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 29 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #156

Oct 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


I was slowing down to pull into a freeway on ramp turn lane, and the car suddenly lurched. It kept doing this over the course of 3 months on and off when we would drive at slower speeds. We took it into the Ford dealership, and they said it was a computer reprogramming issue. They reprogrammed the computer today, but I'm extremely doubtful that it's going to fix this based off of what other people have stated happened to them. They jerked around with us and told us that it was in warranty for the power train, but if it was anything else we would owe $110 for them to just look. We bought the car used in September 2013, and had problems with it starting in October 2013. It had 43,000 miles on it when we bought it, and has about 47,000 now. My last car was a 2004 Hyundai elantra, and it had very few problems for the 9 years I had it. I only stopped driving it because of a semi-truck driver's illegal actions that totaled it. I regret wasting my money on this piece of junk.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #155

Oct 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,335 miles
Transmission shutters causing whole car to shake. Acts as if the fly wheel is glazed over and clutch can not engage properly, this is turn caused a body vibration making a loud vibration noise. Ford knows of this problem and has yet to have a recall to make a permanent fix. Ford replaced a clutch pack in my car but the design is flawed - this will happen again and at my expense. Ford agreed to extend my warranty mileage but not the time in which use said mileage. The original warranty was 60K or five yrs. Now its 100K or five yrs, two of which are gone. Increasing the mileage does nothing for me the warranty still expires at the same time. Ford is well aware of this problem in the fiesta and Focus models. I'm a professional mechanic for over 25 yrs. I've talked with several Ford shops and they are very aware of this issue. I spoke with the owner of the dealership I bought the car from and he even stated that was the no.1 topic at a Ford convention in vegas this yr. This is simply a poor design and Ford wants the customer to pay for it. My car stared this problem around 13K and Ford has been yanking me around for another 13K before putting in the replacement parts that are no doubt going to fail again. My gas mileage in town went from 33.5 to 24.5 and this was also acceptable to Ford - not me. This needs to be fixed right away before a total transmission failure kills someone.

- Avon, IN, USA

problem #154

Feb 072012


  • miles
I went to the Ford dealership where I bought my car the first few weeks I had it. It rolls back when on an incline. The dealership says this is normal because the transmission is like that of a standard to tap the brake and it should stop rolling. It still does it on inclines am still not convinced that its "normal" for an automatic to do that, but if no recall for this problem at least other readers will be informed.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #153

Dec 032013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,250 miles


The vehicle "popped" out of gear and became unresponsive to throttle. It took the vehicle about 20 seconds to recover. This is the 4th occurrence in 6 weeks.

- Richland, WA, USA

problem #152

Nov 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
This is an ongoing problem!!!! my vehicle vibrates when trying to accelerate from a complete stop. It hesitates and does not want to accelerate and it appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.when pulling of from a stop position sounds like a rattling or something making a cranking noise. Also car stalls at times. Taking off from stop sign car stalls when gas is pressed. My car rolls back when taking off from an incline and a flat surface.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #151

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have had numerous issues with transmission and electrical problems with my vehicle. I have had it in for service about 6 times in the past year. Car shifts hard, when driving, sputters, and even once stalled out in the middle of a intersection. I had these issues from day one with the vehicle but was told the cars computer has to "learn" how you drive. Electrical, the locks sometimes works, or the doors lock when they aren't supposed to. Key fob doesn't work sometimes. This is something that is ridiculous and Ford Motor Co. Should do something about it. My car has 27500 miles on it and runs like it is 15 years old! my warranty is up at 36000, so then all these issues become the consumer problem even though Ford is aware this is an issue they are having and won't recall until someone gets hurt or killed.

- Mt. Washington, KY, USA

problem #150

Nov 202013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


Driving home on interstate 73mph trans shifted to neutral had to get off interstate before getting ran over with my speed decreasing. Turned car off cranked back up trans worked again took to dealer in jackson, tn golden circle Ford they said trans PCM needed to be reprogrammed and was fixed drove home today 11-22-2013 did exact same thing not good and not safe when you lose trans power at interstate speeds car now back at dealer waiting to see what they come up with this time. I am a ase certified mechanic and work on vehicles for a living this one still under 100,000 mile warranty but has serious and dangerous problem something needs to be done please help I apparently am not only one with this issue apparently this trans is junk and no one knows how to fix it so should be changed to something they know how to fix I drive 145 miles per day to and from work all interstate this was suppose to be a proven dependable vehicle that is why I purchased it also for the gas mileage which is good but now not feeling so safe driving it.

- Humboldt, TN, USA

problem #149

Nov 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 15,860 miles
While traveling down the interstate there was a sudden loss of power while pressing the gas and hesitation when power finally returned.

- Fountain, CO, USA

problem #148

Oct 222013


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle failed to shift into gear. The failure was recurring. 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 the dealer where the technician diagnosed a transmission failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Manesa, AZ, USA

problem #147

Dec 012011


  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly shifted into neutral. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle shook violently, began to function normally, then shifted into neutral again. The contact also stated that the failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 300.

