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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,513 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Nov 122016


  • 29,800 miles


Very rough idling of engine while proceeding forward at start of acceleration. The "hill assist not available" light on the instrumentation panel came on, while the transmission seemed to transfer itself from a drive position to a neutral position. The car remained stationary while I attempted to accelerate using the foot pedal. At that point, I could not get the car back into a drive gear position. Immediately following "hill assist not available" message, a second warning light "transmission malfunction, service now" came on. During this moment, an additional red exclamation light engaged. When I stopped at a red traffic signal, my Focus's RPM idle quickly increased causing the Focus to lunge forward a few feet into an active traffic intersection. As I proceeded to make a right hand turn, the instrumentation panel displayed no warning signs, then suddenly came back on as the RPM idle went from 2,200 to 5,500 RPM in a neutral gear state. At this moment, I was nervous, as my mind was racing with thoughts of an accident; such as, the transmission could re-engage to a drive position at such a high RPM rate, forcing vehicle to thrust forward at an uncontrollable high speed, or the engine could perhaps overheat and/or the engine block could crack. The warning panel sporadically turned warning messages on and off as it affected the powertrain/transmission control. The waning light displays "hill assist not available" every time the transmission goes into a neutral position, while the gear is physically in its "D" (drive) position. This Focus leaves me wary while behind its wheel. Will this car eventually injure me or another person (s) while the transmission suddenly accelerates once again, causing an accident?

- Rancho Mirage, CA, USA

problem #21

Oct 152016


  • 94,000 miles
Driving down the highway and my power steering in my 2012 Ford Focus went out completely almost cause me to crash was going 70 mph and bearly was able to get to the side of the road safely.

- Mcconnell Afb, KS, USA

problem #20

Nov 302012


  • 120,000 miles
My transmission shutters very badly I have had it at the dealer in los lunas New Mexico. It is still not fixed. My streering assist light came on and ihaveno power steering. After the last oil change to change oil light will not go off even after the reset procedures have been followed. The lighter does not work. O and to top it off I just got a recall letter something to do with electrical failure. But had nothing to do with the above problems. This is way many for a car of its age I am sure I have a lemon. What can be done?

- Belen, NM, USA

problem #19

Aug 292016


  • 70,000 miles


Power steering failure- started with everyonce in a while id get the error notice of power steering failure so I would turn off the car start it back up and fine, it started to happen more frequently to the imbarrassing point of having to turn on and off the car 5-10 times just to have power steering, then I got a letter to update my car's software to help fix the power steering issue, I got the software update and 3 months later total failure, I now have zero power steering and now Ford wants me to pay $2200 to fix it, when it failed I almost crashed into another car with my kids in my car on the freeway, needless to say we are greatful to be alive, sad thing is all other models from 2011-2012 with the same exact power steering system get a recall why not the Focus? I wish I would have known before I would have never bought the car, Ford is a scam and doesnt back up its product, the power steering is broke because of their defective product

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 122016


  • 4 miles
Vehicle in motion driving about 60-65mph on the highway, the check engine light turned on the dashboard. Vehicle could not accelerate felt as if on neutral. I began to lose speed and had the fortune no incoming vehicles were behind me. I shut the car off once on the side of the road. Vehicle after being off for 15 minutes was able to drive but reverse gear was none functional.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #17

Jul 302016


  • 86,000 miles
I purchased the car from Ford dealer used.transmission acted up after a month took in in and they said it would cost me $200 to look at it.I purchased the 2 year extended warranty, but would still cost me that.I left, a few month later the car would not move and transmission light came insurance towed the car at that time the dealer kept my car for a week, charged me $500 for cables to the battery.1 week later I was driving back from Arizona to Nevada in the middle of the desert and the car light came on again car was shuttering losing power thank god I made it about 2 months later I was driving home from work and turned my driver side door flew open..thank god I wasn't close to oncoming traffic and had seat belt on.however now my driver side door will not close or lock.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #16

Jun 072015


  • 66,800 miles


I have a Ford Focus 2012 it has power lock on the doors. 3 doors lock with the remote just fine the door behind the drivers seat wont even close. It opens when I turn corners. This is a safety issues especially when I have small children, this car has had two recall fixes one with car rolling back even though it is an automatic and a transmission failure all due to electrical issues. I feel that the this is another one given that my passenger left rear door cant even be manually locked its only locked and unlocked electrically, there is nothing blocking the door to make it not close only the lock itself.

