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 33 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #76

Feb 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,441 miles


I have reported to the dealership several times about the jerking and stalling when I take off and attempt to accelerate. They reprogrammed the transmission module, but it still does it.

- Dublin, GA, USA

problem #75

Feb 152013


  • 8,000 miles
Just like everyone else, the car stutters and hesitates to accelerate at slow speeds. The transmission feels as though it is going to fall out of the car. I have taken it to the dealership, and the "reprogrammed" the transmission. They said it could take up to 2 weeks for the car to relearn my driving habits. It has been 2 months, and the car continues to stutter and shake.

- Williamsport, IN, USA

problem #74

Feb 082013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
My vehicle transmission was reflashed at the dealership due to hesitation, stuttering, and other issues at low speeds. This occurred after about 1000 miles (dealer said it would have to re-learn my driving habits). I was trying to cross an intersection and car almost stalled out, bucked, and barely made it across the intersection. Vehicle is still have issues at slow speeds and initial acceleration. I took vehicle in again, and was told that is just the way these cars work and nothing they could do.

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #73

Feb 082013


  • 9,827 miles


I was pulling out of the cafe by my home. When I had a chance to pull out I stepped on the gas pedal. At this point the vehicle stalled then took off like a bat out of[xxx]. even leaving tire marks. I almost hit two on coming cars due to the hesitation then the lift off. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #72

Sep 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 53 miles
The new vehicle was purchased on 9/3/12. Calls to the service department began on 9/5/12 for complaints of 'bucking and jerking' of the car in low speed shifting. The car was accepted on 9/8/12 for repair of multiple paint chips on the front of the car and for evaluation of the shifting irregularities. Upon delivery of the car (53 odometer miles) the customer was informed that the paint chips had been repaired and the transmission computer was reset. The computer reset was not recorded on the service agreement for that date. On 12/5/12, the car abruptly stopped accelerating and metal grinding prevented use. The car was held from 12/5/12 until 1/8/13 (35 days, odometer reading 7,068 miles) for repair of a broken rear window channel, repair of transmission with replaced clutch. On 1/23/13 the vehicle was towed again due to not starting during multiple attempts by the owners and the tow truck driver. The vehicle was returned to the owner on 1/25/13 with a service report noting a weak battery. The battery was charged by the service provider and no other service codes were reported. On 1/28/13, the steering wheel required both hands to turn and the car narrowly missed going off of the road. Upon attempt to restart, the ignition was weak and multiple warning lights displayed on the dashboard. The odometer reading reset to '0' and the mpg reading went blank. The car had significant change in ignition sound and with uncharacteristic humming noise and was turned off again. When the car was on the tow truck with the ignition off, key out, and door open, the radio began playing and could not be manually turned off. The car was transported to the dealership. As of 2/3, the car has been out of service for 46 days due to multiple infractions. The vehicle has had symptoms of stalling, failure to start, and loss of power steering. Alternator being replaced 2/4.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #71

Aug 172012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that he accelerated and the transmission stuttered. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the computer module needed to be reprogrammed and the motor that controlled the clutch needed to be installed. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 100.

- Claymont, DE, USA

problem #70

Nov 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,047 miles


The vehicle has a lack of ability to accelerate without clutch slippage from a stop and frequent shuttering during transmission shifts. This, in turn makes the Ford Focus unsafe to drive while merging or crossing oncoming traffic lanes.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #69

Jan 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10,263 miles
On 1/23/2013 at appox at 10:15 am I was driving to work! I was driving West bound 10 fwy! I was going about 75 mph in the fast lane. When all of a sudden the car speed drops to 30 mph in a matter of seconds, I right away turn on my hazards! but do to the fact that I was` in the fast lane it was very hard to get over safety as the car felt like it was going to turn off. I was very scared and afraid for my life I honestly thought that I was going to get hit and end up in the hospital.the thought of not making it did cross my mind. I tried pushing the gas petal to regain speed as the car did not allow me to do so. The RPM cage was going from 0 to 7 with in seconds. I begin to attempt to get the car over to my right shoulder towards safety. All I can see throw my rear view mirror and hear was all the cars that started honking at me, flipping me off, barely messing me as all the cars had to swerving around me. I begin to shake as it was a very scary feeling being inside the car while all you can do is see which car will me the one that's actually going to hit my car and the chain reaction that it could have caused. As I get over the four lane trying to not get hit by the speeding cars, the car turns off and I am now stuck in between the 10 fwy going West bound and the interchange to the 57 fwy going North and South bound. Now being stuck in the middle of these two busy fwy's I felt my life was in extreme danger as my mind didn't let me concentrate because all I my mind could pay attention to, was the rear view mirror as I seen the cars again swerving from hitting me and all I can hear again is the cars honking at me. I get on the my cell phone and call [xxx] for help !!!!(husband) we called Ford roadside service!!!! and the tow company was there with in 20 mins !!! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Montclair , CA, USA

