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 17 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #396

Jan 232015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,941 miles


This is an update to report filed 1-4-15 (NHTSA id #10669989). On 1-6-15 we had our 2012 Focus serviced at a dealership for a serious transmission failure described on previous report. That dealership performed "adaptive learning strategy and cleared all the codes". verbal summary of the problem from the service advisor was that the computer had been confused by a change in transmission demands. We had taken a day trip into hilly, congested san francisco. Our typical drive is small town, country highway on relatively flat terrain. The computer did not know how to behave with different traffic conditions and terrain. After that servicing, all seemed fine until a couple of weeks later on 1-23-15, when the car lost power at a 4-way stop. I hit the gas pedal on green, but the transmission wouldn't engage properly, although the engine was revving--similar symptoms to last time. after multiple attempts, the car was not able to reliably engage, only sporadically, limping through a few intersections. Eventually, I pulled over to the side of the road, and shut the engine off. When I tried to restart the car, the engine would not even turn over. I decided to use Ford roadside assistance again, to have the car towed to the dealership we had purchased the car from. The advisor at that dealership saw the wisdom of replacing the transmission control module (tcm) and programming it. As of today, 3-9-15, odometer at 45,556, we have had no additional symptoms and the car is running smoother than ever, even since new. We still need to test the car on san francisco hills and mountain driving, however. My advice to others is to insist on a replacement of the transmission control module, seals and program at the first sign of this kind of problem. Don't let them merely perform the " adaptive learning strategy and clearing of all codes" on the old tcm. That did not hold long in our case.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #395

Jan 092015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
This is an ongoing issue with the dual clutch powershift transmission that has started shortly after purchasing the car in November 2014. When I take off the car shutters and grinds and sometime looses power. On multiple cases I have gone to pull out into traffic and the car randomly hesitates causing a risk to my safety. On Feb 13th 2015 I was on the free way and the car locked in to neutral leaving me stranded on the freeway. I had to get it towed. Ford replaced the PCM but the problem is returning. I have taken the car to Ford multiple times to have this issue corrected and nothing is being done to fix the problem.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #394

Sep 232014


  • 47,000 miles
1.power steering goes out at any given time, whether its initial crank or driving at any speeds. It appears to occur more so in the warmer months of the year. 2. transmission slips, chatters, rollbacks while in gear, hesitation, delayed response. I have taken vehicle to dealership multiple times, they said they cant get the power steering to re-occur so there was nothing wrong with car! they said the transmission acts within their specs, as this is does come and go but appears 90-95% of the time. However I did receive an extended warranty out of no where for the transmission in which I heard they do nothing but clean oil off the clutch plate which will resolve nothing. My wife is 100lbs soaking wet and cannot control the vehicle in turns when the steering goes out. She has already blown out a tire on a curb due to not being able to correct the path of the vehicle in a turn.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #393

Sep 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,116 miles


When accelerating from a stopped position, the transmission slips gears and the car lurches forward or stalls and then lurches. I have almost rear ended several cars on many occasions. The car also lurches backwards when in reverse. I have taken the vehicle in twice for service. It is in for service as I am submitting this report. The first time, I was told there were recalls completed on the vehicle. I never received any paperwork from the dealership as to what was actually "replaced/recalled" on my vehicle. It seemed to drive smoother for a few months and then the same problems started again. I'm waiting to hear back from the dealership as to what they have found wrong this time.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #392

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 #391

Aug 112014


  • 33,000 miles
My 2012 Focus shutters alot and doesn't want to shift. I took it back to the dealer in Aug 2014. They said they replaced the clutches and seals ect.5 months later while on the interstate it shut down and the dash read transmission failure. This left me stranded for 3 hours along a busy interstate. Can anything be done about this please?

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #390

Jan 262015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,556 miles


Our 2012 Ford Focus, like so very many others, has succumbed to the transmission problems delineated in the Ford owner field service action number 14M01. The car is currently at a local dealership's service department awaiting a replacement part (5 weeks and counting). I have been reading more and more complaints that, even after the work is done to correct this problem, the same or worse issues are occurring. I am concerned not only for my safety and that of my family, but of anyone who might become a victim of a car accident that may be caused by this automobile.

