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 9 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Aug 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,700 miles


I have only owned this 2012 Ford Focus for approx. 6 weeks. It has been hesitating, sputtering, and jerking upon acceleration and when driving at low speeds since the first day I owned it. At first it was intermittent but now it happens most all the time. When I stop and take off it feels like it is going to stall out. When on an interstate ramp I feel I cannot get up to a higher speed fast enough. I took it to the dealer for service. The dealer said that they would need to drop the engine, replace the seals (there is leaking around the seals) and replace the clutch. And, the seals are on back-order for 2 to 3 weeks! they say it is safe to drive and to let them know if it worsens (how can it get worse). They may say it is safe, but I sure do not feel safe or comfortable driving this car. I have read hundreds of complaints from other Focus owners on this same issue. Ford needs to recall these cars and listen to consumers. This is a defect that needs Ford's ownership. I have been in contact with Ford and have a case number. Thank you.

- Mount Jackson, VA, USA

problem #41

Sep 212013


  • 10,960 miles
While driving approx 30 miles per hour on a B road, just after turning right the car displayed a "stop safely now" warning and the car lost all power to the drive train and the car literally stopped moving. Luckily, there was no one behind me when the fault occurred. I power cycled the car and I was able to drive away after a few minutes. I have never had an issue with the car until last night.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #40

Aug 202013


  • 15,900 miles
While driving through uptown charlotte, the car gave a "stop safely now" alert and the car lost power. It coasted enough to roll to the right lane and then died. I could not get the warning flashers to work. I tried for about 7 minutes to get the car to turn off, every combination I knew. After that, the car 'reset' and I was able to get it to start. I drove away as if nothing happened. It hasn't happened since. It's not cool to have the car quit in traffic like that. I think the battery control computer picked up a radio frequency interference.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #39

Apr 172013


  • 5,000 miles


The vehicle came to a complete stop in front of the caldecott tunnel that separates the East bay to contra costa county. The vehicle stopped in the middle of traffic during commute time. Also resulted in a terrible backup on the highway. Spent over 3 hours dealing with this break down that included finding care for our children and finding someone to pick her up at dealership as it was after hours.

- Orinda, CA, USA

problem #38

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The Ford Focus 2012 is a true lemon! it runs rough jerking movements esp in low gear. It has lack of acceleration. I bought this car new and have had it to the dealership four times only to be told its all normal for the 2012. However I feel its not normal! my last visit I was handed a sheet filled with '' normal'' things to expect! the dealership refused to allow me to trade it back in. I wrote to the Ford Motor Co and I only got a very nice lady who just kept saying oh I am so sorry. They along with the willis Ford dealer in smyrna de acted like it was just me with this complaint. After viewing the pages and pages of complaints most like myself I can see I am far from along. What can be done ? so far I see nothing being done about this serious problem.

- Smyrna, DE, USA

problem #37

Jun 252013


  • 2,250 miles
I purchased a new 2012 Ford Focus ev on June 7, 2013. Twice (still in June), while driving at speeds approximately 50 mph, the "stop safely now" warning came on and the vehicle lost power. Both times I was able to restart the vehicle within a couple of minutes. I made sure to note all the indicators to provide the Ford service techs as much information as possible. When I brought the vehicle in to be serviced, the technicians professed no knowledge of the issue and contacted Ford for support. They could not repeat the issue and the car had no log of the events. Finally, I was told the problem was a faulted power control module (PCM). Unfortunately, this part was on a national backorder for 6 weeks (probably as a result of the known problems). After the part was finally replaced, I was told that the PCM would not program correctly, and that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. End result, I have my vehicle back, just in time to take it back for a recall. At least it hasn't stalled ??. yet.

