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 1 of 34)

problem #670

Oct 052016


  • 118,000 miles


Shortly after purchasing my vehicle the transmission started having issues. It has been "fixed" now several times. Currently at times when you accelerate the rpms will jump and the entire car will hesitate and vibrate. They have replaced the clutch packs a few times and the tcm and reprogrammed things several times and the issue keeps recurring. At times im not sure if the car is going to accelerate. The date I stated this happened is the most recent date that the issue occurred it has been happening since I got the car 4 years ago. What a terrible first brand new car ever.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #669

Oct 032016


  • 30,090 miles
Takata recall.chronic transmission issues with the powerpoint transmission and clutch; services 6 plus times in 2 years for the same complaints, the dealer updates the transmission or replaces the clutch then 3 or so months later the same issues arise. When in stop and go traffic or car is shifting from 2nd gear into 3rd there is erratic shifting, bucking, her king, lurching forward, hesitation when trying to pull into traffic. This car is chronically unsafe!

- Rockport, MA, USA

problem #668

Oct 032012


  • 1,200 miles
Since I purchased my 2012 Ford Focus with its "dual clutch" automatic transmission, I have had nothing but problems. It jerks, hesitates, has real trouble shifting in the first 3 gears. Ford has extended the power train warranty to 150,000 miles, maybe they know something is wrong. I have had the car serviced 10 times for the same problem. Mostly, they reset the computer or put in the same defective parts each time. No real solution has ever been presented to actually fix the car. The car jerks, downshifts, upshifts horribly. This happens from 1st gear thru 3rd gear. This car is the worst car I have driven and I am stuck with it because Ford will not help. Please help NHTSA to bring this huge problem to light. I guess I will have to get lawyers involved to get Ford's attention...

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #667

Sep 292016


  • 53,853 miles


While the car is in motion on a city street and I accelerate it jumps, jerks and shakes. It has been checked out many times. It can't be fix. I believe this problem should have a recall. This happens everyday when I drive my car.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #666

Sep 232016


  • 95,000 miles
Takata recall. Transmission control module (tcm) Ford recall fsa 15B22. My vehicle would struggle to shift into second and third gear whenever I was driving, so I took my vehicle to a Ford dealership for the tcm to get reprogrammed, as per the manufacturer's recall in June 2016. It seemed to help with the harshness of the vehicle's shifting, until Friday, September 23rd, 2016 whenever I tried to get my car to reverse and it acted as if the vehicle was still in neutral. It wouldn't go in reverse and my check engine light was now on. The shifter was in reverse correctly, and the reverse lights came on but the car went nowhere. My Ford dealership told me to drive it up to the dealership so they could look at it and diagnose the problem, so I did. It overheated three times in the 45 minute drive up, despite cautious driving. I had to have it towed to the dealership, which was not covered by Ford in any way. The dealership service department told me that my car would be diagnosed later that day (Monday, September 26th) and any necessary parts would be ordered by the end of the day. I hadn't heard anything back from them in over 3 days so I called for an update. They confirmed that the problem is the tcm and it needs replaced, as the "reprogramming" they did in June 2016 was too little, too late. The problem is that the tcm is heavily backordered, so the factory isn't even shipping our any tcm's until November 4th, which mine might not even be included in that shipment and it is "highly likely" that it will be closer to christmas before I get my car fixed and returned to me. To add insult to injury, they are refusing to provide me with a service vehicle, so I don't know what to do for the next 3 months that my car sits at their dealership awaiting its part. How am I to get to work" pick up my son from school? get gtoceries" I'm an only parent and cannot be without a car.

