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 4 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #142

Sep 062013


  • 25,600 miles


The Focus has a manufacturers problem with the transmission clutch. It often breaks and often leaves me stranded. It will stop accelerating or get stuck when accelerating on the highway and I've almost had a few accidents because of it. I have also been stranded on the side of the road because of it late at night. Ford has fixed it four times now with no resolution. They say its a common problem that they can patch but not exactly fix.

- Cary , NC, USA

problem #141

May 052015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have been to my Ford dealership 10 times last year and 4 times already this year. I have multiple check engine light that came on and each time they replace a part on my car. I had my car last week for service and now it's back this week again for service. I have all my repair receipts and I am completely sadden that Ford cannot do anything for me as I called the Ford cooperate office and have their specialist looked at my case and I am having the same issues. My car shuts off on me so many times while driving with me 1 year old son in the middle of the street. They will fix it today and next week I am back in the shop. They have my car more times in the shop than I have on the road. I am extremely tired! I told them to test drive my car each time they "supposedly fixed" my issue and the problem remains the same. I have spoken to [xxx] at the cooperate office in Florida ( 1866-631-3788) ex [xxx] and he has never solved my problems or return any of my calls. --at present writing this issue I am scheduled for another "repair". another check engine light situation. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #140

Apr 262015


  • 40,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at 5 mph, the vehicle lost power. In addition, the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle failed to accelerate but increased in rpms. The traction control and engine warning lights illuminated. The contact also stated that hill start malfunction was displayed across the message board. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,500.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #139

Apr 222015


  • 72,000 miles


Vehicle lost drivetrain power on the freeway. I went to accelerate in very heavy traffic, and the engine revved without moving forward (similar to someone depressing the clutch and accelerating). Shifted the car into neutral, back into drive in order to jog the transmission into operation, that did not work. I shifted into the 'sport' mode in the transmission thinking that would help, that didn't work. I had enough forward momentum to get the car to the shoulder and call for a tow, but overall, the car would not travel under it's own power. At this point, I am quite concerned that I own this car, and it's not safe to drive. Once it's fixed, I am still quite concerned that I've owned this car for 2 years, and it's been in the shop between 8 - 10 individual incidents. I am concerned that I cannot put myself or my family inside this car with any reasonable expectation of safety. Please, Ford Motor Company needs to issue a full, mandatory recall of this car in order to get this issue fixed before someone faces a severe injury or death as a result of this issue. If I was in front of a truck that wasn't paying attention, I could have been killed.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #138

Apr 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,599 miles
I was driving the vehicle down the highway and it all of a sudden lost power and would not shift and slowed down to around 40mph automatically and almost caused me to be hit from the vehicle behind me and had to immediately pull of to the shoulder. A message came up on the hud/display and said transmission malfunction service now!. I then shut the car off at a parking lot and let the car sit for over an hour and made phone calls to the dealer. This has also has happened when going to step on gas to yield at an intersection and the motor just went up in RPM but did not move or go into gear while in drive. This is vehicle is dangerous while driving due to these issues and the dealer acts like it is not.

- Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

problem #137

Apr 102015


  • 32,000 miles
The parking aid light came on and the car won't start! I have had the car in three times for transmission and shaking and it has yet to be fixed. The car does not accelerate properly and is going back in again today. Ford will not buy me out of my loan or work with me on replacing it. I bought this for my daughter and I do not feel safe with her driving it at all!

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #136

Apr 102013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


The transmission doesn't function properly -- delaying on acceleration, then 'catching' and accelerating in a burst. I've had it 'fixed' once and am trying to get it fixed again. It isn't safe, particularly in hilly traffic-heavy seattle. Ford really needs to be accountable for the problematic transmission that they have running around the streets. I am in my mid-twenties and this is my first car. It's been very depressing, and I would love fair resolution.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #135

