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 30 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #136

Jan 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the transmission would exhibit a loud noise when the gear was shifted especially when it engaged in third gear. In addition, the engine rpms would abnormally increase. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who stated that the transmission was operating normally. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 37,701. Updated 11/12/13

- Streamwood , IL, USA

problem #135

Sep 292013


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the traction control warning light illuminated as the vehicle began to swerve independently before stalling. The vehicle was restarted but would only accelerate at very low speeds. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission control module would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 82,000.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #134

Aug 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,700 miles
I have only owned this 2012 Ford Focus for approx. 6 weeks. It has been hesitating, sputtering, and jerking upon acceleration and when driving at low speeds since the first day I owned it. At first it was intermittent but now it happens most all the time. When I stop and take off it feels like it is going to stall out. When on an interstate ramp I feel I cannot get up to a higher speed fast enough. I took it to the dealer for service. The dealer said that they would need to drop the engine, replace the seals (there is leaking around the seals) and replace the clutch. And, the seals are on back-order for 2 to 3 weeks! they say it is safe to drive and to let them know if it worsens (how can it get worse). They may say it is safe, but I sure do not feel safe or comfortable driving this car. I have read hundreds of complaints from other Focus owners on this same issue. Ford needs to recall these cars and listen to consumers. This is a defect that needs Ford's ownership. I have been in contact with Ford and have a case number. Thank you.

- Mount Jackson, VA, USA

problem #133

Sep 262013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles


The car while being driven at low speed, in heavy traffic will shift into a lower gear allowing the motor to rev slightly, then as it engages the lower gear the car will accelerate abruptly. This happens when you are trying to move your foot from the gas to the brake. This happened several times in about a 20 min. Span. This has also happened while I was trying to park, causing the car to climb onto a railroad tie being used as a stop at the end of the parking spot.

- Danville, IN, USA

problem #132

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
There was an increasing variation in speeds as I tried to accelerate for merging onto major highway. Thought the floor mat was stuck under the accelerator pedal, but it was not. Problem continued at different times and different speeds. When I took the car in for service on 9/20/13, I described the problem to the service rep. He told me first that there was a service alert for this problem and would require 3 hours for the transmission to be re-programmed. I agreed to wait while the work was done. He returned shortly to inform me that there was a more recent service alert for this problem and that I would have to return at another time and leave the car for at least three days because it was likely the entire transmission had to be removed and re-built! and a rental car for that period would be at my expense since this is not an "official recall".this despite my having also purchased an extended warranty plan from Ford. I left the car at the dealership on 9/25/13 and got a rental car at my own expense. Later that day, I received a call from the service dept. Informing me that not only would the entire transmission have to be removed and repaired but the clutch would have to be replaced. It would take "at least 2 additional days" for these repairs", "if we get the parts in". I am now waiting to see how long it will be before I get my car back, while I pay for a rental car in the meantime.

- Parsippany, NJ, USA

problem #131

Jul 042013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while at a stop, the vehicle jerked and failed to accelerate when depressing the accelerator pedal. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle would roll away when parked on a slight incline. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be replicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000 and the current mileage was 11,500....updated 11-14-13 the consumer stated she started hearing a knocking noise coming from under the hood, especially when going over a bump or in a parking lot. Around that time, she also started to realize the vehicle was rolling backwards on an incline, when she took her foot off the brake and then started to accelerate. It continue to happen on and off whenever she was on an incline. Also, when the consumer proceeded from a stop light, or stop sign, it felt as though the vehicle wasn't going into to gear. When it did, there was a stutter and the vehicle would hesitate, as if it were going to stall. While merging into traffic on the highway, when she pressed the accelerator, the vehicle wouldn't go into gear. The dealer updated the PCM and twice and replaced a strut bearing.

- Evon Lake , OH, USA

problem #130

Feb 142013


  • 4,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle independently downshifted as it vibrated abnormally. The contact continued to depress the accelerator pedal but the vehicle failed to respond. The vehicle did regain speed as the contact coasted along the highway. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection or repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 4,000.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #129

