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 15 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #436

May 102015


  • 63,000 miles


When excellerating the car shuddered shifting into 2nd gear, had loss of speed and check engine light came on. This continued until the car was shut off for several hours and then drove fine. This pattern of shuddering and not shifting correctly happened for 1 week until I was able to get an appointment with the dealership where I purchased the car. The transmission seal was replaced and after picking up the car, it shuddered and the check engine light came back on yet again. It was so bad that I was not able to climb a hill on the interstate and the more I pushed on the gas the slower I went and the RPM's climed to 5 1/2 which it has never done. With fear of blowing up the engine, I had to pull off the interstate and shut the car off for 5 minutes. I was then able to drive home and back to the dealership the next morning. The transmission control module (tcm) was replaced and the car now shifts fine. I had complained on several occasions of the shuddering and lack of shifting and loss of power on other occasions when getting my oil changed and was told that the tcm was calibrated to the current specs but it would continue intermittently since I purchased the car new in 6/2012. It was worse in very cold weather. I had received a letter from Ford extending the transmission seal warranty to 100,000 miles and the tcm to 150,000 miles. This has definitely been a hassle and problem. Ford did a crappy job of addressing it and should not continue to build cars with the duel ability of standard/automatic shifting.

- Florence, KY, USA

problem #435

May 222015


  • 130,000 miles
The car shudders/hesitate when going from first O second gear in the aromatic transmission/6 speed transmission. I have had it checked by a Ford dealership and they informed me the clutch/transmission is going. This is the second transmission for this care and now I am looking at a third one to be put in. Ford has made a transmission that is faulty in M eyes.

- Kewaskum, WI, USA

problem #434

Feb 152015


  • 29,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at various speeds and attempting to accelerate, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate. All of the warning indicators on the instrument panel illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine had a leak and needed to be repaired and the brake line and circuit board failed. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 29,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #433

Jan 012015


  • 24,000 miles


The car has serious problems with trying to shift correctly. The car hesitates and lurches when accelerating and downshifting. At higher speeds on the freeway the engine is incredibly loud as if it's stuck in the wrong gear. Now the dealer discovered a transmission fluid leak as a result of this transmission problem. I see on-line hundreds if not thousands of complaints on this vehicle for the same issue. This car is unsafe. I never know whether it will hesitate or shudder when taking off so I drive it as little as possible. Having the air conditioner running only amplifies the problem. My car was purchased new and in short order will pass the 3 year warranty. My dealer, fox Ford in grand rapids, Michigan has a repair part estimate of several weeks to 6 months. The same message from two weeks ago. I invite any of your investigators to drive this car and determine how road worthy it is. Right now I'm stuck with a car that can't be traded in or sold.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #432

Sep 182012


  • 3,599 miles
The transmission on the 2012 Ford Focus is erratic and hesitates from a stop. After slowing down, it stutters at lower speeds. Transmission is chattering and clunking at lower speeds. We have had the vehicle in for service at several Ford dealerships, and the vehicle is still not running correctly. The transmission has now seized up and has to be replaced and Ford does not want to cover any of the costs.

- Crestview, FL, USA

problem #431

Jun 022013


  • 41,733 miles
While driving the car, I noticed that the car was shifting odd. There was no power in the low gears. Shifting from 1st to 2nd was very harsh. When I brought it to Ford they said I needed a new clutch. I bought the car with 30000 miles on it and was surprised by this. It was replaced under warranty. Then in September of 2014 I started having the same issues. During that time I had put on 40000 or so. Brought it back to Ford and they said it was a part that was "recalled". I had the seals and everything else replaced under the 14M01 recall. This included a new clutch again. Now it is May 2015, I have driven the car about 20000 or so from the last time I had any work done and all of the symptoms of my last to repairs are back. I need another new clutch (this will be the 4th in the car). Considering all of my driving is on the highway this not good. It is a safety concern.