- Converse, TX, USA

problem #15

Jun 072015


  • 96,000 miles
Since the purchase of this for Focus 2012 two years ago, the engine will suddenly stall out and stop working entirely. I am 6 months pregnant and after bringing this car in for numerous repairs of this issue, with no real resolve, I am now furious. I was driving down a 4 lane highway at 65 mph and my engine said "parking assist failure" and the car died. I was almost hit by multiple cars as I tried to coast my way to the shoulder of the road. I turned the car off and back on and it started again. I called the dealership and was told I could bring it in "but they already fixed it." Then just a few days later I am at a busy intersection, and it stalls again..this time wont turn back on. I have been given the run around from Ford, and the Ford dealership, and I need out of this car. I have always driven volkswagon's, and this was my first Ford. Never again. Meanwhile, I am underwater on my car loan now, because I have a car that is worth nothing.

- Auburn, NH, USA

problem #14

May 162015


  • 70,000 miles
On Saturday, May 16, 2015, I was traveling East on interstate 40, memphis, Tennessee. Suddenly the gas pedal bumped twice and my vehicle went completely dead in the middle of this busy interstate. The electrical system just died, my emergency flashers wouldn, T even work. Iall I could do was continue to lay on the horn and wave my hand out the window trying to get the oncoming traffic to realize my car had stopped. My husband told me to get out of the car. I went to the side of the road. A good samaritan, stopped and was able to push my car across the two lanes of traffic and safely on the right median. This happened between 7:30 and 8:15 in the evening. My husband arrived on scene and we planned to return in the morning with a battery hoping that was the problem. I am currently unemployed since 03/15/2015, I couldn't afford to have the vehicle towed. I do not think this was caused by the battery, I think it was a defective transmission. I purchased the vehicle in March, 2013 as a certified pre-owned vehicle. Every problem I've had with this vehicle has been with the transmission. There was in fact an issue with the clutch, I received a letter from Ford Motor Company that the replacement part was defective and may need to be replaced again. The warranty on the clutch was extended to 100,000 miles. I have a message screen on this car. There were no warnings given to me. I definitely feel this is a safety issue! what makes a car completely die as you are traveling 55mph" I have spoken to Ford and they say that particular model does have some issues, but they said they had no idea what could have gone wrong. I was told to just feel lucky I wasn't killed. All I want to know is why would a car going 55mph suddenly just die, with no warning" I guess someone will have to be killed to get any answers. Thank you.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Apr 152015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 39,662 miles


I was driving at a steady speed of 40 mph on a flat road. I was gradually slowing down as I was coming towards an intersection and gradually applying the brake. The car was going at about 10 mph and then I attempted to accelerate as I was about to drive on pass the intersection. However, the car suddenly lost power completely and it could not accelerate at all. I was stuck on the road. I repeatedly pressed on the gas pedal to attempt accelerating a few more times and the car just would not move. Each time I press the gas pedal, I heard a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle but the car didn't move. The engine continued to remain running and both warning indicator and traction light suddenly came on. I had to shut off the engine by turning the key, and attempted to restart the car, both the warning indicator light and the traction light went away and the car seemed to behave like normal as I could move my car again. I then took the car to the Ford dealer to investigate the cause, but the technician said that there were error codes within the ABS module but they could not explain or figure out why the ABS module would suddenly stall the car. All they did was to clear the code in the ABS module, but that does not appear to solve the underlying problem. Plus, there was no assurance that this problem would not happen again. Sudden lost of power can lead to extremely dangerous situation and I earnestly NHTSA could take action to this investigation to improve safety for me and for others driving the same car model.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Jan 202015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Was driving with my mom when all of a sudden her power steering gave out and it was incredibility hard for her to steer. I took over and drove home now I drove vehicles with out power steering before but this was by far the toughest steering vehicle I drove. It was completely dangerous and irresponsible of Ford to not address the issue as of yet. Thankfully I was with my mom that day and nothing worse happened but it could have ended alot worse.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #9

Nov 052014


  • 40,000 miles
While driving on a busy road, the power steering suddenly stopped working and the car became very difficult to steer. When I returned home and restarted the car, the power steering worked normally again. It is being checked by the dealership today. On the phone, the dealership said it would be difficult to diagnose the problem if it wasn't still happening. This seems like a significant safety hazard.

