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 3 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #676

Oct 262016


  • miles


I have had my vehicle at the Ford dealership 4 times now for the transmission. I have the bucking, slipping and acceleration while driving. The RPM rev up without notice. This is a huge problem as I'm concerned driving my vehicle now. This has happened numerous time since I bought the car in February 2013. Plus a few months ago the transmission module in the computer went and I had to have the vehicle towed to the dealership.

- Marlboro, MA, USA

problem #675

Oct 072016

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Hi my name is [xxx] purchased 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in North caroling parkway Ford VIN: [xxx] in the past received several safety recall. 1) clutch grinding 2) car rolling back when on incline 3) system upgrade 4) latch issue I have taken my vehicle to Ford dealer for all of the above with the exception of item 4 - awaiting part. My concern safety - my car still rolls back on incline and clutch makes grinding noise and car jerks. I took into dealer to ask for a review of this continued issue. However I was told my car exceed the 100,000 miles my car has 138,000 miles. Ford will not review my car unless I pay. All the above noted are for known safety recalls which my thoughts are Ford should want to ensure the safety of the consumer. I am not the only person with this type vehicle others have the same issue. Reaching out to you please take exception and send me a recall notices for the car rolling back on incline and my clutch grinding causing car to jerk. Other then the noted safety recalls that I deal with the car is acceptable. My history, I work for an automotive company as quality engineer and fully understand the impact of defective product and recalls. Note: Please understand I took the car in for the original recall; the car was adjusted, the question I have concern the adjustment was not a fix and continue to have issues. When my car was purchased, upfront I paid for all required services on the car and went to dealership within the arranged time for services. Your support and understanding would be greatly appreciated. The date noted below is when I took the car to the dealership the issue is a recurring issue. Kind regards [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Boiling Springs, SC, USA

problem #674

Jan 012015


  • 20,000 miles
Vehicle suffers from transmission shudder issues. There was a recall for it but the Ford technicians stated the shudder was not enough for a full repair and instead performed a minor fix which has done nothing to eliminate the issue. This issue exists on a wide range for Ford vehicles with a common transmission. The shudder happens when accelerating from a stop, typically when shifting from first to second gear and also can happen when shifting from second to third gear.

- Pleasant Hills, PA, USA

problem #673

Oct 112015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact had the clutch replaced on the vehicle, but it continued to jerk each time the accelerator pedal was depressed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be duplicated. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000. Updated 12/20/16

- Freemont, OH, USA

problem #672

Sep 012016


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 55 mph, there was a knocking noise coming from the transmission. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission bar needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 44,000.

- Lindfay, CA, USA

problem #671

Aug 012016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. Upon coming to a stop, the gear shift randomly shifted from drive to neutral without warning at any rate of speed. The contact checked the gear selector several times, which indicated that the gear was in drive; however, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact later received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 16V643000 (latches/locks/linkages), which indicated that the parts may become available in the second quarter of 2017. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was not available. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #670

Oct 052016


  • 118,000 miles


Shortly after purchasing my vehicle the transmission started having issues. It has been "fixed" now several times. Currently at times when you accelerate the rpms will jump and the entire car will hesitate and vibrate. They have replaced the clutch packs a few times and the tcm and reprogrammed things several times and the issue keeps recurring. At times im not sure if the car is going to accelerate. The date I stated this happened is the most recent date that the issue occurred it has been happening since I got the car 4 years ago. What a terrible first brand new car ever.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #669

Oct 032016


  • 30,090 miles
Takata recall.chronic transmission issues with the powerpoint transmission and clutch; services 6 plus times in 2 years for the same complaints, the dealer updates the transmission or replaces the clutch then 3 or so months later the same issues arise. When in stop and go traffic or car is shifting from 2nd gear into 3rd there is erratic shifting, bucking, her king, lurching forward, hesitation when trying to pull into traffic. This car is chronically unsafe!