problem #68

Jul 162009

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Have a 2012 Focus SE. Purchased in may of 2010. Since July of 2010, I have been taking it to the local dealership where I purchased the vehicle complaining that the car was surging, shuddering, and when I hit the gas pedal, it feels like the car stalls, gets no gas, or has trouble getting into gear. Of course, there are no known issues until a recall. Finally, the problem can be addressed. I take it in, they "fix it" it still shudders, and feels like it's going to stall out in the intersection. Next thing, my car overheats and dies at 11pm on the side of the interstate. I take to a different dealership and they say, well the clutch is bad and the cooling system is bad. Great 2012 car and two items have already went out. They change the clutch and cooling system, now when I back up, it grinds and bogs down. I have had my car for 2 years in may, 39,000 miles on it, and it's been in the shop a total of 4 times. They have changed the clutch and the cooling system. Was told the clutch needed "several hundred miles to break in" gave it about 500, still grinds when I back up, more so on an incline. Although now, it's decided it wants to stutter when it starts. So it's back in the shop for the 4th time, and I'm yet again in a rental car. I have a customer service guy through Ford, he's useless... I can't even get him to return a phone call. What is the point of him being there if he's not going to do his job. I don't feel that I'm getting any resolutions from the local dealerships I have dealt with, or from your customer care manager. I want a replacement vehicle. I have worked with Ford over 2 years and the vehicle is still having problems. Of course the dealership tells me this is an isolated issue. Please go to edmunds, com and you will see that this is not an isolated issue... there are multiple reports of the same problems that I am having.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #67

Dec 212012


  • 28,000 miles
This is an ongoing issue with the automatic dual clutch transmission. Like most everybody else, I am experiencing the same hesitation and shuddering from a stop and the same "clunking" sounds in the transmission. I have had the vehicle into my local Ford dealer, woody anderson Ford, for a diagnostic check and like everybody else, they said that is a normal driving characteristic of the new-style transmission. While I initially accepted that response, I have become increasingly unconvinced of their assessment as while trying to merge onto the parkway, the vehicle failed to respond to a downshift and lost all forward gears. In traffic, the car would not accelerate and when I moved the gearshift lever into the manual position, it would not engage in any gear I selected. I was able to safely steer off to the hard shoulder, place the car in park and then back in drive and it was able to accelerate again...with a shudder in first gear, of course. It appears that Ford does not have a realistic fix for this vehicle (unless the costly seal leak is the actual culprit) and therefore, I have not brought it back to Ford for another check even though I did schedule an appointment but was unable to make it. There appears to be a real problem here with this transmission and moreso, the lack of confidence that it's drivers/owners have in it. It is a problem that is not being addressed with action. Like many others, I am concerned about the safety of this transmission.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #66

Dec 102012


  • 27,800 miles


I ordered the car from Ford in 2011 as soon as they allowed orders. I have approximately 27,800miles on the car. I have yet to get the fuel economy that Ford stated. I do both city and highway everyday and my combined fuel has not gone over 27 miles per gallon since I have owned it. I have even had it run out of gas on 3 separate occasions when the car was registering 30 and 34 miles to empty.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #65

May 312012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 800 miles
I bought the car brand new (12 miles on it) and from the beginning it would make weird noises when I would take off or accelerate. I took it back to the dealership and they drove it and also heard the noise but said they could not find the cause and not to worry about it unless it got worse. I took the car back when it got worse and left it for an entire day but they did not have time to look at him. The car then started shaking and stalling out when I took off from lights and when going up hill. I took the car back and they had it for a week and said they had to take the transmission out and work on it and it should be fine. They said they are fully expecting Ford to recall the transmissions. My transmission is now overheating when I am in slow traffic. It also rolls backward when I am stopped on an incline and accelerate to go forward. I have been looking online and this appears to be a major problem that is going to end up getting people hurt!

- Vian, OK, USA

problem #64

Jan 022012


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to pull off the vehicle would hesitate and shake violently when the gears engaged. The contact mentioned that the vehicle stalled without any warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but stated that they would contact her at a later date. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 1,000 and the current mileage was 12,000.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #63

Feb 012012


  • 200 miles
I've experienced shudder at take off, while pulling onto road transmission can't find gear leaves me in the middle of intersection, RPM spike and drop while shifting and a violent shudder at same time, chatter noise when shifting, list goes on.....after the fourth visit to another dealer parts fixed were clutch because it was being stripped, clutch slave, and a whole other list of parts. Week later problem came back parts fixed were clutch, clutch forks, clutch motor and more. Week later and sixth visit for same problems took the service manager for a ride. He experienced my problems and were now getting a field service tech on it. Service manager also told me if I'm on a decline with the nose down and give it a little gas I will always get the shutter and it's stripping the clutch, that's a characteristic. Also when the vehicle is shifting at higher speeds the RPM fluctuate and shutter is another characteristic the transmission is trying to find a gear. By no means was the service manager on the side of Ford just stating what's these transmissions are doing. I have a case open with Ford have written a letter inquiring about the buy back if I don't get the response I want I'm taking my case to court. Talked to an attorney and that's my best case of action. Just all around not a safe car. And the sad thing it's probably going to have to take a death or serious injury before Ford Motor Company starts taking the consumer seriously. Here's comes another Explorer problem.

