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 28 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #130

Feb 142013


  • 4,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle independently downshifted as it vibrated abnormally. The contact continued to depress the accelerator pedal but the vehicle failed to respond. The vehicle did regain speed as the contact coasted along the highway. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection or repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 4,000.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #129

Apr 012013


  • 7,000 miles
Metalic grinding noise is heard when accelerating at slow speeds. Transmission shifts at approximately 1500 RPM and between 10-25 mph, griding noise is heard for a few seconds, then stops. As car proceeds into next gear, if RPM drops to 1500 and speed again between 10-25 mph, grinding noise is heard. I have taken the car to seraphin Ford in vernon, they claim to have driven the car without hearing the noise. A separate date, I took the car to seraphin Ford, drove a mechanic in the car, but the noise was faint and mechanic could not hear it. Sometimes the sound is faint, other times sound is loud. No rhyme or reason. I have read much on the internet about this exact issue with 2012-2013 Focus power trains. I am convinced there is a problem that Ford is not addressing. Also, power train lags and flutters often. I have learned to drive very "gently" to prevent lag/shutter/surge when driving. I have noticed when using cruise control at highway speeds, if I attempt to adjust the speed using the steering wheel controls (to advance speed), the engine takes off, RPM climbs very high and the engine roars. I have to completely shut down cruise control and start over again. It can be scary at highway speeds to have the engine race like that.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #128

Oct 202011


  • 100 miles
Car has serious lag issues you give it gas and the transmission just doesn't go. Really bad when you have to get out of the way in a hurry. They have worked on it and say it's fine. Unfortunately I am a woman and tend to be brushed off. I do know there is something wrong with the car.

- Carrollton, KY, USA

problem #127

Sep 162013


  • 51,526 miles


I drove approximately 1/8 of mile this morning and I stopped at a blinker light. When I proceeded to make a right hand turn, the vehicle lunged, clunked and the gears disengaged. None of the gears worked. I could not move forward, backward or even put the vehicle into "park" because it would roll backward down a slight incline. I had to engage the parking brake in order to keep the vehicle from rolling backwards down the hill. There was not a warning light, engine message or anything. The vehicle quit working and would not move in any of the gears. I had to coast the vehicle backward to a safe location, out of traffic. After turning off the car and waiting and restarting the problem has persisted. It was towed and is currently at the dealership awaiting repair. I have also experienced the "drift back" that other consumers have experienced and I am not sure if this is related, but this is still a relatively new car that should not be experiencing these types of problems.

- Cochranton, PA, USA

problem #126

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while coasting downhill at 20 mph, the vehicle down shifted and was close to stalling. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal to prevent the stalling but the vehicle then accelerated independently and crashed into another vehicle. A police report was filed however, there were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 35,000. *updated 09-18-13 the consumer stated the vehicle was declared totaled.

- Veron, NJ, USA

problem #125

Sep 022013


  • 1,500 miles
As I was driving all of a sudden a display stating "stop safely now" came on. I pulled over and the car would not go any further. I had to completely turn it off, open and close the door, and restart it to make it go again. It has happened 3 times now in the past few weeks.

- Sierra Madre, CA, USA

problem #124

Oct 312012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 800 miles


I purchased this vehicle new in August of 2012. It had 10 miles on it. The day after I bought it I noticed some hesitation upon acceleration after stopping at traffic lights. It wasn't too bad, but as time went by it began to get worse. After a couple months, it stalled on me when I slowed and another time I was almost hit by another car as mine stalled again in a busy intersection. It was due an oil change so when I made the appointment, I also mentioned the stalling and hesitation. When I dropped it off, the technician claimed he could not duplicate the problem. Of course he was not driving in the same condition I drive in everyday. I was advised to drive it until the next oil change as the 'computer' had to adjust to how I drive. Needless to say, it did not adjust to how I drive. I drove it and the hesitation continued, it also began to choke out in reverse. When I returned for the next oil change, still complaining, I was told they would have to 'reteach' the computer. They kept it a couple days before I got it back. It ran so-so for about a week and began again. I filed a complaint on the Ford Motor Company site (which is a joke) and was contacted by a district rep. Arrangements were made to return the car for 'updates' and a 'relearn'. this time they kept it a week. When I got it back, I did not drive it much as I was off (teacher - off summers). When I returned to work in August, and started driving it every day, it was even worse then it was before. Now it won't climb a hill (and I live in the mountains!), it shudders, rattles, loses powers going up hills and stalls in traffic.this time they kept it 2 weeks. I drove it one day and it started all over again. When I called back I was told I had to wait 2 weeks to drop it off (2 cars ahead of me with same problem) and they would look at it again. However, they have done all they can do.