Apr 012013


  • 7,000 miles
Metalic grinding noise is heard when accelerating at slow speeds. Transmission shifts at approximately 1500 RPM and between 10-25 mph, griding noise is heard for a few seconds, then stops. As car proceeds into next gear, if RPM drops to 1500 and speed again between 10-25 mph, grinding noise is heard. I have taken the car to seraphin Ford in vernon, they claim to have driven the car without hearing the noise. A separate date, I took the car to seraphin Ford, drove a mechanic in the car, but the noise was faint and mechanic could not hear it. Sometimes the sound is faint, other times sound is loud. No rhyme or reason. I have read much on the internet about this exact issue with 2012-2013 Focus power trains. I am convinced there is a problem that Ford is not addressing. Also, power train lags and flutters often. I have learned to drive very "gently" to prevent lag/shutter/surge when driving. I have noticed when using cruise control at highway speeds, if I attempt to adjust the speed using the steering wheel controls (to advance speed), the engine takes off, RPM climbs very high and the engine roars. I have to completely shut down cruise control and start over again. It can be scary at highway speeds to have the engine race like that.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #128

Oct 202011


  • 100 miles
Car has serious lag issues you give it gas and the transmission just doesn't go. Really bad when you have to get out of the way in a hurry. They have worked on it and say it's fine. Unfortunately I am a woman and tend to be brushed off. I do know there is something wrong with the car.

- Carrollton, KY, USA

problem #127

Sep 162013


  • 51,526 miles
I drove approximately 1/8 of mile this morning and I stopped at a blinker light. When I proceeded to make a right hand turn, the vehicle lunged, clunked and the gears disengaged. None of the gears worked. I could not move forward, backward or even put the vehicle into "park" because it would roll backward down a slight incline. I had to engage the parking brake in order to keep the vehicle from rolling backwards down the hill. There was not a warning light, engine message or anything. The vehicle quit working and would not move in any of the gears. I had to coast the vehicle backward to a safe location, out of traffic. After turning off the car and waiting and restarting the problem has persisted. It was towed and is currently at the dealership awaiting repair. I have also experienced the "drift back" that other consumers have experienced and I am not sure if this is related, but this is still a relatively new car that should not be experiencing these types of problems.

- Cochranton, PA, USA

problem #126

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while coasting downhill at 20 mph, the vehicle down shifted and was close to stalling. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal to prevent the stalling but the vehicle then accelerated independently and crashed into another vehicle. A police report was filed however, there were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 35,000. *updated 09-18-13 the consumer stated the vehicle was declared totaled.

- Veron, NJ, USA

problem #125

Sep 022013


  • 1,500 miles
As I was driving all of a sudden a display stating "stop safely now" came on. I pulled over and the car would not go any further. I had to completely turn it off, open and close the door, and restart it to make it go again. It has happened 3 times now in the past few weeks.

- Sierra Madre, CA, USA

problem #124

Oct 312012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 800 miles
I purchased this vehicle new in August of 2012. It had 10 miles on it. The day after I bought it I noticed some hesitation upon acceleration after stopping at traffic lights. It wasn't too bad, but as time went by it began to get worse. After a couple months, it stalled on me when I slowed and another time I was almost hit by another car as mine stalled again in a busy intersection. It was due an oil change so when I made the appointment, I also mentioned the stalling and hesitation. When I dropped it off, the technician claimed he could not duplicate the problem. Of course he was not driving in the same condition I drive in everyday. I was advised to drive it until the next oil change as the 'computer' had to adjust to how I drive. Needless to say, it did not adjust to how I drive. I drove it and the hesitation continued, it also began to choke out in reverse. When I returned for the next oil change, still complaining, I was told they would have to 'reteach' the computer. They kept it a couple days before I got it back. It ran so-so for about a week and began again. I filed a complaint on the Ford Motor Company site (which is a joke) and was contacted by a district rep. Arrangements were made to return the car for 'updates' and a 'relearn'. this time they kept it a week. When I got it back, I did not drive it much as I was off (teacher - off summers). When I returned to work in August, and started driving it every day, it was even worse then it was before. Now it won't climb a hill (and I live in the mountains!), it shudders, rattles, loses powers going up hills and stalls in traffic.this time they kept it 2 weeks. I drove it one day and it started all over again. When I called back I was told I had to wait 2 weeks to drop it off (2 cars ahead of me with same problem) and they would look at it again. However, they have done all they can do.

- Sevierville, , TN, USA

problem #123

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The Ford Focus 2012 is a true lemon! it runs rough jerking movements esp in low gear. It has lack of acceleration. I bought this car new and have had it to the dealership four times only to be told its all normal for the 2012. However I feel its not normal! my last visit I was handed a sheet filled with '' normal'' things to expect! the dealership refused to allow me to trade it back in. I wrote to the Ford Motor Co and I only got a very nice lady who just kept saying oh I am so sorry. They along with the willis Ford dealer in smyrna de acted like it was just me with this complaint. After viewing the pages and pages of complaints most like myself I can see I am far from along. What can be done ? so far I see nothing being done about this serious problem.