- Euless, TX, USA

problem #146

Dec 072012


  • 5,000 miles


Car shutters and hesitates upon acceleration from a stop. Very concerning when making a left hand turn because you don't know for sure if the car will make the turn. I have read many posts about transmission failures on the Ford Focus. The car is not safe to drive.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #145

Nov 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 95 miles
Since the purchase of the vehicle, the transmission rattles, shakes, loud bang, stutters. I took it to buena park Ford where I purchased it from, they said it's adaptive learning and will be ok after 2000mi. Still had issues took it to my local cerritos Ford dealer, they could not fault a defect. Took it back to cerritos Ford, they replaced the clutch assembly, was a little better but got worse after driving a few thousand mi. I took it back to the dealer, they confirmed defect and did resets of the transmission and stated good for now. Again a little better but slowly now worse than ever. I took it back to cerritos Ford today, the service rep would not even listen to me, just kept saying it's normal, he did not even want to check and confirm my complaint, just kept saying they are educating their customers on the Focus and fiesta's transmission. I told him it's not normal and safe, to just at least look into my complaint put it in writing if you thing it's normal. Each of the last four times they did confirmed and tried to fix the defect. I am worried as the car was for my daughter who will be driving in a few months. I find it very unsafe as it stutters jerks and does different things and you can't determine what it will do next. They replaced the left strut was ok for a few weeks, then I took it back and they replaced the right front strut. I told the rep it's really loud now enough for him to clearly hear it. He tried to tell me the noise is part of the transmission and it's normal. I explained to him it's over bumps and to at least test drive it. He said he is trying to help me and does not want me to have the car not available to me for use. I told him I don't care how long it takes I just need the car fixed. Today is mon which I did make an appointment for, he said he will call me on fri. I think I am just being played around and the car is a lemon. Please help.

- Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #144

Jul 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles
Vehicle vibrates when trying to accelarate from a complete stop. Hesitates and does not want to accelarate. Appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.

- Weslaco, TX, USA

problem #143

Oct 312013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,400 miles
When pulling of from a stop position sounds like a rattling or something making a cranking noise. Also car stalls at times. Taking off from stop sign car stalls when gas is pressed, this is an ongoing problem.

- Hazlehurst, MS, USA

problem #142

Sep 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
The automatic transmission sputters, jerks, and feels like it's going to stall. I have complained to the dealership about this since the day I bought it. The dealership has done several updates to the software and it has not improved. They have told me this is normal, it's not! it has trouble getting into traffic because of the sputtering and jerking. It's only a matter of time before I get into an accident because of this transmission. This board has plenty of the same complaint. How many people will it take getting killed before there is a recall? when will they invest this matter, hopefully before someone does get killed. The touchscreen also does odd things also, but it's not dangerous. One time the volume on the radio was on full volume and I couldn't turn it down. I turned off the car and after a couple of minutes it still came on full volume, it finally stopped the next day. Twice the touchscreen didn't work at all for two days. The dealership replaced the touchscreen and it still does odd thing, such as turns on random radio stations. They need a major recall on this car.

- Warminster , PA, USA

problem #141

Oct 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
When acclerating from a stop or a slow speed car shutters and vibrates. Was returned to Ford for reprogramming. That did help rollback on hills but not transmission shutter.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #140

Jun 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,012 miles
This car has had transmission problems with the dual clutch automatic transmission it will shudder when changing gears, rollback, come close to stalling. I took the car in to be "reprogrammed" back in June of 2012 it drove okay with only minor hiccups with transmission until October 20, 2013. The car has less than 22,000 miles on it and the car is now not shifting properly. I put the car in drive and it was like I was still in neutral, once it did get going then it did not shift into 2nd gear properly. The car is not safe to drive. I will be taking back to dealership once again to reprogram hopefully at no charge. This car is a lemon and needs to be on a mandatory recall.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #139

Apr 012013


  • 28,000 miles
The vehicle has a nasty shudder when you first accelerate. I took the car to Ford and they replaced the clutch and some seals in the trans. Now, at 44,000 miles the shudder is back.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #138

Dec 032012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Vehicle has a constant shuddering and power loss when applying the accelerator. It has a tendency to feel as if it will stall out. Was almost rear ended when trying to pull into traffic bc of poor throttle response. This is a known issue and Ford refuses to address this issue. Search the internet and it is obvious. This vehicle is a hazard to drive.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #137

Mar 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Ford has a serious problem with this transmission. It jerks and hesitates. Several times I have almost been hit while pulling out into traffic when the car will suddenly jerk and hesitate. This transmission needs to be recalled and replaced. Someone is eventually going to die because of this dual clutch transmission. Every time we take it in they "reprogram" and now are replacing the clutch. I have driven others as rentals and they all hesitate to some degree. Clearly there are issues and Ford knows about it. The cars are not even being accepted for trade ins by many dealers (Toyota and Honda dealers locally would not take the care on trade in).

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

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