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 26 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #170

Feb 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,685 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while at a traffic light, the vehicle independently down shifted and vibrated abnormally. The contact continued to depress the accelerator pedal but the vehicle failed to respond. The vehicle regained speed as the contact coasted along the highway. In addition, the vehicle would roll backward whenever stopped on an incline and would begin shaking, causing difficulty in controlling the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch assembly needing to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 30,685. Updated 4/22/14 updated 04/25/2014

- Niland , CA, USA

problem #169

Feb 212014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Driving on freeway. Loss power on "speed" it felt as though I was on neutral, so pulled over becuz I didn't want to cause an accident. Would not start after I turned off engine, and I noticed although vehicle was in the park position. My menu kept stating it was in "drive" position.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #168

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmission issues. On September 5, 2013, the consumer stated she started hearing loud grated sounds, when she turned corners. She took the vehicle to the dealer, but the mechanic was unable to duplicate the sound. He stated the sound he did hear, was normal for that type of vehicle, because of the type of transmission that was in new cars. The vehicle continued to make the sound, until November 12th, when it became worse the consumer went to another dealer, who found a faulty clutch. The dealer informed the consumer it was not safe to drive the vehicle, so they provided her with a loaner, and informed her it would be several weeks before the part arrived. The parts arrived two months after the vehicle was left at the dealer.

- Chetek, WI, USA

problem #167

Jul 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 92 miles


Jerking and hesitation on acceleration, surging, drifting, grinding noises, rattling noise, contacted selling dealer and they reset the computer 2 times, and another Ford dealer reset it once. Each time it seemed to work better for less than 20 miles.

- St. Petersburg, PA, USA

problem #166

Dec 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 81,477 miles
Stopped at stoplight on hill in columbia SC. Went to move and vehicle would not move forward, was in drive. Turned off to see if that would work, then it wouldn't start. This was on busy road at night. Dangerous situation. This vehicle has had the same complaints already listed on the NHTSA website with transmission stutters and loss of power on acceleration. Towed to Ford dealership and it was found that the transmission control module had shorted and had to be replaced. The Ford Focus electric version has already recalled the powertrain control module for similar problems as a possible safety issue. This needs to be recalled also.

- Rockwell City, IA, USA

problem #165

Apr 152013


  • 25,600 miles
Shuttering and stalling upon tends to roll backwards for no apparent reason on slight incline. Speed acceleration and speed deceleration at random times. Car hesitates badly when accelerating on to on ramp to merge with interstate traffic or to pass a vehicle on the highway. It's luck of the day if you accelerate and actually live or get hit when car shutters and hesitates. Good luck Focus owners.

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #164

Jan 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


The transmission "skips, flutters or just not kick in" when moving from a stopped position to an accelerated speed. Seems like the transmission stalls out and then grabs. It does it quite often and I was almost rear-ended on several occasions so far by this hick-up in the transmission. I am going to take it back to baxter Ford in omaha and see if the problem can be fixed or not. They may get the car back.

- Milford, NE, USA

problem #163

Apr 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 665 miles
I purchased this vehicle on March 21, 2012 and first took it into the dealership April 4, 2012 because the transmission boggs for the startup 0 to approximately 20 mph. This created a safety hazard when pulling into oncoming traffic because the vehicle had no power, especially when in a stopped position. Passing vehicles was unsafe if you were in the lower gears of the transmission due to lack of power. Another safety hazard is that the vehicle drifts backwards when I take my foot off of the gas pedal, as if it was a standard shift transmission. This was especially dangerous on a hill or a grade. This vehicle also drifts backwards when you put your vehicle in park and release the brake pedal, causing danger to pedestrian or vehicles behind you. I have taken this vehicle back numerous times since I have owned it for the same types of problems with the transmission (now at various speeds) and drifting backwards. The dealership has made numerous adjustments and changes to the transmission, but to date this vehicle basically remains, in my opinion, a safety hazard. To date, Ford company states that all of the above has a reason and states that it is "normal" for this new type of transmission. In my opinion, this transmission evolved to save gas, not lives.

- Mercer, PA, USA

problem #162

Jan 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated while driving, the car would violently shudder and shake, a grinding noise could be heard in the front of the vehicle and it stalled intermittently. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The dealer stated that the control module was defective and a new seal was installed. The dealer repaired the defect; however, a day after picking up her vehicle the failures persisted. While driving she also heard a "clucking" noise in the same place she previously heard the grinding noise. The vehicle was towed again back to the dealer who stated that they could not find any defects she "just have to get use to her vehicle". when the contact drove the vehicle home the transmission over warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000 miles. Updated 04/17/14 the consumer stated the transmission was replaced. However, the shudder continued. Updated 05/20/14

- Tarzana, CA, USA

problem #161

Nov 282012


  • 16,500 miles
I purchased Ford Focus used- one year old- with 16500 miles. Three times it stopped as I was turning left in oncoming traffic. One time I backed up and it would not go into gear. Other times it would not shift gears on hills or on ramps two times on my steep driveway it came out of gear. Brought to shop numerous times - told nothing was wrong repeatedly. I got rid of car after 13 months and took a financial hit but now I am driving a safe car. The difference is amazing and I am simply driving a Chevy Cruze so not an expensive car in comparison. Focus is dangerous to drive!

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #160

Feb 052014


  • 36,148 miles


The transmission would not downshift and the RPM raced to 6500rpm with out increase in speed.

