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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Ford Focus:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 11 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #516

Oct 112013


  • 12,000 miles


The vehicle will not always shift out of gear when accelerating or decelerating. The vehicle will shudder violently when shift even after the car has been warmed up. This has caused the vehicle to stall when coming to interceptions or when take off not catch into a gear. Currently the transmission has been replaced once and reprogramed 3 times, still experiencing the same issues.

- Richfield, WI, USA

problem #515

Sep 162015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,400 miles
My car only has 4500 miles! the cars transmission is junk! the car is not safe to drive period! there is a recall on the transmission! on the city streets, I have ruined two 700 wheels trying to park on a hill! the car will not hold in drive or reverse! I had a highway patrol car behind me at a light, I was going right, there was a slight upgrade. When I took my foot off the gas the car rolled backwards in drive, and hit the highway patrol car! he pulled me over with his mic. "driver pull to the right and stop! driver, turn off your car and put your hands out side the window! had his hand on his gun! thought I was drunk" I told him that the car rolls in drive and reverse! I tried twice to have Ford buy back this dangerous car! the highway patrol officer believed me and told me to report it to Ford! he said what if there was a person behind you, and you pined them between us? I told me to report this to you! now I have a mint car in the garage! I won`T drive it! I won`T sell it and pass the problem to someone else! beside the price on these cars has crashed because of the recall! Ford can`T fix it! I want my money back! I have a mint top of the line Ford Focus sitting in my garage! Ford can`T fix it and wont give me my money back! they won`T even tell me why? please help! these cars are dangerous to drive! I have been ripped off by Ford! first and last Ford I ever buy! my daughter has owned two of these focuses they both did the same thing! she was afraid to drive them! she left the car at the dealership and left! she now has a 10K charge off on the car! this is bs! I want all my money back! Ford has a dangerous car out there and I am going to expose them! I own wild rods, I am 60, adult driver, no tickets! why should I have to keep this dangerous car I can`T drive and they can`T fix" please help me! I have a car that costs me $400 a month, I can`T drive! thank you!

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #514

Oct 032015


  • 76,000 miles
Had the car for 10 days, went to start, and received a notice "transmission failure- service now" the car ended up getting towed, and needed new tms. Even after the fix, the car transmission drives awful. Car shifts at odd times, and has extremely slow pick up from a complete stock. Im terrified that something is going to happen to me while driving the car! ive seen over 1,000 other complaints about this same problem, and most of these incidents have happened while driving at high speeds. They are stating that the transmission fails and shuts down, causing the driver to lose power of the car. I don't know why that haven't fixed this, considering this could cause serious injury to someone, all because they chose to buy a Ford. Im nervous to drive the car, because I fear the transmission will fail on me. Ford has agreed that the transmission is a problem, but they have not recalled it. Now im stuck with this car that im afraid to drive

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #513

Oct 062015


  • 63,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While at a stop sign, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 63,000.

- Aliquippa, PA, USA

problem #512

Oct 062015


  • 117,000 miles
While driving car lost per and almost caused a major accident I was going 65 mph computer said my transmission was not in park.

- Childs, PA, USA

problem #511

Apr 292011


  • 11,600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at 60 mph and accelerating, the vehicle jerked violently and lost power. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be driven more and the computer needed to be adjusted to the driver. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 11,600.

- Cape May, NJ, USA

problem #510

Sep 302015


  • 80,880 miles


Delay on starting, check eng light illuminated, vehicle in revers and would not move. Turned vehicle off, cycled key and nothing. Cycled key 3-4 more times nothing. Cycled key heard clicking noise in dash area, cycled key one more time, vehicle started and transmission engaged, check engine light was on. Drove it back to the dealer.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #509

Dec 122013


  • 21,914 miles
Severe transmission shuddering, lurching, lack of power and speed control especially at red lights. Although I have entered that it occurred 12/12/13, it actually has happened since the day I bought it. When my husband took the car in, the service department said "maybe your wife doesn't know how to drive an automatic".

