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 31 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #116

Jun 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 500 miles


We bought our car with only 7 miles on it. Shortly after the car started rolling backwards when sitting on a hill or stop light. Called the dealership and they stated to bring it in. Well it was explained to us that the car had a standard transmission and that this was normal. So we left. Then I was sitting in the driveway and our grandchild got out of the car when I put the car into park and it rolled backwards knocking him over. Called them again, got the same answer. Then the car started to stay running after the key was taken out. Also it was not running well. This was just 2 months later. Took it back got the same answer. Well called the owner with no response. We have since then taken the car back for the same issue and still get the same answers. Now there is a new problem, always finding oil on the motor. So took it back in and they explained to me that someone was driving the car with two feet. That's why the transmission was still skipping. Well I am the only driver of the car and I only use my right foot. They said they put a die into the oil to see where the leak was coming from and when I went another 1000 miles to bring the car back. Then I get a call from them and had an appointment. They put new bolts in our valve cover and cleaned all the oil up. Here it is we have had the car over a year and still are having such trouble with it. So I hope that hopefully soon that this dealership makes good on this car. Just went again this last month for the 12th time and still getting the same answer. But I do not have a standard car, I have an automatic.

- Oakland, ME, USA

problem #115

Aug 312013


  • 6,099 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus electric vehicle. I have had it for less than nine months. In that time, we've had the "stop safely now" message six times. When this message happens, you have no option...the car shuts down completely, regardless of where you are. Three times this has happened in traffic, without warning. Today was the seventh time the "stop safely now" message appeared, stopping my car in traffic at a very busy intersection. So far, the response from Ford has been minimal, they don't really seem to know how to fix it nor does the dealership seem too concerned. All instances of this message seem to occur while breaking.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #114

Aug 242013


  • 39,000 miles
Since we purchased the vehicle, it seemed to stutter when trying to go from a stop. I was told that this is normal for this transmission. But on August 24th, the transmission started to have even more problems. First the vehicle was having a hard time accelerating past 20 mph. Then it started jerking back and forth, lunging to and fro. It was not shifting gears like it should have, and it felt like it was going to stall, so complainant had to pull over to avoid an accident and allow fast moving traffic to pass. After traffic had passed, complainant turned around to go back home, jerking and lunging the whole time going less than 20 mph. After leaving the car sit for several hours, the vehicle started up again, and seemed to be operating normally. However now the vehicle is having a harder time going up hills, and has trouble coasting. Feels like something is dragging it down. This could be very unsafe, as the problem is not predictable, and could potentially cause an accident. A 2012 vehicle with 39000 miles should not be having transmission problems already.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #113

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles


We first noticed when we bought the car that it was jerky when accelerating, was told that is the way the car drives. Went on a road trip and trying to accelerate to expressway wouldn't go just revved then jerked out into traffic, we almost got killed and had to go to the shoulder to avoid accident. This happened multiple times and was very unsafe. We got to the point we were afraid to drive it, cause we didn't know when it would just rev and jerk or if it would actually work properly. It didn't matter if you just started and tried backing out or were on the road, the problem was constant. That is very dangerous on the road and you don't know when it will happen. Took to dealer on July 6th and my car has been there since, it is now 6 weeks and they are replacing transmission clutches, there is a backorder of over 8,000 clutches, which means that many people have taken their car in and there is no recall for this car and we have no idea if the car will be repaired. The manufacturer of these parts does not have any in the warehouse and Ford is estimating Sept 7th which we doubt. This car is very unsafe cause you do not know when the transmission is going to shift.. I think there should be a recall. As of right now we have filed complaints and no longer want the car back. Reading blogs we have discovered that there are still problems with the transmission on the 2012 Focus after repairs. If you have this problem, file a complaint and maybe there will be a recall. They will not give you a rental unless you have an extended warranty which we luckily do, otherwise we would have been paying for a rental for who knows how long. Ford sold these cars knowing that this was a problem because it was revised for the 2013.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #112

Oct 082012


  • 9,000 miles
Car started on the right side of the car windows stopped working and the lights started blinking. Dealer replaced right side module. Then next was the blue tooth stopped working and the whole touch screen blacked out. Dealer replaced sync module and new touch screen. Next was the wipers coming on by there replaced wiper sensor. Next was the door locks surging without a key in and dash cluster floating. Dealer replaced drive module. Right now the transmission is not working properly. I am just scared the death that the car is going to catch fire while driving the car.

