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 18 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #376

Jan 242015

Focus 4WD 4-cyl

  • 121,000 miles


Was driving down the freeway, when the car lost all power. The transmission stopped working. Warned the hill start assist was not available, and then the traction control light came on. The car wouldn't move. The car has repeated done this during driving, after restarting the car.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #375

Jan 172015


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that unknown noises were emitting from the front of the vehicle and the vehicle slightly shook while driving. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 44,000. Updated 03/30/15

- Rose City, MI, USA

problem #374

Jan 152015


  • 46,000 miles
I was driving in a residential neighborhood and approaching a four way stop so not going fast. My car stopped accelerating and then jerked forward causing me to have to turn off the road to avoid going through the stop sign. I instead hit the stop sign. The car has transmission issues that have not yet been resolved.

- Mahtomedi, MN, USA

problem #373

Jan 182015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles


Shuddering while accelerating. Grinding noise while the automatic transmission is shifting gears. Vehicle has been into dealer multiple times for shuddering and shifting issues. The last time, at 49K miles, it was over an 8 week wait to get the car into the dealer - the transmission guys were backed up months at all surrounding dealers. Ford's repair has been to reprogram the transmission. We purchased the car new and have been the only owners. The car did not shudder and grind when first purchased. And it performs better immediately after the reprogramming. But after a few thousand miles of travel, shuddering and grinding return. Once it starts shuddering, I can duplicate this behavior within 2 miles of a Ford dealership. There is a roundabout at livernois and hamlin roads that has a yield for incoming traffic. If the roundabout is clear, proceed into the roundabout between 5 and 10 mph and accelerate slowly while navigating the roundabout - and you get shuddering. Personnel in the dealerships state that "drivers just don't know how to drive the car". I am a 50+ year old driver with experience in both manual and automatic transmissions. No tickets no accidents. This vehicle was purchased with the intent of passing to my children when they start driving. The inability to use slow acceleration without shuddering makes it too dangerous for inexperienced drivers. Especially in Michigan where winter conditions often require slow acceleration to maintain control of the vehicle. Please act upon consumers behalf and force Ford to provide a permanent resolution. Either a fix that permanently stops the shuddering or replacement of the defective powertrain components.

- Rocester Hills, MI, USA

problem #372

Feb 242014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 24,139 miles
It starts shuttering at take off.also when braking and trying to come to a stop the rpms rev up words and the car pulls forward when you are trying to stop at low speeds when trying to make a complete stop. Also on any type of incline the car will roll backwards when it is in drive mode it is rolling forward as well when trying to back up into a driveway.we just purchased this vehicle a few weeks ago around christmas 2014 and it is in service at Ford on January,12th and 13th 2015.the indications information in box in number 2 is information from the dealer provided me with that when it first went into service along with other problems I was told by Ford and the place I purchased this vehicle that there is no fix and the recall has been done on it.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #371

Aug 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
I purchased this vehicle in June 2012 and was never forewarned about the issues they had. The transmission has been fixed numerous times but continues to clip, shudder, jerk, and shake.

- Charlotte, SC, USA

problem #370

Jan 072015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Constant trans problems with 2012 Ford Focus. Your Agency is well aware of the problems individuals are having across the us concerning this car and others that include other years. Yesterday I nearly missed being in an critical accident due to total failure of the trans in the Focus and having it totally lock up on me. The shift would not come out of park and all power was lost. I have had trans issues over three times now. Car is now in the shop waiting for a module that, of course, only come from Ford and takes a long time. The media has made it know of this increasing problem and also the fact that your Agency is doing nothing about it. Hopefully the perception that you are waiting for a death to occur before something is done is false but all news and information sources reflect otherwise. I will be contacting congressmen also to follow-up with your lack of taking action and some needed resolution.

- Picayune, MS, USA

problem #369

Sep 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2012 Ford Focus SE. I bought my Ford Focus in December 2012 from folsom lake Ford located in folsom California. At 20000 miles I took my car in for its factory service and advised the transmission was not operating correctly. According to folsom lake Ford their service department reprogrammed the transmission computer and ordered parts for the transmission┐┐parts that would take a month to arrive, but never heard back from folsom lake Ford after that. About 35000mls started major transmission issues with my Focus-it would not shift correctly. The check engine light never came on, nor were there any other diagnostic/malfunction advisements from the vehicles information system. Other systems began to malfunction 'specifically electronic systems, idle control malfunctioned-. idle rough, sometimes idling wild and extreme Focus would stall constantly while stopped at intersections, also randomly stalling while at driving speeds. Multiple times my Focus stalled on the freeway, while driving at normal freeway speeds 55-70mph. After my Focus had a stalling incident it would not start at all as if it was due to a power drainage. If it did not immediately fire-up, the starter would continue to operate whether I tried to discontinue or not. When the vehicle did finally start, the transmission always operated unusually after that 'shifting incorrectly, not smoothly shifting into gear, sometimes not shifting into the proper gear or not shifting at all. At about 42000mls service performed on my Focus the battery checked and in good working order. By 43000mls after major transmission issues my battery was corroded/ruined.

