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:
47,842 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 32 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #45

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


On 8/27/2012 I drove off the car lot with 7 miles on my new car. I noticed a little bit of rough shifting as the day passed. On 8/28 the car started bucking and jerking during acceleration. There was little power on inclines. The problem progressively got worse through the day. I set up an appointment to drop off for service the next day. Took in for service on 8/29 and was told that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The car had 187 miles on it. On 8/30 I was told the car was fixed and I picked up my car. Within a few miles the problem was back, but worse this time. I had some slight noise coming from the engine when the car was bucking and jerking. It almost stalled on a busy highway in rush hour traffic several times while on my way back to the dealer. It was struggling. The car is back in service with 220 miles on it. Now they want to keep it for at least 3-4 days. 8/31 I was asked to drive the car with the mechanic to see if problem would reoccur. With the exception of a kick while pulling out of the dealership, the car drove ok, although we only drove around a block together. Sales manager says that if the mechanic can't find any further problem, then I have to take the car back into my possession since it's my car. He says that sometimes things happen and I have to deal with it and let the mechanics do their job. I've had the car in my possession under 30 hours since I purchased it on 8/27. The car also has an issue with rolling back on an incline.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #44

Apr 282012


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that once he shifted to drive and attempted to accelerate, the vehicle started to shake and lunge forward. The contact also stated that when the vehicle shifted from 1st gear to 2nd gear it hesitated and made a loud grinding noise and independently reverted back to 1st gear. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and was told that this behavior was normal and provided a letter from the manufacturer instructing the dealers not to repair those failures. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 16,000.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #43

Aug 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,225 miles
Recall done --not fixed abc control system. Still rolls back at incline. Accident parking lot stopped shifted from drive to park (thought) open door stepped out car started rolling back jumped back in not to get run over to hit brake pedal. Front door open hit parked truck (accident) destroyed my drivers door with major damage to door and some damaged to parked truck. Had friend in the passenger sit and saw what happened. VIN# [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #42

Aug 222012


  • miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the engine began to vibrate and make a lot of noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that a part in the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was not available.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #41

Aug 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,400 miles
My vehicle attempts to stall when stopping or when, from a standing position, attempts to stall again. The vehicle has shut off when the low fuel light turns on and I mean immediately. The vehicle will fail to turn on in the mornings at times. It will take a few turns of the key and then it will start.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #40

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,800 miles
Vehicle rolls back after I begin to accelerate when I am stopped at a red light. I did receive a recall notice that had this type of problem listed. Vehicle had about 4700 miles on it. I took it in and they claimed that they fixed it but it could take up to 6 months for the "adjustment" to take place. This did not sound reasonable to me but they would not do anything further. This is definitely a safety issue when you are stopped in traffic.

- Hornbeck, LA, USA

problem #39

Dec 072011


  • 350 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the transmission began to hesitate in a jerking motion and the vehicle stalled. The engine restarted and the vehicle was able to resume. In addition, on a separate occassion the transmission warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel for a few seconds. The failures occurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer eight times for the same malfunction. A diagnosis was performed in which a trouble code was not detected. The computer system, ABS, and drive train were reprogrammed more than one time. The failure persisted and the dealer was unable to resolve the problem. The manufacturer and dealer stated that the vehicle functioned as designed. The approximate failure mileage was 350.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #38

May 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
I am an owner of 2012 Ford Focus. My car rolls back every time I took my foot off the brake on a hill. It rolls so fast! it's really unsafe and scary; especially I have my 4 year old daughter riding at the back seat. I went to the dealership last month but the issue was never solved. The service man told me that it is normal for the car with automatic transmission to roll back when you're up the hill. I never had this kind of issue with my other cars before. I hope Ford will do a recall for all 2012 Focus.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #37

Mar 282012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact was uncertain of the speed being driven when approaching a traffic stop signal. When the brake was applied the vehicle began to roll backwards for a few seconds. The failure occurred whenever at a complete stop. The manufacturer offered a customer satisfaction program regarding the unintended rolling issue. The vehicle was repaired and the failure recurred. The vehicle had not been diagnosed for the most recent failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100.

