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 5 of 34)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #585

Feb 062016


  • 106,000 miles


For the last two years, our vehicle has had several episodes of violently mis-shifting, into a final loss of accelerator use. This happens many times when we are on rural or highway, and at differing speeds of up to 70 mph. We have brought it in for all regular and irregular maintenance to luther North country Ford in coon rapids, mn. They first said it was how the "new transmission worked", they then said it was the tcm codes, then the clutch was replaced. Then the only time they got codes from the car, we had to pay 1200 dollars because it wasn't part of the recall, but less than a month later, we had the same symptoms. Every time they "fix" the problem it happens again, sometimes months apart, most recently it was less than 24 hours after they replaced the clutch. They themselves have admitted they have no idea of how to truly, permanently, make the car safe to drive, but continually allow us to pick it up and drive away. We have trusted them with everything and the assumption that they are giving us a true and honest try when working on our car. Now we have applied for lemon law, only to find out that we do not qualify for that because we have trusted the dealer and Ford, extending over the warranty/lemon law refund period. My wife just made the last payment on this vehicle, and now (as we have been for some time) we are afraid to drive it, I am used to having to put on the 4 way flashers once a day to pull over when it stops accelerating. If it was something like the washer fluid sprayers didn't work I wouldn't care anymore. But we can't drive it, we can't resell it. We are reasonable people, but feel we've been robbed of 23,000 dollars with no where to turn. What can we do going forward I have every service invoice ever for the history of the car, but I don't have a scanner, I can mail them if needed please.

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #584

Jan 252016


  • 25,300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. When placing the clutch in reverse, the vehicle failed to move. The failure recurred twice. The engine warning light illuminated. In addition, while driving 60 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate and stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 25,300.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #583

Feb 012016


  • 108,000 miles
I have had transmission problems shortly after I purchased the car. It has had seals, clutch tmc replaced and also a instrument control panel at my expense since they said I was out of my 3 year 36,000 mile warranty. I had the car at the dealership several times without receiving any paperwork only to be told transmission was fine and that's just the way the new cvt transmission shifts. Car has always has a heistation on take off role backwards on inclines and shudders like crazy! my wife who owns a 2014 Ford escape refuses to drive the car complaining she doesn't feel safe in it. Just took it back to Ford week of feburary 1st and they are now telling me the seals and clutch need to be replaced at a cost of $1500 to me as it is out of warranty. The clutch was replaced in November of last year at 93,000 miles. I drive 480 miles round trip a week to work not including grand kids sporting events. I feel Ford has sold me a car and now want to punish me for the miles I drive. I have some paperwork from the dealership on what work they have done. Someone please make the dealship and Ford Motor Company responsible for this poor quality transmission they are passing repair cost on the consumer which should be ashamed of and allowed to do.

- Ripley, OH, USA

problem #582

Jan 262016


  • 28,743 miles


Ongoing issue on acceleration car shudders, bogs down, jumps forward, also hear a grinding/crunching sound. I have had my car in to the dealer numerous times and I am always told this is normal. I have written to Ford and they refuse to correct the problem. In regard to the question below when did this happen? it has been happening since I bought the car in 2012 but since I was not able to enter that into the box I entered the last date I brought it in to the dealer for this issue.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #581

Feb 092016


  • 76,682 miles
Clutch was recall and it was replaced by local dealership installed Nov 2015, gillette wy, and now transmission gave out, dealership stated that it needs an overhaul.

- Gillette, WY, USA

problem #580

Jan 282016


  • 35,000 miles
This is for the selectshift transmission. My vehicle has had multiple transmission shuddering issues in the past, once in 2013, and then again in Oct of 2014. The issues were "resolved", but on Jan 27th, my transmission jumped and my check engine light came on. Jan 28th, my transmission stopped working all together while driving on the highway, almost causing an accident. The transmission disengaged and would not engage with the car decelerating to a stop. The transmission control module failed this time, and the clutches were supposed to be replaced as well. The clutches were not replaced like they were promised and I am awaiting for them to get scheduled and sent in. I do not feel safe driving this vehicle.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #579

