going to hit us┐ as he is looking back at a car that almost hit us from behind while my car fails to accelerate.

- Bradford, ME, USA

problem #647

Nov 192013


  • miles


Transmission dangerously erratic, underpowered, bucking, lurching, fading out on acceleration from stand still. Worse when temperatures are above 70 degrees F. ambient temp. Have had all the service done as per customer satisfaction programs from Ford. Have had it services for transmission chatter issues at 46K, 54K, 59K, 77K. At 59K Ford service replaced clutch with "F asy". clutch was supposedly replaced at 30K. Dangerous when trying to speed up to enter traffic, traffic circles, or avoid contact with other vehicles. Turning causes a great deal of shifting vibrations. Regular automatic transmission mode is lagging and unresponsive in normal driving and lagging in city traffic conditions. From standstill I have had the car lurch and buck forward. Also the car rolls backward in drive on a hill. This Ford had marketed as a feature to not happen. Ford announced the powershift transmission as " powershift will deliver the fuel efficiency of a manual gearbox with the convenience and ease of a premium automatic transmission ┐ the announcement goes on to say "powershift provides the full comfort of an automatic with a more sophisticated driving dynamic, thanks to uninterrupted torque from the dual-clutch technology, which consists essentially of two manual transmissions working in parallel, each with its own independent clutch unit. One clutch carries the uneven gears ┐ 1, 3 and 5 ┐ while the other the even gears ┐ 2, 4 and 6. subsequent gear changes are coordinated between both clutches as they engage and disengage for a seamless delivery of torque to the wheels." The product is the furthest from the description and dangerous on top of the rhetoric.

- Camden, ME, USA

problem #646

Aug 152016


  • 94,000 miles
Ford has a transmission with dry clutches. This transmission has stranded many people in very unsafe situations. The transmission just stops working while driving. Many complaints have people left in the traffic lanes and the cars simply will not move. Fortunately for me I was not on the freeway, but on the feeder to the freeway, and the car just stopped moving. The engine RPM's dropped like it was running out of gas. Then the engine rpms picked up but it wouldn't move. Tried putting it in reverse and still wouldn't move. The tow truck driver had towed this very same car to the dealer 8 months ago. The problem is that the transmission is of such poor quality that the vehicles are in the shop on a regular basis, costing us huge amounts of money to fix. I bought the car 7 months ago with an extended warranty. The car has shuttered and the transmission has slipped pretty much from the time I got the car. Reading many complaints about the car, some from brand new owners in 2012. Really need to research this transmission and engine for that matter.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #645

Aug 162016


  • 33,600 miles
At 9829 miles (11/2013) noticed transmission slipping, jerking, crunching and clutch pac and seals replaced and tcm recalibrated. At 16839 miles (8/2014) brought in for hesitation and shudder and told nothing wrong. At 29324 miles (2/2016) brought in for losing power and surging forward and clutch pack replaced again. At 33K miles car would not move forward in middle of stop and go traffic on coronado bridge. Finally did move after about 30 seconds and then flipping in and out of gear and driving terribly. Afraid to drive. Brought it in and they are replacing transmission control module. Now I am afraid to drive it period. I limit my driving now and would never take it on a long distance drive.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #644

Jul 292016


  • 65,112 miles


Transmission control module failed. Car was not responsive to gas pedal. Would not reliably accelerate, would not reliably brake.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #643

Aug 052016


  • 124,049 miles
I was driving on a city street travelling 50 mph when my car started to stall. I hit the gas and my car jerked and stalled again. Then my car read a message that said "transmission malfunction service now." Once I was able to get to a safe location, I parked my car and it made some funny sound almost like a clunking noise. This is not the first time my car has stalled out and had transmission issues. This is actually the third time I have been driving my car and been scared out of my mind due to my car stalling out while driving.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #642

Aug 022016


  • 27,000 miles
While driving on freeway, transmission failed to provide power upon acceleration