- Rockport, MA, USA

problem #668

Oct 032012


  • 1,200 miles
Since I purchased my 2012 Ford Focus with its "dual clutch" automatic transmission, I have had nothing but problems. It jerks, hesitates, has real trouble shifting in the first 3 gears. Ford has extended the power train warranty to 150,000 miles, maybe they know something is wrong. I have had the car serviced 10 times for the same problem. Mostly, they reset the computer or put in the same defective parts each time. No real solution has ever been presented to actually fix the car. The car jerks, downshifts, upshifts horribly. This happens from 1st gear thru 3rd gear. This car is the worst car I have driven and I am stuck with it because Ford will not help. Please help NHTSA to bring this huge problem to light. I guess I will have to get lawyers involved to get Ford's attention...

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #667

Sep 292016


  • 53,853 miles
While the car is in motion on a city street and I accelerate it jumps, jerks and shakes. It has been checked out many times. It can't be fix. I believe this problem should have a recall. This happens everyday when I drive my car.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #666

Sep 232016


  • 95,000 miles


Takata recall. Transmission control module (tcm) Ford recall fsa 15B22. My vehicle would struggle to shift into second and third gear whenever I was driving, so I took my vehicle to a Ford dealership for the tcm to get reprogrammed, as per the manufacturer's recall in June 2016. It seemed to help with the harshness of the vehicle's shifting, until Friday, September 23rd, 2016 whenever I tried to get my car to reverse and it acted as if the vehicle was still in neutral. It wouldn't go in reverse and my check engine light was now on. The shifter was in reverse correctly, and the reverse lights came on but the car went nowhere. My Ford dealership told me to drive it up to the dealership so they could look at it and diagnose the problem, so I did. It overheated three times in the 45 minute drive up, despite cautious driving. I had to have it towed to the dealership, which was not covered by Ford in any way. The dealership service department told me that my car would be diagnosed later that day (Monday, September 26th) and any necessary parts would be ordered by the end of the day. I hadn't heard anything back from them in over 3 days so I called for an update. They confirmed that the problem is the tcm and it needs replaced, as the "reprogramming" they did in June 2016 was too little, too late. The problem is that the tcm is heavily backordered, so the factory isn't even shipping our any tcm's until November 4th, which mine might not even be included in that shipment and it is "highly likely" that it will be closer to christmas before I get my car fixed and returned to me. To add insult to injury, they are refusing to provide me with a service vehicle, so I don't know what to do for the next 3 months that my car sits at their dealership awaiting its part. How am I to get to work" pick up my son from school? get gtoceries" I'm an only parent and cannot be without a car.

- Kensington, OH, USA

problem #665

Sep 272016


  • 70,000 miles
I took my 2012 Ford Focus to get fixed at wayne ackers Ford in lake worth Florida upon dropping my car off the gentleman started telling me my car isn't affected when it is and later on says I have to see if it's under warranty then tells me it needs to be at 150K miles that makes no sense at all the car is still there I'm watiing on a response.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #664

Jan 072013


  • 5,000 miles
The transmission has shuddered and slipped from new. Ford has replaced the clutch twice, made program module adjustments numerous times. Nothing they have done has resolved the problem. I purchased this car for my daughter and constantly am concerned that she drives a car that does nothing but hesitate and shudder