- Kensington, OH, USA

problem #665

Sep 272016


  • 70,000 miles
I took my 2012 Ford Focus to get fixed at wayne ackers Ford in lake worth Florida upon dropping my car off the gentleman started telling me my car isn't affected when it is and later on says I have to see if it's under warranty then tells me it needs to be at 150K miles that makes no sense at all the car is still there I'm watiing on a response.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #664

Jan 072013


  • 5,000 miles


The transmission has shuddered and slipped from new. Ford has replaced the clutch twice, made program module adjustments numerous times. Nothing they have done has resolved the problem. I purchased this car for my daughter and constantly am concerned that she drives a car that does nothing but hesitate and shudder

- Medford, NJ, USA

problem #663

Sep 202016


  • 55,605 miles
The first time I noticed this problem I was driving down a city street, downhill, with a speed limit of 35 mph when the check engine light appeared. This normally would be a great condition to coast downhill without applying brakes or gas. My car started shaking and then kept trying to downshift, it didn't have any gear selected and started pulling itself to a stop. During rush hour this was very dangerous. I turned into a parking lot and the car quickly shut off as soon as I got down to 5 mph. Once the car was back on it wouldn't go over 20 mph, very dangerous as the to get to the nearest dealership the speed limit was 45 mph any way I would go. Once I arrived at the dealership they informed me it would take a week to get in on appointment, and there were no loaners. This being my only car is first of all dangerous and unsettling, but also extremely inconvenient. Hours later after letting my car cool off and settle, the problems seemed to remedy themselves until I was reversing out of a parking spot. I reversed, applied the brake, put the car in drive, but when I applied the gas, the car started rolling backwards until I slammed on the break and tried the gas again. While trying to leave that same parking lot just after this, my car wouldn't accelerate up the small hill and began to roll backwards again extremely fast. I believe this is very dangerous and potentially deadly had there been pedestrians behind my car. Previous attempt to replace the transmission and reprogram the tcm were greeted with pamphlets stating jerking and shaking were normal characteristics of automatic cars. I was told the waiting list just to check if my car qualified for transmission problems would be six weeks and I would have to leave my car there with no loaner just in case the wait time was cut shorter. For the average person and targeted group for Ford vehicles this isn't a possibility.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #662

Sep 092016


  • 114,000 miles
My wife traded in her 2009 Taurus for a new 2012 Focus sedan back in April 2012 at green Ford. A month or so after getting the Focus, it had a transmission fluid leak. Green Ford fixed the problem. In mid-2015 we started to notice transmission issues like erratically shifting in second and third gear, very sluggish shift between low gears and that the upshift bags down like the vehicle might stall, bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, delayed acceleration and lurching forward into intersections at red lights due to the failure of their braking efforts to stop the car. We took it to green Ford on 9/18/2015. They stating that it was working as designed. However, for a precaution, they said they reprogrammed the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (tcm). However, it was a recall issue for that stated problem/S. in the official service history for the Ford owner's records, there is no mention of the safety recall done on my Focus, just the routine maintenance and a mileage of over 96,000 miles on the Focus at the time. Jump forward to a year later, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at 2pm, my wife was traveling in a 45 mph speed zone when the car's check engine light came. Seconds later, the Ford started to stall and have power issues, causing her to find the next side road to pull over. The car completed stalled and could not turn over. After 2 towing events, from the breakdown location to thomas tire, thomas to stearns Ford, and sitting over the weekend, on Sept. 9, we found out it was the recall tcm that broke. The tcm was in back order until October 28, 2016. Stearns Ford sent me to enterprise where they paid for a Ford rental. The only Ford on the rental lot was the transit 250 or 350 van (very low mpg). I had to pay for the liability insurance coverage daily. After the 3rd day, I borrowed a family member's car.

- Mcleansville, NC, USA

problem #661

Aug 022016


  • 93,087 miles
Lurching and uncontrolled shifting occurs with the transmission. It has left me stuck in the middle of a left turn because it doesn't shift correctly. Now I ran off the road while exiting a freeway because the power steering turned off in the middle of the turn. This has now happened 6 times randomly. It gives me a power steering fault. I have come close to being the cause of 3 accidents because of these two issues.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #660

Aug 172016


  • miles


At 58,000. Horn started to work intermittent, now it does not work at all. What next? already had work done on tranny. Every thing seems to be computer related. It also surges at start up at stop.