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #641

Aug 012016


  • 39,000 miles
I purchased a used 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in October 2012 that had 29,000 mile on it at the time. I drove the vehicle up to 39,000 and the power steering failed as I was initiating a left turn across traffic. I looked down to see the power steering assist fault error message. The car was out of warranty at that point, and I was out 2,000$ in repairs. I have seen that Ford has recalled other vehicles for the same issue, just not the 2012 Focus yet. In October 2014, I found the hard stuttering upon accelerating and then I received my first recall notice. A new tcm was installed, reprogrammed, along with a new clutch. About two weeks after that the clutch failed and I had to bring it back in for repairs. About 6 months after that I was driving on the highway at around 70 mph and the dashboard lit up with a transmission malfunction, service now error. I took it to the dealership and they replaced the tcm again and reprogrammed. In August 2016, the car is now at around 65,000 miles. I was driving around 40 mph on a busy city street when I received the transmission malfunction, service now error. I just got the car back from the dealership yesterday, the 4th time, with a new tcm that has been reprogrammed. This car is unsafe, and Ford is aware. The technicians I have dealt with all know the exact issue before I explain it to them. I asked for a complaint line, or any options for consumers in my position and was told by both the dealership and the Ford customer service hot line that there are none. I asked the technician at the dealership if they knew they were handing me an unsafe vehicle, and he shook his head then stated he wished there was something they could do but I am out of luck.

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #640

Jul 302016


  • 86,000 miles


I purchased the car from Ford dealer used.transmission acted up after a month took in in and they said it would cost me $200 to look at it.I purchased the 2 year extended warranty, but would still cost me that.I left, a few month later the car would not move and transmission light came insurance towed the car at that time the dealer kept my car for a week, charged me $500 for cables to the battery.1 week later I was driving back from Arizona to Nevada in the middle of the desert and the car light came on again car was shuttering losing power thank god I made it about 2 months later I was driving home from work and turned my driver side door flew open..thank god I wasn't close to oncoming traffic and had seat belt on.however now my driver side door will not close or lock.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #639

Apr 062016


  • 44,250 miles
Transmission is faulty. While driving, the car will slow down, shake, and shudder and will not accelerate. The rpms will increase to 5000-6000. This happens in city driving and highway driving. On the highway the car will slow from 65mph to 40mph without warning and will not accelerate. Very unsafe!!!! the car has been back to Ford dealership several times. Each time they say the car is fixed only to be back with in a week or two for the same problem. Seems Ford does not have a fix for this problem and I dont want the car because someone is going to get injured driving this unsafe car.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #638

Sep 032013


  • 61,312 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would accelerate or decelerate without warning. When the contact attempted to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle sputtered. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission and the computer chip for the transmission failed. The computer chip needed to be reprogrammed and the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired a total of three times; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 61,312.

- West Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #637

Jul 172016


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 65 mph, the transmission independently shifted into neutral and the rpms increased. The vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the PCM, tcm, and shaft seals were replaced. The failure occurred only after the vehicle was serviced per the manufacturer's voluntary recall in which the clutch and the tcm were replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000.

- York, ME, USA

problem #636

Jul 252016


  • 26,000 miles
I bought a 2012 Focus in 2015 with 14,690 miles on it. After a couple of weeks I noticed problems with the transmission but tried to think positive and say it can't be. As the days and weeks went on it got worse and worse the cranking noise the lack of acceleration and deceleration, the shuddering, etc.. then I get a recall letter from Ford motor stating there's a recall on the transmission and if affected have dealer take care of it, so I called the dealer and asked if they could give me a loaner since I have a severely disabled 8 yr old daughter that I must have transportation in case of any emergency they told me no loaners, so I called Ford motor told them my issue and they also said no loaners. I took the car and I got it back the same day they told me it just had to be reprogrammed ok so a week later the same thing started but I have to work as well so I can't take off from work so easily, so I just kept driving it since the service manager assured me it will never stall. Well it did just this week right in the middle of the road with the red malfunction light on. I was stuck I waited a few mins in the boiling heat with my daughter and restarted the car, needless to say it's going back to the dealer again. It's a hazard driving this car thank god no one hit me on the road. With this car you can have a major accident it is the unsafest car you could drive.

