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 14 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #456

Jul 162014


  • 40,000 miles


During times of frequent stop and go (accelerating and de-accelerating) the car shudders and acts like it is going to stall. It does not accelerate or de-accelerate properly sometimes. I did not notice until about 40,000 miles and have had this problem ever since. Some model of Ford focuses are under recall, however when I went to the dealer they said my car specifically was not being recalled yet it was exhibiting the same issues.

- Brown City, MI, USA

problem #455

Jun 122015


  • 68,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at 45 mph, the vehicle started to decelerate. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road and shut the engine off. Once restarted, the gear shifter failed to shift into drive. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,800.

- Mannington, WV, USA

problem #454

Jan 082015


  • 20,000 miles
Starting this past winter, my Ford Focus's transmission shakes, shudders, and slips, etc consistently when starting from a dead stop. The first time it happened, the vehicle actually wouldn't accelerate. I've had it in to Ford and they made the problem a little better but the vehicle still noticeably shakes when accelerating. It can also be very hesitant to accelerate when at higher speeds as well. Ford has checked the issue again and says that its "within tolerance". I find it absurd that they would consider what my car does to be acceptable. This is both annoying and a safety concern considering the acceleration is not always there the way it should be.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #453

May 012015


  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at 40 mph, the vehicle lost power. In addition, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate as the rpms increased. Also, the contact mentioned that the horn failed to function. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that a module in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,000. Updated 09/10/15

- Soddy, TN, USA

problem #452

Jun 262015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
It's like it doesn't want to shift and then that hesitation you feel and it'll kick in, ? driving down the street transmission will stop working. There is never any warning signs. Very dangerous. Does not matter if you are going up an hill or driving flat road and speed has no factor either. Then the car will turn off on its own. There are a lot of complaints with transmission problem with Ford Focus. Every complaint is about the same transmission issue. Ford Focus 2012 is a lemon....... now family can't ride in this car. Not safe! it just sits at home.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #451

Jul 012015


  • 62,000 miles
7/1/15 car had sudden loss of power. The double clutch transmission was in D but acted as if in neutral. Pulled into a business driveway. Parked car. Put selector in P, car dash said car was not in P and would not allow key to be removed. Called a Ford dealer, had car towed to dealer. Waiting on them to work on car. (they said they did not have available time in shop until 7/9/15)

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #450

May 252015


  • 52,184 miles


I was driving on a four lane highway around 1030 pm.. I started up a hill when all of a sudden and I do mean sudden! lost all power to the transmission and if there had been a lot of cars on the road I could of been injured or killed.. I have had previous problems with the transmission shuttering rolls back when you come to a stop on a hill..

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #449

Jul 022015


  • 40,000 miles
While accelerating and merging onto the interstate, the car surged forward briefly, made a banging sound and shifted by itself into neutral with the check engine light illuminating. After coasting to a stop on the shoulder, I placed the vehicle into park and shut off the engine, after a minute or so, I restarted the engine an placed it into drive. The car accelerated to about 20 mph and again went into neutral. After stopping and restarting one more time I placed the car into low and carefully drove to the nearest exit where I stopped and called for a tow truck. The car was then towed to lithia Ford.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #448

Jun 062015


  • 52,000 miles
I was driving my Ford Focus one morning in reverse after pulling out of a parking lot. When I went back T drive and started accelerating the car didn't accelerate. I got the error light saying " service car immediately" I finally got the car home (thankful I was only a few hundred yards away). Car has since been incredibly shaky and sporadic with the acceleration. I had the car taken to auto zone for a engine test and was informed the car has been getting stuck in first gear. Its clearly something to do with the terribly designed transmission that Ford did.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #447

Aug 172014


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While accelerating at various speeds, the vehicle failed to accelerate and jerked forward without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,000.

- Rowland, NC, USA

problem #446

Jun 152015


  • 51,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle lost acceleration. The contact had to shift into park in order to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission control module failed. As a result, the vehicle transmission control module needed to be reprogrammed. The failure recurred once. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 51,000.

