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 22 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #296

Aug 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


Ongoing and persistent issues with the transmission; hesitation, jerking, shuddering, grinding, lack of power. Slow speed and stop-and-go driving results in very poor performance from the transmission. One occasion I did not have enough power to merge and had to pull over on the highway; the engine was revving but there was almost no power going to the wheels and a very loud grinding sound coming from the front. I have had the car into the shop twice to have the transmission worked on. They reprogram the software and it drives ok for a few weeks, then goes back to the original condition. The car in my opinion is unsafe to drive about half of the time. Ford has failed to address my concerns or correct the issue.

- Eldersburg, MD, USA

problem #295

Apr 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I cannot give exact dates and mileage because this problem has been form the get go and gotten progressively worse recently. The car used to simply struggle to go form a stop or low speed. We had the transmission reprogrammed but that did not help. It continues to act in that manner but now has gotten dangerous to drive. We bought the car new and it is driven from georgetown, ky to cincinnati 5 days a week for work. It now has roughly 105,000 miles on it, though that may be just a little high. The car is now losing power, not shutting down but losing power. It is happening at slow speed and at highway speed. My wife has reported it has nearly caused her to have an accident on more than one occasion. We have spent over $1100 trying to fix it based on what the dealership is telling the "codes" say is wrong but the problem persists. I am afraid this car will cause an accident and hurt someone or worse it we continue to drive it. We cannot afford to put any more money into it, trade it in, or stop using it. I have seen countless complaints about this vehicle and I have to wonder why there has not been a mandatory recall to replace the transmission, not just reprogram it since that doesn't work. Please put Ford on notice that this issue must be corrected and all outstanding vehicles that have reported this problem must be fixed before the cars kill someone. Thank you.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #294

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
When turning to make a right turn the front of the car makes a metal on metal scraping sound (intermittingly) also the transmission doesn't seem to always kick in when after coming to a complete stop the car shakes as the gas pedal is pushed. I've brought it to the dealership where I bought it and they keep telling me nothing is wrong with it, it is just how the car operates.

- St Bonifacius, MN, USA

problem #293

Aug 182014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle stalled and the rear assist malfunction light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Church Point, LA, USA

problem #292

May 232012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,050 miles
I bought the 2012 Focus around February of 2012. At first I was estatic and the car ran great. However, just a few months after I bought it the car started griding at low speeds had a lot of trouble going up a hill to the point it wants to stall. At one point I did get up the hill, but the car didn't seem to recover and about 2 minutes later the car did stall driving about 30 mph and we had to glide it through traffic and into a parking lot. The car would not drive for at least 15 minutes, and the check engine light came on. By the time I got it to the dealership the light had gone off, and they told me they couldn't "duplicate the issue", and that if the light had went off there wasn't anything they would be able to find. The grinding noises continued, and I complained everytime I brought it in for an oil change. It also started acting lethargic when making turns (specifically left turns). The car was brought into the dealership at least two more times over the same issue, had a reprogramming done, and it still continued to make noises, jerk, grind, shift widly, etc. Around may of this year (2014) I was stopped on a steep hill and the car started rolling backwards. At first it seemed normal because I applied the brake, but when I moved to the gas the car started rolling backwards in drive and would not stop until I applied the brake again. I almost hit the person in back of me. I insisted Ford fix the issue, and after having the car for almost a week they again said they couldn't duplicate the problem. The same issue happened two weeks later and I received the same answer. I have left messages for the manager over the whole dealer, and he won't return my calls. I am about to take the car back again since I only have around 300 miles of my warranty left, and the car has been having many issues lately. And then I'm going to call a lawyer and the news.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #291

May 012014


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the transmission was replaced, but the vehicle shifted roughly after the repair. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #290

Jul 272011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


While driving my car stopped while I was stepping on the pedal - I was told it was my gears so they were changed and my car was repaired for over 3 weeks and when I went to pick it up - it still had the same problem - my transmission isn't shifting with my gears so it is still in the shop I had to take it back after only driving 6 blocks away from the Ford dealer. It is still being repaired.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #289

