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 4 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #610

Apr 032016


  • 61,000 miles


Car hesitates when at low speed; terrible grinding noise when going uphill especially when stop start on a hill. Gears slip while driving; I have owned and driven manual transmissions as well as automatic transmissions that can switch to manual but never experienced anything like this. Today my car would not start: All the interior lights came on just fine- definitely not the battery. Error message on the dash said "parking assist malfunction" - this ended up to be..... the transmission control module. There is definitely something wrong with the way these transmissions were made.

- Nanticoke, PA, USA

problem #609

Mar 012015


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at various speeds, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted. Approximately 30 seconds later, the engine stalled and did not restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the control module and the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired five times, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was inoperable. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 40,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #608

May 152015


  • 13,000 miles
The transmission jerks and will not shift to gears

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #607

Mar 272016


  • 44,000 miles


I bought the car used in July of 2014 with about 23,000 miles. Shortly after buying the vehicle, I experienced the transmission making grinding sounds and shuddering during acceleration. Generally after the vehicle is warmed up and been on a drive. A reprogram was done and I went back to the dealership for the same problem a few weeks later. At this point, with about 30,000 miles, a new clutch and plates were installed. The vehicle performed fine for about 5,000 more miles. The shuddering and grinding noises have returned. The transmission has been reprogrammed twice since the new clutch. I currently have about 45,000 miles. Ford will only reprogram or repair the vehicle if the shudder is outside of a certain range and attempts how to explain this is normal. I am still under factory power train warranty but it is like an act of congress to get the issue resolved. This is a recurring problem and I have been to the various dealerships at least 5 times for help. The transmission will sometimes jerk and struggle to accelerate. Really concerned about my safety and others. I have had this issue from about September 2014 to the present day.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #606

Mar 232016


  • 96,000 miles
Since the introduction of dual clutch technology, beginning with 2012 Ford Focus models, there have been numerous documented cases of transmission problems. At least two recalls were to address the sluggish shifting. In my case the transmission has never functioned adequately, however I never experienced total failure. On March 15th, in heavy interstate traffic, the transmission experienced a failure. The engine warning light illuminated and the car would not propel forward, even in drive. I turned the vehicles ignition to off then on. That reset the system and I drove home. Now just yesterday, March 23rd, the same thing occurred, however this time I had to tow the car to a Ford service shop. In these events the warning light illuminates and the dashboard indicators flash. The car then idles and shakes failing to propel forward. This is a major safety hazard and I am reading this is a common occurrence with this model year. Serious injuries can occur with this type of failure while driving in traffic congested areas. Ford has not adequately addressed the issue and no resolution exists at this point. A class action lawsuit is in process against Ford due to this issue. This is a very serious matter which should be addressed aggressively and promptly. The vehicle was in motion on an interstate expressway. Note the recalls for their automatic transmission.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #605

Apr 012015


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle hesitated and "pull over for six minutes" was displayed across the message board. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic on multiple occasions who diagnosed that the transmission and multiple other parts needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 14,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Louiseville, KY, USA

problem #604

Mar 182016


  • 44,000 miles


The transmission on this car is horrendous! I frequently experience severe grinding and shuddering when accelerating and have experienced complete stall outs when turning/merging onto roads and lanes. It is absolutely unsafe and have brought this up to the regional manager of Ford during my current complaint with them. Their response? that it's my fault for how I am driving the car. I am waiting my 3rd clutch replacement due to a 3-5 week backorder due to the frequency of this issue but it's somehow my specific driving causing the problem. Worst of all is that their own service rep admits to this being a patch, not a solution. I will experience good performance for 2-3 months and then the problems will begin again.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #603

Mar 192016


  • 89,900 miles
Got in my car on a Saturday morning to go to work. Noticed the transmission was shifting very roughly. As the day progressed, I noticed that when it shifted into 3rd, the RPM's would jump from 3500 and take a while to go back down into 2000rpms. In the afternoon, cranked my car up and now my check engine light is on. The shifting has gotten progressively worse. What makes this even worse is I have already had my transmission control module replaced once. I took it into the dealership on Monday after not driving it all day Sunday. I noticed as I got on the highway to get to the dealership, as my car shifted into 5th or 6th it went from 3500 RPM to 4500 RPM. I am afraid to drive this car! got to the dealership finally only to be told they are 2 weeks behind on transmissions and that they can't look at my car till at least Thursday. I have the extended warranty and won't be able to get a rental till they diagnose it. I will never own another Ford. This is unacceptable!

