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:
19 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
10 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,751 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 10 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #536

Nov 102015


  • 59,800 miles


The transmission is shuttering and the cars does not accelerate. The transmission stopped working on Tuesday. Was on the expressway and the transmission quit while car was going 50mph. I have been told numerous times by Ford employees that this is how the car works. Shuttering, not accelerating, stalling out. Car is currently at dealership. I was given the timeframe of 3-4 weeks to be fixed, the best timeframe of the 4 dealerships I called. 59,800 miles on the car.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #535

Jul 152015


  • 10,000 miles
2012 Ford Focus, purchased used in 2015 with 6K miles, has been jolting and failing to accelerate while driving on streets/highways and has been in for assessment and repair 2 times; currently under repair for a 3rd time as of today (11/11/15).

- Glen Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #534

Nov 062015


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle has been in for service 6 times for the same transmission issues: Dragging, bucking, loss of acceleration. I had a clutch replaced on Nov. 4th and after only driving 100 miles I lost all transmission power to the car and was stranded roadside. The Ford dealer service manager said Ford is aware of the issues and none of the repairs will correct the problem.the warranty is only extended until 100,000 miles and then out of pocket will occur. The car is unsafe and just stops in the middle of driving. Ford just makes the sane fixes and states the car is suppose to drive this way. Cars just don't stop running mid acceleration and jerk so hard the car bucks.

- Northborough, MA, USA

problem #533

Oct 222015


  • 97,200 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle slipped out of gear, the transmission light illuminated, and the vehicle overheated. The contact coasted over to the side of the road and left the vehicle there until the next day. The contact was able to drive the vehicle, but it stalled whitout warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 97,200.

- Brewerton, NY, USA

problem #532

Jan 022013


  • miles
Ford has had many issues with their duel clutch transmission which causes the car to lurch forward, shutter, slip when starting or when shifting between gears. They know about this issue and have issued extended warranty but this is a safety issue. The internet is full of hundreds if not thousands of consumer complaints about this issue and a class action law suit has been filed. My issue is the same with thousands of other Ford owners. We keep having to take the car into the shop, they adjust something and tell us there is nothing else they can do. I have had this issue on and off for over 2 years, my car will now be looked at for a fifth time. It would be great if the government takes a look at this safety issue and helps us out

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #531

Dec 172014


  • 23,000 miles
With the engine still running, suddenly no power was delivered to the wheels. I was able to roll to a stop at the curb. I returned 1-1/2 hours later and was able to drive the car about 3 miles before the problem recurred. I had the car towed to a Ford dealership. The problem was a failed transmission control module, which was replaced by an identical unit. Had this failure occurred while driving at high speed on a freeway, it would probably have led to a serious accident. In fact, I would be surprised if there have not already been a number of such accidents. Ford has done nothing to correct this problem. In August I received a notice stating that "the tcm may experience electrical circuit failures causing intermittent symptoms of loss of transmission engagement while driving, no-start, or a lack of power." It goes on to say that a software update is available that will give a visual warning of a potential failure. However, this will not prevent a driver from being stranded, nor, in many cases, will it preclude an accident from occurring. I am buying a new car and trading in my Focus. I could get more for it by selling it to a private party, but I am unwilling to have any connection with the unwitting person who owns the car next. Since the incident with my 2012 Focus occurred about three years after my purchase, it is reasonable to think that such incidents will occur with increasing frequency. Ford needs to treat the design of a replacement tcm as an urgent matter, and to make it the subject of a recall.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #530

Nov 012015


  • 60,056 miles


My car has shuddered since I bought it. It also did the roll back issues as well. It has been into the Ford dealership 3 times now for this issue and it is still not resolved. The car has only 60,000 miles on it. It slips gears, struggles to get up hills, struggles to get going at lights, struggles in traffic when ideling, and shudders. I called Ford to complain at first they seemed interested. They would follow up with me after the latest reprogramming. Well the reprogramming was completed and it still does the same things as before. Ford's response well give it a few days. I asked when they would follow up since I just told you it is not fixed what is the next step. Their response call us when it happens again and closed my case. They need to fix the problem and take responsibility for the problem. I am waiting for my transmission to completely fail since it struggles to shift into gears. This is a major safety issue and the car is a lemon.

