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:
51,626 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 41)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #250

Jun 272014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 27,160 miles
I started experiencing transmission problems with my Focus after what would normally be considered the end of the break in period, which was around 8,000 miles. The car would stall, shudder, and shake during acceleration from a stop, at low speed driving, and got notably worse the longer I drove especially on hot/humid days. I followed the maintenance schedule as outlined in the owner's manual and each time I brought my car in for maintenance I discussed my concerns about the transmission with service personnel and received the "corporate" answer each time "your transmission is operating within specifications", there's nothing we can do at this time. On 27 June 2014 as I was approaching the main gate of the base I work on, my car came to an abrupt halt and displayed the alert "parking assist malfunction maintenance required". the hazard lights became inoperable, gear shift indicator would not shift to park, and the transmission ceased to function. I was extremely fortunate that this did not happen while I was driving down the interstate at 65 mph 5 min earlier, because I firmly believe that I would have lost control of the car and either killed myself or someone else. The following parts were replaced in order to return my car to full operation: - PCM transmission control module - clutch assembly and leaking seals - reprogrammed transmission iaw latest tech bulletin this is a common theme among all Focus owners at the moment who've purchased vehicles since 2012. It's obvious to the public that the Focus transmissions have design flaws and Ford needs to come up with a solution and replace the transmissions of these vehicles. For the safety of the public I urge you to mandate a recall on the transmissions in all affected Ford models before Ford makes the same mistakes GM has and people are seriously injured or killed, it's just a matter of time.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #249

May 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


Shudder vibration and acceleration lag is present when shifting from first to second gear in automatic transmission 2012 Ford Focus. Shudders only at low speeds, usually while accelerating or reversing from a full stop, and only when the engine is warmed up. Feels as though the transmission is slipping during shift, almost feels as if a stall is imminent especially when traveling up steep hills.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #248

Oct 172012


  • 1,200 miles
I was driving a nearly brand new 2012 Ford Focus at approximately 45-50 mph when collided with another car traveling at least equivalent if not higher speed. I saw the other car attempting pulling in front of me after failing to stop at a stop sign and I tried to stop the car by braking, but the car was not able to slow down or stop in time. I T-boned the other car and my car was dragged by the other car and rested on the side of the road. As a result, my car was totaled. On the police report, the police indicated the crash was moderate. The water pump, bumper and other stuff came off the car, but the airbags were never deployed. I sustained head and cervical spinal injuries.

- Westlake Village, CA, USA

problem #247

Jul 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,400 miles
Jerking and shuddering from the transmission, dual clutch assembly was replaced, and the issue started again 3 weeks out of service.

- Sylvania, OH, USA

problem #246

Jun 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 65,400 miles
I purchased this vehicle used on June 25, 2014. On June 28, 2014 while I was driving approximately 65 mph the car seemed to slip out of drive into neutral, the check engine light came on and I lost all power to the car. I nearly had a very bad wreck trying to get the car back in control. Once I was stopped I started the car back up, it started up just fine and drove just fine for another couple of hours. Then it did the same thing again, this time I was driving at approximately 30 mph. When I restarted the car this time the check engine light stayed on and the car no longer wants to shift between gears. I took it into the Ford dealership. They are well aware of the problem, but will not fix it for me without any out of pocket expenses because they have not actually issued a recall. These cars are unsafe to drive!

- Hominy, OK, USA

problem #245

Apr 222014


  • 22,800 miles
Purchased this vehicle in April. One week after getting it, I noticed the transmission "shuttering" before shifting. Took it in and had it fixed. Several other things messed up on this car such as the my touch system, "auto" up/down, as well as other minor things. After weekly going back and forth to the dealer, I noticed that the transmission is "shuttering" again while shifting gears. Also when backing up, the car jerks. Took the car back in again. Told me they could not find anything wrong with the car. Three days later, there is another minor defect in the car. Its like the car is falling to pieces right before my eyes. Transmission is a safety hazard as when I first noticed it I was entering the interstate and the hesitation (shuttering) of going into passing gear could have been a deadly disaster. This car is still under manufacturer's bumper to bumper warranty.

