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 28 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #176

Jul 102012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles


Transmission shudder. Car acts like it is going to stall. Ford, the dealer are all aware of the problem with the transmission. Since it is a intermittent problem on this car nobody wants to fix it. Am being told nothing wrong. The part exists to fix just will not do. Without recall.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #175

Mar 182014


  • 7,758 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while the vehicle stalled without warning while entering an intersection. The check engine light illuminated after the failure occurred. The failure was recurring. The dealer performed a diagnostic and advised that the transmission control module was defective. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 7,758.

- Placitas, NM, USA

problem #174

Jul 252013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
Vehicle shutters shakes and lacks acceleration when starting from a stop. This has been an on going issue that has almost caused several accidents. In February 2014, I was driving down my street to drive my daughter to school and we heard a loud grinding noise and the car lost power. I was able to coast to the side of the road. I called road side assistance and the vehicle was towed to the skagit Ford dealership. I was told the front axle snapped where it goes into the transmission. I was also told that this was a Ford defect by the service a adviser and he had never seen this happen in his 30 years. I notified Ford several times regarding the shifting issues and brought it in for service updates and new clutch. They are also aware of the metal axle snapping and are not willing to do anything regarding this unsafe vehicle that I am now afraid to drive. I have filed complaints with Ford and the attorney generals office and have not received any written confirmation that Ford is taking this incident seriously. If I had been on a freeway when the last incident occurred I would probably not be writing this letter. Thank you for your time. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mount Vernon, WA, USA

problem #173

Mar 212014


  • 63,500 miles


This transmission sucks! it started with a lot of shuddering during acceleration. I took it to me dealer where they claimed to fix it but I have photos proving otherwise. Took it to the next dealer two days before christmas and it seemed to be fixed. Now it's doing T again, 6K miles later. And now it tends to roll back on even slight hills. Today I was at a red light with traffic behind me. I took my foot off the brake anticipating the light to change. It rolled back about 3-4 when I then reapplied the brakes. I was literally a couple inches from hitting someone because it wouldn't stay still even in drive. So I pressed the gas before I let go of the brake to ensure I wouldn't roll back more. When I let off the brake, there was a pop and the car jumped. Not safe and I'm now trying to find out if any laws would require them to buy it back.

- Jamestown, OH, USA

problem #172

Mar 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 11,309 miles
While traveling on a roadway while still mildly accelerating a vehicle crossed the center line as I decelerated and turned to avoid a collision the vehicle would not engage the transmission at approximately 25 mph after the on coming vehicle had changed its path. After trying to accelerate the engine revved. The transmission appeared to be in an upshift position prior to the incident and would not re engage until the vehicle was almost fully stopped. No one was injured but this could pose a potential problem had I needed to accelerate to change lanes to avoid a collision. The transmission seems to shudder at times and has had other issues with acceleration and deceleration. I did not yet contact the Ford dealership. This is a 2.0 L engine with automatic transmission in drive and not in sport mode.

- East Amherst, NY, USA

problem #171

Oct 162013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
Transmission shutters, jumps, makes rattling noise. Dealer reprogrammed it in Oct. 2013. Did better for a while. Now it is worse, and makes a rattling noise upon acceleration. Took in on March 15th, and was told there is nothing they can do. They said it is normal. It performed ok the first year. Now it is getting worse.

- Royse City, TX, USA

problem #170

Feb 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,685 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while at a traffic light, the vehicle independently down shifted and vibrated abnormally. The contact continued to depress the accelerator pedal but the vehicle failed to respond. The vehicle regained speed as the contact coasted along the highway. In addition, the vehicle would roll backward whenever stopped on an incline and would begin shaking, causing difficulty in controlling the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch assembly needing to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 30,685. Updated 4/22/14 updated 04/25/2014

- Niland , CA, USA

problem #169

Feb 212014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Driving on freeway. Loss power on "speed" it felt as though I was on neutral, so pulled over becuz I didn't want to cause an accident. Would not start after I turned off engine, and I noticed although vehicle was in the park position. My menu kept stating it was in "drive" position.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #168

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmission issues. On September 5, 2013, the consumer stated she started hearing loud grated sounds, when she turned corners. She took the vehicle to the dealer, but the mechanic was unable to duplicate the sound. He stated the sound he did hear, was normal for that type of vehicle, because of the type of transmission that was in new cars. The vehicle continued to make the sound, until November 12th, when it became worse the consumer went to another dealer, who found a faulty clutch. The dealer informed the consumer it was not safe to drive the vehicle, so they provided her with a loaner, and informed her it would be several weeks before the part arrived. The parts arrived two months after the vehicle was left at the dealer.

- Chetek, WI, USA

problem #167

Jul 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 92 miles
Jerking and hesitation on acceleration, surging, drifting, grinding noises, rattling noise, contacted selling dealer and they reset the computer 2 times, and another Ford dealer reset it once. Each time it seemed to work better for less than 20 miles.

- St. Petersburg, PA, USA

problem #166

Dec 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 81,477 miles


Stopped at stoplight on hill in columbia SC. Went to move and vehicle would not move forward, was in drive. Turned off to see if that would work, then it wouldn't start. This was on busy road at night. Dangerous situation. This vehicle has had the same complaints already listed on the NHTSA website with transmission stutters and loss of power on acceleration. Towed to Ford dealership and it was found that the transmission control module had shorted and had to be replaced. The Ford Focus electric version has already recalled the powertrain control module for similar problems as a possible safety issue. This needs to be recalled also.