- Franklin Square, NY, USA

problem #635

Jul 222016


  • 74,000 miles
2 major issues: Transmission would sudden drop out of gear while driving. Several times I was on the highway and it would drop into neutral, leaving me no way to control my vehicle. This was fixed with a Ford warranty extension and replacement of the transmission control module (tcm). Now, at 74000 miles, I am having a malfunction of the electronic power steering (eps). Usually right when I start the vehicle and am backing out of my garage, but occasionally also while driving, a warning code appears on the dashboard saying "malfunction: Power steering" and the wheel locks in place. This is very dangerous and the 2012 Focus seems to have lots of major issues.

- Woods Cross, UT, USA

problem #634

Jul 012015


  • 70,000 miles
Tcm recall, I have had to take my car to the shop going on 3 times now for the same issue. My car is loosing power, hesitating to go into gear, and shuddering while driving. My radio is also turning off while driving and does not fix until I turn the car on and off. My transmission feels like its driving. I don't feel safe driving this vehicle and I have started the steps to file a complaint with Ford. I want to drive a safer car I feel like im risking me and my passengers lives when I drive this car. I love it but I just want to feel safe and want to feel like my auto company cares about its drivers. Once when they first fixed the tcm I drove it off the lot and got a transmission error message and they had to come take it back to the dealer. When I pull off at a light my car shakes until it gets to 20mph then it still shudders a bit until it gets about 50 mph

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #633

Jun 082016


  • miles
I've had problems with the transmission from the start. I've had the trans control module replaced twice. Problems include delayed starts, shuttering when shifting, revving high when about to shift, or sticking in gear and not shifting when it should. I kept taking it in, and each time they told me they couldn't find a code, so they couldn't fix it. They finally replaced the tcm, when my car just stopped in the middle lane, during rush hour traffic on the freeway. I couldn't get it to move, so I shut it off, then it wouldn't start again. It took emergency vehicles to get me to the side of the road because of all the traffic whizzing by. The second time they replaced it, I was on vacation, and my car kept sticking in gear, but the service engine soon light came on this time so they had a code to go by.

- Pinon Hills, CA, USA

problem #632

Jul 072016


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 20 mph, the transmission lost power. When the shift lever was placed in the drive position and the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle shuddered and failed to respond. The contact also stated that while attempting to traverse a hill, the transmission lost power and the vehicle rolled backwards down the hill. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact stated that the power train control module and transmission control module were reprogrammed, but the failure recurred five times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 13,000.

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #631

Jul 132016


  • 59,100 miles
This is not the first time this auto manual transmission has caused problems. When I have taken this vehicle in for service and asked them to look at the transmission and when I have explained what it does they said that is how it should be. It has acted like it won't go and it has rolled back on hills. It has shuttered and stuttered to change gears. Finally it didn't and it was in traffic on a 70 mph highway. While driving in rush hour traffic - not stop and go - just morning traffic with several other drivers on a 70 mph the Ford Focus stopped accelerating. The car would not go past 40-45mph. I had to turn my hazards on and try to keep going and work my way over to the shoulder. It was difficult and very dangerous. I couldn't get over as quick as I would have liked and I could have died! the car wouldn't shift gears. It is like it was stuck in between and then it wouldn't really slow down and finally I had to coast on the shoulder to a stop. I was almost at an exit so I thought I would try to get off to a quick parking lot. But then it wouldn't go. It wasn't stopped, but it wasn't driving. Then a message indicated hot transmission and I waited as it indicated to let it cool. Finally it cleared and no more message. I tried to go again on the shoulder to get to a safe parking lot or something and it went for a minute got stuck at 40 mph and started to slow. The car's throttle was going and revving but nothing. I had to coast to a stop. Let it cool and then I just tried to go to this wide part of the shoulder on the exit ramp so it would be safe to get a tow and get my stuff out of my car to my husband's car. I got a tow to a local Ford shop and they said "you have to drive it differently." A car that I have had 4ish years, now I have to drive it differently" how do I drive to where it doesn't stop working" this should never happen!

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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