ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
23 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
10 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,014 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 42)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #270

Jul 012014


  • miles


2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to water leakage on the inside passenger side. The consumer stated two after the vehicle was supposedly fixed, water leaked inside again. The consumer continued to drive the vehicle. Then at 13,000 miles, the vehicle started to shudder and shake when she accelerated. The consumer then traded the vehicle for another a 2014 Ford Focus and she experienced the same shudder problems. The consumer was informed, the automatic transmission, also had a clutch.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #269

Jun 182014


  • miles
The transmission is knocking when it shifts gears especially the lower gears. It stutters really bad as well.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #268

Jun 292012


  • miles
Purchased vehicle in June 2012 and transmission has been shaky, slipping, stuttering, jerking, stalling on acceleration, overheating, rolling back on hills, no acceleration on hills, and grinding ever since. Had clutch seal replaced within a couple of months from purchase which they claimed caused the problem. Problem persisted but they told me to give it time to adjust to the repair. I took it back in at 11,000 and they replaced one of the clutches. Problem persisted only then the car's system indicated the transmission was overheating (while I was on the highway) and indicated on the console that I needed to wait until the car cooled down. The temp on the car was in normal range. I was 3 hours from home with small children in the car and left on the side of a major highway because my car's system said the tranny was overheating. Took it to the dealer again and they said it was a glitch; no concern necessary. I complained again about the jerking in the transmission and they said I needed to give the car some time to adjust to the repair at 11,000. At 24, 000, I was fed up from waiting and took the car in again only to be told that I needed the entire clutch assembly replaced but they were on back-order. Contacted Ford for a buy back and they said "no, that's how the car drives - it's normal" car is now at 50,000 with same problems. Currently working with an attorney on a suit against Ford.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #267

Jan 022012


  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle was not shifting into gears properly, would stall sporadically and would jerk intermittently. Additionally, the steering wheel would often seize. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times who had not been able to replicate nor diagnose the failure. The failure recurred and the dealer replaced the transmission and transmission sensor but the failure recurred. The contact also mentioned that the lights intermittently illuminated and the radio was making a loud noise when it was powered off. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who then diagnosed that the computer chip in the fuel pump failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #266

Jun 302014


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that the automatic transmission module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000.

- Jersey City , NJ, USA

problem #265

Jun 212012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 280 miles
After three months of the purchase of the vehicle I started experiencing some shuttering/noise/stalling of the transmission. I took it into my dealership and they "reflashed". it was fine for a few months, then it started again. Took it in again and it got "reflashed" again. The third time they did something with the module box. After the fourth time, they replaced the clutch on the transmission. Now I had to take it back in again because of the same issue. I have contacted Ford and assured me that it would be fixed. So it has been in the shop 5 times for the same issue. I have complained to Ford about the issue and the concerns of myself and my family. I have serious issues when the car stalls between gears especially when I am crossing a busy intersection and cross traffic doesn't stop. I even tried seeing about trading it in and got well less then kbb value because of "issues". so I am stuck with a vehicle that I can't trade in without losing alot of money and it can't seem to get fixed.

- Peru, IL, USA

problem #264

Jul 112014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


Tried to take off at stop light. When I hit the accelerator the car jerked real hard but barely rolled. Then the RPM went to 5000-5500 and it took off real fast.

- Christiansburg, VA, USA

problem #263

Mar 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
Within a month of purchase, the vehicle has been "shuddering" I have reported this to the dealership every time I sent it in for service and all they tell me is "it is normal, you have to get used to it. Its the new transmission technology of Ford." I cant believe that after 2yrs and 17K miles on it that it is still exhibiting the same problem and there has been no resolution to it. May I know until when am I going to wait? another problem that just came up- I have witnessed a loud sound coming from the speaker. Seems like a thunder/cracking noise. My husband has heard it twice. It is a very loud sound. It scared me when I heard it the first time.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #262

Jun 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
On two occasions the vehicle stopped running while in motion. In incident 1, this occurred at highway speed (65 mph) and incident #2 in local traffic (15 mph). In both cases all power was lost including the acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 1, the car restarted and driven to the dealer - extensive repairs were made "to the transmission" (per the dealer). In the second incident after dealer repairs after incident 1, the car completely stopped at highway speed and would not restart - towed to dealer. Again loss of all power including acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 2 the dealer replaced the "master control unit". while both incidents were covered by Ford under the "drive train" original warranty I am concerned about the loss of power in two incidents separated by about one month.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #261

Sep 162011

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have been having problems with my car not being able to get the key out of the ignition, not going into park, and shuddering and sputtering when starting from a complete stop pretty much since I have had my car. This week, I couldnt get it out of park at all and then went to drive home from work my shifter would move but the car would not go into gear.

- Front Royal, VA, USA

problem #260

May 092012


  • 1,800 miles


Noticed roll back on incline at vehicle service tech reprogrammed PCM tcm and ABS module July 2013 have been noticing hesitation and jerking on shifting at service once again tech reprogrammed tcm July 2014 car has still continued to hesitate on acceleration and now a vibration and noise can be heard from transmission tech can find no problem.

- Jonesville, MI, USA

problem #259

May 152013


  • 10,000 miles
My car (2012 Ford Focus) has problems shifting and makes a shutter noise while taking off I have taken it to the dealer multiple times and they told me nothing is wrong with the car.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #258

Jul 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 59,647 miles
I just had my vehicle in a Ford dealership you get the transmission looked at because it would not shift correctly and the check engine was on. It has been out of the shop for 3 days and while on my way home from work I was on the highway and car came to a halt and would not shift and I was almost rearended. This is the third time my vehicle has been at a Ford dealership to have the transmission looked at. When is someone going to do something about all of these transmission issues with this year and model?