- North Highlands, CA, USA

problem #368

Jan 052015


  • 40,000 miles
*ongoing *please see original complaints # 10473215 and #10670375* long history of transmission repairs since purchase. Latest repair on 1/5/2014 was to replace malfunctioning tcm. When getting car back from service, odd noise and hesitation upon starting. Service manager attempted to start. Symptoms of tcm malfunction again, and then complete loss of power. Service states that chafed wiring was found under driver seat, causing new tcm to malfunction and then shorting out all power in vehicle. After hearing odd noise upon starting, I was very close to driving car out onto very busy highway... decided to turn car off instead and seek help from service manager. I am the only driver of this vehicle and I very rarely move the seat. I was told by service that moving the seat on 1/5/2015 caused the chafed wiring to short out the power in the car. I never moved the seat when I got into my car during pickup. This is very frightening and dangerous! I was just reading that chafed wiring can result in fire, also! these vehicles are putting many people at risk of injury or death. Please help the affected Ford Focus customers to get them recalled, as Ford will not help. I have filed 3 claims with Ford and I cannot even get a call back from them. Told that I don't meet the guidelines for buyback or replacement. Very afraid to drive my car, especially now since the weather is bitter cold and have already been stranded in freezing weather with sleet on 1/3/2015 because of tcm failure. Please help!!

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #367

Nov 292014


  • 72,161 miles
I have taken my Ford Focus to the dealership three times to inform them about the transmission. At first they told me they had to reprogram it and that would fix the problem but it didn't. I took a second time and they told me the same. On Saturday November 29 2014 I was parked at an incline at a furniture store when I put my vehicle in reverse it went but when I tried to engage the drive it just kept going back. I backed up into a Ford F-150 that was in the back. Fortunately nothing happened to the Ford F-150 and the gentleman did not want to file a report. I took my vehicle to my Ford dealership on December 27,2014. They did not inspect my vehicle until December 31, 2014. The service manager called me to inform me that it would not be ready for another 3 to 4 weeks until the clutch for the transmission came in. I made it very clear to him that I would not be driving the vehicle in that condition. I went to the dealership on January 2,2015 that is when they informed me that it would be ready the next day. I called the next day and they informed me that it would not be ready until January 5,2015. Now I have a vehicle that is damaged from the rear passenger quarter panel and the lights are cracked but no one will take responsibility for the damage to my vehicle.

- Canutillo, TX, USA

problem #366

Jan 032015


  • 40,000 miles


*ongoing *please see original complaint # 10473215 *clutch replaced twice and trans reprogrammed 4/5 times (within 35, 000) car not starting- 4 times in 2 months. Symptoms on 1/3/2015- 4th time: Dash lights up, radio and heater work, headlights- no, but other lights- yes, no crank when trying to start usually starts next day, restarted afternoon 1/4/2015 and taken for emergency service 1/5/2015. Call received from service with update, so called for shuttle to return to dealer. Techs were already gone. * listed repairs: Found tcm inop codes U0101-U0100 tech performed PCM test auto trans diag and pinpoint test, replaced tcm and performed clutch learing (2nd replacement clutch installed 8/2014) *they brought car out and gave me the key. I tried to start car and heard odd noise, then shut car off. I again started the car. This time there was hesitation and noise again, shut car down. Went back into service area and found service manager. He tried to start the car several times, but would not start, no sound or crank, but all lights came on- same as when car broke down 2 days earlier. He moved gear shifter around and then tried to start again. This time lights in the car flickered and then everything went black, the car totally died. He stepped out of the car looking shocked and told me to go and sent me for rental. Was told that the car was fixed and almost drove off of the lot. Dark out and temp outside was 27 with wind chill of 12. Dealership located on 6 lane, very busy highway and could have broken down on highway in freezing cold, very frightening! there would have been no one at the dealer to help me as everyone had left or was leaving. Would have been on my own in frigid nighttime weather. *over 2 yrs of trans repairs, still breaking down. Convinced car is a lemon. Please help as Ford will not. Chronic problem with this car. Unsafe to drive.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #365

Jan 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
This car is dangerous, living in a hilly state, this car rolls backwards down hill whilst still in a forward gear. In light of Ford recent quiet recall for other Focus transmission issues, they still have not addressed the fact that the car rolls quickly backwards when the brake is released and because of the shuddering transmission, it cannot grip and go forward. If I had wanted to drive with both feet I would have bought a manual. I am saddened by the fact that your organization is waiting for fatalities rather than order a large corporation to withdraw their dangerous product. I thought you worked for me and all americans to keep us safe on the road" protecting the public who have been sold an unsafe vehicle??" I would wager every Focus sold since 2012 is an accident waiting to happen. Please log my complaint with the thousands of others you have received about these Ford transmissions. Thank you.