Apr 052015


  • 68,000 miles
The car was running fine until last week when I drove to the supermarket. After I came out and attempted to leave, the engine would not turn over. Everything works electrically (radio, lights, etc...) but turning the ignition key fully did nothing. This now happens daily after the car warms up. If you turn the car off it will not start or turn over. If you let the car cool down for a couple hours it generally will start. Driving is done mainly at highway speeds and the oil level and engine temperature are fine according to dipstick and gauges. Bought a new battery in case something was wrong with it. It did not resolve the problem. Ensured the negative terminal of the battery was solidly attached to metal (not painted metal) to ensure proper grounding. Nothing helped. Dealer appointment this week. Also received "hill assist not available" warning on dash. A friend of mine who owns the same exact model and year vehicle (2012 Ford Focus) had the exact same thing happen to him. The dealer switched out their tcm (transmission control module) and this fixed their problem. Time for a recall.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #134

Mar 102015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle started to jerk without warning. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. Updated 6/8/15

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #133

Feb 282015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
My granddaughter and I were returning home from out of town where we had been on tollways throughout the day. Fortunately, we were only a mile from home and out of the big city and off the tollways, when the car began to shudder and shake and completely stalled in the roadway as I was slowing to approach an intersection. It just seemed to lock up and shook violently and lights flashed and I immediately looked at the dash and it read service immediately. I looked in my rear view mirror and fortunately no one was behind me. I tried to accelerate to get to the side of the road and it jerked and slowly began to accelerate and slowly reach home. At home I put it in park and after that was unable to move it forward or backward. I had to have it towed to the dealership. Had this happened on the tollway I am certain we would have been hit from behind. I have no doubt. We have been dealing with this since shortly after we purchased the car in 2012. It has been in the shop at least four times for similar issues but never this serious. Each time gets worse. I am afraid of the car now and it has been in the shop now a month and is being taken to another shop out of town because the local dealership doesn't have anyone capable to fix it as per their service department. Most of all this was a dangerous event that needs to be taken seriously.

- Gonzales, TX, USA

problem #132

Mar 032015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


Transmission shutters, feels like its skipping a gear, rolls backward down hill in drive. The vehicle's transmission, in the middle of an intersection, stalled and would not shift into a gear. This incident almost caused a wreck. The vehicle has been at 3 different Ford dealerships 7 different times for transmission issues. Ford refuses to admit that there is a serious issue with the transmission and is making customers drive unsafe vehicles during the weeks that those vehicles aren't in the shop.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #131

Mar 192015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,649 miles
I got into my car after work and noticed the check engine light on, as I left the parking lot of my job and headed towards the freeway which is across the street, my car would not accelerate. I could only reach speeds of 40 mph and the car began to shake and I could hear knocking sounds coming from the engine. I exited the freeway and took streets home, after about 30 minutes the shaking stopped and I was able to pick up speed but the engine light remained on. The very next day there was no engine light on and the car ran smoothly but on the third day as I got in my car once again the engine light was on, and as soon as I pulled out of my driveway, the car started shaking and this time I could only get the car to reach 20 mph which was once again accompanied by loud rattling and knocking coming from the engine. The engine sounds like it trying to accelerate but the car just doesn't pick up speed.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #130

Mar 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
I purchased the car used in early 2014. I had this car not even two years and the transmission is a serious problem. The car shakes, rattles, and stalls as I'm driving. The letter I received from Ford states that this is a normal function of the car. The transmission fluid on my car is leaking and contaminated. The transmission fluid would be almost empty in 24 hours. In order to use my car for a day, I would need to refill my car with transmission fluid so it will at least move. The car at times would come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic. The power-shift struggles to change gears and at times won't accelerate. This problem maybe now beginning to affect my engine. The Focus won't even start at times. Another issue is the radio will go on/off and with time, shut off completely. Their are also reports of car will roll back on hills when in drive and it does. The Ford Focus 2012 has too many design and manufacturer problems not to have a recall or lemon lawsuits. This car needs to simply be replaced with another model (not 2013 or 2014 models, same reports) or full reimbursement.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #129

Sep 262014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 99,885 miles
The car was driving fine and all of a sudden the power train quit working despite the fact that the engine was operating correctly. Because of the loss of power, I was endanger of getting hit by other cars. The sudden loss of power is a hazard. The manufacturer said the resulting loss of power train was due to a transmission control module. This particular model has been plagued by transmission problems throughout its life. Mine began while it was still under warranty and continues today. I am going to abandon the car because I feel it is unsafe at this point for me or anyone else.

