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:
50,288 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 41)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #230

Jun 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 24,866 miles
Pulled out of parking lot, the transmission malfunction indicator came on with message. Car would not go above 10 mph and the tachometer would flip from one side of the dial to the other. Pulled into another parking lot and put car in park and tried turning the car off and then starting the car again to see if it would clear the error. Same error and will not move above 10 mph. Had car towed.

- Coppell , TX, USA

problem #229

Jun 082014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus less than a year ago and have had trouble ever since. I have had my car in repaired once for the transmission issues accelerating and coasting. My car is shaking and hesitating with any type of acceleration. The car is making a clunking noise when driving, turning corners and braking. I am beyond disappointed with the quality of the 2012 Focus. I dropped my car off at the dealer and wanted it looked asap. I also contacted Ford directly about my concerns, they informed me about the dual clutch transmission as a reason for the drive (an excuse I have heard numerous times from the dealer). After a couple days the service department called to let me know they had looked it over and everything seemed fine. They later test drove it and he informed me that everything looks great and that the way my car is driving is just the way these Focus' drive due to the double clutch transmission. He informed me that it tends to drive the way I was describing if people have a "light foot", if I would drive with a "heavier foot" or "accelerate faster" it most likely wouldn't have these issues. When I brought up the instance where the car shook and made a large clunk when I turned it off, he stated that it was probably a "fluke". it is very discouraging that I am told that this is just how the Focus vehicles are going to be. I emailed Ford about the results and have not heard back. I picked up my car and it still drives jerky and the clunking noise is even louder. I dropped it off with 40,618 miles and picked it up with 40,630 miles. I think it is frustrating that it is deemed as a standard drive with a 12 mile trip. I am disappointed that I am expected to hit the gas harder to hopefully have a somewhat less jerky drive... not sure how to do that in parking lots and neighborhoods. I do not feel that I have a safe quality vehicle and don't know what to do next.

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #228

Oct 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles


Transmission started jerking, grinding and not shifting properly. Car has been in the shop 6-8 times in the last year. The latest issue with the transmission was basically feeling like it went out of gear and the car had no power. Dangerous when it happens going down the freeway at 70 mph and in traffic. Definitely a safety issued and needs to be addressed. From what I see online the is happening with many, many people who have the 2012-2013 Focus with the dual clutch transmission. Someone is going to get hurt if they don't recall this car or make arrangements for a new transmission to replace the current one.

- Royse City, TX, USA

problem #227

Nov 082013


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, the transmission slipped in and out of gear with extreme hesitation. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an independent for diagnosis. An unknown trouble code was detected and the mechanic recommended the vehicle be taken to a dealer. Additionally, the motor mounts fractured. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Bastop, LA, USA

problem #226

Jan 012013


  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while parking, the transmission slipped out of gear. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred a second time after parking in her residential garage and the vehicle went forward, crashing into a wall. The driver sustained minor injuries. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician stated that the vehicle was working up to standard. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 8,000 and the current mileage was 12,000.

- Inverness, FL, USA

problem #225

Jun 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
In the past year, I have experienced issues with my transmission where my car has difficulties shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. It shutters and jolts, feels like I have a manual transmission. I commute daily, especially in traffic, so this has never been acceptable. On June 1st, I was in a parking garage coming around a corner when my traction control light appeared and I lost power to the engine. The interior lights, radio, ac were still working, I just couldn't move the car. I was stalled and was nearly hit a few times since I was stuck in a turn. I tried turning the car on and off, no luck. I had my car towed home, and Ford towed it to the dealership the next morning where I was told the car was stuck in gear. It needed a new transmission module. The new module was replaced and I was told my car was ready for pick up. I went in the next day, the porter pulled up my car and I could not drive it off the lot, because now it was stuck in "park". I was very frustrated and I was told by the dealership that the computer may have had a glitch when reprogramming or it may have reset itself. I was told this can more than likely happen again, how disappointing. I don't feel safe driving my car and especially long distances. I'm afraid this can happen again, but even worse, while I'm on the road. Needless to say I will be looking into lemon law or trading in this vehicle.

- Alta Loma, CA, USA

problem #224

Jun 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
When exiting grocery store parking lot, as we pulled out into traffic, the car experience a sudden loss of acceleration/drive train power, while electrical systems started to flash, and electronic gear indicator transitioned from gear to gear. Rpms, were still registering and on acceleration, drive train was unresponsive. This happened all while in traffic, when oncoming vehicles were approaching. We turned on hazard lights and moved to the road shoulder. Powered off car for a minute, then restarted. Car started but still experienced severe hesitation on acceleration, and seemed as if it was struggling to stay on. Pulled onto a side street to get out of traffic, then after turning car off, it would not turn back on. After approx. 10 minutes, tried to turn on car again, and it started. Was able to carefully drive car home, however check engine light has now been illuminated. This will be the 5th instance (all instances documented by dealer, and serviced by dealer) that the car has had this issue, and we have brought it to the attention of the dealership, with no 100% remedy being given. Will be taking car in once again to dealership for service and hopefully resolution of this ongoing issue of hesitation on acceleration, and total failure of drive train during vehicle operation.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #223

May 062013


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while making turns at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the transmission overheated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Dunn, NC, USA

problem #222

Jun 152012


  • 1,747 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 until it got so bad that I took it back in December 2013 and the transmission required repair. It went back to the dealership in may of 2014 for the same problem and the dealership had to replace the clutch assembly and several seals. The vehicle shudders badly, on take off, and has bogged down to the point that I was nearly rear-ended, I have also experienced problems with rollback on hills and problems when trying to accelerate uphill.

- Soddy-Daisy, TN, USA

problem #221

Jun 082014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,090 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus sel. I am making payments on this car. I purchased it as a certified pre owned. It had roughly 30,000 miles on it when received. It has been 18 months since date I received the car. I have had it four times for the transmission. All for the same thing witch is grinding of gears, slipping and not shifting properly. The dealership has updated the software and other services on it. It has continued to do all of the stuff I had it for.

- York, PA, USA

problem #220

Jun 022014


  • 30,000 miles
Shudder vibrations and acceleration lag due to the malfunction of the dtc (duel clutch transmission) in my 2012 Ford Focus.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #219

Dec 272013


  • 25,146 miles
When lightly accelerating from a state of rest, the car hesitates when the gas pedal pressed, even when a little more pressure is applied. Then it unpredictably "kicks" into gear, forcing me to hit the brakes to accommodate for the sudden jolt. It also slides backward when releasing the brake on hills. None of these issues occurred severely in the first year after purchasing the car new. The symptoms became noticeable around October 2013, and has occurred since, most often in the lowest gears -- slowly backing out from a parking spots, stop & go traffic, etc. I had the car serviced at the dealership under warranty three times, and taken to another Ford dealer for a second opinion. Three days from receiving my car back from the dealership after the third service, the car continued to shudder and hesitate while applying pressure to the gas. Only this time I nearly caused an accident while reversing out of a supermarket parking lot. Usually it shudders when in reverse, but this time the car did not respond at all when in reverse and with light pressure on the gas. After about 3-5 seconds of light, even pressure on the gas pedal to inch the car out of the spot, the vehicle shot backward, nearly sending me through the store wall. Fortunately, no other vehicles or pedestrians were nearby, but this incident makes me afraid that the car is a danger to myself and others.

- Hatboro, PA, USA

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