- Temple, GA, USA

problem #111

Jun 082012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,148 miles
Have had issues with this car since after purchasing it new on 12/31/11. 06/08/12, 7148K mi, car shifting at incorrect times, car would jerk when shifting, and roll back at times on flat surfaces and at traffic stops. Also car would shutter. Service repair, open recall PCM for incorrect shift/jerking. 10/16/12-10/17/12, 10437K mi, car would make a grinding noise, noticed mostly when turning, but not always only when turning. Sometimes car seems like it was a manual snubbing out. Also the mpg indicator would not fluctuate and stayed at 29.9mpg, had been stuck at 29.9 mpg for a few months. Service repair = replace both front springs and bearings. 11/05/12-11/07/12, 10950K mi, last repair did not fix the grinding noise. Makes this grinding noise also when taking off from a stop. When shifting from 1st to 2nd gears. Service technician said they could hear it sometimes, but could not figure out what the problem was and instructed me to keep driving the car until it made the noise enough for them to determine the problem. 05/15/13-05/17/13, 13514K mi, car would have trouble accelerating, was jerking when taking off from stops, made grinding noises when shifting gears. 06/12/13, 14103K mi, since clutch replaced car rolls back, on a flat surface and my car almost rolled into the car behind me. 07/17/13-07/18/13, 16007K mi, when car shifts gears it is jerking really badly, causing passengers upper body to jerk forward away from their seat. Shuttering and the car makes a bad grinding noise when shifting. One instance I was accelerating from a stop, and got half way through first gear and the car stopped accelerating. Car accelerating behind me almost rear-ended my car. 7/18/2013, 16043K mi, shuttering still there. As I eased off the accelerator to merge into traffic, the car continued to accelerate for several seconds after removing my foot from the accelerator. Safety issue!

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #110

Jul 252013


  • 7,400 miles


Our 2012 Ford Focus electric totally shutdown after receiving the stop safely now warning alert. Car shut down in traffic within 30 seconds of receiving the warning. We had no time to react or pull the car safely to the side of the road. This is clearly a safety issue.

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #109

Dec 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 12 miles
When we drove this brand new Ford Focus off the dealer lot we noticed a sudden jerk in the transmission. We did not know if this was a fluke or normal so we drove it about a thousand miles. The transmission began to jerk more, jump, stall, hesitate, and rev up needlessly and seem to get stuck in gear. We took it back to the dealer with our complaints and they reprogrammed the computer and told us to give it another thousand miles to improve. As of this date, we have had this car back to the shop 7 times with the same complaint. At about 36,000 miles they did put in a clutch kit which helped it for about eight thousand miles. Unfortunately, the problem has returned. It is and always has been a safety issue for us. We never know when it is going to hesitate getting out into traffic...and we have been close to an accident several times. This last trip to the shop, just fri the 19th, they tell us there is nothing they can do...just live with it. I know we are not the only ones that have this problem, the technician told us that outright. We are sick of this car and we have exhausted all our resources. We want people to know this is not a safe car so that is our reason for this letter.

- Benton, KY, USA

problem #108

Jul 162013


  • miles
Transmission is jerky and acceleration is not very responsive. Car also rolls back when stopped on hills.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #107

Feb 142013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Oil leak from rear main seal leaking onto cluthes. The car rolls back on hills and makes flapping noises. Also, at times it starts and stops like it's not getting gas.

- Danville, IL, USA

problem #106

Mar 012013


  • miles


1. my 2012 Ford Focus is stalling out and revving up at high rpms then stalling out for the last 4 months. 2. this is the fourth occurrence for the same issue in the last 4 months. 3 times in the last three weeks. 3. the first two times, Ford could not find the problem and related to driving at high rpms or spinning on gravel which never occurred. I advised that the vehicle would rev at high rpms but not go anywhere then stall, not on a gravel road but a major highway going 55-60 mph. Twice the vehicle had to be towed. The other times I could drive it to the dealership at 30mph but it would continuously stall out. The third time they replaced the computer which did not solve the problem. The fourth time occurred and my vehicle has been at the Ford dealership for a over a week and they still cannot figure what is wrong with it. My vehicle has 41,000 miles and still covered under the powertrain. Ford is refusing to buy the vehicle back under state lemon laws and not giving me an offer for diminished value for the hit I am going to take on the trade in once I hopefully get the vehicle back operational.