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #602

Aug 012013


  • 25,888 miles
Takata recall. My 2012 Ford Focus has multiple transmission issues. Including overheating issues, transmission seizure all while in motion in a straight direction on city streets and interstate highways. Constant vibration, shifting in and out of overdrive and shifting gears at the wrong moment. This has put not only myself in great danger but the passengers in my car and of course other drivers near by. I have been told it is being caused by the transmission control module which, to my knowledge, as stated by the dealership has been both reprogrammed and in some cases replaced due to damage of some sort. Replacement or reprogramming the (tcm) has never cured any issues. I've been going back and forth between Ford Motor Company and my law firm with this nonsense to no avail to date. My attorney has written a letter and called Ford Motor Company stating my concerns and Ford responded with a small list of instructions as to what to send to their company (from the written letter but the phone call message was ignored). I followed every instruction Ford gave and since then nothing further has been addressed by Ford and I am still driving this very questionable product produced by Ford. This issue is a problem for many 2012 Ford Focus owners. I am asking that Ford steps up and takes responsibility for this known and dangerous issue before someone gets hurt or killed. Ford seems to not care about their current customers and shows little respect for others as this vehicle (and many others) is still being driven. I have been a loyal Ford customer for over twenty years and now I am being disrespected and ignored. Evidently, Ford's customer service leaves little to be desired as well. Ford, I am asking you to step up and own your responsibility, as it seems to me and many others, your company is failing. Restore faith in american auto makers and do the right thing.

- Merrillville, IN, USA

problem #601

Mar 172016


  • 72,000 miles
1st time - car died on the highway and wouldn't drive. I took it to the closest dealership which was joe cooper Ford. Said that they couldn't cover a rental and reprogrammed the control module and said it was fixed. 2nd time - car died again so took back into joe cooper because they said they fixed it the first time. Checked in by adam (rude) and went and got rental again. Dealership covered this time. Car was there for 7 days before I had to call to find out what was going on and I was told that adam who checked me in took no notes and it had been setting there not being looked at. Finally was looked at after 11 days and told the clutch test was "not bad enough" to warrant it to be fixed under warranty and we would do out of pocket. They also said "we were not used to an automatic and not used to a standard because this car had an automatic clutch for its standard option". 3rd time - took in and they recognized me and said right away we can't cover this rental and they can't get to it for 2 weeks. I called Ford Motor Company to get help. At first I was told the same thing but asked for supervisor and received a call back 3 hours later that Ford would cover only 3 days of the rental.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #600

Jul 052012


  • miles


My car has transmission problems. Every single time I start and stop the car shudders and hesitates. The car is unsafe to drive. Also the car's cruise control broke within 3 months of owning the car, it was fixed and then broke again a month later. And hasn't worked in 2 years. This car is junk. I have taken it to three different Ford dealerships and they refused to fix the problem. They would tell me there was nothing wrong with the transmission it was the way I drive. Every time I took it in for the cruise control Ford would tell me that they were unable to fix the problem because the cruise was working that day, when it never worked for me. They refused to fix the problems and I finally ran out of a warranty and gave up. I don't have the money to pay to have this car fixed when I bought a brand new car I college to not have to worry about getting work done to a car. This has been the biggest disappointment and I just want them to be recalled. Ford owes it to all the customers that are currently stuck with this car and paying big money for a car that doesn't work. I don't not feel safe allowing my family in the car because it is too dangerous to drive. It stresses me out on a daily basis having to drive this car and never knowing when it's going to stop working. I have been having there problems since I bought the car in July of 2012.

