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 25 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #190

Jan 202014


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle "power shift" transmission stalling issues. The consumer stated she would loose power while driving, and a metal noise was heard, as the vehicle shuttered and hesitated. A diagnosis revealed, the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. However, the parts were on a 30-day back order. The consumer stated 2 months have passed, and she has not received any notice or communication addressing the issue.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #189

Mar 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 9,023 miles
Road as passenger in the car. Going from a stopped position the car had horrible hesitation upon acceleration. Dealer replaced clutch. Didn't know an automatic had a clutch. It was sold to me as an automatic. To me that means you step on the gas on the gears move the car forward so you can safely get out of the way of oncoming traffic. Service manager called. Basically stated (according to what I recall),the car isn't shuddering but hesitating some still. Traded the car yesterday. Can't send my daughter to college with a car that has such a potentially dangerous transmission issue. Here is the deal : would like to invoke the lemon law. Can't play around though with the safety of my daughter or anyone else. Not going to take responsibility for that. Taking the car back 3 more times, in my opinion, makes no since because it is such a safety issue. Took a financial hit on the trade in but at least my daughter is in a safe reliable vehicle now. My understanding is this is a transmission issue. Even if they gave me a new car or replaced the transmission I would not take it. It is still the same transmission that, in my opinion, is an engineering defect that, based on the numerous complaints I have read, Ford may not have a fix for. (not sure about the date of the incident when I rode in the car). It was within the last month. My daughter does not recall when it first started. This is her first car. It did, however, not perform like this for sure when we test drove the vehicle. Thanks for your time.

- Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #188

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Intermittent and significant vehicle hesitation and stuttering during initial acceleration, and on hills that cause safety concern of being hit from behind for driver. From complete stop the transmission problem occurs during acceleration in RPM 1500 - 2800 with low pedal pressure creating stuttering and hesitation during acceleration. Audible metal grinding is fairly consistent. Engine loads going up hills creates similar shifting problems. Dealer indicates that this the way the transmission operates stating software manages the shifting decisions. Ford updates over the last two years have not resolved the issue. I currently have 15000. The issue was not evident in test drive. At this point I know this is not an isolated but prevalent among current Focus model.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #187

Apr 042014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 39,255 miles


Transmission was slipping engine revving very high upon pulling away car felt it was stalling or just losing power, under normal operations of the car I would have clearly had enough time to pull out of intersection but because it wasn't going forward as it should it felt unsafe to drive. Do not feel this transmission operates in a safe way.

- Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #186

Jan 162013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
We were pulling out onto state highway, my wife began to accelerate the car, it began shaking and shuddering as it was accelerating. The car had 12000 miles on it. We have taken it back multiple times they have reprogrammed the computer, however it did not work. Eventually. They replaced the clutch packs and it solved the problem. At 28000 miles the problem reappeared.

- Talking Rock, GA, USA

problem #185

Feb 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,210 miles
This is the second accident caused by car suddenly surging forward. There was only 3384 miles between first and second accident. While turning into a parking space at low speed the car lurched forward slamming into a brick wall approximately 2 to 3 feet beyond curb. Major front end damage totaling $6,127 in repairs and over $16,000 in hospital costs to myself. Ford dealership reprogrammed instrument cluster lamps and gave the car back to me. I was afraid to drive the car again and purchased a new vehicle. At this time the dealership has the defective 2012 Ford Focus for sale on their lot, which worries me that someone else might get hurt driving that car.. I contacted Ford Motor Company on 3/26/2014 regarding the issues that I had and am awaiting a reply from their general counsel.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #184

Aug 162013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 28,826 miles


This is the first of 2 accidents, both caused by vehicle surging forward as I was pulling into a parking space. This form would not allow me to put but 1 accident date. Second more serious accident, date 02/08/2014, will be listed separately. As I was turning into a parking space with foot on brake the car suddenly lurched forward mounting the concrete parking stop and ended up against a tree in the median. Floored the brake pedal but engine continued to rev. Damage to under side of car totaled $3494. Ford dealership checked the computer and found engine overspeed code PO219. Could not duplicate incident and gave car back to me. 3384 miles later the 2012 Ford Focus repeated the lurching with more damage and personal injury.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #183