- Medford, NJ, USA

problem #663

Sep 202016


  • 55,605 miles
The first time I noticed this problem I was driving down a city street, downhill, with a speed limit of 35 mph when the check engine light appeared. This normally would be a great condition to coast downhill without applying brakes or gas. My car started shaking and then kept trying to downshift, it didn't have any gear selected and started pulling itself to a stop. During rush hour this was very dangerous. I turned into a parking lot and the car quickly shut off as soon as I got down to 5 mph. Once the car was back on it wouldn't go over 20 mph, very dangerous as the to get to the nearest dealership the speed limit was 45 mph any way I would go. Once I arrived at the dealership they informed me it would take a week to get in on appointment, and there were no loaners. This being my only car is first of all dangerous and unsettling, but also extremely inconvenient. Hours later after letting my car cool off and settle, the problems seemed to remedy themselves until I was reversing out of a parking spot. I reversed, applied the brake, put the car in drive, but when I applied the gas, the car started rolling backwards until I slammed on the break and tried the gas again. While trying to leave that same parking lot just after this, my car wouldn't accelerate up the small hill and began to roll backwards again extremely fast. I believe this is very dangerous and potentially deadly had there been pedestrians behind my car. Previous attempt to replace the transmission and reprogram the tcm were greeted with pamphlets stating jerking and shaking were normal characteristics of automatic cars. I was told the waiting list just to check if my car qualified for transmission problems would be six weeks and I would have to leave my car there with no loaner just in case the wait time was cut shorter. For the average person and targeted group for Ford vehicles this isn't a possibility.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #662

Sep 092016


  • 114,000 miles
My wife traded in her 2009 Taurus for a new 2012 Focus sedan back in April 2012 at green Ford. A month or so after getting the Focus, it had a transmission fluid leak. Green Ford fixed the problem. In mid-2015 we started to notice transmission issues like erratically shifting in second and third gear, very sluggish shift between low gears and that the upshift bags down like the vehicle might stall, bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, delayed acceleration and lurching forward into intersections at red lights due to the failure of their braking efforts to stop the car. We took it to green Ford on 9/18/2015. They stating that it was working as designed. However, for a precaution, they said they reprogrammed the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (tcm). However, it was a recall issue for that stated problem/S. in the official service history for the Ford owner's records, there is no mention of the safety recall done on my Focus, just the routine maintenance and a mileage of over 96,000 miles on the Focus at the time. Jump forward to a year later, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at 2pm, my wife was traveling in a 45 mph speed zone when the car's check engine light came. Seconds later, the Ford started to stall and have power issues, causing her to find the next side road to pull over. The car completed stalled and could not turn over. After 2 towing events, from the breakdown location to thomas tire, thomas to stearns Ford, and sitting over the weekend, on Sept. 9, we found out it was the recall tcm that broke. The tcm was in back order until October 28, 2016. Stearns Ford sent me to enterprise where they paid for a Ford rental. The only Ford on the rental lot was the transit 250 or 350 van (very low mpg). I had to pay for the liability insurance coverage daily. After the 3rd day, I borrowed a family member's car.

- Mcleansville, NC, USA

problem #661

Aug 022016


  • 93,087 miles
Lurching and uncontrolled shifting occurs with the transmission. It has left me stuck in the middle of a left turn because it doesn't shift correctly. Now I ran off the road while exiting a freeway because the power steering turned off in the middle of the turn. This has now happened 6 times randomly. It gives me a power steering fault. I have come close to being the cause of 3 accidents because of these two issues.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #660

Aug 172016


  • miles
At 58,000. Horn started to work intermittent, now it does not work at all. What next? already had work done on tranny. Every thing seems to be computer related. It also surges at start up at stop.

- West Allis, WI, USA

problem #659

Sep 112016


  • 40,382 miles
While driving on a feeder road in Texas, taking a right hand turn, the drivers side door opened on its own due to a latch failure. No injuries, and a recall has already been issued. The car also has an ongoing issue with the transmission causing the car to lunge forward at both high and low speeds. The transmission has already been "repaired" once under warranty, but has started showing the same issues for a second time. Currently with dealer.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #658

Aug 182012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 75 mph, the rpms revved and the vehicle lost power without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the trans control module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred two additional times. The vehicle was repaired each time. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #657

Jun 012016


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle suddenly failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the transmission software was updated. After the software update, the transmission suddenly switched to neutral and the engine shuttered while driving over 50 mph. After turning off the vehicle and waiting five minutes before restarting the vehicle, it operated normally. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Onset, MA, USA

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