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 30 of 42)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #239

Jan 022014


  • 30,000 miles
I had my Ford Focus for about 1 week. Bought used from the dealer. I started to take off from walmart parking lot and the car started jerking and stalled. So I took it to the dealership and they determined it was a faulty clutch. After repair my car has only gotten worse. Now it rolls backwards on hills in automatic. Grinds gears when it tries to shift out on hills. And still jerks terribly when taking off. The shop tells me its because its built like a manual for excellent gas mileage. Note no manual shift ive ever drove "grinds or jerks" if it is shift right. This car is terribly dangerous

- Tyner, KY, USA

problem #238

May 032014


  • 49,000 miles
When taking off from a stop sign the dtc transmission seemed to have a hard time going into gear and a large lurch followed then the car would not allow me to accelerate until the engine was around idle. Once at idle the check engine light came on and the car would only allow me to rev the engine with the trans in drive. I had it fixed already due to trans oil leaking into the clutch area. 500-1000 miles later same issue awaiting to get it looked at again.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #237

Jun 112014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Car was running fine and the vehicle lost power and slowed to a crawl. After sitting awhile it started up again only to loose power again. Was told it was the computer, then the battery, then the transmission. Now being told that it was the tcm voltage being the problem. The car is in the shop. The service manager has said the part is not available because there are so many of these cars requiring this part. The car is not safe to drive and there has been some recalls on many of these models. In fact there is a recall for a software update on many of them but not mine. Why isn't there a recall if the dealer says that it is a common problem on this car.

- Clovis, CA, USA

problem #236

Jan 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
When I start to go from a stop. Motor hesitates, and then a very major shutter through out the car. Also coming from a stop on a hill car will roll back. Took to dealership and they told me its just the way it is and that it could be I am not aggressive enough on take off.

- Garden City, KS, USA

problem #235

Jun 162014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Purchased this vehicle on Saturday, June 14, 2014 for my daughter. The following Monday while pulling out of parking lot, the "engine" indicator came on and car begin to hesitate, when she got on the highway she was not able to drive more than 40 mph and the tachometer was flipping from one side of the dial to the other. She managed to the drive the car home. I started the car, the light was off and it drove "normal". I could feel that there was a slight hesitation and a slight vibration when idling. I called the dealer the next day, he spoke with someone in the service department and they stated whatever the problem was, it self-corrected itself; but to bring it in if it happens again. I am particularly upset because I purchased this as an upgrade from the Chevy cobalt. My daughter and son will be driving this car to college in the fall which is a 3 1/2 hour drive across the state of Iowa over very busy interstates. I shudder to think what might happen if this car acts up on the interstate. What are you all going to do about this obvious problem... wait for fatalities"????"

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #234

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
On-going problems with the transmission. The first incident occurred approximately one month after purchase. I took it to the dealer and they told me that the shuddering/shifting problems that I was experiencing were "normal" and that the vehicle needed an adjustment period. I was told that it would smooth out once it got used to my driving pattern. The problem continued and I took it back several times to the dealership. Each time I was told that the car needed to get used to my acceleration. During one of the visits the dealer did replace the clutch assembly and several seals. The vehicle shudders badly, on take off, and has bogged down to the point that I feel unsafe in the vehicle. I am completely disappointed in this vehicle.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #233

Sep 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,192 miles
I bought a 2012 Ford Focus from local dealership on June 14,2012. It had 25 miles only. I'm paying a very high interest rate on $20000+ loan for vehicle. I'm also paying extra $2500 for an extended warranty. Approximately three months after purchase transmission failed. Mileage was 10,192. In July, 2013 another dealership had to fix transmission again. Approximately 29000 miles that time. On 5/23/2014 car showed major failure with ocm computer and transmission again. Would not crank. Now at approximately 63000 miles. I was told the car was fixed on 06/17/2014 and I picked it up around 2pm.. I immediately went working with the car and drove approximately a little over 100 miles. As I was returning home, accelerating uphill about 45 mph the car lost all gears. After turning car off, it would not crank again. This is same problem as before. Can you please help me in getting satisfaction in helping Ford own up to a major issues known even with their own technicians. It is also a flex fuel sedan. I feel robbed by high interest loan and a new car with major problems that seem impossible to fix.

- Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #232

Oct 172012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5 miles
The vehicle transmission shudders, hesitates, and lurches when starting out or accelerating. It can temporarily strand the driver in front of oncoming traffic or unexpectedly lunge the vehicle ahead from a stop and I am concerned over the potential for causing an accident. It is obvious to all passengers and all drivers every time the car is driven. It has been present since initial brand-new delivery of the vehicle and seems to be getting worse (I am now over 20,000 miles). Online research reveals this is a widespread known issue with this vehicle. I called the dealer, described the symptoms, and asked for a service appointment. He stated this is a known issue, is expected in this unique type of transmission, and I need to accept it. He did not feel I needed to bring the car in for a service evaluation but I persisted and brought it in. When I arrived I was given a printed handout regarding this vehicle transmission that again suggested this behavior was expected and "normal" and implied that I needed to accept it. Instead of the usual service evaluation, he had me drive the car with a dealer representative who acknowledged the symptoms, that this is a known, widespread issue and that it is expected behavior with this unique transmission. I was sent home without further evaluation and it was implied that I should not bring back the car for this issue. I feel this is a safety issue. I have driven many hundreds of thousands of miles over many decades and have never, ever experienced such unusual performance in a transmission and I am genuinely worried that my teenage daughter will be put in a dangerous position due to the "expected" behavior of this transmission. I am asking for a formal review and replacement with a unit that performs on par with industry standards. I feel Ford will not entertain further discussion and appeal to NHTSA.

- Oro Valley, AZ, USA

problem #231

Aug 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 17,951 miles
Approached stop light on a road with steep incline. Came to complete stop behind several cars without incident, but when pressed gas to move at green light, gear (despite being automatic transmission) slipped and stayed in neutral, revving but not engaging. Car began quickly rolling backwards. I was able to yank emergency brake just before hitting the car approaching mine from behind. Similar incidences have occurred with regard to incorrect/ dangerous automatic gear changes -- sudden loss of needed gear change to enter highway from ramp (flat land) and all kinds of gear changing problems (stuck in gear several gears too low or too high) in hilly terrain. This can result in lurching as well. Dealership claims normal operation and says the car isn't generating helpful codes as a result.

- Austin, TX, USA

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