- Smyrna, DE, USA

problem #122

Aug 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 21,000 miles
The vehicle began shifting very poorly at only one and a half years since purchase. Brought it to the dealer and explained the severe shaking and shuddering upon acceleration accompanied by a very loud metallic grinding sound. It was test driven and told immediately that it needed to be addressed. Was told that they had to contact Ford directly to get the fix for the error code. Was told that they loaded the update for the trans. And that it was now driving appropriately. Not even two weeks later it is back at the shop with even more severe shuddering and feeling loss of power (still has a metallic grinding noise). Was told that the car needed 1K miles after the update so that the trans. Could "relearn how I drive." I did not accept this so the advisor at my dealership produced a list of normal operations and began to explain the type of transmission the Focus had. I told her that I was fully aware and accepting of the occasional hard shift or roll back on hill as was customary with a 'manual' transmission, but that this was much worse/different. Received a phone call today that the technician test drove my car and that he "could not replicate the complaint" even though it happens 95% of the time when I drive it. I am not even sure that they have looked at my transmission or merely attached it to a computer/test driven it. Will continue to bring the car to the dealership until this is resolved or the trans. Is recalled.

- Huntington Station, NY, USA

problem #121

Jun 252013


  • 2,250 miles
I purchased a new 2012 Ford Focus ev on June 7, 2013. Twice (still in June), while driving at speeds approximately 50 mph, the "stop safely now" warning came on and the vehicle lost power. Both times I was able to restart the vehicle within a couple of minutes. I made sure to note all the indicators to provide the Ford service techs as much information as possible. When I brought the vehicle in to be serviced, the technicians professed no knowledge of the issue and contacted Ford for support. They could not repeat the issue and the car had no log of the events. Finally, I was told the problem was a faulted power control module (PCM). Unfortunately, this part was on a national backorder for 6 weeks (probably as a result of the known problems). After the part was finally replaced, I was told that the PCM would not program correctly, and that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. End result, I have my vehicle back, just in time to take it back for a recall. At least it hasn't stalled ??. yet.

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #120

Jul 082013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 27,900 miles
Transmission fails at 27900 miles on July 8th, 2013, while driving on the highway (gears don't shift), dangerously coast to the side of the road to a stop, car towed, dealer replaces the whole transmission; 1 month later, on August 14th, 2013, same issue occurs while changing lanes on highway and accelerating to do so, car suddenly refuses to change gears, car slows down to 10-15 mph (gears don't shift), dangerously coast to the side of the road, car towed, dealer re-programs the transmission; on August 19th, 2013, 3 days after the second fix, transmission fails again, car towed, dealer replaces computer modulator, re-programs transmission. We do not trust this car anymore, we do not believe it is safe, and we will seek to return it to the manufacturer and get our money back.

- Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #119

Jun 212013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle failed to accelerate normally as the accelerator pedal had to be forced down in order for the vehicle to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic diagnosed the vehicle as the clutch assembly needing to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 1,800. The current mileage was 3,000. Updated 11/19/13 the consumer stated the clutch assembly was replaced on 8/5/13. The vehicle continued to buck and shake during acceleration at low speeds. As of 11/6/13 the vehicle continued to shake. Updated 11/25/2013

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #118

Jul 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle was unable to shift. The contact stated that the automatic transmission was performing as if it were a manual transmission. In addition, when the contact would shift from reverse the drive, the transmission would omit first gear and engage into second gear erroneously. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic stated that the failure was contributed to the manner in which the contact was operating the vehicle. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 300 and the current mileage was 17,000. Updated 12/20/13

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #117

Sep 242012


  • 15,000 miles
Transmission sticks in high gear, will not downshift properly; car nearly stalled on interstate and almost caused two separate accidents. Had to pull car over, turn off engine to reset the transmission's "ai" (as it was stated by a Ford transmission specialist). Despite numerous 'updates' by Ford (3 now) problem persists, and has become progressively worse with each update. Gears constantly stick, do not down-shift, or up-shift properly, and those were confirmed by a Ford transmission specialist. This is especially true when using sport mode but happens in drive as well. Ford ensures me that nothing is wrong. I am a professional engineer associated with the automotive industry, and I disagree. Statute of limitations won't let me claim my brand new 2012 Ford Focus titanium as a lemon under the 'lemon law', but it should be.

- Oak Creek, WI, USA

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