- Sevierville, , TN, USA

problem #123

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The Ford Focus 2012 is a true lemon! it runs rough jerking movements esp in low gear. It has lack of acceleration. I bought this car new and have had it to the dealership four times only to be told its all normal for the 2012. However I feel its not normal! my last visit I was handed a sheet filled with '' normal'' things to expect! the dealership refused to allow me to trade it back in. I wrote to the Ford Motor Co and I only got a very nice lady who just kept saying oh I am so sorry. They along with the willis Ford dealer in smyrna de acted like it was just me with this complaint. After viewing the pages and pages of complaints most like myself I can see I am far from along. What can be done ? so far I see nothing being done about this serious problem.

- Smyrna, DE, USA

problem #122

Aug 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 21,000 miles
The vehicle began shifting very poorly at only one and a half years since purchase. Brought it to the dealer and explained the severe shaking and shuddering upon acceleration accompanied by a very loud metallic grinding sound. It was test driven and told immediately that it needed to be addressed. Was told that they had to contact Ford directly to get the fix for the error code. Was told that they loaded the update for the trans. And that it was now driving appropriately. Not even two weeks later it is back at the shop with even more severe shuddering and feeling loss of power (still has a metallic grinding noise). Was told that the car needed 1K miles after the update so that the trans. Could "relearn how I drive." I did not accept this so the advisor at my dealership produced a list of normal operations and began to explain the type of transmission the Focus had. I told her that I was fully aware and accepting of the occasional hard shift or roll back on hill as was customary with a 'manual' transmission, but that this was much worse/different. Received a phone call today that the technician test drove my car and that he "could not replicate the complaint" even though it happens 95% of the time when I drive it. I am not even sure that they have looked at my transmission or merely attached it to a computer/test driven it. Will continue to bring the car to the dealership until this is resolved or the trans. Is recalled.

- Huntington Station, NY, USA

problem #121

Jun 252013


  • 2,250 miles
I purchased a new 2012 Ford Focus ev on June 7, 2013. Twice (still in June), while driving at speeds approximately 50 mph, the "stop safely now" warning came on and the vehicle lost power. Both times I was able to restart the vehicle within a couple of minutes. I made sure to note all the indicators to provide the Ford service techs as much information as possible. When I brought the vehicle in to be serviced, the technicians professed no knowledge of the issue and contacted Ford for support. They could not repeat the issue and the car had no log of the events. Finally, I was told the problem was a faulted power control module (PCM). Unfortunately, this part was on a national backorder for 6 weeks (probably as a result of the known problems). After the part was finally replaced, I was told that the PCM would not program correctly, and that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. End result, I have my vehicle back, just in time to take it back for a recall. At least it hasn't stalled ??. yet.

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #120

Jul 082013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 27,900 miles


Transmission fails at 27900 miles on July 8th, 2013, while driving on the highway (gears don't shift), dangerously coast to the side of the road to a stop, car towed, dealer replaces the whole transmission; 1 month later, on August 14th, 2013, same issue occurs while changing lanes on highway and accelerating to do so, car suddenly refuses to change gears, car slows down to 10-15 mph (gears don't shift), dangerously coast to the side of the road, car towed, dealer re-programs the transmission; on August 19th, 2013, 3 days after the second fix, transmission fails again, car towed, dealer replaces computer modulator, re-programs transmission. We do not trust this car anymore, we do not believe it is safe, and we will seek to return it to the manufacturer and get our money back.

- Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #119

Jun 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle failed to accelerate normally as the accelerator pedal had to be forced down in order for the vehicle to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic diagnosed the vehicle as the clutch assembly needing to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 1,800. The current mileage was 3,000. Updated 11/19/13 the consumer stated the clutch assembly was replaced on 8/5/13. The vehicle continued to buck and shake during acceleration at low speeds. As of 11/6/13 the vehicle continued to shake. Updated 11/25/2013

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #118

Jul 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle was unable to shift. The contact stated that the automatic transmission was performing as if it were a manual transmission. In addition, when the contact would shift from reverse the drive, the transmission would omit first gear and engage into second gear erroneously. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic stated that the failure was contributed to the manner in which the contact was operating the vehicle. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 300 and the current mileage was 17,000. Updated 12/20/13

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #117

Sep 242012


  • 15,000 miles
Transmission sticks in high gear, will not downshift properly; car nearly stalled on interstate and almost caused two separate accidents. Had to pull car over, turn off engine to reset the transmission's "ai" (as it was stated by a Ford transmission specialist). Despite numerous 'updates' by Ford (3 now) problem persists, and has become progressively worse with each update. Gears constantly stick, do not down-shift, or up-shift properly, and those were confirmed by a Ford transmission specialist. This is especially true when using sport mode but happens in drive as well. Ford ensures me that nothing is wrong. I am a professional engineer associated with the automotive industry, and I disagree. Statute of limitations won't let me claim my brand new 2012 Ford Focus titanium as a lemon under the 'lemon law', but it should be.

- Oak Creek, WI, USA

problem #116

Jun 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
We bought our car with only 7 miles on it. Shortly after the car started rolling backwards when sitting on a hill or stop light. Called the dealership and they stated to bring it in. Well it was explained to us that the car had a standard transmission and that this was normal. So we left. Then I was sitting in the driveway and our grandchild got out of the car when I put the car into park and it rolled backwards knocking him over. Called them again, got the same answer. Then the car started to stay running after the key was taken out. Also it was not running well. This was just 2 months later. Took it back got the same answer. Well called the owner with no response. We have since then taken the car back for the same issue and still get the same answers. Now there is a new problem, always finding oil on the motor. So took it back in and they explained to me that someone was driving the car with two feet. That's why the transmission was still skipping. Well I am the only driver of the car and I only use my right foot. They said they put a die into the oil to see where the leak was coming from and when I went another 1000 miles to bring the car back. Then I get a call from them and had an appointment. They put new bolts in our valve cover and cleaned all the oil up. Here it is we have had the car over a year and still are having such trouble with it. So I hope that hopefully soon that this dealership makes good on this car. Just went again this last month for the 12th time and still getting the same answer. But I do not have a standard car, I have an automatic.

- Oakland, ME, USA

problem #115

Aug 312013


  • 6,099 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus electric vehicle. I have had it for less than nine months. In that time, we've had the "stop safely now" message six times. When this message happens, you have no option...the car shuts down completely, regardless of where you are. Three times this has happened in traffic, without warning. Today was the seventh time the "stop safely now" message appeared, stopping my car in traffic at a very busy intersection. So far, the response from Ford has been minimal, they don't really seem to know how to fix it nor does the dealership seem too concerned. All instances of this message seem to occur while breaking.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #114

Aug 242013


  • 39,000 miles
Since we purchased the vehicle, it seemed to stutter when trying to go from a stop. I was told that this is normal for this transmission. But on August 24th, the transmission started to have even more problems. First the vehicle was having a hard time accelerating past 20 mph. Then it started jerking back and forth, lunging to and fro. It was not shifting gears like it should have, and it felt like it was going to stall, so complainant had to pull over to avoid an accident and allow fast moving traffic to pass. After traffic had passed, complainant turned around to go back home, jerking and lunging the whole time going less than 20 mph. After leaving the car sit for several hours, the vehicle started up again, and seemed to be operating normally. However now the vehicle is having a harder time going up hills, and has trouble coasting. Feels like something is dragging it down. This could be very unsafe, as the problem is not predictable, and could potentially cause an accident. A 2012 vehicle with 39000 miles should not be having transmission problems already.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #113