Jul 132012


  • 2,172 miles


Purchased vehicle in June 9th 2012, after a week of driving I noticed a vibration when the car was shifting from a dead stop to second or even sometimes into third gear and reported this to bill knight Ford. Service manager went with myself and wife for a test drive and said this was normal and if it persisted bring it back and they would try and resolved the problem. We took this back time and time again and was told Ford was working on this problem, finally I insisted that this problem be repaired. I took my car in and bill knight replaced the clutch and this resolved the problem for about a month, when the problem came back it was much worse and it effected my gas mileage and the vibration turned into a heavy shutter at times. My wife started getting headaches and with her having surgery on her neck I started wondering if the Ford Focus was giving her the problem. I suggested this to the service advisor and he just did not even write this down. My wife has had 2 epidural since the first repair and I have talked with the service manager and sales manager about this problem. The sales manager wants me to trade the car in but I think this car should be repaired with a new warranty on the drive train or I be given a new car to replace the defected one. Ford should also pay for any and all of my wife's medical bills including pain and suffering, and my lost time from work while she was incapacitated. I really think bill knight Ford should be put on notice for selling cars that they had prior knowledge that were defective.

- Sand Springs, OK, USA

problem #578

Jan 202016


  • 61,000 miles
I have been having transmission issues with my 2012 Ford Focus. We purchased the car brand new off the lot it had 4 miles on it when purchased. Not even a year after purchase we started having issues with the gears not wanting to shift properly. We sent car to dealership for repair. It was fixed for a while up until recently and we have been trying to get it fixed since. I got into a wreck because my car bogged out at a redlight causing me to get stuck under a redlight and being hit while occupying the road. My car has been at dealership ever since. They called us about one week after the wreck to let me know that the recall for the transmission module had been fixed and they drove it and everything checked out fine. So my husband goes and gets the car and it breaks down on him not far from leaving the dealership. The car just completely quit shifting and bogged out and RPM shot up way high. He had to leave on the side of the road. So here goes trip 3 back to dealership for repairs for the same thing that has supposed to had been fixed. Why has the government issued a recall on the transmission for these cars. They are not safe to drive. Something needs to be done.

- Tallassee, AL, USA

problem #577

Feb 042016


  • 28,000 miles
The vehicle has had issues with the transmission for the past couple years. They started around 28,000 miles. It has been to the dealership 4 times for repairs, including fixing internal components and replacing seals. Today I took it again and was told that the clutch assembly has to be replaced and there is a 3 month wait for the necessary parts. The vehicle jerks and sputters when accelerating and has difficulty shifting in low gears in particular. This creates an unpleasant and potentially dangerous driving experience for all involved. After researching today I understand this has been a known issue with this model for years and there has still not been a recall, although there is a class action lawsuit. I find it absurd that my repeated trips to the dealer for repair have only provided for temporary, cosmetic improvements while leaving the known defect in place and that now that they are actively acknowledging the larger problem there is a 3 month wait to have the proper repair performed.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #576

Jan 302016


  • miles
Since purchased new, every 15K-20K transmission failure. 5X changes, now at 85K same issue, transmission jerks hard, doesn't shift. In addition, even with the extended warranty, they are claiming part of the clutch system is not actually covered only a portion of it.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #575

Feb 012016


  • 86,000 miles


The transmission on my vehicle has failed multiple times while driving the vehicle. While driving at idle speeds, the car shakes. The transmission failed while I was turning in an intersection and stalled. It then lurched forward and continued to function in a lurching and jerky manner. Just yesterday, I could not slow the car while traveling at 50 mph, despite pressing the brakes, due to the erratic behavior of the transmission. This lurching, jerking, erratic behavior is extremely dangerous and could potentially be deadly. I have had the transmission worked on a total of three times. Each time, the dealership told me that the problem would be fixed. This is highly irresponsible for Ford to ignore this issue and continue to put customers in harms way. This is an inappropriate way to handle a life-threatening issue.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #574

Jan 312016


  • 45,100 miles
Happening intermittently after a complete stop, highway city and residential roadways the transmission exhibits what appears to be slippage causing a delay of the vehicle to move and accelerate in a manner that I would consider to be safe. This behavior goes back to 06/2012 at that time my transmission clutches were replaced and now again the same problem is happening. After taking the vehicle in for service on 02/01/2016 I made the dealership rep aware and was told it would be looked into. After picking up my vehicle I was told that the "transmission was operating normally at this time" I was also told that Ford has an acceptable amount of slippage considered acceptable and my vehicle was considered "normal" I again explained that this defect occurred intermittently so a tech was not likely to encounter it in a test drive. I do consider this behavior a safety concern and this is the reason that I am filing this report.

