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 19 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #356

Jan 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


Transmission control module problem. Unexpected loss of transmission shifting while driving. Problems with shuddering, vibration between gears and hesitation with the transmission. Rolls backward on inclines like it is a standard but it is an automatic transmission. Ford performed a reflash, relearn, and a pinpoint test. Test failed and Ford removed the transmission and replaced the clutch and seals on 11/05/14 per recall14M01. Ford claimed that there were no other problems found with the transmission. On 12/08/2014 the shudder was back and the car bogged down to 30mph in a 55mph hwy. The situation was very scary and dangerous. I took the car back to the dealer and opened a case at 3:50 pm with [xxx], [xxx] at 1-800-392-3673. Ford refuses to acknowledge there is an ongoing problem that was not fixed the first time. The Ford dealership is maintaining fraudulent business practices by charging $1025 to fix the tcm (transmission control module) that remains dysfuntional and potentially dangerous on the road. [xxx] and [xxx] with the Ford sullivan dealership claim that the recall is separate from this related transmission problem. This was my first and last new Ford product. All the way around the transmission in this and many other Ford focuses is a major problem for consumers and NHTSA. Many deaths will happen due to Ford unwillingness to address these faulty transmission components. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brookhaven, MS, USA

problem #355

Oct 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Letter regarding problems with 2012 Ford Focus and insufficient customer resolution of those problems. The consumer stated the transmission was serviced multiple timed, with only short term improvement. The dealer informed the consumer, Ford designed the transmission to perform as the old style clutch type transmission. Ford was able to improve the mpg by designing the transmission in that manner. The consumer stated the vehicle would surge ahead with the front end of the vehicle moving upward with such quickness, that he quickly had to apply the brake to avoid an accident. Secondly, when going up a hill from a stop or low speed, the vehicle chattered and surged.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #354

Oct 142013


  • 15,000 miles
This is an automatic transmission. It continues to roll back while in drive and stopped on any simple incline. Brought it to dealers and they continue to say that this is normal. This is dangerous issue.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #353

Jun 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


I bought my car at 38,000 miles as a certified preowned from a Ford dealership. Within 5K miles, I was experiencing chattering on take off, and at low speeds (mostly rush hour) & very hard shifts. I took it in, they reprogrammed the clutch, and sent me on my way with much less chattering and almost no hard shifts, still horrible in rush hour. In September, it started doing the same thing. I took it back, they fixed it again. Sent me on my way with (again) some improvement, but no symptoms gone. I took it back in October, the service manager drove it with me, he said the items I was experiencing were all "normal operating conditions." He actually told me: "drive it harder, it will perform better." I was always taught that you don't rag on your car and it lasts longer. Dumb advice that irritated me. Sunday, I was driving down a busy road (lucky it was on a Sunday with no school traffic), and my car suddenly acted like it was in neutral. Driving down the road my car stops moving forward. After the car stopped accelerating, I was able to get it into a parking lot. I put it into park, then drive, park, reverse, nothing. At this time, I turned it off and it would not restart. I had it towed to the dealership, the dealership said it was my transmission control module. There is less that 52K miles on my car. I've had the car 8 months.

- Westland, MI, USA

problem #352

Aug 012014


  • 29,000 miles
I have recently had an ongoing problem where my dash lights turn off, head lights turn off, radio turn off, and a message comes on the dashboard saying "hill start assist unavailable". the radio turns back on after about 20 seconds. The dangerous part is when the speedometer shuts off and I cannot tell how fast I am going. I have contact the dealer about this problem, and taken the car in for service on this and they claim there is nothing wrong with the car. I already had a problem with my transmission where I had a full replacement and they are refusing to take any action regarding this problem. This vehicle is unsafe for anyone to drive until they figure this out. I dont know who else to contact regarding this issue since I have gone to Ford, the dealers, as well as independent shops and they all claim they cant find a problem.

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #351

Oct 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
It has happened a few times when I start the car and go into reverse or drive I cannot turn the steering wheel. It takes a minute and then I can turn the wheel. I stopped at wayne akers Ford and they said it might be the electronics for my power steering. They were surprised it is happening so soon. They said to bring it back for service on a weekday when more staffing.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #350

Nov 262014


  • 79,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 60 mph, the vehicle shifted from drive into neutral and shifted back into drive independently. The vehicle was restarted and the failure recurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Camas, WA, USA

problem #349

Dec 282012


  • 25 miles
This car has been horrible since the 1st week I bought it brand new off the showroom floor. The car shudders as I go in reverse, or if I press down on the accelerator from a stop. I've been in and out of the Ford repair place more times then I could count. They have replaced the whole clutch assemble with no improvement. In fact it has actually got worse, and now I do not feel safe in my vehicle. I will go to accelerate across an intersection an it will shudder, does not move, and makes grinding noises. I have contacted the dealership, and they want to replace the clutch assembly again. However they could not promise me that this would resolve the problem. I only have 18,000 miles on this car and I absolutely hate it! on top of all of this they can not even get me in to repair it because there are so many Focus' that are having the same problem they are bombarded and my appointment will be some time in 1/15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #348