- Scottdale, PA, USA

problem #105

Jul 092013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
I was driving down a bumpy road at 40mph this morning, came to a stop at a stop sign, attempted to turn right and merge onto a busy highway with an 50mph speed limit, the car started to go and then all power cut out without warning and the "stop safely now" and "refer to owners manual" warnings came up on the left screen! luckily, I was not fully into the traffic yet as there were several semis coming. I veered to the shoulder and stopped. If I had got going even for a second more I would have been out in traffic in the path of a semi coming at over 50mph. It took a few minutes of trying to turn it off. Eventually I opened the drivers door and that seemed to free it up to turn it off. I was then able to start it back up again and carry on with my day.

- Surrey, WA, USA

problem #104

Jul 092013


  • 24,000 miles
I see here that several individuals complaining have the same complaints that I do, the incline problems, the vehicle sounding like it is going to die on you. The problems when you accelerate. This is a new vehicle and have had that problem from the time we purchased it. I am thinking it is the transmission. Can someone please guide me. I still have years on the note and it is not fair to pay on something that is as mentioned by someone here, is "embarrassing to drive with a passenger". the speed does not matter it keeps making this rattling noise when you accelerate. Please recall these cars.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #103

Jun 252013


  • 7,875,474 miles
My first incident was driving out of a parking lot, the power steering message appeared with a strange beeping noise followed by an extremely difficult to move steering wheel. When I turned off my car and got it back on, the power steering was back to its normal levels. Later the next day, the car was in movement over 30mph while driving through the highway and the power steering message came on again making my car totally unresponsive causing me to almost crash. It was very difficult to get the car out of the high way in order to have the steering levels back by turn it off and back on again. Today I took my car to the Ford service complaining about this in order to get my car checked but the service manager indicated that there was nothing he could do about this incident for what suggested me to contact roadside assistance during the next incident and have them take in my car to there service to fix it at the moment. I mentioned that if that was to be done my car would obviously have to be turned off and on in the process causing the issue to momentarily disappear for what he would still not be able to witness the incident as he request, just like today. He refused to make any further comments indicating that was the best thing he could do.

- Toa Alta, PR, USA

problem #102

Jul 012011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
This car has had the problem with rough shifting and roll back on hill almost immediately after purchased in May. I reported incident to Ford Motor Company and they did not do anything but later in May 2012 received the service notice for reprogramming. It helped it but did not fix it and this problem returned and actually got worse. We just took it to our dealer for service on 6/21/13 and they said there was a clutch assembly pack they replaced. Once again the car is driving better but still not what I consider normal (smooth shifting/accelerating) for any car. I am concerned that issue will return with time. Ford needs to fix the transmission once and for all. What needs to be done in order to have a recall?

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #101

Jul 042013


  • 51,000 miles
I bought as a Ford pre-owned. I did not notice the transmission shuddering. After owning the car for about a week. I started noticing the transmission starting to get jerky. I contacted the dealership, and was told that they performed the update before I bought the car. They also stated that there was nothing that could be done because that is the way the new transmission is not getting any better. If I could I would be trading in and getting another vehicle.

- Findaly, OH, USA

problem #100

Jan 012013


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the transmission slipped and made a grinding noise. The contact also stated that acceleration power was lost. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times where the failure was unable to be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 6,000. The VIN was not available.

- Penn, PA, USA

problem #99

Aug 062012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Transmission shudders had it fixed twice front end want stay lined up have purchase three set of tires eating my tiers up had it lined up three times sick of this car it a lemon.

- Highpoint, NC, USA

problem #98

Jun 272013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,400 miles
When I bought my Focus I thought I was getting a 6 speed automatic transmission because that's what it said on the sticker but now I find out I have a manual transmission(that works off computer) that jerks and stammers after stopped and trying to go up slight incline. The car is embarrassing to have anyone ride in. Yes the dealership reprogrammed the trans but its back to dancing around when going up slight inclines. I don't have money to buy another car because I bought two in 2012, (Fusion and Focus) but now I have a piece of junk really that no dealer will even give you a decent trade in price. You can reprogram it all you want its not going to fix it, read it all over the internet. Its very distracting the jerking the car makes and distracts me and I can have an accident. I don't see why this hasn't been a recall.

- Dickson City, PA, USA

problem #97

Jun 242013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,500 miles
I have an automatic Focus SE, and at 2000 RPM there is a grinding noise and loss of power (sluggishness in acceleration). The grinding noise started to happen at around 2000 miles but only occasionally. Now, it happens 100% of the time. I took it to Ford service and they confirmed hearing the noise. They also have a code in their database for this issue. However, they say that they don't have a fix for it.

- Menlo Park, CA, USA

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