- Vestal, NY, USA

problem #508

Sep 292015


  • 36,000 miles
Bought a new 2012 Ford Focus for my daughter so she would be safe. She just moved across the state for college. We have had constant symptoms with the transmission and she has been on the freeway 3 times when the car suddenly just comes to a crawl with the engine shaking and jerking. This makes the car unresponsive. Dealer updated tcm - PCM and replaced clutch and throw out bearing in August 2015. September 2015 she lets me know that while going to school on the freeway the car did the same thing, loss of power no control of throttle and the car is shaking and jerking. Transmission malfunction warning light came on again. Jerking and shuddering of the transmission. I'm afraid my daughter and others are going to be severely injured when this happens. No control on the freeway is very dangerous. I have read that people have changed their clutch and bearing 5 times? it doesn't seem to fix the problem and it appears to be a design flaw. It's like putting a band-aid on an open artery. Problem happens at slow and fast speeds.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #507

Sep 262015


  • 88,000 miles
Shuttering, no power to wheels, very slow and suddenly engaging, excessive clutch slip, lost reverse. Engine light came on. I was trying to cross traffic, at the stop sign I proceeded to go across traffic to the median turn lane. Car would not engage gear, when it did it was very slow and no power even with gas mashed to the floor. All this time I had cars approaching me from the South bound lane, very dangerous and scary. I then decided to just make a right hand turn and get off the road, which was hard because the electronic power steering assist in this car went out months ago with still no recall on this defect. I turned right down a side street and tried to turn around only to find out I have no reverse gear now, I am so over this lemon of a car. Buyers beware, stay far far away from Ford products especially this model car. Ford touts that they are committed to safety, I find that hilarious. Why on earth would you let a vehicle with the track record this model has with steering going out and transmissions just quitting when they want to, to still be on the road" a life threatening danger to the driver as well as anyone that is sharing the road with the vehicle. The next day, engine light gone, car shifts normal?????? vehicle is at Ford now, they have a recall to re-program the transmission control module"

- Crystal River, FL, USA

problem #506

Sep 022013


  • 30,000 miles


The vehicle shakes and shudders when taking off from a stop. It feels like the transmission is slipping and the clutch is constantly engaging/disengaging. This seems to be at its worst after the vehicle is hot from traveling at highway speed. In addition to the shake and shuddering, there is at times a lack of power when taking off from a stop. Depressing the accelerator will increase engine RPM, but the car is sluggish to take off. When pulling into traffic, this can be a bit frightening because the car will not accelerate as quickly as you anticipate. It feels as though the transmission is in too high of a gear when taking off from a stop. You can hear the pull on the engine when this happens. These two issues have never occurred simultaneously. Either the vehicle shakes and shudders when taking off from a stop or there is a lack of acceleration. Never do they occur together. I have returned the car to the Ford dealership multiple times and have had every software update available applied. I am told at every visit that the transmission is operating normally. I'm concerned that one day I will pull into traffic though and the car will not accelerate as expected resulting in an accident. The car currently has 93,000 miles on it.

- Laurel, IN, USA

problem #505

Oct 102014


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer twice where the transmission control module was replaced. Weeks later, there was an abnormal noise coming from the radio and it randomly failed to work. While driving, the steering wheel seized and the contact had to apply force to the steering wheel each time the failure recurred. The contact also mentioned that the eps warning light illuminated. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000. Updated 11/12/15

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #504

Sep 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 67,542 miles
The transmission clipped as to a 4th replaced faulty clutch while backing into the garage. The car jerked backwards out of know where and hit the side of the garage while backing in to park. The rear fender, bumper and parking aid sensors are now damaged thank you to a faulty transmission and clutch. I am tired of not feeling safe with my daughter in the car.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #503

Nov 202014


  • 28,419 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 25 to 35 mph, the vehicle made a loud abnormal sound, the transmission spun, and the wheels did not engage. The contact turned off and restarted the vehicle, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission software had to be updated. The software update was performed; however, the failure recurred numerous times. The approximate failure mileage was 28,419.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #502

Jun 152012


  • 3,300 miles
Jerky transmission, car bucking not wanting to shift, slips into neutral and just revs, no start problems, service engine soon lights up, transmission overheat warning, transmission malfunction warning..tcm reprogrammed several times, transmission supposedly rebuilt (took appox. 6 weeks to get car back), control module replaced a couple of times.. after having a few days after repairs, service engine soon comes back on, no start problems occur again, transmission starts slipping again. Brought back to dealer on several occasions when they plugged into computer and no issues showed up. Last incident was 9/15/15 where module was replaced, picked car up on 9/17/15 and on 9/18/15 no start problem and service engine soon light back on and car is bucking.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #501