Aug 152014


  • 62,382 miles
The car goes into neautral with no warning loose all power and three months later it does not go into reverse and lost gears we had to pay out of pocket someone going to get hurt this car needs a recall on transmission before someone gets hurt bad there is so many complaints on transmission.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #347

Mar 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
Purchased this vehicle used from Ford/Nissan dealer. Transmission makes grinding noise constantly. Dealer says this is "normal and within specs" which is hard to believe. I can probably live with the noise factor but car shifting is also erratic and jerky. When merging into traffic and speeding up car will "bog down" before upshifting to faster gear and then makes high revving sound. Purchased this vehicle to replace our families second vehicle and was also to be used by my daughter. Don't feel safe having her drive this. Driving safely in todays world is already a challenge but when you have to also adjust your driving and situational thinking to compensate for this vehicles abnormalities, it makes this Ford Focus an accident waiting to happen. Very disappointed with this vehicle and very hard to believe that this was designed to perform this way and that Ford has no fix or revision to correct this issue.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #346

Nov 172014


  • 17,100 miles


I have been experiencing increasing hesitating and shuddering from my transmission when attempting to accelerate. At times, I have experienced high engine revs with very little power to the wheels. I can no longer rely on the transmission to deliver the engine power to the wheels when I need it. I have had several incidents where I've experienced loss of power when attempting to maneuver the vehicle into the flow of traffic. This presents a very real safety hazard to the driver. I went to my dealership in response to the letter from Ford and was told that the parts are on national back-order. I was told that this was not a safety issue and would need to continue to drive my vehicle until parts were available. At this point, I have parked the car and have made other arrangements until I can get it serviced. Ford must own up to the fact that this is a serious safety issue and issue a factory recall.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #345

Sep 262014


  • 60,000 miles
While driving, the vehicle loses power. The engine is running, but there is no power to the drivetrain. There is no revving " just a loss of power. The first time this happened, it was along a back road. There was no warning, the car just started slowing down. My daughter braked and came to a stop ? thankfully as there was no traffic. She put the car in park, then back into drive. The car went into reverse. She put it back in park then tried drive again and this time it did go back into drive. She was then able to move forward under power. The vehicle worked fine for the next week. The second time it happened was in the evening. Again, the car just started to lose power. It would not go over 45 mph and she had to pull to the side of the road. She stopped and a friend?S dad came to help. He got it moving forward for about 1.5 miles; then the ?check engine? light came on and the D on the dashboard flashed red. Then the car stopped completely. He put it in park and turned the vehicle off. He waited a few seconds and tried to turn the car on. It would not turn over, there was nothing. Since this was at night, we had to leave the vehicle where it was. The next morning, while waiting for the tow truck, I decided to try and start it. It did start. The "check engine" light was off and there was no other warnings flashing. It was like it cleared itself. I put the car in drive and the car moved forward as if nothing was wrong. I had it towed to the Ford dealership in case this problem was related to the other transmission issues. I explained what happened and they said they would try to replicate the problem. According to the technician since the ?check engine" light was no longer lit, and although they put it on the computer, the codes that were there led them nowhere. They cleared the codes and tried for another day to no avail.

- Jim Thorpe, PA, USA

problem #344

May 122012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,837 miles
Car is shuddering, vibrating, rolling backwards on inclines, stuttering bad gas mileage at low speeds between 0 and 20 miles per hour. The car has been in 4 times to the dealer beginning on 5/3/12 through 11/14/13 it has been reprogrammed 3 times and a new transmission replaced it which has solved the problem temporarily but starts happening again. When driving in or pulling out into traffic because the car either hesitates so bad or just wont move for a few seconds. Needless to say there have been many close calls. The dealer has been proactive in working with me however this is not a dealer issue this is a manufacturers issues.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #343

Nov 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
To whom it may concern, I am a very unhappy customer with a car that I had purchased from your company. The car is not reliable what so ever and I can't trust it with anything! I have always wanted the newer model Focus and when I finally have the money to afford one I am extremely disappointed. I have never had this many issues with a car and this is one of the newest cars I have yet bought. I have missed 8 days of work this year just because the car has its own games to play.the car has almost cost me my life a few times due to the jerking on the engine that you guys feel is normal. When I go to make a turn the car jerks so much sometimes that it's just makes it before I get smashed. This car is horrible and I think that it is so wrong that there is so much wrong with this car yet you still keep it on the market. One day this car is not going to go when I push the gas and I will get seriously injured. I have complained to service many times about this issue and they simply say" ?well just push the gas a little harder" I'm sorry maybe the car should simply go considering its main function is to drive!!! this is one of the most disappointing, nonfunctional, and depreciative vehicle I have ever bought in my life. I will never buy a Ford again if something cannot be done. So thank you so much, instead of me saving for college I now get to save up to buy another car because I was wrong about this car being dependable. Thank you so much for all the hardship your poor manufacturing has caused me and my wallet. I really so hope someone can be of assistance and correct this issue because if not you will surely be losing a customer along with me posting this to social media in the months to come if something is not resolved. I figured if you guys don't care enough about my well being then the world must know.

