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 33 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #25

Jun 222012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles
New car...... this has happened 3 times since date of purchase 5/31/12.......... from a stopped position and accelerating to go forward the car would jerk forward, hesitate as if stalling....... last time it stopped dead in the middle of the intersection.............. told by Ford tech this is do to the transmission being controlled by computer chips............ car is going in for service today.

- Gibsonia, PA, USA

problem #24

Mar 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6 miles


Poor shift quality 6 speed dual clutch automatic.

- Poinciana, FL, USA

problem #23

May 012011


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While stopped at a stop sign, the vehicle was hesitant to accelerate as the contact depressed the accelerator pedal. As the vehicle finally accelerated, it jerked forward violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer approximately five times for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. There was a manufacturer's recall for an update to the transmission. After the update was performed, the failure continued. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 200.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #22

May 282012


  • 145 miles
I just bought a brand new 2012 Ford Focus and I noticed shudder or vibration when starting to drive. I looked at the internet and found a this a common complaint among Ford Focus owners. Please help us in compeling Ford to do something about this.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #21

May 072012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 150 miles
Transmission shifts erratically. Will not down shift when needed causing loss of control of the car. Car will also roll back when you stop if on a slight incline. There is a voluntary recall by Ford for this problem, however the remedies do not work. I have already had these remedies performed on my car over a year ago. The problems still exist. I expressed my concerns regarding these transmission problems over a year ago but Ford has taken the stance as to ignore them. Ford had prior knowledge of these problems and other problems on these cars before they were even introduced to the public. Ford chose to put sales before consumer safety. This transmission problem is a serious safety issue, what is it going to take for the NHTSA for them to make this a involuntary safety recall, people getting killed? I do not feel safe driving this car neither should anyone else who owns this car.

- Hibbing, MN, USA

problem #20

Aug 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


My car has been having issues with the transmission that Ford installed in the 2012 Ford Focus. The car shudders and hesitates on take off to the point of it stalling. The car has been in the dealership six times now. At this point Ford is installing new clutches and I will have to wait another 1,000 miles until these new clutches brakes in to see if the issue persists. I have read in forums and articles that im not the only person having these issues. Please help in any way you can.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #19

May 262011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,989 miles
While in drive, the auto transmission allowed the car to roll backward and hit the car behind me then lunged forward and hit the car in front of me. The hill was fairly steep as it was an off ramp from freeway at stop light. Car has been to dealer 4 times for this problem but I am told it is a normal condition.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #18

Mar 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 56 miles
On the drive home from the dealership, the day we purchased this car, we were stopping at a red light and it felt as though the road had some uneven surfaces. Turns out that it was from the car, the transmission was shuttering as we came to a stop. I was concerned but we were late and could not go back to the dealer. Well the car did it many times after that, sometimes on acceleration and other times while coming to a stop. It would not shift into first gear as I entered my driveway (it has a slight incline) and it would shutter all the way up. I took the car to the dealer and they ran an update from Ford. This helped some, but it is still shifting funny and making a funny noise while shifting from first to second. It shifts way too soon and is generally in the wrong gear. If you need to accelerate to merge into traffic there is a huge delay. The car seems to wait way too long before going down into a gear that will allow this to not be unsafe! I took it back to the dealer for an unrelated repair was given a 2012 Focus as a loaner, the loaner is perfect! it exhibits none of the problems my car does. This tells me this is not a normal issue. The car is still at the dealer, but I am sure the song and dance about my car is normal and my issues are normal are coming. I am not going to accept this explanation! I now know how this car should drive and mine is not driving normal. I researched this issue and there are many people dealing with this same problem.that means it is not just my car. I want Ford to acknowledge that there is an issue and fix it.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #17

Mar 142012


  • 315 miles
I bought a 2012 Ford Focus sedan a couple weeks ago the next day I noticed slow jerky shuttering accerleration when at a complete stop then trying to acclerate. I did not think of anything was wrong until I researched it online finding similar complaints this is a problem and now the car is at the dealership and they currently have it. Next there is a grinding noise while driving and turning sounds an example would be metal to metal on the brakes is the sound and last loose mirror when lifting the tab down to look at my daughter in the back seat the whole mirror goes down istead of slightly moving.

- Port Arthur , TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
My Ford Focus sel 2012 has been experiencing shuddering feelings when accelerating from stop. It feels as if the transmission is about to stall and then it kicks back up and jolts my cars back and forth for several seconds before resuming normal speed after 10 mph. These several seconds are vital when you are dealing with fast traffic in California or anywhere else for that matter. This created a delay in the acceleration time, almost causing an accident with oncoming traffic. I have contact several Ford officials about this and they keep saying that it is normal and that there is a break in period. Why was I not made aware of this when I purchased the car? this is a serious safety hazard and Ford is just excusing it until my warranty period is up. Two of my friends bought the same car and is experiencing the same issue. This is not an isolated incident and I would like to see proper action from Ford to address this issue professionally.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #15

Feb 282012


  • 5,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus 5,800 miles. The contact stated that when stopped on a hill and having to release the brake the vehicle rolls back wards. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer, and was told that it was natural for the vehicle to do that. They did not offer any other assistance.

- Waterloo, IN, USA

problem #14

Dec 092011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,200 miles
I have experienced several potentially fatal occurrences related to left foot braking and the brake over throttle override software installed in my 2012 Ford Focus. When braking with the left foot and in a turn while feathering the throttle with the right foot, the automatic transmission shifts into neutral, the engine continues to rev without going into any gear. This condition has occurred no less than 22 times. The first incident happened while making a right hand turn but the next was a left hand turn. Although the second incident occurred crossing one lane of traffic, I would not like this condition to occur crossing 2 or 3 lanes of traffic and becoming a fatality. I am not the only person in the world who brakes using the left foot. Now that I know what is causing this issue, I can duplicate it even braking at any speed and in a straight line. Car has been to Ford and had flashes of the computer installed with no change. Ford is aware of this problem through emails from the service manager at my dealership. This condition can result in a serious and potentially fatal accident. This fix for the so called Toyota floor mat problem has created an even more serious safety issue caused by of all things braking with the left foot. At the least, I should have the option to override the brake over throttle portion of the software by turning it off.

- Nixa, MO, USA

problem #13

Dec 012011


  • 10 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would lunge forward while changing gears. Also, while the contact attempted to accelerate with the vehicle in drive, the vheicle accelerated in reverse instead. The dealer was notified and diagnosed a leak in the transmission. The dealer repaired the failure but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 10 and the current mileage was 3,000.

- San Fransico, CA, USA

problem #12

Feb 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
While stopped behind red light all screen system, sync system, radio including sound system went black. Did not start over till next day in the morning and as soon as start the car errors after error came up for nav system, phone connection. Had to reset every thing. These errors are coming up every day. There will be risk of losing other system including air bag, power steering, break and other important system while this system going off. Took the car to dealer and service trained specialist told me that is my phone problem!!! after long drive when trying to take off car is shaking, there is big safety issue with seat belt. While driving, if for any reason unlock the seat belt there will be no warning light or warning sound that seat belt is off. If car is running and leave the car when you are back and start driving there will be no warning light and sound that seat belt is not in use and can drive all you want. After long drive while trying to take off car is shaking.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #11

Feb 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,897 miles
Failure caused car to drop speed and power while driving on the freeway which ultimately caused a safety issue with fast moving traffic. Ford code P0850:62-28-ipc.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

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