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 26 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #216

May 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles


Car's transmission felt sluggish (hesitate to accelerate) after 15-20 minutes of low-speed driving (0-10mph) in a traffic jam. Ten minutes later, engine stalled on freeway at 70mph. Tachometer dropped to 0 and speedometer displayed was 0. car restarted, and continued to be driven for 15 minutes. Gear disengaged when turning into a parking space, car rolled backwards. Power did resume after 2 seconds while constantly giving gas. Restarted the car after around 30 minutes, car stalled again few minutes later. Engine would not restart instantly. Only clicking noise was heard in the engine bay when turning keys. Waited 10-15 minutes to restart. Car accelerated to 70mph before stalling again after 1-2 minutes. Gear indicator was flashing. When the car stalled, engine raved with lost of power for 1-2 seconds. Car felt like in neutral even shifter was in drive. Tachometer then dropped to 300rpm and never rav again. Car was pulled over. The cycle of stalling and restart repeated 5-6 times until I arrived home. The next day car was drivable again (I only have a 5-mile commute). Similar troubles occurred three weeks ago when car was totally disabled after 20-30 minutes parking lot driving. Car hardly restart and refuse to go into gear. Gear indicator constantly blinked. I previously thought the issues were related to the usage of S gate, where it happened for two instance. There are 3 occurrences of similar troubles. First time was about a month ago when car refused to start, but it was perfectly drivable again after being cool down for a night. Towed to dealer but problem could not be duplicated. The reason that prompts me to write this report is due the lost of power on freeway which I believe is a safety related issue. Also, there doesn't seem to be a trouble code in the computer, which makes it hard for dealers to diagnose the problem.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #215

Aug 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
My 2012 Ford Focus had the control module (tcm, PCM) transmission that jerks in low gear. I was not told at time of purchase about the dual transmission. I purchased the car August 2012.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #214

May 302014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
4 transmission failures in 25K miles still have problems with transmission slipping, jumping, lurching hesitates grinding and shutters, when you press on the gas from a stop it sometimes jerks you into movement or if you press the gas a bit harder it will shutter, the more we drive the worst it just until it cools down.

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #213

May 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 56,665 miles


Transmission was shifting poorly, then like an engine miss, power loss, step on gas it slowed down, turned corner at intersection and almost didn't make it thru intersection. Very light foot on the accelerator would allow it to gain speed. Missed 1st gear on stop at stopsign, took off in 2nd or 3rd (automatic)/ check engine light was on until I got home, shut it off. Started back up and ran fairly well to dealership. This is second time in a week I've had to dealer. They did a tsb electric reset of shift points and said it was all related. I was charged for that even tho there was a tsb performed. Also my rf window motor is out. It was rarely used as I commute about 55 miles a day solo.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #212

Feb 082012


  • 6,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the clutch was making an abnormal noise. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 6,500, and the current mileage was 49,000.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #211

Jun 062011

Focus 6-cyl

  • 3,800 miles
April 2011 -- issues began within a week of purchasing the vehicle. Complete electrical system shutdown (causing air/radio/sync system to be of no use). Brought vehicle in because I was scheduled to go on road trip to mass. (sync system shut down in route to mass.). soon thereafter, the jerking and shaking of the vehicle. Each time I called or brought the vehicle in, I was told "we cannot replicate the problem". back and forth meeting with management at waldorf Ford dealership and phone calls with Ford in detroit. Continued issues with the jerking and vibrating of vehicle; continued complaints that the RPM needle would race up and down and the engine would revved because the engine was not getting into gear; May 2013 50K miles -- while in columbia, md was still having the jerking and "shifting" issues that the dealership "could not" and I received a message on the vehicle that said transmission failure service immediately. I was in traffic and was almost rear ended on several occasions until I arrived at a friend's. drove home hours later; transmission/powertrain system "fixed"; May 2014 74K miles -- jerking/vibrating/grinding sounds; engine light on and off (not flashing); vehicle not getting into gear from a dead stop and above 50 mph; autozone plugged into vehicle system and received following message/code P2862 "shift fork 'B' acuator circuit high" unable to access any information about the problem; an issue which Ford considers a "common failure" with this vehicle. Nothing like putting a driver and passengers at risk as well as causing accidents. Why are these vehicles still on the road with as many complaints that have been made??