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #8

Oct 182014


  • 85,500 miles
Engine stalled and shutdown while driving with loss of control. Engine also rev'ed up down without acceleration and deceleration while driving and traction warning control light came on. Car was driven to nearby parking lot where it completely shutdown. Car needed to be towed to dealer, as it could not be driven safely. Ford dealer identified the problem as a dtc code U0101 or simply a bad tcm(transmission control module). Tcm was replaced on the transmission and paid by owner, despite this part being recalled by Ford on other Ford Focus models, as follows: Focus power train:automatic transmission:control module (tcm, PCM) recall number: 13V523000 recall date: 10/30/2013 problem summary: Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain model year 2012-2014 Focus electric vehicles manufactured September 15, 2011, through August 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a powertrain control module software problem may result in a stall-like condition. Consequence: An unexpected loss of power while driving increases the risk of a crash. Corrective action: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the power control module, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by late November 2013. Ford's recall campaign number is 13S09. Owners may contact Ford Motor Company customer relationship center at 1-866-436-7332. This recall affects vehicles manufactured between 09/15/2011 and 08/23/2013.

- Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #7

Sep 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 54,125 miles
I was driving home when a light message on my dash came on saying "hill start assist not available" and the car lost complete power to the wheels, motor revved but I wasn't going anywhere. I tried putting in a sport mode to see if could shift via toggle switch, but still no gears. I got to the side of the road and my check engine light was on and traction control light was on. I shut the car off hoping it would reset something, but once did that the car wouldn't start, I had power and all but when turned key to start nothing happened. It's sitting at the dealer now. I check some mark II Focus forums and this seems to be a very common issue and when taking to dealership nothing is being done.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #6

Aug 082014


  • 63,000 miles
I was leaving from the bp gas station from wayne sullivan dr in paducah, ky I had drove from ledbetter which is 10 mins outside of paducah and when I started my car to leave gas station pulling out into busy intersection I went to accelerate and my car would not go any faster than 10mph with oncoming traffic behind me and my 5 year old child in the car with me. I had reported transmission problems before they put computer to adjust it but told me slippage and jerking would be normal due to the type of transmission. My car has always rolled back on steep hills also.

- Ledbetter, KY, USA

problem #5

Mar 042014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus sel with 30K miles. The traction control on this vehicle in snow is horrible! when the car is in light snow the traction control kicks on and the car loses power.. I have gotten stuck in the middle of the road because the wheels will not move! I have to go and turn off the tc in the settings just to get power.. this is not safe at all!!!

- Youngstown , OH, USA

problem #4

Feb 212014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Driving on freeway. Loss power on "speed" it felt as though I was on neutral, so pulled over becuz I didn't want to cause an accident. Would not start after I turned off engine, and I noticed although vehicle was in the park position. My menu kept stating it was in "drive" position.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus SE which is still covered under my 70,000 mile warranty. I had problems with my traction control system while trying to get out of a parking lot. My rear brakes automatically locked up causing me to become stranded during a snow storm. I was stranded for 5 hours before abandoning my car and finding a ride home from a complete stranger. The next day I had my car taken to the nearest dealership and asked them to look into the problem. A day later I received a call saying that there was no problem and that the issue was external, which is impossible because no one has ever done any work on the car other than a few oil changes. They released the brakes and I picked my car up only to find that the problem had not been fixed. That same day while driving home with my wife the rear brakes locked up again, causing my car to fish-tail and impact a wall. The damages were relatively minor, but the airbags deployed and now my car is inoperable. I know that this issue was caused by the malfunctioning traction control system.

- Spring City, PA, USA

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