Jul 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
Transmission has been jerky, shaky, jumps into gear. This has happened periodically since I have gotten the car and has gotten progressively worse. Most recently, whenever it shifts around 20 mph there is a terrible grinding noise along with a shudder. Brought my vehicle into hudson Ford in hudson, wi on August 15, 2014. Dealer stated there was a transmission leak and seals were defective. They replaced seals. I asked if there was any damage to the transmission and they said no. On Monday August 18, 2014 I called the dealer back to let them know the grinding noise was still present, not all of the time shifting but it is still occurring. Dealer said to "give it a thousand miles and call back if it still happens because new parts need to lubricate and beak in." I am not sure how true this is because there are metal parts grinding, not the seals replaced" I find it hard to believe there isn't more wrong with this car with grinding metal noises present. This is a danger to myself and others should the transmission fail on the highway or it jumps into/out of gear and a hit a car. There are so many complaints like mine. Ford needs to provide total transmission replacement or buy these cars back.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #288

Aug 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
Without warning, (no lights on dash-board - no unusual noises - no problems starting etc), there were no gears and I was left in neutral. It required coming to a stop, putting it into park and starting again to limp along to get to a safe point to park the car and call for help. Luckily I was not yet onto the freeway! the Ford dealership mechanic was able to replicate these circumstances and he too found himself without gears; he was on the freeway on-ramp and was lucky to not be hit. I can only imagine how dangerous this is if you are in 4 lanes of traffic going 60 mph!!! notwithstanding the severity of this "module" defect, the problem according to Ford does not come under the 'transmission recall' and my car is 3,500 miles over the magical 60,000 power-train recall. I am stuck with a $1,500 bill and the fear that it might happen again; if not to me, someone else with this model/year Focus.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #287

Jan 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
While driving my Ford Focus 2012, the engine would shutter inbetween shifts. This resulted in delays in the shift and then sometimes in surges in power, back and forth. There was also often a grinding or clicking noise coming from the undercarriage during the shift. I finally got Ford to fix this problem after taking it into the shop for service three different times and making numerous phone calls. In the interim, I believe my life was in danger do to the unpredictable malfunctioning of this vehicle. There were several times when I was trying to get through an intersection or get on the highway when the delay/shutter/surge of the vehicle could have caused me to have an accident, as I could not predict when the incidents were going to occur, or exactly to what degree. I believe Ford's repeated refusal to remedy this issue put my life in danger. The fix ended up being a replacement of the clutch. However, I was advised by the technician that this would only be a short term fix and that eventually the problem would return (no doubt next time only after my warranty has expired and I will not be able to afford the repair). Please help resolve this problem before some is seriously injured by Ford's refusal to take responsibility for their dangerous and defective product.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #286

Aug 162014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 48,500 miles


While driving my 2012 - manual 5 speed Ford Focus down the highway the car lost power. There was no indication that anything was wrong, but all of a sudden while in 5th gear at 70mph the car had no power to propel itself forward, at the same time the radio/entertainment system malfunctioned and turned off. Luckily, I was able to make it over to the shoulder and roll to a stop without an incident. Turned the car back on and there was very little power getting to the car, maxing out a speed of 50mph on the freeway so as not to stall again, made for a scary ride home. This is the 3rd time this has happened since owning the car, which I purchased brand new and now has 49,000 miles on the odometer. The previous 2 times, I took it to a dealer to diagnose the problem, but they said that there is nothing that they can find wrong with it. Now I am active on a Ford Focus forum because it seems that I am not the only person out there with this issue. Ford needs to get it together before they have an injury lawsuit on their hands.