- Northlake, IL, USA

problem #342

Nov 042014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
When drive the transmission jumps and sputters been in Ford auto centers many times and when I call all I am told us this is normal.

- Northfield, MN, USA

problem #341

Jun 152012

Focus 4WD 4-cyl

  • 15,576 miles
I in June 2012 I took the car in to complain that it was stalling, jerking and shuddering. It appeared that the problem was fixed until several months later when it began to stall, jerk and shudder again. I have since taken the car in 2013 and 2014 complaining that the car continued to act the same way. I received a letter from Ford in May 2012 advising that we may experience rough or jerky automatic transmission shifts and that they had a "fix." I again received a letter in August 2014 advising that they are aware that it may be possible for the powershift 6-speed automatic transmission to exhibit excessive transmission clutch shudder during light acceleration and it may be caused by fluid contamination of the clutch due to leaking transmission seals. The letter states that if the vehicle's clutch, transmission input shaft seals, or transmission software calibration require service or replacement they will service the transmission as necessary free of charge. When I took the vehicle to my local Ford dealership I was advised that it may be a simple update to the computer software. This problem has been ongoing since a year after I bought the car and I feel very unsafe, as it tries to stall when parked at a light or when I'm driving at low speeds, such as when I am moving through a four way stop sign. I feel that one day I may have an accident because the car will not take off and the car behind me will rear end me; or, worse, it may accelerate too quickly causing me to hit the car in front of me or a barrier.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #340

May 132013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Vehicle shudders/jerks when accelerating from stop at slow to moderate speed. This occurred multiple times. It continues to occur after multiple repairs.

- Brookshire, TX, USA

problem #339

Jul 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,850 miles
Issue 1: the vehicle is on its third clutch in the 2 years since purchase and continues to have transmission issues. When applying gas it stutters, lurches, or responds as if not taking gas. This week: Three times turning from stop sign left, right from stop sign, and right from parking lot. Apply gas to accelerate and vehicles stutters, pauses, and stalls for a moment. Two of the three, particularly one came close to resulting in an accident. This also occurred on a busy highway turning right at a stop sign on Oct 27. It has occurred dozens of times prior to the transmission repair events and now is starting to recur, with more ng a stalling/lurching than a stuttering. Ford is fully aware of these issues. I am taking it in for repairs again but feel it is unsafe and want the car returned. Issue 2: the vehicle achieves far below the advertised mpg. They advertise 27 and it gains 22.5 at best. Currently less than 22. Ford is fully aware of this issue and states that they cannot do anything. I have been complaining for 18 months or more.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #338

May 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
In may of 2012 my car had the transmission completely replaced after being in the shop for 6 weeks. The cruise control would stick on and not shut off. The power windows and air conditioner both decided not work at the same time. I have had the struts replaces before 10,000 miles. The gas mileage goes from 14 mpg to 33mpg randomly. The car likes to roll back and not go into gear when driving. I replace tires every 6 months because the car eats my tires up. My favorite problem is loosing power when driving. I have kept all papers regarding the car in the shop. My first year of owning the Focus Ford paid for my rental car to be driven 17,000 miles due to my car being in the shop. I have asked for help with this car for 2 years with Ford to be told I need to learn to drive. I am driving a car know that completely looses power all the time and the transmission sticks. I have had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment on Nov 3 to get these issues looked at. My car is far from safe and I have expressed to Ford I feel this car is going to kill me. I spent 30,000 miles driving this car when in fact I shouldn't had. The dealership can never find a problem on my car. The gas also can only put 10 cents of gas at a time in or gas likes to pour out from the bottom. Sometimes the gas knozzle can't fit in the gas tank because it closes up. Once again Ford couldn't find a problem. I call the dealership and Ford customer care each time there is a problem.

- Iola, TX, USA

problem #337

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 9,562 miles
I own a 2012 Ford Focus sel that has had multiple transmission issues along with an electrical problem relating to the steering wheel and a battery failure. The vehicle has had issues accelerating through 1st gear which was evident by extreme shuddering and shaking of the vehicle. This had put me into dangerous situations numerous times when trying to merge onto freeways as the vehicle hesitated to get up to speed in time. My transmission was replaced at 9,562 miles in Sept. 2013. The shuttering and acceleration problems recurred at 21,904 miles in Sept. 2014 and Ford ran a system update to 'fix' the problem. They also replaced the steering wheel for electrical problems at this time. The acceleration issues continued for the next month and the clutch was finally replaced in Oct. 2014. A couple weeks later the battery was dead 3 sundays in a row and was also replaced. Ford has not been able to reassure me that these transmission issues will not be on-going. I continuously read others accounts online stating they are having the same issues I am having, and in many cases their dealerships are ignoring the issues and making excuses. Please look into this matter.

- Farmington, MN, USA

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