- White Plains, MD, USA

problem #210

Dec 222012


  • 5,000 miles


My car would not go into the correct gear when I slowed down to turn a corner. Coming out of the turn it stalled into neutral. My car has a rattle and jerking when I'm going less than 5 mph sometimes. This car does not change gears smoothly! I recently rented a 2013 Focus and it drives great. My 2012 Ford Focus is horrible.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #209

May 222014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving down highway, car lost power, the check engine light and the traction control light came on. Would not accelerate, brakes would not function properly to stop. When I finally got the car stopped in a parking lot next to my place of business, the car would not start up again, and when it did, it would not go into any gear. Sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes trying to get the car to start up and go into gear. When it finally did go into gear, I got it to my place of business 2 blocks down and parked it. I am afraid to drive the car as it is a major safety issue. There have been recalls on the electric version of this car, but not the gasoline versions. This needs to be a recall on all of these models as there are several hundred complaints online about the same issue. Ford will not do anything about these issues unless the car is taken to one of their dealerships, which in past experience, they don't do anything at the dealership except overcharge for diagnosing the car, and for them to tell you nothing is wrong with it and that they know there are issues with the cars, but they do not have a fix for them and they can change the parts, however that will not solve the problem and it will happen again. I have been told this by the manager at a dealership and he has stated there is nothing he can do to change the situation. This is a major safety issue and someone needs to look into Ford for the same issues GM is having with their small cars.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #208

Feb 132014


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while traveling 35 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle stalled several times before the resuming to normal acceleration. The failure recurred on seven occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000 miles and the current mileage was 53,000.

- St Albans, WV, USA

problem #207

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
There have been many complaints on the Ford Focus lately that involve the transmission and I am included in those complaining. My automatic car either won't switch gears and sounds like I'm pressing the gas while in park then violently lunges forward or while driving at an average speed like 40 it's just stops completely in the road. It also will not accelerate quickly making it very dangerous to merge on to a freeway. Living in los angeles this poses a huge threat to getting in several accidents. After 3 near and severely close but avoided accidents I called the dealership where I purchased my car and I was told there was a 3-5 week waiting list to have my car even looked at to prove that it was in fact the problem all other Ford were encountering. After calling round to several dealers in a 30 mile radius I found one kind man who said he could look at within 3 days. After being diagnosed as the clutches needing to be replaced as they thought would be the issue, I was told it would take up to another 3-4 weeks til my car was actually repaired leaving me already out of pocket for a week for a rental car. The dealer suggest I open a case with Ford to request a loaner car for the duration of my repair as it seems ridiculous that I be paying $ out of pocket for an issue that they caused with a faulty part. 4 days later and Ford still has not decided whether my request is reasonable. Everyday I'm spending money while my inoperable car sits at a dealership waiting to find out if I can afford to pay for the rental while my death trap of a vehicle wait S as Ford decided I'm being "reasonable". I find this treatment of customers of a faulty product disgraceful.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #206

May 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 68,850 miles


I have a Ford Focus 2012 SE with winter and comfort packages. My vehicle suddenly swapped up from 79 mph to 81 mph when I pressed the down button to slow the car.

- Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #205

May 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,677 miles
I purchased my vehicle in December of 2012 and by may of 2013, the vehicle had been in and out of the shop for months. The most substantial issue was an issue with speed control in the car while on the freeway. At about 20 miles an hour the car would have difficulty going up to 40mph, but would then jerk up to higher speeds afterward. The clutch system was replaced in the car on May 24, 2013 and seemed to be fine, but I still filed a claim with the Ford Motor Company. Last week on May 14, 2014 the began to have the same transmission issues. I contacted Ford again and was told to take it in, as it was covered under the 12 months/12000 miles extended parts warranty. My car is currently back in the shop and I am concerned that this issue will not be resolved. I'm also concerned that there was already a recall on this vehicle in 2012 for transmission issues and little is being done now to rectify this dangerous issue.