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #36

Aug 282013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,328 miles


The incident happened on 8/28/13 as I tried to pull onto the busy intersection. My car did not want to change gears and had no power at all. I had to be towed since I was over an hour away from my home. My car has been in the shop since this date. I called on 8/30/13 and was told by the dealership that it was ok for me to take my car and drive it over the holiday weekend. I asked if it would hurt the car to drive it and also if it would be safe. The technicians assured me that it would be perfectly fine and that I was to return the car to the dealership on 9/3/13 and when the part came in, the car would be repaired. I decided to take my car and proceeded to drive it home. Approximately one half mile down the road I realized that the car was having great difficulty trying to change gears and had no power at all. I was almost hit by an oncoming car because mine was stalled and just sitting there. I decided to take the car back to the dealership where it will remain until it is completely repaired. I love my Ford Focus, but do not want to have to worry about it breaking down on the road or being unsafe for me to drive.

- Greensburg, KY, USA

problem #35

Aug 242013


  • 39,000 miles
Since we purchased the vehicle, it seemed to stutter when trying to go from a stop. I was told that this is normal for this transmission. But on August 24th, the transmission started to have even more problems. First the vehicle was having a hard time accelerating past 20 mph. Then it started jerking back and forth, lunging to and fro. It was not shifting gears like it should have, and it felt like it was going to stall, so complainant had to pull over to avoid an accident and allow fast moving traffic to pass. After traffic had passed, complainant turned around to go back home, jerking and lunging the whole time going less than 20 mph. After leaving the car sit for several hours, the vehicle started up again, and seemed to be operating normally. However now the vehicle is having a harder time going up hills, and has trouble coasting. Feels like something is dragging it down. This could be very unsafe, as the problem is not predictable, and could potentially cause an accident. A 2012 vehicle with 39000 miles should not be having transmission problems already.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #34

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
We first noticed when we bought the car that it was jerky when accelerating, was told that is the way the car drives. Went on a road trip and trying to accelerate to expressway wouldn't go just revved then jerked out into traffic, we almost got killed and had to go to the shoulder to avoid accident. This happened multiple times and was very unsafe. We got to the point we were afraid to drive it, cause we didn't know when it would just rev and jerk or if it would actually work properly. It didn't matter if you just started and tried backing out or were on the road, the problem was constant. That is very dangerous on the road and you don't know when it will happen. Took to dealer on July 6th and my car has been there since, it is now 6 weeks and they are replacing transmission clutches, there is a backorder of over 8,000 clutches, which means that many people have taken their car in and there is no recall for this car and we have no idea if the car will be repaired. The manufacturer of these parts does not have any in the warehouse and Ford is estimating Sept 7th which we doubt. This car is very unsafe cause you do not know when the transmission is going to shift.. I think there should be a recall. As of right now we have filed complaints and no longer want the car back. Reading blogs we have discovered that there are still problems with the transmission on the 2012 Focus after repairs. If you have this problem, file a complaint and maybe there will be a recall. They will not give you a rental unless you have an extended warranty which we luckily do, otherwise we would have been paying for a rental for who knows how long. Ford sold these cars knowing that this was a problem because it was revised for the 2013.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #33

Aug 242013


  • 16,000 miles
I was driving down a 35 mph road, trying to push the gas to get to 35 mph, but it failed and revved the engine and RPM without increasing my speed. I was going 20 mph and worried that my speed would affect other cars behind me to possibly hit me. There is some noise coming from the engine. It happened three times within less than a mile so I pulled over off the road to check and still unsure. The car is still brand new and only at almost 16,000 miles.

- Griffith, IN, USA

problem #32

Aug 202013


  • 6,100 miles


Was sitting at a stop light after leaving work and the "stop safely now" message appeared. Car would not move. After several cycles of turning the car on and off, opening and closing the driver door, locking and unlocking the car, it managed to reset itself and work again, only to have the problem recur about 5 minutes later, requiring the same steps to resolve the issue. The car worked normally the rest of the day after I arrived at my destination.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #31

