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 34 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #56

Nov 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 22,673 miles


The car shudders and hesitates on take off to the point of stalling. Happens always from stop to running.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #55

Jul 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,638 miles
Several times I have been sitting at stop lights and when the light turns green and I press the accelerator nothing happens, then all of a sudden the transmission will grab and I have actually made the tires squeal and almost ate the back of someone's car. Another thing I have noticed is that when parking on an incline, put the car in park and let off of the brake and a horrible noise comes from the transmission area - the dealer informed me that I should set my parking brake first before turning the car off"?" today the car is in the shop for the 6th time and it is less than 8 months old.

- Marion, TX, USA

problem #54

Jan 122012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
While driving on I-8 toward san diego I heard a engine revving up then transmission downshift suddenly. Engine lost a considerable amount of power/torque ever since. For example I can not accelerate in 6 gear @ highway speeds. Shift times sometimes are more then 2 sec apart which presents an enormous risk when driving in any traffic. Car has been to kearny Ford for repairs multiple times since with neither Ford nor dealer providing any fix and telling me that 'it's operating within normal limits'. I am driving a rental Ford Focus with approximately same mileage as my car now and it does not exhibit any of the issues I have. At this point I feel that my own safety and my family safety are being put at risk. I can not safely drive this car on anything but empty or almost empty roads.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #53

Sep 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,300 miles


When rolling down hill from a stop the car jerks hard when pressing the gas. When backing up under light throttle the car jerks and transmission is rough.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #52

Sep 092012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
Transmission shifted hard while merging onto freeway and caused a neck strain.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #51

Jul 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 350 miles
Car lunges when accelerating or attempting to shift thru automatic or sport mode of the transmission. Transmission also temporarily pauses during shifting routine at all speeds, mostly at low speeds. It is like the cpu is overriding what the driver is prompting thru touching of the gas pedal or brake pedal. We've had it in to our local dealerships service department complaining about these conditions, they insist the car is working as designed. If so, Ford is in denial and most certainly appears to be a design flaw. I describe these concerns as if I was having to learn how to drive, all over again. This vehicle is dangerous to drive, safety should always be everyone's number concern. Ditto, the vehicle is not safe either. What is it going to take from Ford to admit and resolve this problem, an injury accident? I hope not. Then, top that off, we bought this specific vehicle for towing purposes. The factory requires the cpu and entire electrical system must be disconnected to tow. Unfortunately, each time the cpu is turned back on (reconnect the negative wire at battery), the cpu thinks it is new, thus, the lunging, sporadic shifting starts all over again. Help... Ford won't listen. Thank you

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #50

Sep 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,750 miles


My boyfriend and I bought a 2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback on September first. After driving the car for a couple of days my boyfriend noticed that the transmission was not right but he thought this was happening just because the car was new. Then, when driving to work I noticed that when I stopped on any incline street between taking the foot off the brake and placing it on the accelerator, the car rolled back quite quickly to the point that I almost hit the car behind me. Days later, I started to feel that the steering required both hands at all times. It was constantly wandering and shaky specially during turns. To top it off on September 27th something terrible happened. I was in the drive way, I shifted from reverse to drive and the car took off at a lurch. The car accelerated so rapidly even with my foot on the brake pedal. I lost complete control of the vehicle. The car failed to slow down hitting two cars and tearing down a fence. I could finally stop the car when I quickly shifted to park. I do not understand how Ford sells this car with all these problems risking people's lives. This is a serious issue. How many fatalities are they waiting for" are they going to do something ever about these malfunctions" this is ridiculous if I have known all these issues with this car, I would have never bought it for sure.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #49

Aug 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
3 separate incidents have occurred in my 2012 Ford Focus all related to the transmission. The first incident occurred on August 25, 2012 while traveling at 40 mph, I suddenly lost power between the gas pedal and the car itself. The RPM's continued to climb but the car was no longer moving. Took to Ford dealer to be serviced and was told they could not find a problem. The next incident occurred on September 8, 2012 - not necessarily a safety concern but contributes to overall problem - pulling out of a parking lot, placed car in reverse, it did not move. Took to Ford dealer where the transmission was "reprogrammed". the most recent incident occurred on September 9, 2012, I pulled out into 35 mph traffic, my car would not shift out of first gear, going 10 mph and "revving" but not accelerating fast enough to stay ahead of traffic. Had car towed to Ford dealer where it is at this time.

- Va Beach , VA, USA

problem #48

Jun 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The rolling back problem came first. When you are stopped on any incline, between taking your foot off of the brake and placing it on the accelerator, the car rolls back quite quickly, and I have almost hit the car behind me. The steering problems came a little later. The steering requires both hands at all times, and even then it is quite shaky. I feel car sick when I am the passenger because there is so much side to side movement. During turns, the engine feels like it is cutting out, it loses so much power, and I have to push the accelerator extremely hard just to get enough power to finish the turn. The scariest of all of the problems happens at higher speeds. It has happened to me three times. When I am driving on the freeway (60-70mph) and I begin to slow down, the steering gets out of control and goes back and forth so rapidly, I hold on for dear life trying to keep it in the lane, and the braking is not as efficient as it should be when this happens, and I have nearly escaped hitting the car in front of me. When I have been in this situation, I have started to brake right when I see the brake lights ahead, and I have had ample space to stop gradually and safely if I were driving a normal car, but in this car, it is out of control and the brakes won't work well when this is happening. This has happened on dry roads. This car terrifies me and the rain and ice haven't even hit yet. After I experienced these problems, I looked on the internet and was surprised to see how many others are having them too. The shop had my car for 13 days and they called me and said that it is "perfect" and they didn't fix anything and to come pick it up. I bought this car in June, it is now September, it had 1074 miles when I took it to the shop. I left it there for now, I am terrified of this car and unfortunately I own it...updated 09-26-12 updated 10/01/2012