- North Kingstown , RI, USA

problem #430

May 042015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,227 miles


My daughter was driving to work and the car started pulling like a stick shift and stalling. Shortly after, the warning flashed across the screen, "transmission malfunction. Service now". she pulled over and turned the car off. When she turned the car back on, it was still pulling. She drove for a block or two to park the car near a friend's house. She thought she could at least make it to work only to find the car would not reverse. Everything happen without any advance warning at all. Once she had it towed to the nearest dealer and diagnosed, we were told the car needed a clutch pack and would take up to 12 weeks to come in. After looking online, there were several class actions suits filed for the powershift/dual clutch transmission. I also found a 122 page forum with several owners with the same issues receiving little to no help getting their cars fixed.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #429

May 052015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Completely stopped accelerating, janky transmission and constant rolling when accelerating from a stop. I have never had any real issues or any warning lights come on with this car until it completely stopped accelerating while on the freeway with a two year old in my backseat. All of my lights/ ac/ radio still worked but the car wouldn't drive, it almost felt as if it was in neutral because the engine would rev but wouldn't move. I pulled over and finally got it started after a few tries. After I tried to start my car again when leaving the house later that day my car wouldn't even turn on. Again, the radio/ lights/ etc all worked fine, but the car would not start. When you try to start it, there isn't even a sound in the ignition when you turn the key. I had to get it towed and brought it to a close friend and very good mechanic who tried everything from resetting the key to unplugging the battery to trying to start it from neutral and nothing worked. So then he said it must me something electrical. They went in and saw there was loose wiring and fuses and once they tightened those up the car was able to start. He also found the kill switch was activated which is a safety measure with these cars when they get too dangerous to drive and he deactivated that as well. Once they got it running to test it for a bit it just shut right back off. He tried to put it in reverse and the dash would light up with a warning saying transmission not in "P" and we are now back at the beginning. There are still no warning lights on and with the car not recognizing gears we saw that it is a transmission issue. I still haven't gotten the car fixed because this just happened, but what I've read many people are having the same exact issue. Filing a complaint and taking it to the dealer! that is way too big and dangerous of an issue to have with no warning and only being at 60,000 miles!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #428

May 052015


  • 51,344 miles
While driving in stop and go traffic, my cars engine light came on, as I was accelerating to move forward in line a warning stating the transmission is overheating pull over safely for 8 minutes. This is the fourth time something has went wrong with the transmission since buying this car in September of 2012. The first time this happened I was driving on the interstate going 70 miles per hour and I didn't have anytime to pull over safely, I had to coast because my car was running but would not go forward. That happened in December of 2014. Then two weeks ago I was again in stop and go traffic and the engine light came on and the car would not move forward, but no warning to pull over safely. I have taken the car to two different Ford service centers and though my car has codes stored they state it is how I drive or that an update was needed. When I ask about the car just stopping with the transmission overheating they say it is a safety feature for the transmission. In most circumstances this would be great but when this happens in a situation where the car can't or won't make it to pull over safely then someone is going to be seriously injured. I am very unhappy about the way my car repair has been going especially since I bought this car new and to tell me it is just the way the car runs or it needs an update and that will take care of it is ridiculous. Someone is going to get killed driving this vehicle and I pray it is not me.

- Bethlehem , PA, USA

problem #427

May 052015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have been to my Ford dealership 10 times last year and 4 times already this year. I have multiple check engine light that came on and each time they replace a part on my car. I had my car last week for service and now it's back this week again for service. I have all my repair receipts and I am completely sadden that Ford cannot do anything for me as I called the Ford cooperate office and have their specialist looked at my case and I am having the same issues. My car shuts off on me so many times while driving with me 1 year old son in the middle of the street. They will fix it today and next week I am back in the shop. They have my car more times in the shop than I have on the road. I am extremely tired! I told them to test drive my car each time they "supposedly fixed" my issue and the problem remains the same. I have spoken to [xxx] at the cooperate office in Florida ( 1866-631-3788) ex [xxx] and he has never solved my problems or return any of my calls. --at present writing this issue I am scheduled for another "repair". another check engine light situation. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #426

Apr 102015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


Steering assist malfunction when starting vehicle, making it impossible to drive. However when restarted and "warmed up" vehicle function. Ford seems to be ignoring the issue as it did with transmission malfunction. Today May 5 I return to metro Ford.

- Miami Beach , FL, USA

problem #425

May 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
We have this car and they have already redone parts in transmission one in 2014. Now we are having problems again I took to dealership on 4 25 2015 and they confirmed that it was messed up again but parts are on backorder til July but car was safe to drive. I complained that I didn't think it was that it stalls and hesitates when taking off or pulling into traffic. They said nothing they could do and acted they could care less. I then called Ford and pretty got the same response so I said Y'all better hope and pray my wife or I don't have a accident. Wife is very uncomfortable driving car.

