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:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
13 / 1
Average Mileage:
81,293 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 14 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Jun 072013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


This happened twice within one hour. I pulled our of my company parking lot onto a busy highway and my power steering went completely out.on dash it read, "steering malfunction. Service needed." It was very difficult but I managed to pull over to the side. I turned the car off and sat for a few minutes. Hoping it was a fluke, I started the car up again and pulled onto the highway. I made it about two blocks before it happened again. I pulled over and had the car towed to a Ford dealership. I am currently awaiting an explanation and a fix. My car also hesitated and shudders when at a stop and starting to go. The chrome is coming off of the steering wheel and is quite sharp. I bought this car used (it had been a rental). Afraid I may be stuck with a lemon.

- Warrior, AL, USA

problem #35

May 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
When driver entered vehicle, started it, and began to steer, the silver finish on the right side, top of the steering wheel crossbeam had split and curled up, which caused lacerations across two fingers. The car had been fine on previous use, and had been unused for several days prior to the incident. This appears to be a defect in the finish itself.

- Chesapeake Beach, MD, USA

problem #34

Apr 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 31,500 miles
Metallic steering wheel trim is peeling at the top left side of steering wheel. Peeling material is very sharp and can easily cut skin, as it did to me and many others as seen online after doing a simple search for "Ford Focus peeling steering wheel trim". I'm also concerned that in rare circumstances the airbag itself could be cut by the sharp trim when deploying.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #33

Mar 232013


  • miles


I was on the freeway and had my hand on the steering wheel. I moved my hand and the chrome on my steering wheel cut and took off a chuck of my pinky finger. My skin was struck on the chrome on my steering wheel, I had to put pressure on my finger to stop it from bleeding all over the driver seat. I pulled over to get my first aid kits to get a gauges on it.

- Fontana , CA, USA

problem #32

Mar 142013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 18,600 miles
The chrome trim on my steering wheel has begun to crack and flake off. I did not notice at first and had my finger run along it. The trim is cracked medal and is very sharp. I have not yet cut myself enough to draw blood but have stuck, stabbed, and caught my finger on it embedding a piece of chrome trim in my finger like a sliver. This is a widespread issue documented on multiple Focus forums, and by other 2012+ Ford Focus owners. This seems to only be an issue that is on 2012+ SE sport packages. This is very frustrating, it makes driving the car difficult because in my case it is right above my steering wheel mounted radio buttons and catches my hand easily. Ford is doing nothing about this in my case and actually blaming me for it, but in other cases has both replaced other owners pieces and in some cases like mine done nothing. This is very dangerous as many people in the forums have stated they cut themselves good enough to bleed. One even said his wife now refuses to drive the car. Ford refuses to fix this because it would require them to warranty an airbag since they decided to make the airbag and trim one piece. Because of this myself and others will continue to cut our fingers, hopefully not very seriously. Thank you for reading this.

- Fayetteville, NY, USA

problem #31

Mar 072013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,950 miles
Chrome peeling away from plastic leaving sharp edges where fingers are on steering wheel peeling is bi lateral on the top part of the area where the controls are for the sync and vehicle data controls. Running hand across this section of the steering wheel can result in jerking the hand away because of the sharp edge.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #30

Apr 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


At highway speeds the steering appears to lock when making a lane change or when following a curve in the road. Additional effort will free the steering but this causes the vehicle to dart in the direction of the turn. It takes several steering adjustments to bring the vehicle under control. The steering gear has been replaced but the problem persists.

- Fenton, MI, USA

problem #29

Oct 152012


  • 11,300 miles
The vehicle has had strange steering issues as follows. 60mph light rain, road barely wet - vehicle starts moving around like in a 100mph cross wind, except there is no wind. Traction control comes on, vehicle nearly looses control. This was on straight road. Next 5 mph dry, in parking lot, steering loss, warning of power assist steering failure. Stop car. Turned off and back on, all 30mph, 1 minute after start up, driving on road, steering loss, warning of power assist steering failure. I was getting ready to make a turn. This could have caused an accident.nex 60 mph dry road, no wind, vehicle starts moving all around like its again in a 100mph crosswind. This has happened numerous search of google shows this is a known issue and has been reported by several. This is a serious safety hazard that rivals stuck accelerators