- Raeford, NC, USA

problem #62

Oct 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
On my way to the dealer to deliver the car for shuddering from stop to first gear, the car failed to engage in gear when I depressed the accelerator. I pressed the accelerator harder and the vehicle lurched into gear, and commenced up the hill from my house - the car then appeared to go into neutral on its own, thus no propulsion, then on its own slipped back into gear. As I made my way onto the main road, I proceeded cautiously unsure if the car would stall out or if I would even make it to the dealership. I did make it, but along the way the car slipped in and out of gear indiscriminately several times, leaving me without power for several seconds at a time. What if this were to happen on the highway at 65 mph? I drove in the breakdown lane with my flashers on to avoid being hit from behind. My dealership arundel Ford has had the car in the shop since that day, and has agreed to replace the clutches, but tells me the parts are not going to be available until December 11 at the earliest. This is completely unsatisfactory. I have very little faith that the car will ever be safe to drive.

- Kennebunk, ME, USA

problem #61

Apr 232012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 21,085 miles
I purchased my 2012 Ford Focus in may of 2011 - a fairly early build of the remodeled vehicle. At around 20K miles, the car started exhibiting some unusual noises. The dealer told me they were "normal characteristics" of the transmission. Since then, several other Focus owners ( have had the same issues. My car now makes a grinding noise when shifting into reverse, 2nd, 4th, and occasionally 6th gear. When climbing hills, the car appears to have little-to-no power and makes a horrid rattling noise that I am now aware is the clutch slipping. While in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the car bucks and jerks. The car has an "automatic" dual-clutch transmission, so there is no way that I can change the shifting patterns. It turns out this is a common issue caused by a leaking seal contaminating the clutch with oil, but consumers are needing to fight the dealers to get it fixed as it is a costly repair. I've tried repeatedly to get it corrected under warranty and keep getting turned away. Aside from the fear of my own safety, I also assume this will be detrimental to the life of other components (actuators/synchros/engine mounts/etc.) within the power train that I may need to pay to replace out-of-pocket after the warranty expires. Aside from repairing it myself, a recall is my only hope.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #60

Jun 012012


  • miles
I recently purchased a 2012 Ford Focus in May. I took the vehicle back to the Ford dealership, to report a problem. However, the first thing the repair person did was give me a print out of what the car does. This car has no power, it shakes, and will not go, . I feel that car is trying to stall out. It is worst than my old 1998 Ford Contour. It rides better than this car and it is 14 years old. I am very concern about my safety with the car. In addition, everyone else and including myself, which is embarrassing, notices that this car does not change gears. It appears that it is stuck in one gear at the speed of 60 mph. I am very disappointed and afraid that this car may cause me to get into a car accident. I need help. What should I do? in addition, the warranty on this car is 60,000 miles or 5 years, which every comes first.

- Darlington, SC, USA

problem #59

Apr 282012


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while stopped on an incline, she attempted to apply pressure to the accelerator when the hill assist failed, causing the vehicle to roll away in reverse. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis where the transmission program was updated however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was returned to the dealer and the contact was informed that the failure could not be repaired, as it was designed to operate in the manner in which it performed. The manufacturer was notified and the contact was awaiting a return call. The failure and current mileage was 6,000.

- South Haven, MS, USA

problem #58

Sep 102012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
These vehicles have two problems with the transmission that cause two separate safety issues. One is that it rolls back when you are moving your foot from the brake to the gas regardless of how fast you move it. The second is that, while they are saying that it is an automatic transmission, it has another sort of problem with the transmission because it is a dual one that acts as a standard and causes it to "stutter as it moves down the road". when you pull out it doesn't want to go.

- Fort Payne, AL, USA

problem #57

May 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 17,335 miles
On May 25, 2012, computer in car was reprogrammed per recall 12B37B.6 and repaired per recall 12S29C.6. I had noticed that the transmission was not as smooth as it was when I first purchased the car the year before. After this, things really began to go downhill. Now the transmission is a total train wreck. The car rolls back on inclines. The first time this happened I almost hit the car behind me. The transmission grinds and shudders in low gears, especially when turning and slowing down or when starting out and trying to accelerate. On more than one occasion, I have pressed the pedal down to accelerate and gotten nothing. The car won't go. Going up hill the car jerks and shudders as though it is about to shut down, like when you don't have the clutch and the gas at the right place. At these times, the car will drive like a twenty year old jalopy. All in all, I have taken the car in three times to have work done on the transmission, and each time it seems to be better for a few hours and then gradually get worse than it was before. The problem seems to be getting gradually worse. I know that I am not the only one having the problem with the 2012 Ford Focus.

- Carrollton, GA, USA

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