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 21 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #316

Sep 222014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


I purchased a used 2012 Focus recently and a few days later on 9/22/14 I was driving around 50 mph when the rpms just shot up. I let off the gas and pressed down on it again and the engine revved up but again the car did not respond. I pulled over to the shoulder and tried to change the gear to neutral, then reverse, then back to drive and each gear did not respond to the gas. After shutting the car off I tried to start it up again and the car would not start. The traction control light and the message "hill start assist not available" came on. After letting the car sit for a few minutes it started up and drove fine for the rest of the day. Two days later the same thing happened on the freeway and I had to cross three lanes of highway traffic without being able to accelerate. After letting the car sit for a minute the car started back up and drove for about a minute and then the same thing happened again. The check engine light also came on this time and stayed on. I managed to get to school although a little late. On my way home the issue occurred multiple times. The first time the car was jerking forward and loosing the gear and then jerking forward again. The issue occurred a few miles from my house and this time the car would not start up on multiple attempts like it had previously. I disconnected the battery thinking that would help reset whatever was stuck but when the battery was connected back up the car still would not start. After looking over fuses and disconnecting and reconnecting the battery multiple times the car finally started back up and I was able to make the last few miles to my home. The car is very unsafe to drive and I was almost rear ended on the freeway when I had to pull off to the shoulder without power to the drive train. The car has also been making a grinding noise when shifting between gears since the first day.

- Antelope, CA, USA

problem #315

Aug 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Car stutters and does not shift. Severe shaking and loss of cruise speed is effected. The car does not accelerate properly and seems to lose speed while driving. I am scared to let my daughter drive this car and only have owning it for several months it has been in the shop once and going back again. There is no apparent fix for this problem and they will not do anything about it. The clutch was replaced and reprogrammed and this did nothing to fix the issue.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #314

Sep 202014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
At a stop light car in drive brakes lock, shift gear locks. Message appears transmission not in park. Car takes at least 5 to 10 minutes to turn back over to start up. Car stalls to go into different speeds, accelerates when turning a corner.

- Irvington , NJ, USA

problem #313

Aug 232014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 70 mph, the check engine indicator illuminated and the vehicle went into neutral gear. The contact heard a loud banging sound from the undercarriage before the vehicle went back into gear. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was brought in for repair and service updates were performed for the transmission, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000...updated 10/15/14 the consumer stated the vehicle was not repaired because the problem could not be duplicated. Updated 4/1/2015

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #312

Sep 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The engine light came on while driving, saying check transmission. The transmission is not shifting the car shakes or vibrate when the peed change.

- Branson , MO, USA

problem #311

Jul 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
At random times the car will just shut off leaving a coasting vehicle down the highway, or leave you stalled out in the middle of an intersection. If you leave it sit for 30min-1hour it may restart. If you press the accelerator it was not respond. After a couple minutes the vehicle will recover from a rough idle and try to lunge forward even when vehicle is in park. Problem: Transmission control module.

- Jennings, OK, USA

problem #310

Jul 192014


  • 53,683 miles


It does not shift correctly. Slow and sluggish to shift. Very jerky. Especially at lower gears. Jerks forward when not expecting it. Have taken it back to dealer twice. Had a new clutch put in. Was good for a day or two. Doing it again!!!! this car should be recalled & returned to owners only when this is fixed. Ford knows this experiment did not work & it is time to make it right. I work hard for my money & this experience has left me very unhappy. I was sooo happy to get a new car. Now I am left with this. As a single working mother, I was appalled that I was not informed about this transmission being manual hybrid until I took it in for service. This is fraudulent salemanship from Ford.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #309