- Port Orchard, WA, USA

problem #364

Jan 032015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,300 miles
Engine light came on exiting a parking garage on a busy evening in hilly san francisco. Seconds later, the car lost momentum and wouldn't get into gear, even though the gear shift was in drive. Alarming, for a 3-year old car with merely 43300 miles that has been cared for dutifully since it's purchase new in Nov. 2011. My wife and I, with our kid and his friend in the backseat, decided to head home, foregoing plans for dinner, and continued to make our way to the highway homebound. The car seemed to run fine through the city streets for the next 10 mins., until we needed to cross 2 busy lanes to enter the freeway onramp. At that point, the car lost the power to safely cross the lanes, we missed our entrance, and were forced to circle city blocks to return to the onramp. The car seemed to regain normalcy, and accelerated to 55 mph, but then, approx. 2 miles later, lost power (even though the engine was revving), acting as if it were nearly in neutral. The car seemed to shift to a very low-powered drive. We were in the slow lane and took the first available exit, hazards blinking. Once on city streets, we pulled over to the curb, and tried to re-engage the desired gear. We finally cut the ignition and restarted the car to try to limp it over to the gas station across the intersection and across oncoming traffic. We arrived at the gas station, and called the Ford roadside assistant who was extremely polite but I won't go into the headache (and expense) of towing the car to a sensibly-located dealership and getting 2 adults and 2 kids back to our hometown some 80 miles away, at night. We feel extremely blessed that we experience these worrisome problems without injury (or worse) to ourselves, others or damage to property. We are not sure if our confidence to drive the car will be restored after reading many similar complaints below. We await for mon. For Ford's answer.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #363

Oct 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
This issue started to happen pretty much out of nowhere. I was going from 2nd gear to 3rd gear and all of a sudden it seemed my car was going to stall. It started to shake and studded violently and I quickly stepped on the clutch, took it out of gear, and put it back into third. This time it went and moved fine but as time progressed it has gotten worse.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #362

Dec 302014


  • 23,000 miles
I am filing a complaint against a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The car has been making transmission noises that cannot be resolved for quite some time now and while driving on the 101 freeway, all of the instrument panel lights came on and the entire car completely shut off and no controls were working at all almost causing an intense pile up that could have killed my mother and I instantly. We were left in the middle of the freeway with not power of any use of controls until chp officers were finally blocking traffic from hitting us. This is the worst vehicle we have ever owned and Ford should be ashamed for being negligent.

- West Hills, CA, USA

problem #361

Dec 262014


  • 55,000 miles
I have had an ongoing issue with the transmission almost since buying this terrible car new. Transmission constantly shudders and jerks. Most recently was driving at about 60 mph when the car suddenly lost ability to maintain speed. Very dangerous timing as I was accelerating on to expressway and needed the speed to merge. Ford has no answer for this problem. Someone will be killed in these cars because of this problem. Please force a recall of these cars now! this is too common of a problem and NHTSA can be considered complicate when someone is killed at this point given the lack of action.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #360

Dec 202014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 59,333 miles
While driving on the road the vehicle lost all power. Went from 40mph to 0. when able to drive it again it would not go over 30 mph. The next day it drove with hesitation and jerking. Then appeared to run somewhat normal for a short time (10 minutes) after that started to jerk so violently that if a car was in front of me I would have hit it. After reading up on the Ford Focus, this problem seems to be consistent. I am afraid to drive it. This vehicle poses a danger to not only the driver and passengers but to all the other drivers and vehicles on the road with it. I do not feel safe driving it on the freeway.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #359

Nov 142012


  • 200 miles
I purchased this vehicle in November of 2012 and was never forewarned about the issues they had. The transmission has been fixed numerous times but continues to clip, shudder, jerk, and shake. I had to go to durham a year and a half ago and was almost involved in a bad accident when the vehicle started to roll back on an incline while in drive. I have come close to many accidents though due to this car, mostly because the transmission hangs up so bad. I have to constantly pull into either a parking lot or the center turn lane when I am in heavy stop and go traffic because the transmission stops pulling. I normally have to turn the vehicle off and sit there for a few minutes before it resets itself and I can go on my way.recently I was in the mountains and the rpms kept hanging up at 4,000 RPM going up and down the pass. I had to keep hitting the brakes and hitting the gas in order to resolve this issue. With semi trucks behind you this is very disconcerting. I also was stuck in heavy stop and go traffic on the interstate in the middle lane and the transmission was trying to quit. Last year the seat belt buckle broke and I could not get it to unlatch, this past summer the ac was not blowing out of the vents, had to take multiple trips to the shop to get it diagnosed, and eventually fixed both blend door actuators. The chrome plating started peeling off on the steering wheel this past year at only 40,000 miles and almost cut my hand multiple times. It took them two tries to fix that. My gas mileage is not even what is advertised for these vehicles. In town I get 22 to 25 and on the highway I get 26 to 29 mpg. This car is ridiculous! Ford will not even acknowledge the issues that it has, instead the transmission is within normal operating parameters, the rest of it well as the customer service lady stated to me "all cars have issues".

- Winterville, NC, USA

problem #358

Apr 152014

Focus 4WD 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Faulty powershift transmission would not engage gears properly causing vehicle to stall, shake violently, grind gears, drop first and second gear when accelerating, no reverse.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #357

Nov 052012


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle slipped out of gear. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer on numerous occasions where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Topeka, KS, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?