Mar 282014


  • 20,135 miles
Have had this vehicle at the dealership five times for transmission shudder. Also, one time, vehicle decelerated to 35 mph while driving on a 4-lane highway, and would not go over 35 mph. Dealership has reprogrammed computer four times, and replaced transmission control module once. Purchased this car used in December 2013. It had 15,000 miles on it at the time. Problem didn't appear during my ownership until approx. 20,000 miles, so vehicle doesn't qualify for Ohio lemon law which states the problem must show up during the first year or first 18,000 miles. I do not feel this car is safe, and am afraid to drive it on the interstate.

- Freeport, OH, USA

problem #500

Apr 022015


  • 38,000 miles
Purchased new and within 40,000 miles the clutch has failed two times and the transmission module has failed once and has had to be reprogrammed twice. The suspension makes loud noises on the front end whenever you hit any bump. I feel unsafe driving this car because it can lose the ability to accelerate at any time without warning.

- Hammond, IN, USA

problem #499

Aug 282015


  • 56,500 miles
Excessive shuddering/shaking upon acceleration, vehicle does not seem to have any power. On 8/28 I was stopped at light in drive and vehicle would not move, after changing gears I finally was able to drive it, a short time later vehicle would not move again in drive but the engine light came on, on the way to the dealership vehicle lost power and would only go 15 mph crawled to the dealer with emergency flashers. Dealer had the vehicle for 5 days and completed the software update program 15B22, since receiving the vehicle back I am still experiencing low power and shuddering. Have been rear ended tapped once because it doesn't have any power, very concerned to drive vehicle to to loss of power and excessive shuddering. Contacted Ford customer care and they did not have a sense of any long term fix to this issue nor does the dealership. Dealer states they are slammed with these vehicles every day.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #498

Nov 262013


  • 26,316 miles
I purchased the car used with 25,000 miles, shortly after the car began shuddering very badly and did not accelerate correctly. The problem progressed to a loud metal grinding noise, the clutch was deemed to be bad and replaced. Six months after the clutch failed again and was replaced and now a year later the clutch needs to be replaced again, making it the fourth clutch for a car with under 70,000 miles. Ford has extended the warranty so it is covered however the part is on back order for 4-6 weeks. Ford does not offer a replacement vehicle during this time. I do not feel safe driving this car with the transmission not working properly. This car also had the steering and suspension repaired within the first year of ownership.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #497

Nov 012014


  • 65,000 miles
We received recall notification from Ford stating computer needed updated for the transmission/computer/clutch issues they are having. Had software update done. Fast forward to August of this year. Was driving car at highway speed and it started shaking badly, check engine light came on, car would only go about 30 mph. Took car to dealership under warranty and recall notice. Software was again updated. We were told to drive it and basically hope for the best. If check engine light came on again to take it back to dealership. Car still shuddered from stop while accelerating. 1 week later check engine light comes on and car won't go over 30 mph. Got the car home and it would not move in reverse. Called dealership. Car has been towed to dealership. Will most likely be without car for at least another week. This will make around 2 weeks total in past month without car. Ford's warranty is now 150K miles on tcm but only 100K miles on clutch with tcm is tearing up. Ford's roadside assistance runs out at 60K miles. Ford knows they have a major issue with these cars, and knows they will break down, not if they will, but when they will break down is the question. They make the consumer deal with all headaches of not having a car and getting it to the shop. It is extremely dangerous driving this vehicle knowing one minute you are at highway speed and the next at 30 mph. Ford is not doing everything they can to ensure safety. They are trying to repair as few as possible and as cheap as possible. As a long time Ford advocate I am beyond angry. I want the NHTSA to do their jobs as well and force Ford Motor Company to fix these vehicles and ensure their customers safety. Ford is responsible for all costs associated with this issue and needs to stand up, put their big boy pants on, and do the right thing.

- Lavonia, GA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?