- Palmyra, PA, USA

problem #529

Mar 012013


  • 33,000 miles
Transmission vibration, shuttering, jumping in and out of gear, clunking into gear, can't find gear, rolling back, slipping, flaring.

- Charlestown, IN, USA

problem #528

Oct 072015


  • 82,000 miles
My 2012 Ford Focus stalled in traffic. I was stopped at a red light and when traffic signal turned green, my vehicle stalled while attempting to accelerate. I had no power to moved forward. The needle for shifting of gears went all the way over to 8 &9. transmission light came on. Vehicle continued to stall in traffic & transmission light stayed on. This happened on October 07, 2015.

- Lawrenceburg, KY, USA

problem #527

Nov 022015


  • 56,150 miles
Vehicle transmission has been repaired under warranty at around 26000 miles for leaking, and again at 56000 miles for a bulletin (not a recall, it had time/mileage parameters). The most recent service, for the bulletin, was a reprogram of the tcm. Following this work, vehicle slips in and out of gear, seizing up on hills in both directions (uphill and downhill), and stopping the car. This has happened on multiple occasions: Five, to be specific, all this year: On a busy freeway interchange ramp and on four occasions while turning in an intersection. When this happens, the car cannot be moved, the gear shift sticks and cannot be moved, and the key cannot be removed from the ignition. The vehicle transmission has been running "rough" since the reprogram. It grinds, shudders, and lurches. Note: The first time the vehicle seized up was before the reprogramming, and the other times were all since this work was done. On all of the occasions where this has happened, the vehicle slowed to an abrupt halt and I was nearly rear-ended. In the instance where the key has been stuck, waiting a few minutes (more than 5 but less than 10) has allowed me to cycle the key and re-start the vehicle, and then it was mobile again. I should note that the downhill assist dash light and the downhill assist feature (operated by a button on the gearshift) both come on without the button being touched or even pressed. A vehicle suddenly and abruptly slowing to a stop on a freeway interchange at speed is in my opinion a serious safety concern. Please also note that the vehicle has a history of sudden lurches forward while braking and the transmission has bogged down on other occasions in the past, but nowhere near as frequently as it did once I passed about 48000 miles.

- Grosse Pointe Park, MI, USA

problem #526

Oct 262015


  • 41,000 miles


Transmission shudders, skips, cannot find the right gear. This is a real hazard as my wife and kids pulled into traffic and almost got hit. It has been in to the dealership multiple times and all Ford can do is flash the software? we now have about 41K miles and they still can't/won't fix it. These cars are a real hazard and I honestly don't know why a recall hasn't been performed. There are numerous documented problems. We actually own another 2012 Focus and it has been fine-except the tcm suddenly went out (no prior significant shuddering). Since the tcm was replaced (after being stranded) it shifts smoothly. The Focus with the original tcm still has lots of problems and they simply will flash the software and call it fixed. Ford is also delaying as many repairs as they can because demand is so high. I suppose we have to wait for somebody to die before a recall is performed?

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #525

Jun 012012


  • miles
The transmission does not always provide power when it's needed. It lurches, lags, shakes, rattles and (usually) rolls. This car is simply unsafe.

- Starkville, MS, USA

problem #524

Oct 222015


  • 111,000 miles
Took it in for a recall, but it is still doing the same thing, they said they may charge me this time if it is something different, but it's not its doing the exact same thing

- Sterling City, TX, USA

problem #523

Oct 012013


  • 40,000 miles
This car has been a lemon. Ford has attempted to "fix" the repeated issue I am having with this car stalling out unexpectedly due to transmission failure. Ford replaced the tcm but the car still is unreliable. The service advisor at the O'meara Ford in Colorado told me that this car is a lemon and that he has not seen a product from Ford this bad in many years. He also said that he has advised his family to not ride or drive one of these cars as they are unsafe and dangerous! this car has stalled out while I am trying to make a left turn, in the middle of the highway, and in many situations that have compromised my safety and the safety of my fellow motorists. I feel that Ford needs to buy this car back and replace it as it is clear that this car can not be fixed in any lasting way. I ask NHTSA to please step in and investigate these dangerous cars before someone gets killed! I absolutely hate my Ford and will not by another.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #522

Oct 262015


  • 44,173 miles
The transmission shudders when driving between 20-40 mph. We see misshifting when taking off from a complete stop, clutch appears to slip at take off.