- Archbald, PA, USA

problem #36

Sep 012011


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle rolled backward whenever he removed his foot from the brake pedal while stopped on an incline. The failure occurred while the vehicle was shifted in drive. The contact also stated that the vehicle once rolled backward as much as fifty feet. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and an unknown recall repair was performed that addressed the failure. The failure continued. The manufacturer did not offer any assistance. The failure mileage was 11,000.

- Bartow, FL, USA

problem #35

Apr 172012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 284 miles


Purchased a new 2012 Ford Focus with automatic transmission in April, 2012. Immediately experienced low speed transmission shifting problems and also discovered complete free roll backward, unending, until hitting level ground and/or hitting an object while rolling backwards on an incline, even while in gear. This is a serious safety and driver liability issue. Dealership has re-programmed transmission on a technical service bulletin without success. Dealership had me test drive another 2012 Focus thinking it would not demonstrate the same safety problem...and to their surprise..the test drive vehicle they gave me also performed the same way on the free rollback while in gear. I believe the fundamental problem here is that Ford has designed and manufactured in the 2012 Focus line a standard/manual transmission (poorly shifted by software and dysfunctional on the free roll back issue) and is marketing it to all consumers as an automatic transmission. Service department acknowledges that it truly is a standard/manual design. The window sticker and sales process misrepresents to the consumer that it is an automatic transmission. This may constitute consumer fraud on a national level leading to either class action litigation, total recall and/or individual cases of litigation. I am considering all of the above as the problem remains and has not been rectified.

- Brownsburg, IN, USA

problem #34

Jul 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
The trunk lid is out of alignment the vehicle shudders at acceleration major suspension work required do to engineering and production engine shudders and clunks when shutting off rough idle and engine misses. Problems are inconsistent.

- Berryville, VA, USA

problem #33

Apr 122012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 451 miles
This is a ongoing problem with my Focus. When accelerating from a stop the Focus's automatic dsg transmission (in D) will quickly shift to a higher gear in an effort to minimize fuel consumption. During a stopped turn at a intersection this leads to a unsafe condition where commanded acceleration takes several seconds to happen. The problem happens like this: The car accelerates at a stop sign or parking lot. The car accelerates to 10-15 miles per hour. The driver lets off the gas during the "turn" part. The transmission shifts to second or a higher gear. The driver then commands a large acceleration - say due to oncoming traffic - and nothing will happen for several seconds. This is because the dsg transmission needs to shift sequentially into first and this takes several seconds. Also it appears that the powertrain is disconnected while this shifting takes place. When the transmission finally selects first the acceleration can be sudden and unexpected. This has happened to me several times and I believe it is a dangerous condition. It can be avoided by manually selecting first - then shifting to D when the turn is complete. The car jerks, shutter.jumps, misshifts, rattles. The car has been back 3 times and reprogram 2 time tbs, ABS.PCM. This car is junk and need be fixed.

- Mechanicville, NY, USA

problem #32

May 202012


  • 4,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when he applied the accelerator from a stopped position, the vehicle stalled and nearly caused crashes while in traffic. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 4,800.

- Moriarty, NM, USA

problem #31

Jul 022012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
When accelerating car jumps or hops violently. Engine makes grinding/chattering noise when changing gears. Experience roll back when on a slight incline. Power shift 6 speed is not safe. Have trouble crossing lanes of traffic for the jumping/launch judder problem.

- Lebanon, VA, USA

problem #30

Mar 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 250 miles
Since day one of the purchase of my (March ) 2012 Ford Focus the steering "feels" like it is constantly wandering, after an hour drive time, your arm is give out from the stress. My car also seems to have a flutter in the transmission or engine during take off. The car will also roll back while stopped on an incline. The dealer checked steering the 4th day after purchase and assured me the steering was fine, that it was new & tight. I did recieve a recall on the transmission to upgrade or modify some type of chip. I cannot tell any improvment since the upgrade. My wife & son hate to drive my car because they are afraid of the steering and rolling the way it is an automatic transmission---I have never experienced this on any vehicle that I have owned in the past.