- West Allis, WI, USA

problem #659

Sep 112016


  • 40,382 miles
While driving on a feeder road in Texas, taking a right hand turn, the drivers side door opened on its own due to a latch failure. No injuries, and a recall has already been issued. The car also has an ongoing issue with the transmission causing the car to lunge forward at both high and low speeds. The transmission has already been "repaired" once under warranty, but has started showing the same issues for a second time. Currently with dealer.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #658

Aug 182012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 75 mph, the rpms revved and the vehicle lost power without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the trans control module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred two additional times. The vehicle was repaired each time. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #657

Jun 012016


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle suddenly failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the transmission software was updated. After the software update, the transmission suddenly switched to neutral and the engine shuttered while driving over 50 mph. After turning off the vehicle and waiting five minutes before restarting the vehicle, it operated normally. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Onset, MA, USA

problem #656

Jul 202016


  • 98,000 miles
My son and I purchased this vehicle used. We had no previous information about all the problems this make and model have had. The cars transmission went out at around 98,067 miles. 07/20/16. Well exactly 600 miles and $2400 dollars later it went out again. Ford has told us that they will not purchase the car back or pay to fix it properly. My son is to leave next week and will be driving from Indiana to seattle. If and when the dealership is done fixing a second time I'm absolutely afraid to even let him drive it that far. This is very unfair to us to let this problem not be recalled. It is not only us but many other Focus owners that are stuck with these horrible cars. If something happens to my son on his way to seattle there will be hell to pay!!

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #655

Aug 192016


  • 57,000 miles
My son and I were leaving a store in my 2012 Ford Focus and had just backed out of a parking space and I put the car in drive. The car rolled backward just an inch and lunged forward and we felt a "bump". got out of the car at that point to see if I had hit something or if something was under the car-there was nothing. Got back in, buckled up and tried to go and the dash lit up with "transmission malfunction" I believe it said and wouldn't go at all. I turned it off and back on and from that point the car dash screen said "service transmission now." I turned the car off and called my husband in tears to come and get us. I just got this car a couple months ago and I ended up with a lemon. After I bought this car I noticed it becoming more and more jerky and lurching and/or rolling back. It was a progressive thing, constantly getting worse until finally it just gave. The car has been in the shop now for two weeks and I have been having to rely on sharing my husband's vehicle and rides from others and the dealership says that the part is on backorder. The latest is that when my husband called last week, he was told that it was on emergency backorder. When asked about a time frame, they said that they had no idea. It could be three days, two weeks, or a month-who knows? I am beyond upset and disgusted!!!!!! I am paying a car payment for a car that isn't driveable, have no idea when it will be fixed, and apparently they cannot get the parts. Someone please tell me what to do!!!! I have never in my life had a car with a problem like this-and no idea when I will have my car to drive again! there needs to be a recall on these faulty transmissions-from searching the internet, I am far from alone in this issue.

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #654

Sep 012016


  • miles
I have no clue why these vehicles (including the 2011 Focus, and 2011 & 2012 fiestas) have not been officially recalled. I have now taken my car in 8 times for transmission issues. I have had the clutched replaced twice (25K miles apart between 2 amd 3) and had the computer rebooted 3 times. The cars shutter, shake, stall, have a poor response (especially if you need to floor it for safety) and nothing! I contacted Ford and pretty much told me tough, it is what it is. There is no fix for the transmission issue as a new system cannot be installed and really crappy parts are being used as a cheap alternative. My car is a safety issue and do not feel comfortable driving it.

- Winnetka, CA, USA

problem #653

Sep 022016


  • 82,000 miles
We bought my wifes Focus with about 22K miles on it in June 2013. Since then we've brought it in 4 times to have the transmission "shutter" fixed. As of today the problem still exists but it isn't bad enough for them to fix it again. It mostly shutters from 1st to 2nd gear reaching upwards of 2800 RPM. Just shy of their 3000 RPM requirement. The car will shake and sometimes make a clunk and we're told to keep driving it.

- Bangor, ME, USA

problem #652

Jul 252015


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle stuttered without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission clutch failed. The vehicle was repaired under warranty. Seven months later, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was serviced for the same failure. In addition, the vehicle was unable to shift gears and the engine indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission clutch and transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 46,000.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #651

Aug 272016


  • 60,000 miles
My daughter was driving the car at a very high speed, the vehicle died suddenly, and she was forced to "glide" into the median. Took vehicle into dealership, and was told the trans module is on a "replacement program", and that the module is on back order. I was told that I could rent a car because there is nothing I could do. Most importantly, when I reminded the gentleman this was a safety issue, I was told that its really not a concern.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

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