- Richfield, WI, USA

problem #521

May 122015


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While traveling 35 mph and coming to a complete stop, the vehicle proceeded into the middle of traffic due to brake failure. The vehicle was previously repaired under a recall; however, the failure was persistent. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch assembly needed to be updated and possibly replaced. The vehicle was reprogramed, but not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was approximately 73,000.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #520

Oct 052012


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While starting the vehicle, the electronic power steering system fault illuminated on the instrument panel and the steering wheel became very difficult to maneuver. The contact stated that the failure occurred on four separate occasions intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be duplicated. While driving 45 mph, the contact heard a loud bang and the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to stop the vehicle, but it would not restart or shift into gear. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the parking engage control sensor module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred within 24 hours. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that transmission control module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. When the vehicle was retrieved from the dealer, it experienced trouble shifting and made an abnormal grinding noise every time it was shifted into another gear. The contact took the vehicle back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch plates failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 12,000.

- Travelers Rest, SC, USA

problem #519

Oct 182015


  • 85,000 miles
In 2014 I was driving from grand forks, nd to bemidji, mn on the interstate going around 60 when my car shuddered and slowed down to close to 15. I was able to get onto the shoulder after being stranded in the middle of nowhere I was able to call for help. My car was then taken the the Ford dealership in bemidji and I had someone pick me up and was able to bring me back to grand forks. (Ford had refused to give a rental) around 2 weeks after I got a call stating that my transmission was fixed. I got a ride to bemidji, picked it up and headed home. Shortly after I got it back to grand forks I was driving around a residential area in grand forks when I stopped at a 4 way stop waiting for my turn, went to go forward and my car started moving in reverse. I had to slam on my break so I didn't hit the car behind me then I brought it to the Ford dealership in town. They "fixed" the issues and gave it back to me two more times, each time I couldn't make it out of the dealership without it shuddering and refusing to shift. Finally they "fixed" it at the end of the summer in 2014. This summer I was noticing the car was shuddering when I was in residential areas and it was stop and go, I brought it back down the the dealership I bought it from and they assured me it was fine but they would replace the parts to be sure. This weekend I went home to the cities and as I was driving back it broke again. I was in the passing lane going around 70 when my car shuddered, went down to 55, shuddered again and went down to 10. I was forced to swerve quickly into the left shoulder since I had a semi-truck behind me going 70 that almost hit me and had to cross the interstate to an off ramp to be safe. They have "fixed" it four times and it still breaks down. I've almost gotten into 4 accidents, missed days from work and I'm too scared to drive my vehicle at this point.

- Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #518

Oct 152015


  • 43,000 miles
The vehicle has a grinding noise when shifting gears. It will also shudder and shake when driving. Vehicle has had all updates done by the dealer and Ford Motor Company and the issue still persists. Ford said they are unable to fix the issue with the dual clutch.

- Richfield, WI, USA

problem #517

Oct 142015


  • 46,500 miles
During acceleration from stop, the 2012 Ford Focus began stalling when automatically shifting. A check engine indication turned on when the car stalled. The Ford Focus then shifted into a higher gear and accelerated very slowly. On the highway the Focus accelerated slowly and sometimes shifted momentarily into neutral while the shifter is set to drive and the accelerator is pressed. This was indicated by a change in the tachometer to high RPM that didn't correspond to a change in car speed. The problem began occuring once the car had been operated for a warming period of time such as 30 minutes. Then the problem persisted until the car is left off for a long period of time (the next day). These stalls put myself in danger because in heavy traffic I could not accelerate to match traffic speeds or cross intersections. The stalls also put me in danger because the Ford Focus suddenly stalled while cars behind mine expected me to continue accelerating when accelerating from a stop light. I understand Ford has recognized a problem that can lead to this due to leaking transmission seals contaminating the clutch pack. I brought the car in for service. Ford "reprogrammed" the transmission control unit which was recalled and said a subsequent test drive showed no problems. The next day I drove the car approximately 10 miles, after which the problem reappeared. I asked the Ford dealer if they could apply the clutch recall. They claimed it was a warranty extension and not a recall. They said getting the problem fixed under warranty was useless because the parts are back ordered for more than a month. In my opinion, if Ford knows there is a defect but is not procuring parts to serve the new extended warranty, they should be forced by the correct Agency to recall the car and repair them within a limited amount of time.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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