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
We first noticed when we bought the car that it was jerky when accelerating, was told that is the way the car drives. Went on a road trip and trying to accelerate to expressway wouldn't go just revved then jerked out into traffic, we almost got killed and had to go to the shoulder to avoid accident. This happened multiple times and was very unsafe. We got to the point we were afraid to drive it, cause we didn't know when it would just rev and jerk or if it would actually work properly. It didn't matter if you just started and tried backing out or were on the road, the problem was constant. That is very dangerous on the road and you don't know when it will happen. Took to dealer on July 6th and my car has been there since, it is now 6 weeks and they are replacing transmission clutches, there is a backorder of over 8,000 clutches, which means that many people have taken their car in and there is no recall for this car and we have no idea if the car will be repaired. The manufacturer of these parts does not have any in the warehouse and Ford is estimating Sept 7th which we doubt. This car is very unsafe cause you do not know when the transmission is going to shift.. I think there should be a recall. As of right now we have filed complaints and no longer want the car back. Reading blogs we have discovered that there are still problems with the transmission on the 2012 Focus after repairs. If you have this problem, file a complaint and maybe there will be a recall. They will not give you a rental unless you have an extended warranty which we luckily do, otherwise we would have been paying for a rental for who knows how long. Ford sold these cars knowing that this was a problem because it was revised for the 2013.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #112

Oct 082012


  • 9,000 miles
Car started on the right side of the car windows stopped working and the lights started blinking. Dealer replaced right side module. Then next was the blue tooth stopped working and the whole touch screen blacked out. Dealer replaced sync module and new touch screen. Next was the wipers coming on by there replaced wiper sensor. Next was the door locks surging without a key in and dash cluster floating. Dealer replaced drive module. Right now the transmission is not working properly. I am just scared the death that the car is going to catch fire while driving the car.

- Temple, GA, USA

problem #111

Jun 082012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,148 miles
Have had issues with this car since after purchasing it new on 12/31/11. 06/08/12, 7148K mi, car shifting at incorrect times, car would jerk when shifting, and roll back at times on flat surfaces and at traffic stops. Also car would shutter. Service repair, open recall PCM for incorrect shift/jerking. 10/16/12-10/17/12, 10437K mi, car would make a grinding noise, noticed mostly when turning, but not always only when turning. Sometimes car seems like it was a manual snubbing out. Also the mpg indicator would not fluctuate and stayed at 29.9mpg, had been stuck at 29.9 mpg for a few months. Service repair = replace both front springs and bearings. 11/05/12-11/07/12, 10950K mi, last repair did not fix the grinding noise. Makes this grinding noise also when taking off from a stop. When shifting from 1st to 2nd gears. Service technician said they could hear it sometimes, but could not figure out what the problem was and instructed me to keep driving the car until it made the noise enough for them to determine the problem. 05/15/13-05/17/13, 13514K mi, car would have trouble accelerating, was jerking when taking off from stops, made grinding noises when shifting gears. 06/12/13, 14103K mi, since clutch replaced car rolls back, on a flat surface and my car almost rolled into the car behind me. 07/17/13-07/18/13, 16007K mi, when car shifts gears it is jerking really badly, causing passengers upper body to jerk forward away from their seat. Shuttering and the car makes a bad grinding noise when shifting. One instance I was accelerating from a stop, and got half way through first gear and the car stopped accelerating. Car accelerating behind me almost rear-ended my car. 7/18/2013, 16043K mi, shuttering still there. As I eased off the accelerator to merge into traffic, the car continued to accelerate for several seconds after removing my foot from the accelerator. Safety issue!

- Green Bay, WI, USA

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