- Hoschton, GA, USA

problem #285

Aug 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
When pulling out onto a rural highway from a stop sign, my car hesitated between 2-3 seconds after moving partway into the intersection. The feel was distinctly like clutch slippage, and the car refused to move forward despite me applying additional pressure on the accelerator. After almost 2 seconds of very slowly (2-3 mph) crawling into the intersection the transmission engaged abruptly and I resumed moving into my lane. I frequently experience this particular problem, despite two dealers over 4 trips attempting to repair it, and have a good feel for how to modulate the throttle to work through the stall. However, this time it nearly resulted in me being T-boned on the driver's side door by an 18-wheeler traveling 55 mph. Fortunately the truck was able to bypass me in his left lane. I will be taking it back to a local dealer for my fifth trip, this time hopefully to receive clutch revision "F" and transmission shaft seal "D". why the cars built with the dps6 transmission haven't yet been recalled is a mystery to me. I can only guess that (hopefully) no one has died when faced with a circumstance similar to mine.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #284

Aug 172014


  • 34,000 miles
This year vehicle year has a transmission surge problem. Ford Focus 2012. Dangerous to drive. You never know when the transmission will surge, bucking, scaring me almost to losing control. Dealership did not advise me before I bought. Will do nothing to help. Detroit is aware of the problem and extended the warranty, but that does not help me driving it. My opinion unsafe and should not be on the road. I bought this in Feb. 2014 with 34,000 miles on it. I need perry Ford san luis obispo to take it back. It can not be fixed. I see 459 complaints on this. How can I get help. I am a disabled senior.

- Atascadero, CA, USA

problem #283

Aug 152014


  • 25,000 miles
This has happened multiple times. When pulling out into traffic and trying to accelerate the vehicle will not accelerate above, I'd say 10 mph. It tends to happen when it is warmer out and the A/C is on. I have found that if the shifter is put into "sport mode" and I manually shift from first it won't do it. This is my gf's car and she will not use the "sport mode". this is very dangerous and will probably lead to an accident.

- Pendleton, OR, USA

problem #282

Aug 122014


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated while driving 65 mph, the vehicle decelerated and the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed the power train control module was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 87,000.

- Rochester, WA, USA

problem #281

Jun 292014


  • 47,491 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 5 mph, the vehicle made a loud grinding noise and stalled. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 47,491.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #280

Sep 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Vehicle would not accelerate on freeway, failed to shift into higher gears.

- Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #279

May 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The transmission shutters and hesitates to shift into gear while accelerating from stop. Have taken it to Ford multiple times and problem comes back every time.

- Stanley, NC, USA

problem #278

Jul 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 120,200 miles
Driving up light incline on paved highway when traction control light flashes indicating a loss of traction. Seconds later car loses response to gas pedal, flashes "transmission system failure. Service immediately." After pulling over away from traffic and powering off then 30 second wait and on warning is gone and functions are restored. A week later problem comes up again, this time on interstate going 70mph. Cruise control is shut off automatically, no power to gas pedal, traction warning comes on, and same transmission warning flashes. Goes away in a second or two. Pull over as safely as I can while cutting off a semi-truck, power car off and on, all systems normal. Four days later pull out of parking spot with a hesitation of vehicle to start, then a vibrating in reverse. Drive around lot to exit, pull onto main road and same warnings/problems as usual happen. Now blocking traffic perpendicular to flow. Check engine light comes on, put car into park, turn off, and back on. Try to shift into drive. Won't budge. Turn off and on again. Try to shift again. No luck. One more time, wait a few seconds, then again. Car powers on drives to another location with check engine light on and then to dealer with no further issues. Dealer inspects, finds faulty tcm. Directly attributes this to manufacture defect and not to user error.

- Shasta Lake, CA, USA

problem #277

Aug 082014


  • 63,000 miles
I was leaving from the bp gas station from wayne sullivan dr in paducah, ky I had drove from ledbetter which is 10 mins outside of paducah and when I started my car to leave gas station pulling out into busy intersection I went to accelerate and my car would not go any faster than 10mph with oncoming traffic behind me and my 5 year old child in the car with me. I had reported transmission problems before they put computer to adjust it but told me slippage and jerking would be normal due to the type of transmission. My car has always rolled back on steep hills also.

- Ledbetter, KY, USA

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