- Ayden, NC, USA

problem #424

Apr 222015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,189 miles
Car had been into dealer many times for transmission clutch - car shutter at low speed, rolls back after putting in park. Purchased car new and reported problem. At first I was told it was because it was a standard automatic. Three times they claimed they reprogrammed it. Dealer finally agreed that it needed a new clutch. Feb. 12 and would order part. While driving on a freeway 150 miles from home, car suddenly started slowing down. Motor would just rev when stepping on gas. Because it was down hill, I was able to make it at less than 20 mph to a parking lot before it froze up half way into lot. Because it was 2 pm, traffic was light which is the only thing that saved me from an accident. If this had happened in phoenix on freeway, there would definitely been an accident. The module was replaced two days later but the clutch ordered on 2/12 has not been replaced. I just checked for recalls and found module was recalled in 2013, yet my car was in dealers several times and I was never repaired.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #423

Apr 202015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,179 miles
When I try to accelerate from I stop the transmission try's to engage and once it does engage it also disengages causing loss in power and/or no acceleration while the transmission and rpms rev as there in no movement from the car.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #422

Jan 152015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Vehicle lost throttle and eventually died and would not crank. This happened going down the highway. Hillside assist warning light came on. Vehicle would shutter in acceleration at times. Tcm had been reprogrammed before this happened but did not really fix the problem of transmission shutter. Fmc completely changed out the tcm and this helped for three months and then we had complete transmission failure going down the road. We were 1000 miles over our powertrain warranty. Fmc said the reverse gear along with second gear had failed. Fmc is replacing the transmission and our cost is $500. Both incidents were in heavy traffic when transmission failures occurred. Thankfully no one else was involved. We currently are in the fourth week of waiting on car to be fixed.

- Corsicana, TX, USA

problem #421

Apr 152015


  • 52,882 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. When approaching a stop sign, the vehicle would roll backwards without warning. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 52,882.

- Westfield , IN, USA

problem #420

Apr 222015


  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle lost drivetrain power on the freeway. I went to accelerate in very heavy traffic, and the engine revved without moving forward (similar to someone depressing the clutch and accelerating). Shifted the car into neutral, back into drive in order to jog the transmission into operation, that did not work. I shifted into the 'sport' mode in the transmission thinking that would help, that didn't work. I had enough forward momentum to get the car to the shoulder and call for a tow, but overall, the car would not travel under it's own power. At this point, I am quite concerned that I own this car, and it's not safe to drive. Once it's fixed, I am still quite concerned that I've owned this car for 2 years, and it's been in the shop between 8 - 10 individual incidents. I am concerned that I cannot put myself or my family inside this car with any reasonable expectation of safety. Please, Ford Motor Company needs to issue a full, mandatory recall of this car in order to get this issue fixed before someone faces a severe injury or death as a result of this issue. If I was in front of a truck that wasn't paying attention, I could have been killed.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #419

Jan 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
Prior to this incident I had brought the car into the shop twice with complaints about the transmission shuttering in reverse and slow speeds. On January 18, 2014 when leaving a drug store to return to our hotel the car would not go in reverse, we had to put the car in neutral and push it out of the parking space. Being a Saturday night and 180 miles from home we had no option to bring it in to a local shop. My husband and son were traveling to Colorado so they took the hotel shuttle to the airport early Sunday morning and I had a family member follow me in the car the 180 miles back to our local dealership. The dash had no warning lights on at that point of the trip. When driving the car it would shudder at low speeds, but did ok around 60mph. About 1 mile from the dealership the service transmission light came on while stopped at an intersection. When I went to accelerate at the green light it nearly died- the rpms blasted but the car had no power. I barely made it through the intersection and to my next turn. The car lost all power about 1/4 mile from the dealership. I had to push the vehicle onto the shoulder and have it towed to the shop. The seals in the transmission had leaked and toasted the tranny and I had to have the tranny rebuilt. The entire process took almost a month. Started to have similar problems a few weeks ago, brought it back into the dealership and they said the seals are leaking again and it's just a matter of time before my tranny goes but that it will be about 12 weeks for them to get the parts.

- Cook, MN, USA

problem #418

Apr 222015


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission stopped shifting out of third gear and the contact was unable to accelerate and the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the transmission was reprogrammed. The repair failed to remedy the failure. The contact mentioned that the vehicle continued to shutter. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #417

Apr 012015


  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmission assembly problems. The consumer experienced an intermittent loss of transmission engagement while driving. The consumer recevied a letter from Ford, warning her of the problem.

- Boston, MA, USA

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