- Mishicot, WI, USA

problem #389

Oct 132011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
My Ford Focus was purchased in June 2011 the vehicle was new off the dealer lot, to date the vehicle has been in for power train repair for a total of seven times. The fifth time back in June 2013, the power train internal parts were replace, the problem still continues. My vehicle again went in for repair on January 29, 2015 as the transmission over heated and I received a warning to stop the car. The car was in the shop for almost two weeks, I picked the car up on Thursday after work, the next day the car lost the ability to pull the vehicle and I barely got off the road. I could not get the car to go over ten miles an hour. The dealership sent a tow truck for my car and back to the shop it went. After two weeks I got a call that there were no issues found and the dealership could not pay a tech to drive the vehicle more than 20 miles. I insisted there was an issue and that I fear for my life driving this car now. The dealership got permission from me to allow the tech to driver the vehicle home to see if the car acted up for him on a longer distance drive 2/19/2015. On 2/20/2015 I received a call that the tech had in fact got stranded on the hwy on 2-19-2015 and now they must attempt to locate the issue. The dealership is trying their best to find the problem but Ford needs to do something. This car is not safe, I fear for my life driving this car. I have to drive on the interstate every day to and from work and I am afraid. I fear having to drive with my child in this car. Had I been driving this car home yesterday I very well could have been run over by a tractor trailer or caused a major hwy accident. These cars are not safe, how many people have to die before something is done.

- Mcdonough , GA, USA

problem #388

Feb 192015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 58,547 miles
While the transmission does act different than a normal automatic I've never had any problems until now I was driving 35 mph and suddenly the car would not move forward any more the engine would just hits high rpms which is funny cause this car has never hit a high RPM while not in gear it has a rev limiter anyway I coasted to a stop I tried to use the sport option to get the transmission to shift nope so I turn the car off never to start again the transmission indicator on dash said car was in drive even though the shifter was in park my main concern here is with all of the complaint about this transmission and it would take me weeks to read them all why has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Has not issue a recall on this transmission that is still being put in new cars today and having the same problems and can cause a very real safety concern why is it that people have to die before something is done and the company is held responsible.

- Covington, WA, USA

problem #387

Oct 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
From 2012 to October 2014, at low speeds the vehicle began to shutter, so much so that the vehicle felt as it were going to stall while in traffic. In addition to this, while on a hill the vehicle would roll backwards. I called Ford several times to make an appointment during this time period, however was told over the phone " that's just how the transmission works" and they couldn't do anything to correct it. After becoming so frustrated I brought the car into Ford in October of 2014, and they replaced the clutch... the shutter problem was corrected after the clutch was replaced, however now the transmission overheats at random times both in traffic and also on the highway and the transmission shuts off, and the vehicle becomes disabled wherever I am. This is being brought into Ford this week now at 39000 miles. This transmission has been problematic since purchased I understand that the transmission is a hybrid standard/automatic, and there is a different feel which I am ok with, however this transmission is putting me in an unsafe position the way it rolls back, and frequently stalls at both high and low speeds making me vulnerable to an accident.

- Stoughton, MA, USA

problem #386

Aug 312012


  • 1,000 miles


There has been an ongoing problem with my Ford Focus and everyone else that I personally know that has the car. Since they went to the dct transmission the car has been having many issues. It is a threat to the safety of anyone driving it. Ford has acknowledged there is a problem and replaced the clutches in the car but the problem still exists. The transmission has blown its computer that does all the shifting since having the clutches replaced while I was driving, and put the car into neutral. Thank god I wasn;T on the highway when that happens. Upon acceleration the transmission bucks and doesn't grab traction like it should. I would not want to be the person who needs their car to move to avoid and accident, steps on the gas, and the car hestiates because of this obviously faulty transmission, and gets killed because of it. I have asked my dealership to make good and just buy the car back and get me into a different car, but they won't because they are not authroized by the manufacturer to do that, and Ford says the transmission is dafe. It obviously isn't.

- Manalapan, NJ, USA

problem #385

Feb 082015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 46,900 miles
I just recently purchased this car on Saturday February 7, used from a carmax dealership. I was told there were no recalls on the car and that everything was fine. Test driving I noticed a little hesitation but not much. On Sunday as I was sitting with my foot on the brake at a traffic light I felt a shudder vibration and the car slid backwards. To my surprise after researching online I noticed that this car is notorious for that. On Wednesday February 11, I took the car back to carmax and was told it had to go to the dealership in order for it to be diagnosed. Wait?? I just bought this car!!! I am waiting for a call back from carmax because I want my money back. Too much and I just purchased it.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #384

Feb 062015


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to reverse out a residential driveway, the power steering seized. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the transmission shift needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 118,000.