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #257

Jul 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
Automatic manual clutch/transmission shutters, jerks, vibrates and lurches at low speeds or on hills. Ford reprogrammed clutch/transmission in 2014 and it improved. However, the problem still exists as the clutch is slipping. Please recall and fix this issue.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #256

Jul 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
The transmission on my 2012 Ford Focus makes a grinding noise and the car jerks when starting out from a stop usually thru 1st and 2nd gears thru the automatic transmission. According to the internet there have been hundreds of complaints and problems with the Ford split transmission. A recall should be made on this car, I guess it will take some accidents and lives before Ford does anything about it.

- Aairville, PA, USA

problem #255

Jul 312012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Automatic manual clutch/transmission shutters, jerks, vibrates and lurches at low speeds or on hills. Ford reprogrammed clutch/transmission in 2014 and it improved, however, the problem is more intermittent with it occurring once or twice daily. Ford has since tried to address the problem but say there is really nothing wrong and it passes their test. They say if it fails their computer test they will replace the auto clutch assembly. Not real confident this is going to happen. This is an unsafe condition in stop and go traffic or in hilly areas.

- Poway, CA, USA

problem #254

Jun 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 17,265 miles
Ford Motor Company admittedly engineered a defective "automatic clutch transmission" and put it to market. I, as a consumer, was sold a car that was labeled/ticketed with an "automatic transmission". I was adamant about the style of transmission as I commute with 40% of driving within city limits. I did not know, nor was it disclosed that, the design of the transmission was a hybrid computerized clutch. A clutch assembly pack was replaced at 17,265 miles which reduced the symptoms of the defect for a very short period of time. After several attempts to "fix" the car, the dealer I bought the car from told me to sue Ford. I took it to another dealer and they simply repeated what all others are saying "it operates according to design". at this time, the car is operating at its worse since I took possession. Like most other complaints, there is grinding, jolting, severe shuddering, rapid acceleration from hesitation, and near powerlessness when ascending. This past month, there have been a few near misses from hesitation through intersections. Greg burgess, managing engineer of this transmission (New York times article July 15 2011 and Oct 26 2011) as well as his superiors, should be held accountable for compromising the safety and livelihood of Focus customers. The mental anguish and time spent to solve the problem with Ford has been a very serious personal ailment. It's only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed, if not already. I have a car that Ford will not repair or replace and yet they demand a monthly payment. I can't sell the car in it's condition and a trade-in is additional financial loss and burden. This week it was announced that Ford's CEO, mark fields, received a 7% salary increase, 1.75M annual with 200% performance bonus. Ford is not unlike GM. The government needs to intervene now and get these cars off the road.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #253

Jul 052013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
I purchased my first 2012 Ford Focus in 2011. I experienced shifting issues on several different occasions. I had to take it back to the dealership several times to get looked at because each time I had taken it, the dealer insisted that it was driving correctly and that it was due to the new type of transmission except each time they would "reprogram" the transmission and send me on my way. I wouldn't be 10 minutes down the street and it would start acting up again. Last year I went back to the dealer after my 3rd "reprogram" and told them that I wanted a different vehicle. After fighting with Ford and the dealership I ended up eating the negative equity from my first Focus and rolling it into a second 2012 Focus. I was assured by the dealership that the transmission problem was only due to a first production model and that the one I was purchasing wouldn't be the same... lies. I have now had it in the dealership twice for the seal leaking on the transmission and the clutches slipping. I have contacted Ford as I want out of this vehicle and the district rep. Is not returning my calls. I have also experienced the car turning off at 65 miles an hour on the highway and had to have it towed to the dealership. Thankfully I managed to navigate through highway traffic to the breakdown lane. The dealer told me that it was a faulty sensor that was damaged after repair of my transmission the first time, but after reading these complaints, it sounds like its just another flaw of this vehicle. I cannot believe how Ford is handling this problem. What is it going to take before they fix the problem or buy back the vehicles that are having problems? I am now upside down in two of these death traps and don't see a resolution.

- Warren, MA, USA

problem #252

Aug 132013


  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to acceleration problems. The consumer stated it felt as though the vehicle was loosing power and trying to stall out. She would try to accelerate and the vehicle would rev, but would not go, and when it finally did go, it was very jumpy and slow. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer five times for the same issue. The dealer stated the vehicle needed a computer upgrade. The dealer stated it would take a while for the upgrade to work, but it never did, and the problem worsened. The next time, the dealer stated the tcm needed to be replaced. The replacement of the tcm, made the problem even worse. The vehicle began jerking upon acceleration and it felt as though the transmission was slipping.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #251

Jun 162014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Car is a death trap! going down the highway at 60 mph and it just loses all power and dies! that was the first incident. Took it to the dealership where they rebuilt the clutch. This did not fix the transmission problem at all. The second incident happened a week later when I had my children in the vehicle, and we were making a left-hand turn onto a busy highway when all of a sudden the car lurched forward into oncoming traffic and just died. How we did not all end up smashed to bits is only by the grace of god himself. It is back at the dealership now with them saying it's the tcm module in the transmission. I came online to investigate only to find thousands of complaints about this car and it's total piece of crap transmission. I now have zero faith that this will fix the issue, and I can no longer trust this car at all. This is ridiculous and seriously needs to be looked in to. I am filing complaints within every avenue I can find.

- Canton, IL, USA

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