- Troutdale, OR, USA

problem #47

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
When accelerating, whether from a dead stop or coasting, 1st, 2nd (& now starting to do it in 3rd) gears audibly rattle and clunk. Very slow response time when accelerating after car is "warmed up." The more it is driven in stop and go and/or city traffic, the worse the acceleration (and rattling when shifting) becomes. So much so that when trying to pull out into traffic on 09/04/12 I thought the car would be hit. I had 3 kids in the car with me! and I always allow plenty of time to pull out because of this issue. It has been a near constant issue with this car which was purchased in May 2011. Car jerks when accelerating in stop and go traffic and will sometimes "jump" and rev into a higher speed. All the above issues had been addressed and "fixed" twice before the "customer satisfaction" recalls were sent out in May. Issues are resolved for a limited amount of time and then start happening again. Car still rolling back when brake is released at a stop on slight inclines. Another "customer satisfaction" recall. Minor issues: Barely be heard when speaking on the "sync" system while driving *clock changes time randomly *rear defroster doesn't automatically turn off speed changes after car is turned off to a random speed setting *radio will change to a random station *sometimes* after making a phone call.

- Harper Woods, MI, USA

problem #46

Aug 272012


  • 4,954 miles


The contact rented a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would abnormaly jerk forward or backward when shifted into drive. The contact did not notify the rental vehicle company or the manufacturer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 4,954.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #45

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
On 8/27/2012 I drove off the car lot with 7 miles on my new car. I noticed a little bit of rough shifting as the day passed. On 8/28 the car started bucking and jerking during acceleration. There was little power on inclines. The problem progressively got worse through the day. I set up an appointment to drop off for service the next day. Took in for service on 8/29 and was told that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The car had 187 miles on it. On 8/30 I was told the car was fixed and I picked up my car. Within a few miles the problem was back, but worse this time. I had some slight noise coming from the engine when the car was bucking and jerking. It almost stalled on a busy highway in rush hour traffic several times while on my way back to the dealer. It was struggling. The car is back in service with 220 miles on it. Now they want to keep it for at least 3-4 days. 8/31 I was asked to drive the car with the mechanic to see if problem would reoccur. With the exception of a kick while pulling out of the dealership, the car drove ok, although we only drove around a block together. Sales manager says that if the mechanic can't find any further problem, then I have to take the car back into my possession since it's my car. He says that sometimes things happen and I have to deal with it and let the mechanics do their job. I've had the car in my possession under 30 hours since I purchased it on 8/27. The car also has an issue with rolling back on an incline.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #44

Apr 282012


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that once he shifted to drive and attempted to accelerate, the vehicle started to shake and lunge forward. The contact also stated that when the vehicle shifted from 1st gear to 2nd gear it hesitated and made a loud grinding noise and independently reverted back to 1st gear. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and was told that this behavior was normal and provided a letter from the manufacturer instructing the dealers not to repair those failures. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 16,000.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #43

Aug 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,225 miles
Recall done --not fixed abc control system. Still rolls back at incline. Accident parking lot stopped shifted from drive to park (thought) open door stepped out car started rolling back jumped back in not to get run over to hit brake pedal. Front door open hit parked truck (accident) destroyed my drivers door with major damage to door and some damaged to parked truck. Had friend in the passenger sit and saw what happened. VIN# [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #42

Aug 222012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the engine began to vibrate and make a lot of noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that a part in the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was not available.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #41

Aug 152012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,400 miles
My vehicle attempts to stall when stopping or when, from a standing position, attempts to stall again. The vehicle has shut off when the low fuel light turns on and I mean immediately. The vehicle will fail to turn on in the mornings at times. It will take a few turns of the key and then it will start.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #40

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 4,800 miles
Vehicle rolls back after I begin to accelerate when I am stopped at a red light. I did receive a recall notice that had this type of problem listed. Vehicle had about 4700 miles on it. I took it in and they claimed that they fixed it but it could take up to 6 months for the "adjustment" to take place. This did not sound reasonable to me but they would not do anything further. This is definitely a safety issue when you are stopped in traffic.

- Hornbeck, LA, USA

problem #39

Dec 072011


  • 350 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the transmission began to hesitate in a jerking motion and the vehicle stalled. The engine restarted and the vehicle was able to resume. In addition, on a separate occassion the transmission warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel for a few seconds. The failures occurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer eight times for the same malfunction. A diagnosis was performed in which a trouble code was not detected. The computer system, ABS, and drive train were reprogrammed more than one time. The failure persisted and the dealer was unable to resolve the problem. The manufacturer and dealer stated that the vehicle functioned as designed. The approximate failure mileage was 350.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #38

May 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
I am an owner of 2012 Ford Focus. My car rolls back every time I took my foot off the brake on a hill. It rolls so fast! it's really unsafe and scary; especially I have my 4 year old daughter riding at the back seat. I went to the dealership last month but the issue was never solved. The service man told me that it is normal for the car with automatic transmission to roll back when you're up the hill. I never had this kind of issue with my other cars before. I hope Ford will do a recall for all 2012 Focus.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #37

Mar 282012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact was uncertain of the speed being driven when approaching a traffic stop signal. When the brake was applied the vehicle began to roll backwards for a few seconds. The failure occurred whenever at a complete stop. The manufacturer offered a customer satisfaction program regarding the unintended rolling issue. The vehicle was repaired and the failure recurred. The vehicle had not been diagnosed for the most recent failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100.

- Archbald, PA, USA

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