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 24 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #210

Dec 222012


  • 5,000 miles


My car would not go into the correct gear when I slowed down to turn a corner. Coming out of the turn it stalled into neutral. My car has a rattle and jerking when I'm going less than 5 mph sometimes. This car does not change gears smoothly! I recently rented a 2013 Focus and it drives great. My 2012 Ford Focus is horrible.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #209

May 222014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving down highway, car lost power, the check engine light and the traction control light came on. Would not accelerate, brakes would not function properly to stop. When I finally got the car stopped in a parking lot next to my place of business, the car would not start up again, and when it did, it would not go into any gear. Sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes trying to get the car to start up and go into gear. When it finally did go into gear, I got it to my place of business 2 blocks down and parked it. I am afraid to drive the car as it is a major safety issue. There have been recalls on the electric version of this car, but not the gasoline versions. This needs to be a recall on all of these models as there are several hundred complaints online about the same issue. Ford will not do anything about these issues unless the car is taken to one of their dealerships, which in past experience, they don't do anything at the dealership except overcharge for diagnosing the car, and for them to tell you nothing is wrong with it and that they know there are issues with the cars, but they do not have a fix for them and they can change the parts, however that will not solve the problem and it will happen again. I have been told this by the manager at a dealership and he has stated there is nothing he can do to change the situation. This is a major safety issue and someone needs to look into Ford for the same issues GM is having with their small cars.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #208

Feb 132014


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while traveling 35 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle stalled several times before the resuming to normal acceleration. The failure recurred on seven occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000 miles and the current mileage was 53,000.

- St Albans, WV, USA

problem #207

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


There have been many complaints on the Ford Focus lately that involve the transmission and I am included in those complaining. My automatic car either won't switch gears and sounds like I'm pressing the gas while in park then violently lunges forward or while driving at an average speed like 40 it's just stops completely in the road. It also will not accelerate quickly making it very dangerous to merge on to a freeway. Living in los angeles this poses a huge threat to getting in several accidents. After 3 near and severely close but avoided accidents I called the dealership where I purchased my car and I was told there was a 3-5 week waiting list to have my car even looked at to prove that it was in fact the problem all other Ford were encountering. After calling round to several dealers in a 30 mile radius I found one kind man who said he could look at within 3 days. After being diagnosed as the clutches needing to be replaced as they thought would be the issue, I was told it would take up to another 3-4 weeks til my car was actually repaired leaving me already out of pocket for a week for a rental car. The dealer suggest I open a case with Ford to request a loaner car for the duration of my repair as it seems ridiculous that I be paying $ out of pocket for an issue that they caused with a faulty part. 4 days later and Ford still has not decided whether my request is reasonable. Everyday I'm spending money while my inoperable car sits at a dealership waiting to find out if I can afford to pay for the rental while my death trap of a vehicle wait S as Ford decided I'm being "reasonable". I find this treatment of customers of a faulty product disgraceful.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #206

May 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 68,850 miles
I have a Ford Focus 2012 SE with winter and comfort packages. My vehicle suddenly swapped up from 79 mph to 81 mph when I pressed the down button to slow the car.

- Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #205

May 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,677 miles
I purchased my vehicle in December of 2012 and by may of 2013, the vehicle had been in and out of the shop for months. The most substantial issue was an issue with speed control in the car while on the freeway. At about 20 miles an hour the car would have difficulty going up to 40mph, but would then jerk up to higher speeds afterward. The clutch system was replaced in the car on May 24, 2013 and seemed to be fine, but I still filed a claim with the Ford Motor Company. Last week on May 14, 2014 the began to have the same transmission issues. I contacted Ford again and was told to take it in, as it was covered under the 12 months/12000 miles extended parts warranty. My car is currently back in the shop and I am concerned that this issue will not be resolved. I'm also concerned that there was already a recall on this vehicle in 2012 for transmission issues and little is being done now to rectify this dangerous issue.

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #204

Jul 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,500 miles


Transmission issues, jerking, jumping, jolting forward, sluggish, lack of power, feels like the car is going to cut off. This happens at slow speeds, fast speeds, at a stop, idling, etc. You name a condition of the car at various speeds and it has transmission issues. I took it to Ford to fix and they said it was a "known" issue, they updated the software and calibrated. It still has the same issues, the problem is not resolved.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #203

Mar 152012


  • 1,200 miles
Since I've owned the car, I've taken it back to the dealer more than twelve times. I bought it new and have problems with transmission slipping, jumping, lurching. I have been having these issues plus issues with the radio constantly resetting itself since the day I bought the car. The dealer claimed to me that the reason my car times backwards after coming to a stop was to save fuel, then there was a recall on the car to have the transmission reprogrammed to stop it. I had this done, but it still occurs with my car.