- Tyrone, GA, USA

problem #128

Mar 152015


  • 79,000 miles
This has happened multiple times, but on Sunday 3/15/15. My car has flashed hill assist not working and not in park when it was indeed in park after the RPM go up to 5 & 6 at any given time and forcing me to pull over. My car would start, but would not go into gear. When this happen before I was on the interstate doing 70 and the car jumps out of gear and I can no longer go, so I have had to pull over and luckily restart the car and go. I also have been having issues with the car not starting. What if this car causes myself and family to be involved in a accident" what if this happens during rush hour? this is a world wide issues and Ford is fully aware yet they do not have any recalls. I'm not sure I understand when or what will make you Ford stand up and correct the issue by issuing a recall on this unsafe vehicle? death"

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #127

Feb 192015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Car lost power and engine light came on while traveling southbound on I-95. Underneath parts and lower body panels caught fire and melted. Vehicle was towed to the paul clark Ford dealership in yulee, fl. Where it was discovered the engine had experienced a catastrophic engine failure. There was a hole a little smaller than a basketball blown out of the bottom of the crankcase with the oil pump and pieces of the engine laying on the shield covering the oil pan. The car had just been fully serviced with it's routine oil change, recommended service routine, etc by same dealer. Even though the vehicle is under full warranty, nothing has been done to repair the vehicle as of yet. Ford is conducting an internal review and said it could take up to 90 days before a determination is made. They also have not offered a loaner vehicle or a rental car to the owner while this process is taking place.

- Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

problem #126

Sep 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,116 miles
When accelerating from a stopped position, the transmission slips gears and the car lurches forward or stalls and then lurches. I have almost rear ended several cars on many occasions. The car also lurches backwards when in reverse. I have taken the vehicle in twice for service. It is in for service as I am submitting this report. The first time, I was told there were recalls completed on the vehicle. I never received any paperwork from the dealership as to what was actually "replaced/recalled" on my vehicle. It seemed to drive smoother for a few months and then the same problems started again. I'm waiting to hear back from the dealership as to what they have found wrong this time.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #125

Mar 052015


  • 32,000 miles
The traction control in the vehicle operates in an unsafe manner in snowy road conditions. When climbing a slight grade in snow, the traction control continually reduces engine power to the point that the vehicle will no longer move forward. As the vehicle slows to a stop while modulating the accelerator, the engine will not rev above 1500rpm without the traction control cutting off power. Controlled and sustained forward momentum is required for safe driving in snowy conditions. That is not possible when traversing typical roadway inclines in snowy weather with the traction control engaged. Additionally, it takes no fewer than seven inputs from the driver to engage or disengage the traction control system; something that must be done frequently in this vehicle to keep it moving safely in snow. This creates undue driver distraction in already demanding driving conditions. A manufacturer retrofit of a simple on/off switch for the traction control system, as installed in most contemporary vehicles, should be the minimum remedy.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #124

Feb 032015


  • 33,342 miles
On January 27th.. my car (2012 Ford Focus SE 4door 5 speed) my car had 33,342 miles on it once it came into the service bay at asheville Ford in asheville nc. I was advised that the car would have to stay for the day and look into the situation. Car would die at random, lights would come on like a christmas tree (oil pressure light, battery light, traction light, ESC light, information light, check engine light) and a message would appear (engine malfunction service now). Asheville Ford was also notified of a sun visor popping, seat belts not releasing and creaking noises in the B pillars on both sides, and the ac was blowing hot air again (this was repaired on the 23rd before and already blowing hot air).

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #123

Sep 072012


  • miles
I bought this car with 17,000 miles on it and kept it a year and a half. I couldn't stand it anymore. When accelerating, it would shake and shudder. The automatic shifting into first and second gears was extremely jerky all the time. If I was at a complete stop and the pavement was wet, the car would bolt forward when I accelerated. Twice it like stopped when I was going 70 mph on a highway. It just sort of stopped operating for a flash and then resumed movement. It was scary. I took it to a reputable Ford dealership which was closer to my house than where I bought it, and they worked on it 4 different times. I came in with the same complaints every time. In addition, because the transmission was so screwy, it apparently affected the tires and I had to buy 4 new tires because the tread was so worn down. I traded it in on a new Toyota. That was my first Ford and my last Ford. Never again. The car is a menace and definitely unsafe.

- Franklin, WI, USA

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