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 27 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #150

Nov 202013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


Driving home on interstate 73mph trans shifted to neutral had to get off interstate before getting ran over with my speed decreasing. Turned car off cranked back up trans worked again took to dealer in jackson, tn golden circle Ford they said trans PCM needed to be reprogrammed and was fixed drove home today 11-22-2013 did exact same thing not good and not safe when you lose trans power at interstate speeds car now back at dealer waiting to see what they come up with this time. I am a ase certified mechanic and work on vehicles for a living this one still under 100,000 mile warranty but has serious and dangerous problem something needs to be done please help I apparently am not only one with this issue apparently this trans is junk and no one knows how to fix it so should be changed to something they know how to fix I drive 145 miles per day to and from work all interstate this was suppose to be a proven dependable vehicle that is why I purchased it also for the gas mileage which is good but now not feeling so safe driving it.

- Humboldt, TN, USA

problem #149

Nov 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 15,860 miles
While traveling down the interstate there was a sudden loss of power while pressing the gas and hesitation when power finally returned.

- Fountain, CO, USA

problem #148

Oct 222013


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle failed to shift into gear. The failure was recurring. 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 the dealer where the technician diagnosed a transmission failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Manesa, AZ, USA

problem #147

Dec 012011


  • 300 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly shifted into neutral. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle shook violently, began to function normally, then shifted into neutral again. The contact also stated that the failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 300.

- Euless, TX, USA

problem #146

Dec 072012


  • 5,000 miles
Car shutters and hesitates upon acceleration from a stop. Very concerning when making a left hand turn because you don't know for sure if the car will make the turn. I have read many posts about transmission failures on the Ford Focus. The car is not safe to drive.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #145

Nov 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 95 miles
Since the purchase of the vehicle, the transmission rattles, shakes, loud bang, stutters. I took it to buena park Ford where I purchased it from, they said it's adaptive learning and will be ok after 2000mi. Still had issues took it to my local cerritos Ford dealer, they could not fault a defect. Took it back to cerritos Ford, they replaced the clutch assembly, was a little better but got worse after driving a few thousand mi. I took it back to the dealer, they confirmed defect and did resets of the transmission and stated good for now. Again a little better but slowly now worse than ever. I took it back to cerritos Ford today, the service rep would not even listen to me, just kept saying it's normal, he did not even want to check and confirm my complaint, just kept saying they are educating their customers on the Focus and fiesta's transmission. I told him it's not normal and safe, to just at least look into my complaint put it in writing if you thing it's normal. Each of the last four times they did confirmed and tried to fix the defect. I am worried as the car was for my daughter who will be driving in a few months. I find it very unsafe as it stutters jerks and does different things and you can't determine what it will do next. They replaced the left strut was ok for a few weeks, then I took it back and they replaced the right front strut. I told the rep it's really loud now enough for him to clearly hear it. He tried to tell me the noise is part of the transmission and it's normal. I explained to him it's over bumps and to at least test drive it. He said he is trying to help me and does not want me to have the car not available to me for use. I told him I don't care how long it takes I just need the car fixed. Today is mon which I did make an appointment for, he said he will call me on fri. I think I am just being played around and the car is a lemon. Please help.

- Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #144

Jul 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles


Vehicle vibrates when trying to accelarate from a complete stop. Hesitates and does not want to accelarate. Appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.

- Weslaco, TX, USA

problem #143

Oct 312013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,400 miles
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, this is an ongoing problem.

- Hazlehurst, MS, USA

problem #142

Sep 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
The automatic transmission sputters, jerks, and feels like it's going to stall. I have complained to the dealership about this since the day I bought it. The dealership has done several updates to the software and it has not improved. They have told me this is normal, it's not! it has trouble getting into traffic because of the sputtering and jerking. It's only a matter of time before I get into an accident because of this transmission. This board has plenty of the same complaint. How many people will it take getting killed before there is a recall? when will they invest this matter, hopefully before someone does get killed. The touchscreen also does odd things also, but it's not dangerous. One time the volume on the radio was on full volume and I couldn't turn it down. I turned off the car and after a couple of minutes it still came on full volume, it finally stopped the next day. Twice the touchscreen didn't work at all for two days. The dealership replaced the touchscreen and it still does odd thing, such as turns on random radio stations. They need a major recall on this car.

