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 34 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Jul 082011

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


I bought this car Ford Focus SE 2012 in July 2011 and the day after that I felt and heard weird noises and vibration when automatic transmission changed gears. I went to the dealer and I was told that the car was operating within Ford specification so it was normal and after a few miles it will desapear. It continue getting worse. At 2500 miles I went to the dealer again but they said again that the car was operating within Ford specification. At 6500 miles the weird noises and vibration were still there and service engine light turned on suddenly and the gears didn't shift. The car was towed to the dealer and they told me that the computer didn't record any error or problem and that the car was operating within Ford specifications. After some delay they changed the dual clutch in the transmission but it was worse. At that time the car had the same weird noises and vibrations and shakes a lot while idling. I applied lemon law and an independent mechanic tested the car and saw and felt the problem. I went to the arbitration in better business bureau and they tested the car too and saw and felt the problem. The person from Ford didn't go to the arbitration, they were on the phone. I won the case and this next Monday February 6, 2012 I have to go to the dealer to receive my money back and return the car. I live in Florida and I applied lemon law in this car. This Ford Focus SE 2012 is a lemon car. About the seat belt problem, when I'm driving, if I unbuckle the seat belt, the warning light doesn't light on until about 1 mile later. Also after I first start the car, if I wait for about 10 minutes with the seat belt unbuckled, the warning light turn of and if I drive the car with the seat belt unbuckled, warning light doesn't light on for about 1 mile. I think this is a safety problem too. Gbya :)

- Weston, FL, USA

problem #9

Jun 302011


  • 1 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that pressure was applied to the accelerator pedal and the vehicle lost power and began jerking abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failure. The dealer reprogrammed the electronic computer for the transmission but the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but the vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 1 and the current mileage was 8,500.

- Center Line, MI, USA

problem #8

Jul 062011


  • 9,000 miles
At between 8000 - 9000 miles on the odometer, car started having transmission problems. When accelerating from a stop, car would reach approx. 8 mph and instead of shifting up to next gear, went into neutral for 3-5 seconds, then proceeded to upshift and take off at a lurch. The check engine light came on and when I stopped, the reverse gear was also like being in neutral. Now it is several months later, the car has had the transmission replaced by Ford ( has spent nearly 10 weeks at Ford service). Since the replacement transmission, the car doesn't "fall out of gear", but now when stopping and starting the car feels like it is going to stall out. This behavior is disconcerting given the history of "falling out of gear" when trying to accelerate and merge in to traffic. I feel this vehicle is a safety hazard.

- Center Point, IA, USA

problem #7

Jul 042011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 650 miles


I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus hatch. As soon as we drove the car we noticed the difference in the transmission. The sales man said he didn't feel it and that the car had to learn our driving habits. Don't think a car learns 2 different driving habits as there are 2 of us driving it. But at low speeds either accelerating or decelerating the car shutters and shimmies way too much for our comfort. It seems this is an electronic problem but we thought we'd bring it in to have a trained tech look at it. The first attempt was a new module and that should fix it.... it didn't... so in a second time for a remapping of the computer...didn't for a third time and the tech says Ford is not allowing any fixes on this car... we have to wait! really" wait? I bought a brand new $21,000 car...... an automatic car! I been told it has to learn how I drive... I've been told it needs broke has 5000 miles on it now how long does it take to break in? I'm told that it's as if I am driving a manual and this is normal.........hello!!!!! not a manual. I'm told this is just how this transmission reacts... and along with the shuttering is the hesitation upon accelerating that could cost me my life on a busy highway............... the remote key lock has confusion issues. It doesn't always recognize the signal and it has to be opened or locked manually. All I want is a fix and if there is no fix I want to be able to implement the lemon law on this car........ I expected more from Ford for my 30 plus years of loyalty. After all isn't that what has kept Ford going? all of us loyal customers that stayed with them thru the hard times" my family has bought over $100,000 in new Ford cars and trucks and plenty of used ones as well. I really am sad that Ford hasn't stepped up on this one and I am so sure I am not alone. Listen Ford execs..... we are paying attention!!! thank you!