Aug 242014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
On August 24th, when driving on a major houston highway at 64mph, I lost all drive-train power. My check engine light and drive status indicator immediately started blinking, and I had no response from my throttle. I was simply coasting. Thankfully, I was able to safely take an exit ramp and pull into a relatively safe location off the major highway. I waited some time with the car shut off, and after starting it back up, the cel cleared itself and car was functional again after leaving my car at tomball Ford for a week, the dealership was unable to duplicate the issue, and found no record of the cel in the system. I was forced to pick the car back up from the dealership, and upon repeated inquiries from my wife as to whether or not the car was safe to drive, the service technicians would not tell her it was safe. On September 7th, only a few short days after picking the car back up, the same thing happened again during busy weekend traffic with my pregnant wife and baby daughter in the car. I had the car towed to my house, as the dealership was closed (it was a Sunday). Upon starting the car later that day in my driveway, the cel again, cleared itself. I dropped the vehicle off at the dealership again, and the service adviser informed me, that once again, they are unable to duplicate the failure. This car has now shut-down twice on me, with my family in the car, on very busy houston highways. I feel incredibly unsafe driving this vehicle, and question my dealership's ability to fix the issue after they willingly admitted they've "never seen this failure before." I managed to record the transmission failure on video, which can be seen here: Https://

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #308

Sep 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 54,125 miles
I was driving home when a light message on my dash came on saying "hill start assist not available" and the car lost complete power to the wheels, motor revved but I wasn't going anywhere. I tried putting in a sport mode to see if could shift via toggle switch, but still no gears. I got to the side of the road and my check engine light was on and traction control light was on. I shut the car off hoping it would reset something, but once did that the car wouldn't start, I had power and all but when turned key to start nothing happened. It's sitting at the dealer now. I check some mark II Focus forums and this seems to be a very common issue and when taking to dealership nothing is being done.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #307

Sep 042014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
Driving in heavy traffic on a limited access highway, the transmission apparently shifted into neutral, and would not respond to shift level action [shifting from 'drive' to 'sport' modes]. I was able to coast to a stop on the shoulder. After shutting off the engine, and waiting a few minutes I restarted and the car drove normally. The car drove normally for the next two days. On the third day, the same failure. After restarting, I turned around and it failed again [200 yards from the previous failure]. the car was towed to a dealer's service department, and is waiting for inspection.

- Mastic, NY, USA

problem #306

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles


My car shudders very bad taking off from a stop and almost comes to a complete stop then takes of like you have jerked it into gear its makes a horrible noise in and out of the car and will continue to do this until you let the car cool down for a long time. Its been repaired once buy Ford and now there telling me there's nothing else they can due for me because its in spec.

- Fayetteville , TN, USA

problem #305

May 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,161 miles
Ford Focus titanium hatchback (2012) has transmission/clutch problems. Ford service dept. Has "fixed" over three times with no result. Leak between engine and transmission, als leak. At one point the service change was put on hold due to parts being unavailable. Ford refused to provide rental car or and extras to help with the inconvenience.

- Groveport, OH, USA

problem #304

Nov 262012


  • miles
Multiple instance have occurred starting in 2013 regarding shuddering with the car on acceleration. It happens when starting from a stopped position or even just trying to accelerate while driving. It has caused some dangerous situations, the latest occurrence was when I was trying to get on the freeway and the car wouldn't accelerate. The person behind me was really upset about it and started tailgating me. He was so close we could have reached out and touched his car. I could not go faster, as hard as I tried by pushing on the gas. When I was finally able to get up to speed, the car continued to follow me way too closely for several miles before finally turning off the freeway. The clutch assembly on my car has been replaced twice for two different issues. The last time I took the car in ( April 2014), I was told that the shuddering is occurring but does not fall in the parameters set out by Ford, so there was nothing they could do. They said if it got worse, to bring it back. Every time I have taken it in, it has been a hassle and very stressful for our family.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #303

Sep 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Shutters/ grinding noise/ tugs and jolts at low speeds and up hills. When in bumper to bumper traffic message on dash, overheating transmission pull over wait 8 minutes.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #302

Sep 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100,300 miles
While coming to a stop at an intersection. A warning message appeared stating the "hill assist" is not functioning. When the light turned green and I gave it gas the car would not move and the engine RPM ran up. The car would not move in drive, reverse or standard. I turned the car engine off thinking it might reset itself. Instead, when I turned the key nothing happened. It would also not shift out of park. I was blocking traffic in the only lane open to allow cars to proceed straight. The right lane was closed due to road construction and I was blocking that road crew. Several times I neared receiving a rear end collision. The dealership repair shop tells me the transmission control module malfunctions and needs replaced at a cost of $1300. I find that curious as the car is only 2 years old and there was recall issues on that module for other 2012 Focus. That recall simply involved Ford re-programming the module.