- Greenville, OH, USA

problem #445

May 012015


  • 87,000 miles
Car lost total ability to accelerate, as if it slipped into neutral. I was attempting to get into the passing lane. The transmission failed to shift but went into a state that appeared to be neutral. The rpms went through the roof and the car was suddenly decelerating as I was trying to merge into the passing lane, a large truck literally almost collided with my rear end as the event was so spontaneous that I had little ability or experience in dealing with such a situation. Pulled over to collect my wits, shut the car off and proceeded on after a while. The car was taken to Ford dealership, russ milne in macomb mi, they told me there was nothing they could do without being able to replicate the event. Its obvious Ford knows of this problem yet the dealership sends me back on the road with a known faulty transmission. Would not sell this car to someone else (dont want that on my head) and too little equity to trade-in (who would take it anyways). Ford is playing with a ticking time-bomb.. someone will get killed because of this. I now stay in the slow lane.. dont try to pass and just pray. No $$ to buy a new car and I have to drive this thing to keep my job/house/food/clothing. Trapped.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #444

Aug 012014


  • 25,000 miles
While driving (at multiple speeds, on multiple occasions), transmission disengages for absolutely no reason and car must be parked and restarted to move again. The engine does not stall, and you can rev the engine, but transmission will not engage (like being in neutral) to move vehicle. Took Ford dealership multiple times to fix the issue because they needed an error code to work from, even though anecdotal evidence suggests that this is a well know defect of the transmission control module (I.e. computer chip that regulates the transmission), in this vehicle, which was eventually replaced (and now the car runs fine). Submitting this complaint because it caused multiple dangerous road situations where I could not power the vehicle on a freeway with traffic at high speeds. This could cause injury or death that is completely avoidable by the replacement of one computer chip, and Ford is most likely aware of it....updated 07/30/15

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #443

Nov 202014


  • 43,000 miles
I bought the car used in November or 2014. After a few days of driving there was this a loud boom when accelerating from a stop light. After that the transmission would shutter so bad the car was not drive-able. I contacted the dealership where I bought it and they tested and told me it was the worst shuttering they had ever recorded. They told me Ford would fix it for free but the part was on back order. I waited for over 2 months and they finally had the part. After getting the vehicle fixed it drove fine for about 7500 miles and then the shuttering started to occur again lightly at first but slowly increasing. I am now out of warranty and stuck in a loan with a car that doesn't drive like it should. I have owned many Ford in the past and never had a single issue until now.

- Hatley, WI, USA

problem #442

Jun 022015


  • 48,000 miles
Was traveling at about 35 mph, car lost power, rpms went up, car started rolling backwards. After a few minutes and tries I was able to get the car home (happened 2 times on way home also)

- Laughlin, NV, USA

problem #441

Apr 272015


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 40 mph, the transmission failed and the vehicle stalled. As a result, the contact crashed into another vehicle. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to a dealer where the repairs were unknown, but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Petersburg, VA, USA

problem #440

Jun 052015


  • 92,000 miles
Entering expressway the car lost power. The engine continued to run but there was no drive train. This cause a very unsafe condition as there was no notice at all. I was almost hit in the rear due to this. I coasted to the side and shut down the car and restarted. The car went into gear and I started driving. Less than an a mile it happened again. I continued to stay I the right lane and drove slowly. I called the Ford dealer that has performed all the work on this car and told them I was bringing it in. During my trip to the dealer (akins Ford winder ga.) the condition happened 12 more times. The check engine light did come on as well as a notice saying that the "hill assist was not available". I have had this car returned to the dealer for recall related to transmission issues as notified by Ford. This also appears to be a big issue with other owners across the country.

- Nicholson, GA, USA

problem #439

Aug 072013


  • 12,738 miles
At 12,738 miles I took to dealer and complained about sluggish acceleration. At 14,886 miles I took to dealer and complained about clutch shudder and they installed new clutch and input shaft seals and axle seals, reinstalled trany with new hardware. Also complained that car would not start twice, on first turn of key. At 14886 miles, I was on highway accelerating from a stop. I got up to about 35 miles an hour and the car suddenly seemed to downshift, coming almost to a complete stop. Then it was very slow to accelerate up to speed again. This happened at two more successive stop signs, causing the vehicle behind me to have to slow down suddenly to avoid running into me. I also complained about the car sometimes scooting on the pavement upon acceleration as if "burning rubber" or "peeling out" also complained that one time, I turned the key off and I could still hear some kind of noise in the dash like something was still "working" like a cd player or something, which I wasn't even using.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #438

Mar 022012


  • 27,404 miles
Above said vehicles transmission considered to be a powershift transmission has issues of jerking at low speeds of 20 mph or upon acceleration. There is shimming and shuttering and the noise of what sounds like clanging metal parts. The jerking motion can be issue as the vehicle appears to lunge forward. Ford replaced the bands and clutch assembly but this issue seems to still appear on occasion. Ford advises vehicle is in normal specs and that this is the operation characteristics of this transmission. Not happy with this vehicle since I purchased but what options do I have ?

- Cumberland, MD, USA

problem #437

Jun 012015


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle started to lose power and stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times, but they could not locate a failure. When the failure occurred, the vehicle would restart but could not move. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The contact filed a complaint with the manufacturer, but the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Kapolei, HI, USA

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