- Rockwell City, IA, USA

problem #165

Apr 152013


  • 25,600 miles
Shuttering and stalling upon tends to roll backwards for no apparent reason on slight incline. Speed acceleration and speed deceleration at random times. Car hesitates badly when accelerating on to on ramp to merge with interstate traffic or to pass a vehicle on the highway. It's luck of the day if you accelerate and actually live or get hit when car shutters and hesitates. Good luck Focus owners.

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #164

Jan 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The transmission "skips, flutters or just not kick in" when moving from a stopped position to an accelerated speed. Seems like the transmission stalls out and then grabs. It does it quite often and I was almost rear-ended on several occasions so far by this hick-up in the transmission. I am going to take it back to baxter Ford in omaha and see if the problem can be fixed or not. They may get the car back.

- Milford, NE, USA

problem #163

Apr 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 665 miles
I purchased this vehicle on March 21, 2012 and first took it into the dealership April 4, 2012 because the transmission boggs for the startup 0 to approximately 20 mph. This created a safety hazard when pulling into oncoming traffic because the vehicle had no power, especially when in a stopped position. Passing vehicles was unsafe if you were in the lower gears of the transmission due to lack of power. Another safety hazard is that the vehicle drifts backwards when I take my foot off of the gas pedal, as if it was a standard shift transmission. This was especially dangerous on a hill or a grade. This vehicle also drifts backwards when you put your vehicle in park and release the brake pedal, causing danger to pedestrian or vehicles behind you. I have taken this vehicle back numerous times since I have owned it for the same types of problems with the transmission (now at various speeds) and drifting backwards. The dealership has made numerous adjustments and changes to the transmission, but to date this vehicle basically remains, in my opinion, a safety hazard. To date, Ford company states that all of the above has a reason and states that it is "normal" for this new type of transmission. In my opinion, this transmission evolved to save gas, not lives.

- Mercer, PA, USA

problem #162

Jan 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated while driving, the car would violently shudder and shake, a grinding noise could be heard in the front of the vehicle and it stalled intermittently. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The dealer stated that the control module was defective and a new seal was installed. The dealer repaired the defect; however, a day after picking up her vehicle the failures persisted. While driving she also heard a "clucking" noise in the same place she previously heard the grinding noise. The vehicle was towed again back to the dealer who stated that they could not find any defects she "just have to get use to her vehicle". when the contact drove the vehicle home the transmission over warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000 miles. Updated 04/17/14 the consumer stated the transmission was replaced. However, the shudder continued. Updated 05/20/14

- Tarzana, CA, USA

problem #161

Nov 282012


  • 16,500 miles
I purchased Ford Focus used- one year old- with 16500 miles. Three times it stopped as I was turning left in oncoming traffic. One time I backed up and it would not go into gear. Other times it would not shift gears on hills or on ramps two times on my steep driveway it came out of gear. Brought to shop numerous times - told nothing was wrong repeatedly. I got rid of car after 13 months and took a financial hit but now I am driving a safe car. The difference is amazing and I am simply driving a Chevy Cruze so not an expensive car in comparison. Focus is dangerous to drive!

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #160

Feb 052014


  • 36,148 miles
The transmission would not downshift and the RPM raced to 6500rpm with out increase in speed.

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #159

Aug 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,892 miles
My car has almost gotten me in 3 accidents and it rolls back on hills I was pulling into a drive way and it started to roll back then it slowed down and there was a load noise and we started rolling backwards it was just a drive way. The car has absolutely no power at all it stutters and when you are driving in busy places and your car wont pick up enough ton enter on the highway or freeway its scary and its unsafe it will shake the whole car when it pulls back and stutters. It is awful and I went on a 3 hour drive to go on vacation I actually rented a car instead of taking my brand new car that I got to last me years fro now was the plan if it makes it another 1 year I will be surprised very dangerous Ford.

- Moreono Valley, CA, USA

problem #158

Jan 102014


  • 12,000 miles
After about 30-45 mins of driving the car will begin to shudder going from 1st to 2nd gear. It occurs most noticeably driving from a stop. I have brought my car in numerous times and have been told numerous excuses. At this time it is getting annoying, however it becomes a concern when turning onto roads because it does not produce any power during this time. Its only a matter of time before a accident occurs because of this issue. There needs to be a recall on the transmission on the 2012 Ford Focus. Updated 03/25/14 also, an oil leak was found, the vehicle would shudder in reverse and it felt as though the traction control was engaging.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #157

Jan 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
We took our car in yesterday because the engine kept lurching and stalling. They said it was the power train, and that it was a problem with the computer. The berge Ford dealership reprogrammed the computer, and today when I got in the car the radio was on. I just unlocked it and opened the door, and the radio came on. The key was not in the car at all, and the only thing I did was unlock it with the remote and open the door. I did not have this problem prior to them "reprogramming" it to fix the power train/transmission problem. Then when I started to drive it the engine seemed sluggish and it seemed to be lurching again, but not stopping for an instant like before. So I went from having transmission/power train problems, and a seat belt problem to having them both with a computer problem added in... I'm not a computer engineer, but when a piece of equipment has hardware problems it would make sense to replace or fix the hardware instead of reprogramming the software. I'll be taking it back in, and while the computer is out of warranty I think I should be able to get them to look at it and fix it without charging me because they caused the problem.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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