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #573

Oct 312013


  • 59,324 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 35 mph, the engine light illuminated that the transmission was hot. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that a faulty seal in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. In addition, when the vehicle was parked on a hill, it drifted in reverse. The vehicle was repaired twice for the same failure; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 59,324. Updated 04/26/16 updated 09/06/16

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #572

Nov 112015


  • 22,511 miles
Power-shift 6 speed transmission. Erratic clutch changes, grinding, hesitation, unwanted gear changes is heavy traffic lower gas mileage. After 3 software updates (January 2013, December 2014, August 2014, Nov 2015), and a parts clutch replacement (December 2014), the car still does not run properly. Car worked fine for a few days, then went back to the same problem. Ford admits that the Focus clutch assembly is defective and on 12 November, 2015, Ford agreed to replace it. However, I am in the 10th week of waiting, and still no clutch. I must use my vehicle and it is getting worse every week. Ford says there is no recall, only a software update. I have noticed that the internet is filled with other Focus owners with the same problem. Even the mechanics at my Ford dealer feel the cars are getting more dangerous as they age. My wife is afraid to drive the car and I have begun to use the manual shift option instead of the drive option.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #571

Jan 052016


  • 78,288 miles
My car has been shuttering and jerking and shaking does not shift into gears and the car dropped and will accelerate by its self. This is an ongoing issue since I bought the car in 2014

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #570

Jun 102015


  • 50,000 miles
I have taken my car in for service 16-18 times for problems with the sync and the transmission since I bought this car. I have had both the sync module and the transmission module reset repeatedly and finally replaced. I have had the clutch replaced twice in two years. The worse incident and the reason for the second clutch was because the car's transmission failed completely while I was driving approx. 45 miles an hour down a very busy two lane city road. I was able to pull over, turn off the car and restart the car and got about 3 miles from home and it failed again. I was literally in the turning lane for my subdivision and it failed again. I had to have the car towed from my house. I was lucky I was not involved in an accident. Ford refused to buy back my car when I requested it. I have copies of my service records as does Cherokee Lincoln Ford of alpharetta, ga.

- Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #569

Mar 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the transmission began to hesitate in a jerking motion and the vehicle stalled without warning. After waiting ten minutes, the vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The vehicle was repaired under the manufacturer's customer satisfaction program where the transmission control module was replaced; however, the transmission continued to exhibit hesitation after the remedy was performed. The contact mentioned that the rear exterior passenger side door failed to unlock until after numerous attempts. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 45,000. Updated 04/08/16 the consumer on a regular basis, while the vehicle was running, passenger had a difficult time exiting the vehicle. The door locks were difficult to unlock. The consumer had to press the door lock repeatedly before they would unlock. The consumer also stated the vehicle would stall at times at intersections. Updated 04/14/16

- Afton, NY, USA

problem #568

Jan 162016


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle began to decelerate unexpectedly while driving on the interstate at 65 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the vehicle was safe to drive. Days after the failure, the key was inserted in the ignition and the transmission malfunction and check engine warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was not returned to the dealer to be diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was approximately 84,000. Updated 04/20/16

- Las Angeles, CA, USA

problem #567

Jun 052015


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that there was a random failure in which the various instrument cluster gauges flashed and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer more than five times, but they could not duplicate or remedy the failure. The manufacturer was notified and provided no solution to the dealer for months. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

- Burbank, IL, USA

problem #566

Jan 122016


  • 60,000 miles
Clutch slipping; 60200 miles on the car. Clutch is slipping as was confirmed by my mechanic. The clutch has to replaced and Ford will not fix it. No reason the clutch should need to be replaced this soon. I have had other manual vehicles where the clutch lasted 150K or even 190K miles. Clearly a faulty design and or product. Buyer beware

- Clifton, VA, USA

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