Aug 162013


  • 8,010 miles
This is regarding Ford Focus electric 2012. I was pulling out of my office parking lot and driving at about 5 mph. I got the 'stop safely now' warning and within a few seconds the car stopped and I could not drive any more. Fortunately, it was the internal street and around 3 pm when the traffic is very low. I am glad this incident did not happen on the freeway in the left lane (carpool lane in California). I was able to restart the car and drove straight to the dealer(fremont Ford) but they did not have trained ev technicians to look at the car. Asked me to bring the car back on Monday(8/19/20013). Now the car is at the dealer. This is second time I have encountered this issue with this car. The first time I had was when I was pulling the car out of my garage at home. Ford even applied major software updates on my car in July but looks like the issue is still recurring.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #30

Aug 102013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The vehicle was parked with the engine off. A fire spontaneously began in the engine compartment. The vehicle was in service for 14 months, bought new and under a maintenance contract. No previous issues.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #29

Jul 092013


  • 24,000 miles
I see here that several individuals complaining have the same complaints that I do, the incline problems, the vehicle sounding like it is going to die on you. The problems when you accelerate. This is a new vehicle and have had that problem from the time we purchased it. I am thinking it is the transmission. Can someone please guide me. I still have years on the note and it is not fair to pay on something that is as mentioned by someone here, is "embarrassing to drive with a passenger". the speed does not matter it keeps making this rattling noise when you accelerate. Please recall these cars.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #28

Jul 072013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 39,636 miles
Vehicle lost power and was not able to safely accelerate while traveling on the highway. The problem happened when I down shifted a gear to pass someone (manual transmission). The vehicle felt like it had about 30% power. I was forced to pull off of highway. Once vehicle was shutoff and turned back on it returned to normal. I had no warning lights on dash or anything. It just happened all of the sudden and was very scary.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #27

Nov 072012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
At highway speeds while trying to pass, meaning speeding, my engine would cut out or loose power which would last about 10 seconds. I am bringing this to your attention because I read about other Ford owners having the same issue. Now Ford said that it was easily fixed by reprogramming the transmission, this fix has alleviated some of the engine power loss but not all. In fact this fix makes my transmission act like it is slipping and the shifts points are way out of range. It is because of these issues I can't stand driving it, please advise as to what my options are since my factory warranty ran out.

- La Crosse, WI, USA

problem #26

May 202013


  • 16,000 miles
Update 05/20/2013 this vehicle keeps getting worse: "reverse does not work very well as it takes a long time to function. On a slight decline the car rolls forward and reverse has difficulty engaging. ?from a stop at a stop sign or red light, the car will attempt to lunge forward sometimes. ?from a stop at a stop sign or red light, the car will often not accelerate when the accelerator pedal is pressed. "at any given time (full stop or in motion) the accelerator must be pressed half way or more to the floor in order to get the car to accelerate. ?the car lunges a lot and misses-then lunges while driving.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #25

Mar 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
Since purchasing this vehicle I have had consistent problems where I will pull out into traffic and the vehicle loses power. At some points, where the vehicle is stopped, the car shakes a lot! there seems to be an acceleration problem and it is getting much worse! I was almost rear-ended yesterday!

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #24

Sep 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The instrument panel indicated that the transmission was engaged in park. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where an engineer was sent to inspect the vehicle. The engineer stated that there was nothing was wrong with the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5 and the current mileage was 27,000.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #23

Oct 182012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,865 miles
While pulling into traffic from a complete stop car would not accelerate. Had to push gas pedal almost to floor to get car to go, that lead to a bucking acceleration, car jumping forward and almost being rear ended. Took car to shop first told that's how the car drives, then told by transmission "specialist" I was not driving my car aggressive enough. After a 2 week stay the shaft seal and clutch was replaced. Did not correct issue called Ford Corp and again was told this is how the car drives basically telling me I was at fault. Car has since been back 2 times for the same reason, even took for a second opinion per Ford request and car stalled on the service manager on a hill and yet I was told that's how the car is suppose to perform!!! not happy. Tomorrow April 15th 2013 car is going back thus again for same reason. Not feeling safe in my car!!!!

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

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