- Oak Harbor, OH, USA

problem #599

Mar 152016


  • 69,359 miles
Vehicle failed to move after transmission malfunctioned at 69,359mi after a few minutes the vehicle was operational enough to move off the highway to park it for the night.

- Magnolia, DE, USA

problem #598

Oct 272014


  • 43,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle felt as if it were jumping in and out of gear. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be reprogrammed. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred several times. The transmission jumped out of gear and the vehicle could not be driven. The vehicle was towed. It was diagnosed again as needing a new transmission module and clutch. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure kept recurring. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, extended the warranty, and placed an emergency order for the parts. The contact was informed the parts would not become available for a few weeks. The contact also wanted to file a complaint against Ford Motor Company because she was unsatisfied. The failure mileage was 43,500.

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #597

Mar 092016


  • 40,000 miles
Even after reprogramming the transmission control module, the car continues to present bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, and delayed acceleration, as well as lurching. Today, the transmission control module completely failed to start the vehicle, although all other electrical works.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #596

Feb 222016


  • 62,000 miles
Shuddering of engine between gear. Lose of power when accelerating. Red lines when trying to accelerate between first and second gear.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #595

Feb 262016


  • miles
On 2/25/16, after a severe rainstorm, I went to turn on my car and tried to turn on the wiper blades, but they would not come on. The next morning they did turn on. That afternoon, when starting my car, the wiper blades turned on without the control being activated. The blades continued to run even when the car was turned off and no keys were in the ignition. The only way to stop the blades was to disconnect the fuse from the box. This has happened twice when I was not aware of this and my car battery was dead when I went to start the car. I cannot use the wiper blades at this time as they will not turn off. According to Ford Motor Co., this is not covered under the recall on the wiper blades since my car is out of warranty. I have had my car in the dealership to repair the defective clutch and it is still not repaired due to Ford Motor Co not sending out the necessary parts in a timely manner. My car is shuddering and jerking when accelerating and changing gears on all types of roads. I have had this issue since I bought the car brand new. The cruise control on my car works intermittently. When the battery is disconnected and then reconnected, the cruise will work for a few days. Ford technicians could not diagnose the problem. This has been a problem for as long as I have had the car.

- Clanton, AL, USA

problem #594

Feb 292016


  • 155,000 miles
The first time was going down 93 in boston area with my family the car went into transmission failure why I was in far left lane the car wouldnt go over 20 and I had to cross over to the far left lane to treach the breakdown lane. Luckily my family was not in accident because it could've have been far worse. It did the same thing a second time when I was going down 293 area going to a doctor appointment. This may end up killing my family if it doesn't get recalled and fix. We don't have extra money to be repairing it ourself every time it decides to do this.

- Barnstead, NH, USA

problem #593

Feb 172016


  • 125,000 miles
Car dies on highway while driving. Fuel system and sensors seems to be failing or fell apart inside the vehicle it will not show appropriate fuel levels. It stuttering after filling up to full tank. Vehicle is very dangerous to drive on a highway to work when fuel system is failing. Many complainst have been filed on other automitive websites and forums about this exact fuel system issue. Collapsed fuel system / fuel guage I just purchased this car 3 weeks ago and my previous Pontiac Grand Prix 2006 gave me less issues than this Ford Focus. Something really wrong is here with Ford, I think they have gotten to a massive point they believe they cannot be held responsible for there mistakes or recalls since they are too tied into the dependecy of all the people.

- Donna, TX, USA

problem #592

Feb 242016


  • 31,000 miles
I've already had problems with the transmission (recall issue) that causes the grinding and jerking of the vehicle...and still have to address these. But just this week my blinkers started coming on (when I turned off my motor), and some alarm started sounding until I started up the car. Really, really concerned at this point! not a safe vehicle. My second Ford Focus (my 2003 was a dream!)...wondering what went wrong in the factory!

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #591

Aug 212013


  • 28,000 miles
Shuddering, and bucking on take-off. Hesitation and delay in acceleration. City streets, from intersections, and worsens while turning a corner and gently accelerating. Known transmission issues with this model. Problem is constant, and continuous.

- Bremen, AL, USA

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