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:
4 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,795 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 10 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Mar 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles


My Focus shutters while trying to move through first gear. Before second gear engages, first gears feels as if it was slipping. I brought this to the attention of my dealer within the first month and they told me it needed to brake in. After bringing it in several times, they performed a 12B37 update, a full PCM re program and ended having to replace the entire gear box because a seal ruptured. All of this in three separate occasions this last attempt fixed it, but the problem returned. I issued Ford a last attempt request and just picked up my car. The field supervisor states that he noticed the shuttering, but that it was normal for my vehicle. Well, if the same issue persists and it was fixed last time by replacing seals and the gear box, how could this be normal for my car? I will be seeking legal assistance from this point forward and will be initiating a BBB autoline mediation request.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #21

Jun 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
My car stalls out and hesitates when pulling out from intersections. It is a safety hazard because I have almost been hit by oncoming traffic. It happens regularly and there is nothing I can do to correct it. My 2012 Ford Focus is under warranty but Ford refuses to repair or replace the car.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #20

Mar 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 21,604 miles
The car is equipped with a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. While under heavy braking the car began to stall. The result was the brake pedal losing power assist from the engine. Then because the engine was trying to recover from the near stall, I was unable accelerate to avoid an oncoming car. The engine did recover, but it took several seconds (and a lot of bucking and sputtering) before I was able to move the car after coming to a stop. The week prior, I had the car in for service at a local Ford dealership because the car would shudder during acceleration. The dealership reprogrammed the transmission and the problem is still there, but less noticeable than before being serviced. This new issue with stalling under heaving braking did not occur prior to the servicing. After the near accident, I wanted to know if the problem was a fluke or if it would happen again. I have found that I can recreate the issue almost every time the car nears a stop under heavy braking. The car is scheduled for service for this issue.

- Lexington Park, MD, USA

problem #19

Oct 212012


  • 11,400 miles


4 incidents within 45 days....driving on a state hwy, at 55 mph and the engine quit entirely, had to coast to a stop on the side of the road. Driving across a state hwy from a stop sign at 5 mph and engine quit again. Unsafe! towed twice to dealer, had 4 rental cars in this time period, one for 18 days! other 2 times car would not start after driving 10 miles and parking. Dealer had no clue and finally brought in a Ford company engineer. Still do not trust the car! Ford declined a requested buy back.

- Eagle , WI, USA

problem #18

Feb 222013


  • 30,000 miles
I experienced a complete and total loss of power in rented late model Ford Focus.

- Long Valley, NJ, USA

problem #17

Feb 152013


  • 8,000 miles
Just like everyone else, the car stutters and hesitates to accelerate at slow speeds. The transmission feels as though it is going to fall out of the car. I have taken it to the dealership, and the "reprogrammed" the transmission. They said it could take up to 2 weeks for the car to relearn my driving habits. It has been 2 months, and the car continues to stutter and shake.

- Williamsport, IN, USA

problem #16

Feb 082013


  • 9,827 miles


I was pulling out of the cafe by my home. When I had a chance to pull out I stepped on the gas pedal. At this point the vehicle stalled then took off like a bat out of[xxx]. even leaving tire marks. I almost hit two on coming cars due to the hesitation then the lift off. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #15

Jan 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,263 miles
On 1/23/2013 at appox at 10:15 am I was driving to work! I was driving West bound 10 fwy! I was going about 75 mph in the fast lane. When all of a sudden the car speed drops to 30 mph in a matter of seconds, I right away turn on my hazards! but do to the fact that I was` in the fast lane it was very hard to get over safety as the car felt like it was going to turn off. I was very scared and afraid for my life I honestly thought that I was going to get hit and end up in the hospital.the thought of not making it did cross my mind. I tried pushing the gas petal to regain speed as the car did not allow me to do so. The RPM cage was going from 0 to 7 with in seconds. I begin to attempt to get the car over to my right shoulder towards safety. All I can see throw my rear view mirror and hear was all the cars that started honking at me, flipping me off, barely messing me as all the cars had to swerving around me. I begin to shake as it was a very scary feeling being inside the car while all you can do is see which car will me the one that's actually going to hit my car and the chain reaction that it could have caused. As I get over the four lane trying to not get hit by the speeding cars, the car turns off and I am now stuck in between the 10 fwy going West bound and the interchange to the 57 fwy going North and South bound. Now being stuck in the middle of these two busy fwy's I felt my life was in extreme danger as my mind didn't let me concentrate because all I my mind could pay attention to, was the rear view mirror as I seen the cars again swerving from hitting me and all I can hear again is the cars honking at me. I get on the my cell phone and call [xxx] for help !!!!(husband) we called Ford roadside service!!!! and the tow company was there with in 20 mins !!! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Montclair , CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 162009