- Lake Ozark, MO, USA

problem #28

Oct 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,845 miles
This is the second incident where the steering wheel locked up and the error message "power steering assist fault" appeared on the instrument panel. During this incident, I was driving the car through a parking lot at approx 10mph when the steering malfunction occurred. The first incident was approx 2 weeks prior to this but I had just started the vehicle in my driveway when the same symptoms occurred. In both cases, the steering wheel became extremely difficult to turn and the warning message appeared on the instrument panel. In both cases, the vehicle had to be shut off then restarted to get the steering working again. I took the car to a Ford dealer for service and opened a case with Ford Motor Company on this malfunction, but after being at the dealership over a week, they say they cannot find any issue.

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #27

Sep 242012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
After getting my car back from dealership where they reprogrammed the transmission the car would wonder from left to right at freeway speeds and the steering felt unstable.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #26

Jun 152012


  • 300 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parked he noticed the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The contact stated the power steering failed. The steering default warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 300.

- Granite Falls, NC, USA

problem #25

Jul 142012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 31,000 miles
In June 2012, my daughter was driving and her front passenger tire exploded. This was the 3rd set of new tires we had placed on this vehicle (by 30,000 miles - averaging 10,000 miles per set of tires). Then in July 2012, she was driving home and started to skid. She was not able to recover from the skid and hit a tree head-on. The front of her car was destroyed. The tree centered her car and the front end looked like a Volkswagen bug. The air bags did not deploy. We had this vehicle into the dealership 3 times for problems with the front end. Each time they said they could not find anything wrong with it. However, the driver and passengers could feel the car sway when riding it in. The vehicle was totaled by the insurance company ($17,000 check sent to Ford) and we still owe $1700 that we have agreed to pay to Ford to keep from ruining our credit. Thank god she was wearing a seat belt that actually worked - otherwise we would have had to plan our daughters funeral. We purchased this car because it was advertised as being a very safe car with the interior wrapped in air bags. Wrapping the interior with air bags does not help if they do not work. I have been buying Ford automobiles for 30 years but, right now I am wondering how safe my Ford F-150 is. We are now considering hiring an attorney.

- Robbinsville, NC, USA

problem #24

Jun 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The rolling back problem came first. When you are stopped on any incline, between taking your foot off of the brake and placing it on the accelerator, the car rolls back quite quickly, and I have almost hit the car behind me. The steering problems came a little later. The steering requires both hands at all times, and even then it is quite shaky. I feel car sick when I am the passenger because there is so much side to side movement. During turns, the engine feels like it is cutting out, it loses so much power, and I have to push the accelerator extremely hard just to get enough power to finish the turn. The scariest of all of the problems happens at higher speeds. It has happened to me three times. When I am driving on the freeway (60-70mph) and I begin to slow down, the steering gets out of control and goes back and forth so rapidly, I hold on for dear life trying to keep it in the lane, and the braking is not as efficient as it should be when this happens, and I have nearly escaped hitting the car in front of me. When I have been in this situation, I have started to brake right when I see the brake lights ahead, and I have had ample space to stop gradually and safely if I were driving a normal car, but in this car, it is out of control and the brakes won't work well when this is happening. This has happened on dry roads. This car terrifies me and the rain and ice haven't even hit yet. After I experienced these problems, I looked on the internet and was surprised to see how many others are having them too. The shop had my car for 13 days and they called me and said that it is "perfect" and they didn't fix anything and to come pick it up. I bought this car in June, it is now September, it had 1074 miles when I took it to the shop. I left it there for now, I am terrified of this car and unfortunately I own it...updated 09-26-12 updated 10/01/2012

- Troutdale, OR, USA

problem #23

Aug 062012


  • 9,258 miles
New 2012 Focus Jan. 18-2012. After 9258 miles steering locked while entering busy intersection. Great difficultly steering car off road. Incident happened twice that day (8-6) and again 8-7, fourth time 8-18. Warning light "steering assist fault.". dealer unable to duplicate problem. Therefore nothing corrected. Dealer offered no recourse. I felt car unsafe to drive. After frustrating conversions with dealer rep, a friend drove the car to nearby Chevrolet dealership where I purchased a 2012 sonic. This decision to purchase another car was very costly. My safety on the highway necessitated the decision. Very disappointed with Ford customer service. At times I felt rep's remarks were demeaning.