- Covington, KY, USA

problem #202

Aug 012012


  • 10,000 miles
The transmission in this vehicle hesitates and shutters. I have been told this is normal for this type of transmission. I don't believe it is normal, due to the fact that the problem is getting worse, as it did not do this for the first ten thousand miles. In my opinion it makes the car unsafe because of hesitation from a stopped position. Also from a stopped position on a small incline the car will shake somewhat violently during take off. The shaking is bad enough to make me believe that it could be doing damage to other components to the drive train and components of any other systems. Also who wants to spend twenty thousand dollars and up for a vehicle that accelerates and shifts no better than a car from the 80's. I have lost all faith in quality control. Thank you.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #201

Mar 032014


  • 14,500 miles
I bought the Focus new a couple of years ago. At first it seemed to do well but for the past year, and more often recently, the transmission has been shuttering and I hear a grinding sound coming from underneath the car. I have noticed it only happens at lower speeds(below 15mph) when in 1st or 2nd gear. When you press on the gas from a stop it sometimes jerks you into movement or if you press the gas a bit harder it will shutter through 1st gear and jump into 2nd gear. I have found it to be a problem driving around town or when merging onto a freeway where some acceleration is needed to get to speed.

- North Bend, WA, USA

problem #200

May 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 88,700 miles


Attempted to accelerate into merge lane and onto highway but transmission did not respond with engine revving up and slipping. I had to pull off the road to avoid obstructing traffic or being struck by traffic. Although this was the most dangerous incident it has happened before and the Ford dealer has not resolved the problem.

- Mims, FL, USA

problem #199

May 112014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,389 miles
After driving about 50 miles and come to a stop the transmission disengages and car rolls backwards. This happened 3 times in 2 days. The dealer says it the way I drive.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #198

May 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 29,187 miles
This car has been the shop 4 times for the same problem. The car randomly does not start for a period of time, absolutely no rhyme or reason. It does start eventually. Everything electrical comes on, interior lights, A/C, heater, radio, exterior lights, just no engine. The problem only occurs after being driven. In other words, it never happens first thing in the morning after sitting all night, it never happens after a full work day (sitting 8 hours). The longest period of time it has set and still not started is about 3 hours. The problem also never occurred until they had to replace the transmission.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #197

May 052014


  • miles
Going from a complete stop to acceleration my car is shuttering & jerking as if it is stalling out. It is like the car isn't taking the gas and my car is struggling to get in gear. I can hear the gear grinding as they shift. They have a recall on certain 2012 Ford Focus with same issue; however, mine is not in that recall. The dealer says "it is the way it is made". well why is there a recall on certain vins that are doing the same thing"??"

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #196

Apr 252014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I have owned my 2012 Ford Focus since new, I was driving on a local highway Friday 4/25/14 cruising along at or around 60 mph, I was accompanied by my wife and my inlaws. As I was cruising along and all of a sudden lost power as if it was in neutral. I was in the left hand lane of sunrise highway but managed to avoid traffic coming up behind me and maneuvered the car off to the shoulder. The car was still in drive but did not move. I put the car into park and turned it off. I restarted the car and proceeded to head to the offramp, this issue occurred several times while driving on the shoulder until I finally reached the off- ramp. I shut the car off for 15 min then proceeded to take local roads home and contacted my local Ford dealer to make a appointment. I have now been advised that the incident occurred do to tcm failure which the 2012 electric Focus had been recalled already. I am faced with a $1200 expense do to a known issue coupled with the fact that the danger my family encountered.

- Holtsville, NY, USA

problem #195

Oct 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 26,500 miles
Car transmission is faulty, was repaired by Ford but still defective, have brought in for multiple repairs but still, not working properly, and transmission has slipped out of gear when pulling into traffic. Im personally scared to drive this car and do not trust it while pulling into any kind of traffic situation.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #194

Mar 222014


  • 85,815 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the vehicle lost acceleration power. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician was unable to diagnose a failure. The manufacturer was made aware of this failure. The failure mileage was 85,815 and the current mileage 86,000 miles.

- Shasta, CA, USA

problem #193

Nov 112013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The car tend to move backwards whenever I stop at a stoplight with a slight elevation.

- New Cumberland, PA, USA

problem #192

Sep 052013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,442 miles
Transmission shutters, jerks, rolls back in park, sometimes you don't know if it going to work or just leave you sitting. A piece of junk!!! dealer works on it and it seems to get worse!! they say its part of the design. I bet no Ford employees drive one!!

- Fogelsville, PA, USA

problem #191

Apr 172014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,400 miles
While driving my car, I have noticed a shuddering when I accelerate. When I first got the car, brand new, it had this problem. The dealership said that it had some kind of special transmission that had to get use to my driving style. I continued to drive the 2012 Ford Focus and now when I accelerate, there is a grinding sound like the transmission is having trouble grabbing the next gear and a shuddering/shaking sensation when ever I try to go up any kind of incline. Is there some kind of transmission problem with the 2012 Ford Focus?

- Dayton, OH, USA

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