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Have a 2012 Focus SE. Purchased in may of 2010. Since July of 2010, I have been taking it to the local dealership where I purchased the vehicle complaining that the car was surging, shuddering, and when I hit the gas pedal, it feels like the car stalls, gets no gas, or has trouble getting into gear. Of course, there are no known issues until a recall. Finally, the problem can be addressed. I take it in, they "fix it" it still shudders, and feels like it's going to stall out in the intersection. Next thing, my car overheats and dies at 11pm on the side of the interstate. I take to a different dealership and they say, well the clutch is bad and the cooling system is bad. Great 2012 car and two items have already went out. They change the clutch and cooling system, now when I back up, it grinds and bogs down. I have had my car for 2 years in may, 39,000 miles on it, and it's been in the shop a total of 4 times. They have changed the clutch and the cooling system. Was told the clutch needed "several hundred miles to break in" gave it about 500, still grinds when I back up, more so on an incline. Although now, it's decided it wants to stutter when it starts. So it's back in the shop for the 4th time, and I'm yet again in a rental car. I have a customer service guy through Ford, he's useless... I can't even get him to return a phone call. What is the point of him being there if he's not going to do his job. I don't feel that I'm getting any resolutions from the local dealerships I have dealt with, or from your customer care manager. I want a replacement vehicle. I have worked with Ford over 2 years and the vehicle is still having problems. Of course the dealership tells me this is an isolated issue. Please go to edmunds, com and you will see that this is not an isolated issue... there are multiple reports of the same problems that I am having.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #13

Dec 102012


  • 27,800 miles
I ordered the car from Ford in 2011 as soon as they allowed orders. I have approximately 27,800miles on the car. I have yet to get the fuel economy that Ford stated. I do both city and highway everyday and my combined fuel has not gone over 27 miles per gallon since I have owned it. I have even had it run out of gas on 3 separate occasions when the car was registering 30 and 34 miles to empty.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 022012


  • 11,000 miles


The contact owns 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that whenever attempting a left or right turn, there were several seconds of hesitation before the vehicle would respond. The contact had previously received notification of a manufacturer's recall and took the vehicle to the dealer who reprogrammed the computer. After receiving the vehicle back the hesitation continued to occur. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who advised the contact that the failure was normal and there was no other remedy for the hesitation. The manufacturer was notified who also stated the failure was normal and offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 11,000.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #11

Sep 152009

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,800 miles
When in stop and go traffic, the vehicle lunges whenever you go back and forth from the accelerator to the brake, nearly causing several accidents.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #10

Aug 052011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
I bought my 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in July of 2011. Almost immediately I noticed problems. The problems included the car rolling backwards on hills, sputtering when stopped (like at a red light), jumping upon acceleration, & briefly losing acceleration while the RPM??S revved. I took it back to the dealership & they told me that the backwards rolling, revving & jumping of the engine was a trait of the car. I told them it was dangerous depending on where I was when these things happened (for example, at an intersection or in stop & go traffic with a car in front of me). They assured me that there was nothing wrong with the car. On October 17, 2011, the car broke down. I pulled out of a parking lot & pushed down on the accelerator, at first the car started to accelerate, but once it got to about 15/20 mph, the RPM"?S began to rev & the car would not accelerate so I took my foot off of the accelerator & the car stopped revving. If I had been on a highway, this would have been very dangerous. My car had to be towed to the dealership. They reprogrammed the powertrain control module & transmission control module. The car would then drive, but the rolling backwards on hills, sputtering when stopped, jumping upon acceleration, & briefly losing acceleration while the RPM?"S revved still continued & after several trips to their service department, the dealership could still not fix these issues. I then received a letter from Ford referencing a customer satisfaction program 12B37 dated May 2012. It acknowledged these issues so I took it back to the dealership. Although they reprogrammed the powertrain control module, transmission control module again as well as the anti-lock brake system, the car continues to have the same problems. These problems could potential cause a wreck, injuring myself or others around me.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #9