- Chillicothe, OH, USA

problem #301

Aug 262014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 99,059 miles
Had an issue with the vehicle suddenly shaking, shuddering violently, and being unable to accelerate beyond 40-35 mph. I would attempt to accelerate and it would operate as though in neutral. The vehicle would then kick in and rev up to 6-7000 RPM and still not accelerate. Then it would finally feel as though it had downshifted but would not go above 40 mph. I took it in to the dealership to be looked at. They applied the latest computer updates and checked fluids. They told me the vehicle had a shifting fork code (dct), and that it would need to be replaced- yet the vehicle worked fine after the computer was updated. If there was a shifting fork issue, then it wouldn't magically disappear for a period of time after a computer update and come right back. The vehicle operated fine for several hours with no issues. Then I felt the transmission 'hitch', and the check engine light again came on. I was literally 2 blocks from the same dealership I took it to earlier that day, so I took it back in. They said the same codes appeared, but that they would attempt the computer update again. The vehicle again seemed to work fine. Then I was driving on a backroad highway due to my fear of the vehicle acting up while on the main highway and having my small children with me. The car again acted up and went from 65 to 35 rapidly and refusing to accelerate and acting as though it was in neutral. The transmission would occasionally catch, but would not go faster than 35 mph in a 65 mph area. This could cause a potentially fatal accident, and I cant help but wonder if there aren't any fatal accidents that can be attributed to this. I see that many others report the same exact issue I have.

- Durant, OK, USA

problem #300

Aug 262014


  • 60,828 miles
Car began to shudder and bog down as I moved forward. Then slipped going into 2nd. When given a good amount of gas the car hesitated and slammed into gear.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #299

Oct 092012


  • 500 miles
My wife purchased our Focus August 2012. Shortly there after we noticed the car shaking and shuttering. We took the car to the dealer two times each time it was put on a computer and given back to us. The second time we were told that's how Ford made this vehicle there was nothing more that could be done.(woody sanders Ford). The car only has 9000 miles on it and still drives like crap.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #298

Feb 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Ongoing issue with the transmission, even after 3 "fixes" at a Ford service center. Transmission hesitates, jerks, and shudders in gears 1 through 3 primarily, sometimes hard enough to spill a drink. Slow speeds and stop and go speeds result in horrible driving conditions as the jerks/shudders get worse. It feels unsafe to drive the vehicle. For example, I'll be preparing for a left turn across traffic (with more than enough time to take this turn), and the hesitation will be so bad that it's unclear if I'll make the left or get hit by oncoming traffic first. Transmission has now moved on to a grinding sound, jerking motion, sounds as if something's getting stuck. Each time I've taken the car into the shop, it runs well for a couple of weeks, and then starts the shaking and hesitating again. Slowly the results come back, at first subtle so you don't think to rush to the shop to do something about it again (it costs money each time you have to take it), and come a couple months the car is back to heavy jerking and grinding. I feel extremely unsafe in the vehicle, it's unclear if I'll make it properly across traffic at times, or be able to make to destinations on log car rides.

- North Potomac, MD, USA

problem #297

Jan 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,147 miles
Vehicle rolls backward while at a stop, I did not realize I was rolling and bumped the car behind me while at a stop light. Grade at stop light is 99% level ground. Has consistently attempted to roll backwards at all stops thereafter, dealer has serviced issue multiple times with no result.

- Hanover , MA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?