Mar 012013


  • 30,000 miles
This vehicle shudders when attempting to accelerate. It feels as though the transmission is slipping. Ford has said that this is a computer programming issue. They have reprogrammed the car, but there still has not been any fix. The car continues to shudder upon acceleration. This is truly concerning and I am worried that this will continue to cause issues in the future.

- Germantown, WI, USA

problem #182

Aug 112011

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to ongoing transmission issues. The consumer stated each time visited the dealer, she was informed it was only a programming adjustment. The consumer has been to the dealer 10 times, for the same problem. The consumer stated the transmission was unpredictable. Not only did the clutch slip between first and second gears, the vehicle intermittently hesitated when taking off from a complete stop. Also, the engine would shake at 55 mph and continued to shake even at 70 mph.

- Summerfield, FL, USA

problem #181

Jun 282012


  • 28,000 miles
My husband and I purchased our 2012 Ford Focus back in June 2012. When we got the car there was 28,000 miles on it. The next day it was in their shop due to the transmission. It felt like it was not trying to switch gears causing our rpms to go real high. The mechanics said nothings wrong because no lights were on. So months pass it was right back in for the same thing. Well they said they put a fuel throttle box on it and it should fix the problem. So after they "fixed" the car, we still noticed something wasn't right, so we continued to drive the car. Our engine light kept popping up so we took it to the car lot once again and they said it could possibly be an emissions problem. Well just a few weeks ago, I noticed the car was acting real funny, it didn't want to go into drive, and kept stalling. So on my way home I got on the interstate, and the car lost all power (luckily I was on my exit ramp). It said transmission malfunction, so I pulled over, and turned the car off. When I got the car to start again when in drive it wanted to go in reverse. Had to turn it off then restart but the car wouldn't even turn over. This is a big issue that Ford needs to fix. If I wouldn't have been on my exit ramp I may not be here typing this right now. I refuse to drive this car. It is not safe !!! I have two small kids and they will not be back in that car !! we have had issues with this car every since we got it.

- Bluefield, WV, USA

problem #180

Jan 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


Brake light came on, checked and fluid low in brake fluid container. This is just after I month oil and service done on the car. Filled it and tow days later come on again.took to Ford dealer in my town and they said it was a leak around the break pumping area. They wonted me to drive the car till the park came in. I insisted the give me a safe vehicle to drive... at the time I have also experienced a small jerking after I brake and take off again. I thought this was a break thin where related. But they where not. Called them and told them about the jumping has been going on almost within a mouth of purchasing the car. On March 24 they worked on it and said they had to reprogram the gearing in the trans mission. Picked the car up and it is better with the jerking but it is still doing it 5 days later now I feel this is something that needs to be taken back to them again and fixed right or I should be given a different transmission, mjs. I also hand a weather striping repaired on rear passenger window at the same time they worked on the transmission. And I November 2013 the cruse stopped working and had to be fixed. I have had this car 6 months and have had all this trouble.

- Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

problem #179

Mar 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,290 miles
Car was purchased in November 2013 with 38000 miles on it. One previous owner prior to myself. The car began jerking backwards when parking on an incline. By the time I had 40000 miles on the car, I began noticing that the car would not change gears when driving, this was especially a concern when pulling onto a highway and the car would not go. Then by the time the car hit 42000 the transmission would make a grinding noise when going uphill from a stop. The car went into the garage and the transmission was reprogrammed and clutch replaced. I never had a car with these kind of problems so early. Ford should have a recall on the transmission with all the complaints/ concerns.