- Arkadelphia, AR, USA

problem #29

Feb 142012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,917 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact started the vehicle and the vehicle accelerated rapidly even with the brake pedal engaged. The vehicle failed to slow down and crashed into a cement wall. There were no personal injuries. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. In addition, the manufacturer issued a customer satisfaction program under reference number 123B7 (transmission control module) and after the recall repair was performed, the vehicle rolled away with the gear in park. In order for the vehicle to remain stationary, a block was placed against the two rear tires. Also, a strong antifreeze odor emitted inside of the vehicle and an oil leak was visible on the ground. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 12,917. Updated 08/23/12 updated 09/24/2012

- Portersville, PA, USA

problem #28

Apr 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,500 miles
I was driving on freeway at 5 mph due to traffic and all of a sudden my 2012 Ford Focus shut down with no warning it sort of scared me because didn't know why? I said ok maybe just a coinsidence but to my surprise. It happened again on freeway since thats my daily route was going 45mph and again turned off I took to get serviced since I drive from riverside to burbank everyday thought maybe needs to get serviced and mentioned to fellow a Ford but said well if it happens again bring it in and will check it out so I said ok well hopefully not but it happend for 3rd time and I was going 70 mph and almost got in an accident thank god no one was next to me had to stop because it turned off completelty but this time said transmission on screen so I took it to Ford and I explained everything to them because I'm scared I'm not gonna make it home to my family again because going at 70 mph on freeway and all of a sudden car shuts down imagine how scared I was..... the people at Ford checked it out and took it for a drive on freeway and said it was fine nothing came up but hello it doesn't happen everyday they explained they checked other Ford stores to see if they have heard of such problem and supposedly it hasn't but I'm reading some of these complaints and I see some are related so I need to find out wht to do because I honestly do not feel safe driving this car. Just thinking when am I going to crash or die. Not fair that they don't want to see the problem so what needs to happen for them to do something for me to die.... I don't even let my wife drive it because it is not safe.....

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #27

May 102011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 69 miles
I bought the 2012 Ford Focus sel on May 5th 2012. The car has had both front struts replaced, at 69 miles!! the car jerks and refuses to go when you give it gas after being completely stopped, I was almost hit pulling out onto a busy road because the care would not go!!!! the transmission needs to be replaced in this car, however grey daniels Ford in brandon Mississippi will not do that, so I have driven this vehicle approximately a week and a half since buying on May 5th, the rest of the time it has been in the shop. Ford should have to fix these vehicles correctly. Stop putting a bandaid on the problem and fix it already!!!! I guess they'll wait until someone gets killed because of their neglect to do anything about the problems.....but then who knows that might not even get their attention. I will never purchase another Ford vehicle, that I can guarantee!!!

- Brandon, MS, USA

problem #26

Jun 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,126 miles
The vehicle was parked. I started it up and backed out of the parking space. I shifted into drive and began moving forward. After going approximately 20 feet the "I" sign illuminated on the instrument panel and the message "steering malfunction, needs service" came on, along with the alarm jingle. I tried to steer the car out of the middle of the drive lane and managed to get it over to the side, but the steering was practically frozen. I turned off the ignition and looked for any obvious signs of trouble, but could find none. After reading through the owner's manual and checking the engine compartment, I restarted the car (about 20 minutes after I shut it off) and no warning sign came on. I test drove it in the parking lot for a minute to see if the steering would function properly and then drove home and experienced no further problems. I took it to the Ford autoway dealership for inspection and they diagnosed the problem as stemming from an ABS "corrupted" program. They told me the epas gets it power through the ABS. They rebooted the ABS program and I've had no further problems.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

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