- Clarksville, VA, USA

problem #244

Aug 232012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
The transmission is off. I have taken it 4 times to 2 different dealers, both did repairs the first time in, when I brought the car back with same issues both dealerships said there was nothing wrong with my car. The car shudders, stalls, the brakes grind and sometimes have to be shoved to the floor to work even going at a slow speed. The car stalls up hill at times and grinds as you accelerates. I know im not the only one with an issue with a 2012 Focus. Something needs to be done, someone needs to go above the dealerships head and force them to fix the issue. My car is under factory warranty still only has 22K mileage but they refuse to do anything after one time, though the problem is still there.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #243

Feb 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Car jerks/hesitates upon acceleration; shifting is jerky; when you go to accelerate the car does not engage into gear; front left vibrates/rattles upon acceleration; car will bog down when you go to accelerate. My concern is that when I go to pull out into traffic the car will not go. I was almost rear ended when I crossed an intersection and then went to accelerate, but my car did not go into gear. When I am on the interstate and in traffic, if I need to get around a car quickly I cannot due to the hesitation in the shifting. I have been to the dealership multiple times and have filed a case with Ford and am told this is how the car is supposed to drive.

- Powell, TN, USA

problem #242

Jan 072013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The car is an automatic with a standard transmission. Started making "clunking" noises. I took it to the deal and they put a "package" on it issued by Ford. Said that fluid was leaking into transmission but the noise would clear up. Took it back a month later still making noise and was told that the noise would go away. To this day is still making the noise and recently has gotten worse. Scheduled an appt for next month for them to look at this problem again. Now I am noticing that sometimes it will sound like it is in one gear but the tachometer is racing upwards. My daughter has same car just a 2013 and has been having same issues with it and has taken to the dealership with same answers. I have spoken with other people that have owned these cars and they traded because of same problem.

- Moundsville, WV, USA

problem #241

Mar 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
About 1 month after purchase I began to experience transmission sluggishness, slow acceleration due to gear slipping, and sudden acceleration. Not always, but more often than not. I chalked it up to the nature of the dtc as the dealer insisted that is how the trans works. After several more months I received a recall notice for trans problems. Had trans reprogrammed. After about 3 months, all problems returned along with a grinding sound when in lower gears. Took to dealer for regular 7500 mile check and spoke at length with technician. He has same car and stated that my clutch plates would need to be replaced along with some other hardware. Unfortunately, trans tech was booked for the following week and a half. Made appt at other dealer and after they checked the car, stated that all I needed was to have the trans reprogrammed, going so far as to tell me that the new programming would "learn" my driving style and adjust after a two week period. Car seemed ok for a few months, and then all problems returned again. I took my car in for regular esp service this evening and asked for the trans to be looked at again. Tech told me that they were booked for over 2 weeks for trans work, and 80% of that work is on the Focus and fiesta models. Tech also shared that as of 3/1/14, Ford instructed all dealers to stop replacing the clutch plates and simply reprogram the trans. Tech stated that this is due to the high cost of replacing the clutch plates; anywhere from $1800 - $2100. He also stated that internally, Ford corporate has acknowledged that this trans is a failure. In order to get new clutch plates, tech stated that I needed to have trans reprogrammed and then drive for 2 weeks. Then return to dealer for analysis. Tech stated that Ford will only replace clutch plate if slipping occurs at over 2100 RPM. Fearful for safety as trans problems can occur at any time!

- Lake In The Hills, IL, USA

problem #240

Jul 072012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
Transmission slips / loss of power. Sometimes from a dead stop and other times at highway speeds and loss of power when the accelerator is floored and needed for passing at speed. This has been an issue since the car was purchased new and its not going back to the dealer for the 3rd time on 6/30/2014 to have the transmission looks at again. Its had two prior transmission repairs and its now failing the same way again. If a transmission is unable to provide power reliably when needed its going to get someone killed as a result.

- Amherst, OH, USA

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