- Warminster , PA, USA

problem #141

Oct 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
When acclerating from a stop or a slow speed car shutters and vibrates. Was returned to Ford for reprogramming. That did help rollback on hills but not transmission shutter.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #140

Jun 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,012 miles


This car has had transmission problems with the dual clutch automatic transmission it will shudder when changing gears, rollback, come close to stalling. I took the car in to be "reprogrammed" back in June of 2012 it drove okay with only minor hiccups with transmission until October 20, 2013. The car has less than 22,000 miles on it and the car is now not shifting properly. I put the car in drive and it was like I was still in neutral, once it did get going then it did not shift into 2nd gear properly. The car is not safe to drive. I will be taking back to dealership once again to reprogram hopefully at no charge. This car is a lemon and needs to be on a mandatory recall.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #139

Apr 012013


  • 28,000 miles
The vehicle has a nasty shudder when you first accelerate. I took the car to Ford and they replaced the clutch and some seals in the trans. Now, at 44,000 miles the shudder is back.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #138

Dec 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Vehicle has a constant shuddering and power loss when applying the accelerator. It has a tendency to feel as if it will stall out. Was almost rear ended when trying to pull into traffic bc of poor throttle response. This is a known issue and Ford refuses to address this issue. Search the internet and it is obvious. This vehicle is a hazard to drive.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #137

Mar 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Ford has a serious problem with this transmission. It jerks and hesitates. Several times I have almost been hit while pulling out into traffic when the car will suddenly jerk and hesitate. This transmission needs to be recalled and replaced. Someone is eventually going to die because of this dual clutch transmission. Every time we take it in they "reprogram" and now are replacing the clutch. I have driven others as rentals and they all hesitate to some degree. Clearly there are issues and Ford knows about it. The cars are not even being accepted for trade ins by many dealers (Toyota and Honda dealers locally would not take the care on trade in).

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #136

Jan 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission would exhibit a loud noise when the gear was shifted especially when it engaged in third gear. In addition, the engine rpms would abnormally increase. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who stated that the transmission was operating normally. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 37,701. Updated 11/12/13

- Streamwood , IL, USA

problem #135

Sep 292013


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the traction control warning light illuminated as the vehicle began to swerve independently before stalling. The vehicle was restarted but would only accelerate at very low speeds. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission control module would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 82,000.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #134

Aug 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,700 miles
I have only owned this 2012 Ford Focus for approx. 6 weeks. It has been hesitating, sputtering, and jerking upon acceleration and when driving at low speeds since the first day I owned it. At first it was intermittent but now it happens most all the time. When I stop and take off it feels like it is going to stall out. When on an interstate ramp I feel I cannot get up to a higher speed fast enough. I took it to the dealer for service. The dealer said that they would need to drop the engine, replace the seals (there is leaking around the seals) and replace the clutch. And, the seals are on back-order for 2 to 3 weeks! they say it is safe to drive and to let them know if it worsens (how can it get worse). They may say it is safe, but I sure do not feel safe or comfortable driving this car. I have read hundreds of complaints from other Focus owners on this same issue. Ford needs to recall these cars and listen to consumers. This is a defect that needs Ford's ownership. I have been in contact with Ford and have a case number. Thank you.

- Mount Jackson, VA, USA

problem #133

Sep 262013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
The car while being driven at low speed, in heavy traffic will shift into a lower gear allowing the motor to rev slightly, then as it engages the lower gear the car will accelerate abruptly. This happens when you are trying to move your foot from the gas to the brake. This happened several times in about a 20 min. Span. This has also happened while I was trying to park, causing the car to climb onto a railroad tie being used as a stop at the end of the parking spot.

- Danville, IN, USA

problem #132

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
There was an increasing variation in speeds as I tried to accelerate for merging onto major highway. Thought the floor mat was stuck under the accelerator pedal, but it was not. Problem continued at different times and different speeds. When I took the car in for service on 9/20/13, I described the problem to the service rep. He told me first that there was a service alert for this problem and would require 3 hours for the transmission to be re-programmed. I agreed to wait while the work was done. He returned shortly to inform me that there was a more recent service alert for this problem and that I would have to return at another time and leave the car for at least three days because it was likely the entire transmission had to be removed and re-built! and a rental car for that period would be at my expense since this is not an "official recall".this despite my having also purchased an extended warranty plan from Ford. I left the car at the dealership on 9/25/13 and got a rental car at my own expense. Later that day, I received a call from the service dept. Informing me that not only would the entire transmission have to be removed and repaired but the clutch would have to be replaced. It would take "at least 2 additional days" for these repairs", "if we get the parts in". I am now waiting to see how long it will be before I get my car back, while I pay for a rental car in the meantime.

- Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #131

Jul 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while at a stop, the vehicle jerked and failed to accelerate when depressing the accelerator pedal. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle would roll away when parked on a slight incline. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be replicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000 and the current mileage was 11,500....updated 11-14-13 the consumer stated she started hearing a knocking noise coming from under the hood, especially when going over a bump or in a parking lot. Around that time, she also started to realize the vehicle was rolling backwards on an incline, when she took her foot off the brake and then started to accelerate. It continue to happen on and off whenever she was on an incline. Also, when the consumer proceeded from a stop light, or stop sign, it felt as though the vehicle wasn't going into to gear. When it did, there was a stutter and the vehicle would hesitate, as if it were going to stall. While merging into traffic on the highway, when she pressed the accelerator, the vehicle wouldn't go into gear. The dealer updated the PCM and twice and replaced a strut bearing.

- Evon Lake , OH, USA

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