- Chalk Hill , PA, USA

problem #6

Sep 012011


  • 2,500 miles
After a week of purchasing our brand new Focus started noticing the automatic tranny surges and slips. Like its bucking feeling. Sometimes it surges almost hard enough to put you on the dash. Kinda scary in traffic. Car has only 4500 miles on it and now has electrical problems in dash and upon going down the road you will vibrations like a bent axel or worn bearing. Its a new car!!!!!!!

- Mccarley, MS, USA

problem #5

Jun 012011


  • 20 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parked, he attempted to shift from park to drive and the vehicle jerked backward. There was also a grinding noise while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics, where the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The technician also stated that the failures were normal and would stop over time. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 20.

- Greensberg, PA, USA

problem #4

Sep 232011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80 miles


Whenever accelerating from a stop there is a shudder in the power train as if the car is going to stall. After shifting into second gear the cars moves and shifts smoother. Possibly dangerous especially when pulling into high speed traffic from a stop.

- Woodstock, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 112011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
We bought our Focus earlier this year and immediatley noticed stumbling on acceleration and rough idling. The car feels like it's going to stall when it taking off from a stop or when making hard accelerations. We took the car to the dealer the first week of ownership to have this looked at, but Ford told us it needed to break in and that there were no error codes when they ran a diagnositc. The probelm has never been fixed although the symptoms were confirmed by the shop foreman. The second time we took the car in as the shuddering was worse, the dealer had it for over 30 days and put 700 miles on the car to no avail. We have all the paperwork documenting their testing and the dates they have had the vehicle. A rep from Ford came out to take a look at the car as well during this time, and once again told them this was normal and would go away. We now have about 2300 miles on the car and it is only getting worse. We have filed a claim through Ford Motor Company for a buy back on the car due to safety concerns but we were denied as of today, and also told that the car does not qualify as a lemon in the state of California. They have set us up for another appointment to go back to the dealer and see what they can do. Before filing any complaints, we did research to see if others were having a simialr issue. There are multiple forums of people having these same issues (the best site to visit is Upon reading about everyone elses troubles, no one seems to have gotten a resolution and we feel that this next appointment we have set is really a waste of time. Seems that Ford is sweeping the problem under the rug and has no solution for this issue. In conclusion, we do love the way the car looks, rides, and all the great amenities Ford has put in it's vehicles but this is a definete safety issue that is not being addressed at all by Ford Motor Company.

- Cameron Park, CA, USA

problem #2

May 012011


  • 180 miles
This vehicle has some scary and sometimes dangerous transmission issues. It's not like a normal automatic with a torque converter, so some roughness is expected. But, this car often grinds gears, slips, grabs and lunges, and also rolls back on inclines. I have nearly been in several accidents when I have tried to accelerate into an intersection and the vehicle doesn't respond to the accelerator being depressed completely to the floor. It sometimes acts as if you are trying to start from a stop in 3rd or 4th gear. Ford motors has continually said these problems are normal and the vehicle needs some break-in time. Well, this vehicle now has over 6,000 miles. I don't think it's going to get better. If I get into an accident because of this, there are going to be some serious problems to handle with Ford. I know I'm not alone in these problems. I have been on forums with many people having the same issues.

- Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #1

Aug 202011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
We purchased this car on 08/19/2011 and the next day while taking off from a stop sign the car would shudder, I do not have this issue when the transmission is cold but in stop and go driving and normal city driving after it has warmed up. Also when you depress the accelerator from a stop the vehicle will go for a second then have a nice sized flat spot so even the people in the car will go forward as if the brakes were coming on. I took the vehicle to the dealer and the tech drove it and verified that it did have this issue. They contacted Ford and Ford stated that it was normal and told them to do nothing. I complained to Ford customer service and all the lady had to say was that it is normal. Also Ford had stated that these are isolated incidents, if they are indeed isolated then they cannot be considered normal but rather a defect that Ford does not want to address. I was told that the clutches require a break-in but Ford does not state any break-in procedure that pertains just to the clutches other then the normal 1000 mile break-in for the vehicle in general. I and others I have communicated with all have these issues after the 1000 mile break-in and feel it is both a safety issue and a mechanical defect from Ford that would cost to much to repair so they claim it is normal.

- Chino, CA, USA

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