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #159

Aug 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,892 miles
My car has almost gotten me in 3 accidents and it rolls back on hills I was pulling into a drive way and it started to roll back then it slowed down and there was a load noise and we started rolling backwards it was just a drive way. The car has absolutely no power at all it stutters and when you are driving in busy places and your car wont pick up enough ton enter on the highway or freeway its scary and its unsafe it will shake the whole car when it pulls back and stutters. It is awful and I went on a 3 hour drive to go on vacation I actually rented a car instead of taking my brand new car that I got to last me years fro now was the plan if it makes it another 1 year I will be surprised very dangerous Ford.

- Moreono Valley, CA, USA

problem #158

Jan 102014


  • 12,000 miles
After about 30-45 mins of driving the car will begin to shudder going from 1st to 2nd gear. It occurs most noticeably driving from a stop. I have brought my car in numerous times and have been told numerous excuses. At this time it is getting annoying, however it becomes a concern when turning onto roads because it does not produce any power during this time. Its only a matter of time before a accident occurs because of this issue. There needs to be a recall on the transmission on the 2012 Ford Focus. Updated 03/25/14 also, an oil leak was found, the vehicle would shudder in reverse and it felt as though the traction control was engaging.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #157

Jan 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
We took our car in yesterday because the engine kept lurching and stalling. They said it was the power train, and that it was a problem with the computer. The berge Ford dealership reprogrammed the computer, and today when I got in the car the radio was on. I just unlocked it and opened the door, and the radio came on. The key was not in the car at all, and the only thing I did was unlock it with the remote and open the door. I did not have this problem prior to them "reprogramming" it to fix the power train/transmission problem. Then when I started to drive it the engine seemed sluggish and it seemed to be lurching again, but not stopping for an instant like before. So I went from having transmission/power train problems, and a seat belt problem to having them both with a computer problem added in... I'm not a computer engineer, but when a piece of equipment has hardware problems it would make sense to replace or fix the hardware instead of reprogramming the software. I'll be taking it back in, and while the computer is out of warranty I think I should be able to get them to look at it and fix it without charging me because they caused the problem.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #156

Oct 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
I was slowing down to pull into a freeway on ramp turn lane, and the car suddenly lurched. It kept doing this over the course of 3 months on and off when we would drive at slower speeds. We took it into the Ford dealership, and they said it was a computer reprogramming issue. They reprogrammed the computer today, but I'm extremely doubtful that it's going to fix this based off of what other people have stated happened to them. They jerked around with us and told us that it was in warranty for the power train, but if it was anything else we would owe $110 for them to just look. We bought the car used in September 2013, and had problems with it starting in October 2013. It had 43,000 miles on it when we bought it, and has about 47,000 now. My last car was a 2004 Hyundai elantra, and it had very few problems for the 9 years I had it. I only stopped driving it because of a semi-truck driver's illegal actions that totaled it. I regret wasting my money on this piece of junk.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #155

Oct 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,335 miles
Transmission shutters causing whole car to shake. Acts as if the fly wheel is glazed over and clutch can not engage properly, this is turn caused a body vibration making a loud vibration noise. Ford knows of this problem and has yet to have a recall to make a permanent fix. Ford replaced a clutch pack in my car but the design is flawed - this will happen again and at my expense. Ford agreed to extend my warranty mileage but not the time in which use said mileage. The original warranty was 60K or five yrs. Now its 100K or five yrs, two of which are gone. Increasing the mileage does nothing for me the warranty still expires at the same time. Ford is well aware of this problem in the fiesta and Focus models. I'm a professional mechanic for over 25 yrs. I've talked with several Ford shops and they are very aware of this issue. I spoke with the owner of the dealership I bought the car from and he even stated that was the no.1 topic at a Ford convention in vegas this yr. This is simply a poor design and Ford wants the customer to pay for it. My car stared this problem around 13K and Ford has been yanking me around for another 13K before putting in the replacement parts that are no doubt going to fail again. My gas mileage in town went from 33.5 to 24.5 and this was also acceptable to Ford - not me. This needs to be fixed right away before a total transmission failure kills someone.

- Avon, IN, USA

problem #154

Feb 072012


  • miles
I went to the Ford dealership where I bought my car the first few weeks I had it. It rolls back when on an incline. The dealership says this is normal because the transmission is like that of a standard to tap the brake and it should stop rolling. It still does it on inclines am still not convinced that its "normal" for an automatic to do that, but if no recall for this problem at least other readers will be informed.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #153

Dec 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,250 miles
The vehicle "popped" out of gear and became unresponsive to throttle. It took the vehicle about 20 seconds to recover. This is the 4th occurrence in 6 weeks.

- Richland, WA, USA

problem #152

Nov 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
This is an ongoing problem!!!! my vehicle vibrates when trying to accelerate from a complete stop. It hesitates and does not want to accelerate and it appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.when pulling of from a stop position sounds like a rattling or something making a cranking noise. Also car stalls at times. Taking off from stop sign car stalls when gas is pressed. My car rolls back when taking off from an incline and a flat surface.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #151

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have had numerous issues with transmission and electrical problems with my vehicle. I have had it in for service about 6 times in the past year. Car shifts hard, when driving, sputters, and even once stalled out in the middle of a intersection. I had these issues from day one with the vehicle but was told the cars computer has to "learn" how you drive. Electrical, the locks sometimes works, or the doors lock when they aren't supposed to. Key fob doesn't work sometimes. This is something that is ridiculous and Ford Motor Co. Should do something about it. My car has 27500 miles on it and runs like it is 15 years old! my warranty is up at 36000, so then all these issues become the consumer problem even though Ford is aware this is an issue they are having and won't recall until someone gets hurt or killed.

- Mt. Washington, KY, USA

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