- Nanticoke, PA, USA

problem #178

May 092012


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 mph, a metal to metal rattling noise emitted outside of the vehicle. The transmission slipped gears and the vehicle began to vibrate with hesitation. The failure occurred sporadically when shifting into second gear. Additionally, when the brake pedal was depressed when driving on an incline the vehicle would roll. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer twice where each time the computer module was reprogrammed. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 14,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #177

Mar 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,269 miles
Exiting freeway transmission made loud clunk and warning screen popped up saying "transmission malfunction - service now". pulled into nearby shop center parking lot. Afraid to drive car. What would have happened if transmission failed at freeway speed" could I have controlled the car??"

- Morro Bay, CA, USA

problem #176

Jul 102012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
Transmission shudder. Car acts like it is going to stall. Ford, the dealer are all aware of the problem with the transmission. Since it is a intermittent problem on this car nobody wants to fix it. Am being told nothing wrong. The part exists to fix just will not do. Without recall.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #175

Mar 182014


  • 7,758 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while the vehicle stalled without warning while entering an intersection. The check engine light illuminated after the failure occurred. The failure was recurring. The dealer performed a diagnostic and advised that the transmission control module was defective. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 7,758.

- Placitas, NM, USA

problem #174

Jul 252013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
Vehicle shutters shakes and lacks acceleration when starting from a stop. This has been an on going issue that has almost caused several accidents. In February 2014, I was driving down my street to drive my daughter to school and we heard a loud grinding noise and the car lost power. I was able to coast to the side of the road. I called road side assistance and the vehicle was towed to the skagit Ford dealership. I was told the front axle snapped where it goes into the transmission. I was also told that this was a Ford defect by the service a adviser and he had never seen this happen in his 30 years. I notified Ford several times regarding the shifting issues and brought it in for service updates and new clutch. They are also aware of the metal axle snapping and are not willing to do anything regarding this unsafe vehicle that I am now afraid to drive. I have filed complaints with Ford and the attorney generals office and have not received any written confirmation that Ford is taking this incident seriously. If I had been on a freeway when the last incident occurred I would probably not be writing this letter. Thank you for your time. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mount Vernon, WA, USA

problem #173

Mar 212014


  • 63,500 miles
This transmission sucks! it started with a lot of shuddering during acceleration. I took it to me dealer where they claimed to fix it but I have photos proving otherwise. Took it to the next dealer two days before christmas and it seemed to be fixed. Now it's doing T again, 6K miles later. And now it tends to roll back on even slight hills. Today I was at a red light with traffic behind me. I took my foot off the brake anticipating the light to change. It rolled back about 3-4 when I then reapplied the brakes. I was literally a couple inches from hitting someone because it wouldn't stay still even in drive. So I pressed the gas before I let go of the brake to ensure I wouldn't roll back more. When I let off the brake, there was a pop and the car jumped. Not safe and I'm now trying to find out if any laws would require them to buy it back.

- Jamestown, OH, USA

problem #172

Mar 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,309 miles
While traveling on a roadway while still mildly accelerating a vehicle crossed the center line as I decelerated and turned to avoid a collision the vehicle would not engage the transmission at approximately 25 mph after the on coming vehicle had changed its path. After trying to accelerate the engine revved. The transmission appeared to be in an upshift position prior to the incident and would not re engage until the vehicle was almost fully stopped. No one was injured but this could pose a potential problem had I needed to accelerate to change lanes to avoid a collision. The transmission seems to shudder at times and has had other issues with acceleration and deceleration. I did not yet contact the Ford dealership. This is a 2.0 L engine with automatic transmission in drive and not in sport mode.

- East Amherst, NY, USA

problem #171

Oct 162013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
Transmission shutters, jumps, makes rattling noise. Dealer reprogrammed it in Oct. 2013. Did better for a while. Now it is worse, and makes a rattling noise upon acceleration. Took in on March 15th, and was told there is nothing they can do. They said it is normal. It performed ok the first year. Now it is getting worse.

- Royse City, TX, USA

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