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #204

Jul 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,500 miles
Transmission issues, jerking, jumping, jolting forward, sluggish, lack of power, feels like the car is going to cut off. This happens at slow speeds, fast speeds, at a stop, idling, etc. You name a condition of the car at various speeds and it has transmission issues. I took it to Ford to fix and they said it was a "known" issue, they updated the software and calibrated. It still has the same issues, the problem is not resolved.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #203

Mar 152012


  • 1,200 miles
Since I've owned the car, I've taken it back to the dealer more than twelve times. I bought it new and have problems with transmission slipping, jumping, lurching. I have been having these issues plus issues with the radio constantly resetting itself since the day I bought the car. The dealer claimed to me that the reason my car times backwards after coming to a stop was to save fuel, then there was a recall on the car to have the transmission reprogrammed to stop it. I had this done, but it still occurs with my car.

- Covington, KY, USA

problem #202

Aug 012012


  • 10,000 miles
The transmission in this vehicle hesitates and shutters. I have been told this is normal for this type of transmission. I don't believe it is normal, due to the fact that the problem is getting worse, as it did not do this for the first ten thousand miles. In my opinion it makes the car unsafe because of hesitation from a stopped position. Also from a stopped position on a small incline the car will shake somewhat violently during take off. The shaking is bad enough to make me believe that it could be doing damage to other components to the drive train and components of any other systems. Also who wants to spend twenty thousand dollars and up for a vehicle that accelerates and shifts no better than a car from the 80's. I have lost all faith in quality control. Thank you.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #201

Mar 032014


  • 14,500 miles
I bought the Focus new a couple of years ago. At first it seemed to do well but for the past year, and more often recently, the transmission has been shuttering and I hear a grinding sound coming from underneath the car. I have noticed it only happens at lower speeds(below 15mph) when in 1st or 2nd gear. When you press on the gas from a stop it sometimes jerks you into movement or if you press the gas a bit harder it will shutter through 1st gear and jump into 2nd gear. I have found it to be a problem driving around town or when merging onto a freeway where some acceleration is needed to get to speed.

- North Bend, WA, USA

problem #200

May 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 88,700 miles
Attempted to accelerate into merge lane and onto highway but transmission did not respond with engine revving up and slipping. I had to pull off the road to avoid obstructing traffic or being struck by traffic. Although this was the most dangerous incident it has happened before and the Ford dealer has not resolved the problem.

- Mims, FL, USA

problem #199

May 112014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,389 miles
After driving about 50 miles and come to a stop the transmission disengages and car rolls backwards. This happened 3 times in 2 days. The dealer says it the way I drive.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #198

May 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 29,187 miles
This car has been the shop 4 times for the same problem. The car randomly does not start for a period of time, absolutely no rhyme or reason. It does start eventually. Everything electrical comes on, interior lights, A/C, heater, radio, exterior lights, just no engine. The problem only occurs after being driven. In other words, it never happens first thing in the morning after sitting all night, it never happens after a full work day (sitting 8 hours). The longest period of time it has set and still not started is about 3 hours. The problem also never occurred until they had to replace the transmission.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #197

May 052014


  • miles
Going from a complete stop to acceleration my car is shuttering & jerking as if it is stalling out. It is like the car isn't taking the gas and my car is struggling to get in gear. I can hear the gear grinding as they shift. They have a recall on certain 2012 Ford Focus with same issue; however, mine is not in that recall. The dealer says "it is the way it is made". well why is there a recall on certain vins that are doing the same thing"??"

- Charlotte, NC, USA

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