Sep 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,750 miles
My boyfriend and I bought a 2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback on September first. After driving the car for a couple of days my boyfriend noticed that the transmission was not right but he thought this was happening just because the car was new. Then, when driving to work I noticed that when I stopped on any incline street between taking the foot off the brake and placing it on the accelerator, the car rolled back quite quickly to the point that I almost hit the car behind me. Days later, I started to feel that the steering required both hands at all times. It was constantly wandering and shaky specially during turns. To top it off on September 27th something terrible happened. I was in the drive way, I shifted from reverse to drive and the car took off at a lurch. The car accelerated so rapidly even with my foot on the brake pedal. I lost complete control of the vehicle. The car failed to slow down hitting two cars and tearing down a fence. I could finally stop the car when I quickly shifted to park. I do not understand how Ford sells this car with all these problems risking people's lives. This is a serious issue. How many fatalities are they waiting for" are they going to do something ever about these malfunctions" this is ridiculous if I have known all these issues with this car, I would have never bought it for sure.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
3 separate incidents have occurred in my 2012 Ford Focus all related to the transmission. The first incident occurred on August 25, 2012 while traveling at 40 mph, I suddenly lost power between the gas pedal and the car itself. The RPM's continued to climb but the car was no longer moving. Took to Ford dealer to be serviced and was told they could not find a problem. The next incident occurred on September 8, 2012 - not necessarily a safety concern but contributes to overall problem - pulling out of a parking lot, placed car in reverse, it did not move. Took to Ford dealer where the transmission was "reprogrammed". the most recent incident occurred on September 9, 2012, I pulled out into 35 mph traffic, my car would not shift out of first gear, going 10 mph and "revving" but not accelerating fast enough to stay ahead of traffic. Had car towed to Ford dealer where it is at this time.

- Va Beach , VA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
When accelerating, whether from a dead stop or coasting, 1st, 2nd (& now starting to do it in 3rd) gears audibly rattle and clunk. Very slow response time when accelerating after car is "warmed up." The more it is driven in stop and go and/or city traffic, the worse the acceleration (and rattling when shifting) becomes. So much so that when trying to pull out into traffic on 09/04/12 I thought the car would be hit. I had 3 kids in the car with me! and I always allow plenty of time to pull out because of this issue. It has been a near constant issue with this car which was purchased in May 2011. Car jerks when accelerating in stop and go traffic and will sometimes "jump" and rev into a higher speed. All the above issues had been addressed and "fixed" twice before the "customer satisfaction" recalls were sent out in May. Issues are resolved for a limited amount of time and then start happening again. Car still rolling back when brake is released at a stop on slight inclines. Another "customer satisfaction" recall. Minor issues: Barely be heard when speaking on the "sync" system while driving *clock changes time randomly *rear defroster doesn't automatically turn off speed changes after car is turned off to a random speed setting *radio will change to a random station *sometimes* after making a phone call.

- Harper Woods, MI, USA

problem #6

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
On 8/27/2012 I drove off the car lot with 7 miles on my new car. I noticed a little bit of rough shifting as the day passed. On 8/28 the car started bucking and jerking during acceleration. There was little power on inclines. The problem progressively got worse through the day. I set up an appointment to drop off for service the next day. Took in for service on 8/29 and was told that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The car had 187 miles on it. On 8/30 I was told the car was fixed and I picked up my car. Within a few miles the problem was back, but worse this time. I had some slight noise coming from the engine when the car was bucking and jerking. It almost stalled on a busy highway in rush hour traffic several times while on my way back to the dealer. It was struggling. The car is back in service with 220 miles on it. Now they want to keep it for at least 3-4 days. 8/31 I was asked to drive the car with the mechanic to see if problem would reoccur. With the exception of a kick while pulling out of the dealership, the car drove ok, although we only drove around a block together. Sales manager says that if the mechanic can't find any further problem, then I have to take the car back into my possession since it's my car. He says that sometimes things happen and I have to deal with it and let the mechanics do their job. I've had the car in my possession under 30 hours since I purchased it on 8/27. The car also has an issue with rolling back on an incline.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,225 miles
Recall done --not fixed abc control system. Still rolls back at incline. Accident parking lot stopped shifted from drive to park (thought) open door stepped out car started rolling back jumped back in not to get run over to hit brake pedal. Front door open hit parked truck (accident) destroyed my drivers door with major damage to door and some damaged to parked truck. Had friend in the passenger sit and saw what happened. VIN# [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #4

Jul 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
The trunk lid is out of alignment the vehicle shudders at acceleration major suspension work required do to engineering and production engine shudders and clunks when shutting off rough idle and engine misses. Problems are inconsistent.

- Berryville, VA, USA

problem #3

Jul 022012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
When accelerating car jumps or hops violently. Engine makes grinding/chattering noise when changing gears. Experience roll back when on a slight incline. Power shift 6 speed is not safe. Have trouble crossing lanes of traffic for the jumping/launch judder problem.

- Lebanon, VA, USA

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