- Patterson, CA, USA

problem #383

Jan 212015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,572 miles
We responded to Ford notice 14M01 which is in reference to the problems of the transmission, experienced by 1000S of Focus and fiesta owners years 2011-2013. The 1st dealership we contacted was key scales leesburg fl. After 7 weeks of hassles trying to schedule, the repairs were made 1-7&1-8. as we tried to start the vehicle at key scales, there was a long delay from the time I turned key until it actually started. That was never an issue before we took it in. Within a few days, the trans began to shutter like it had before, as well as noises, clanking, grinding and problems with it shifting from 1st to 2nd. I called key scales and was told any repairs would now be at our cost as the original 36000 mile warranty had expired. The notice that was mailed clearly states that Ford warranty on trans is now 7 yrs/100,000 miles. Let it be known that we also have an intended warranty that we bought at time of purchase for 60 months/100,000 miles. I then called Ford of claremont fl. And they agreed to look at the vehicle. We dropped the car off on 1-16 with mileage showing 46092. After 5 days I called and was told they couldn't find a problem. The service advisor wanted to have his shop foreman drive the car home that night. I agreed. I called back the next day and was told he did experience a problem but after notifying Ford they were told it was "within acceptable limits" I was told to come and pick up vehicle the mileage was listed as 46098 when in fact is was 46154. (the difference of the foremans drive home) we were told that there is a breakin period of 1000 miles & nothing can be done. The following day we received another call from Ford regional service mgr. [xxx]) and she stated the "breakin period" is now 1500 miles. We are still experiencing shuttering, noises, starting delays. Scared to take car anywhere. Need to get to Michigan in April.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #382

Feb 072015


  • 30,000 miles
When trying to enter a 50 mph intersection from a side road the 6 speed automatic transmission chatters, jerks, slips and hesitates before moving the car which makes entry into intersection frightening. This is not safe. One does not know what to expect from this erratic power train. Ford admits that it cannot be fixed.

- Mt. Airy , MD, USA

problem #381

Sep 012012


  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle intermittently accelerated and vibrated. The vehicle was repaired under an unknown manufacturer recall, where the PCM and tcm were restarted. The failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The contact was informed that the part needed for repair was not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 500.

- Newton, AL, USA

problem #380

Feb 022015


  • 41,356 miles
Transmission shaking and grinding noises; vehicles hesitating and vibrating; transmission noises and the transmission not shifting properly. All of which affect the ability to drive the vehicles and had raise safety concerns.

- Santa Teresa, NM, USA

problem #379

Sep 072012


  • miles
I bought this car with 17,000 miles on it and kept it a year and a half. I couldn't stand it anymore. When accelerating, it would shake and shudder. The automatic shifting into first and second gears was extremely jerky all the time. If I was at a complete stop and the pavement was wet, the car would bolt forward when I accelerated. Twice it like stopped when I was going 70 mph on a highway. It just sort of stopped operating for a flash and then resumed movement. It was scary. I took it to a reputable Ford dealership which was closer to my house than where I bought it, and they worked on it 4 different times. I came in with the same complaints every time. In addition, because the transmission was so screwy, it apparently affected the tires and I had to buy 4 new tires because the tread was so worn down. I traded it in on a new Toyota. That was my first Ford and my last Ford. Never again. The car is a menace and definitely unsafe.

- Franklin, WI, USA

problem #378

Dec 102013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
The vehicle has experienced numerous transmission issues from shuddering, stalling, jerking, rolling back, grinding, jumping forward and improper shifting. The vehicle has been at the dealership numerous times with various clutches replaced, software installs and other parts replaced. This has not fixed the issues and they keep recurring. This is unsafe and has even caused the vehicle to stall in the middle of an intersection. Luckily, traffic was not close enough or it could have been catastrophic. I really hope Ford does recall these vehicles or gives the unhappy owners a chance to turn the car back in through a vehicle buyback plan. There are so many of these complaints something needs to be done.

- Ludowici, GA, USA

problem #377

Jan 042013


  • 600 miles
I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus at my local dealership (5 miles on it); brand new. Within 6 months I had it in the shop 2 times. At the time my husband was an employee of that dealership and they gave him the run around. Indicating all they had to do was reset the computer. Supposedly they reset the computer twice however it never fixed the problem. Once it was diagnosed on the 3rd attempt at the local dealership that it needed "parts" I was given the run around by that dealership. After contacting Ford Motor Company on several attempts I finally received a response. I had to beg Ford for a rental car so that I had transportation for the week that the dealership had my car.once the vehicle was fixed and I picked it up; I noticed a really rough idle. After dealing with this for this for several months; the dealership had me bring it back in and had it for another week to fix the idle problem. As of today; it is still not running right. I am taking it back in on Friday to have it looked at once again as the entire front of the car shakes and the dealership indicated it "sounds like the transmission." Not only does it shake and rattle; it clicks at times and jerks/shudders forward. I have on numerous occasions contacted Ford Motor Company and have asked everything from buying the vehicle back and once and for all fixing the problem and get nothing but the run around. Today I my vehicle was taken back into the dealership and I was told that it needs another new clutch and they are backordered. Your Agency needs to do something about these Ford and the Ford Motor Company before it causes a fatality. The way the car lurches forward and shudders; this could cause an accident or someone could get hit by this. Please help Ford owners !! recall these vehicles.

- Arroyo Grande , CA, USA

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