- Jefferson, PA, USA

problem #22

Jul 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 286 miles
I had an earlier complaint on my first Focus purchased in March 2012...incident date June 27 2012...I lost power steering on 3 occasions...service was not able to fix it so they exchanged my car for an identical one on July 25, 2012...the second day I drove the new Focus, something strange happened with the steering while on the expressway...I was going about 60 mph on a straight road and the car started to wander to the right and it also did it to the left...the steering is very tight and was difficult to get the car going straight...I've been to the dealership and they say that is just how it drives..if this true, I'll never be able to drive the expressway...this wandering was difficult to control and tiring to fight the wheel....2 new cars in 4 months time both with steering problems makes me think there are some kinks with the new electric steering on Ford....this will be my first and last experience with Ford.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #21

Jul 262012


  • 220 miles
Got the car on Wednesday July 25th after a week long wait for key....long story.....the first incident happened 2 hours after picking up the car. Sitting in a drive thru. "power steering assist fault, maintenance required". turned car off and on problem went away. Next day sitting in traffic, the problem returned called for service and taking the car in for service. Wish I would have looked this up prior to purchase!

- Lexington Park , MD, USA

problem #20

Jun 292012


  • 1,300 miles
While slowing to a stop, driving in a straight line, the power steering suddenly failed. The car was extremely difficult to steer. The dashboard displayed "power steering assist fault: Service required." The car had been running for approximately 2 minutes. After turning the car off and starting it again, the power steering returned. I took the car to the Ford dealership, and they did not find any problems with the power steering system. Two weeks later on July 14, at 1717 miles, as I was accelerating from a stop, driving in a straight line at approximately 10 miles per hour, the power steering failed again and the same error message was displayed. The car was extremely difficult to steer. After turning the car off and starting it again, the power steering returned. Again, the car had been running for approximately 2 minutes.

- Linthicum, MD, USA

problem #19

Mar 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 250 miles
Since day one of the purchase of my (March ) 2012 Ford Focus the steering "feels" like it is constantly wandering, after an hour drive time, your arm is give out from the stress. My car also seems to have a flutter in the transmission or engine during take off. The car will also roll back while stopped on an incline. The dealer checked steering the 4th day after purchase and assured me the steering was fine, that it was new & tight. I did recieve a recall on the transmission to upgrade or modify some type of chip. I cannot tell any improvment since the upgrade. My wife & son hate to drive my car because they are afraid of the steering and rolling the way it is an automatic transmission---I have never experienced this on any vehicle that I have owned in the past.

- Arkadelphia, AR, USA

problem #18

Jun 172012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,840 miles
As I was turning out of a store into traffic, the power steering went out....power assist fault came up on computer screen....steering became very difficult turn....once I got off the road I turned the car off and then on again and the steering returned....I took the car to a dealership and they said they fixed it per ssm 21987 code. One week later it happened again, twice within 6 miles....first time I was backing up and the second time I was driving around 40 miles per appears this can happen at anytime and in any gear....I called dealership and immediately had it towed to their shop...present mileage 2076 miles....I'll see what they have to say this time....I fear this could be a very dangerous situation if it continues.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #17

Jun 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,126 miles
The vehicle was parked. I started it up and backed out of the parking space. I shifted into drive and began moving forward. After going approximately 20 feet the "I" sign illuminated on the instrument panel and the message "steering malfunction, needs service" came on, along with the alarm jingle. I tried to steer the car out of the middle of the drive lane and managed to get it over to the side, but the steering was practically frozen. I turned off the ignition and looked for any obvious signs of trouble, but could find none. After reading through the owner's manual and checking the engine compartment, I restarted the car (about 20 minutes after I shut it off) and no warning sign came on. I test drove it in the parking lot for a minute to see if the steering would function properly and then drove home and experienced no further problems. I took it to the Ford autoway dealership for inspection and they diagnosed the problem as stemming from an ABS "corrupted" program. They told me the epas gets it power through the ABS. They rebooted the ABS program and I've had no further problems.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

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