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 4 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #656

Jul 202016


  • 98,000 miles


My son and I purchased this vehicle used. We had no previous information about all the problems this make and model have had. The cars transmission went out at around 98,067 miles. 07/20/16. Well exactly 600 miles and $2400 dollars later it went out again. Ford has told us that they will not purchase the car back or pay to fix it properly. My son is to leave next week and will be driving from Indiana to seattle. If and when the dealership is done fixing a second time I'm absolutely afraid to even let him drive it that far. This is very unfair to us to let this problem not be recalled. It is not only us but many other Focus owners that are stuck with these horrible cars. If something happens to my son on his way to seattle there will be hell to pay!!

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #655

Aug 192016


  • 57,000 miles
My son and I were leaving a store in my 2012 Ford Focus and had just backed out of a parking space and I put the car in drive. The car rolled backward just an inch and lunged forward and we felt a "bump". got out of the car at that point to see if I had hit something or if something was under the car-there was nothing. Got back in, buckled up and tried to go and the dash lit up with "transmission malfunction" I believe it said and wouldn't go at all. I turned it off and back on and from that point the car dash screen said "service transmission now." I turned the car off and called my husband in tears to come and get us. I just got this car a couple months ago and I ended up with a lemon. After I bought this car I noticed it becoming more and more jerky and lurching and/or rolling back. It was a progressive thing, constantly getting worse until finally it just gave. The car has been in the shop now for two weeks and I have been having to rely on sharing my husband's vehicle and rides from others and the dealership says that the part is on backorder. The latest is that when my husband called last week, he was told that it was on emergency backorder. When asked about a time frame, they said that they had no idea. It could be three days, two weeks, or a month-who knows? I am beyond upset and disgusted!!!!!! I am paying a car payment for a car that isn't driveable, have no idea when it will be fixed, and apparently they cannot get the parts. Someone please tell me what to do!!!! I have never in my life had a car with a problem like this-and no idea when I will have my car to drive again! there needs to be a recall on these faulty transmissions-from searching the internet, I am far from alone in this issue.

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #654

Sep 012016


  • miles
I have no clue why these vehicles (including the 2011 Focus, and 2011 & 2012 fiestas) have not been officially recalled. I have now taken my car in 8 times for transmission issues. I have had the clutched replaced twice (25K miles apart between 2 amd 3) and had the computer rebooted 3 times. The cars shutter, shake, stall, have a poor response (especially if you need to floor it for safety) and nothing! I contacted Ford and pretty much told me tough, it is what it is. There is no fix for the transmission issue as a new system cannot be installed and really crappy parts are being used as a cheap alternative. My car is a safety issue and do not feel comfortable driving it.

- Winnetka, CA, USA

problem #653

Sep 022016


  • 82,000 miles


We bought my wifes Focus with about 22K miles on it in June 2013. Since then we've brought it in 4 times to have the transmission "shutter" fixed. As of today the problem still exists but it isn't bad enough for them to fix it again. It mostly shutters from 1st to 2nd gear reaching upwards of 2800 RPM. Just shy of their 3000 RPM requirement. The car will shake and sometimes make a clunk and we're told to keep driving it.

- Bangor, ME, USA

problem #652

Jul 252015


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle stuttered without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission clutch failed. The vehicle was repaired under warranty. Seven months later, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was serviced for the same failure. In addition, the vehicle was unable to shift gears and the engine indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission clutch and transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 46,000.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #651

Aug 272016


  • 60,000 miles
My daughter was driving the car at a very high speed, the vehicle died suddenly, and she was forced to "glide" into the median. Took vehicle into dealership, and was told the trans module is on a "replacement program", and that the module is on back order. I was told that I could rent a car because there is nothing I could do. Most importantly, when I reminded the gentleman this was a safety issue, I was told that its really not a concern.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

problem #650

Aug 262016


  • 75,000 miles


While traveling home from work, my car stalled briefly on main street. I immediately pulled into a parking lot to get my car out of the street. I turned it off and back on and resumed driving. I made it to my destination and got in the vehicle to drive again and the car would run go anywhere. The Ford dealership said to bring it to their shop for a diagnosis. I was on the way to take my 2012 Ford Focus titanium to the service department at empire Ford in abingdon, va. They stated the car would be ok to drive if I could get the vehicle to go forwards. I was traveling 65 mph down the interstate and the vehicle stalled out on the interstate. I tried to give the car fuel and began pressing the gas and the car would not move. Speed limit is 70 and 70-75 mph cars were coming towards me. I was forced to cross over the on ramp where cars were merging on to the interstate to get to the emergency side of the interstate. It was a pretty scary event and I felt that my life was put in danger. So, now Ford is saying there is nothing they can do but fix the tcm (transmission control module). There is no fix!!!! if there was, I feel like it would have already happened. So I am stuck with a vehicle that has been in the shop five times now for transmission issues. It is clearly unsafe to drive. What is it going to take in order for Ford to see there is not a fix for these models, someone losing their life?

- Meadowview, VA, USA

problem #649

Aug 012016


  • 30,000 miles
This has been an ongoing problem. The transmission in my Ford has stopped functioning and left me sitting on the side of the interstate many times. I have been lucky in that I have only been stranded in a traffic lane once. I have taken it to Ford and gone through the same things that so many people have already stated: First they blamed it on insufficient electrical grounds, then they charged me $200 to reprogram the transmission control module. The transmission then failed in the dealers lot. I finally had the tcm replaced under recall in fenruary 2015 and have been lucky when compared to many others. The vehicle has recently begun shaking violently, lurching forward, and sometimes not moving forward at all. I never know what gear I will get when I press the accelerator or if I will get a forward gear at all. The most dangerous thing is the unpredictability. It happens frequently at highway speeds but city driving is intolerable. The Ford mechanic told me I need a new tcm (again?), both clutches, and the slave cylinder replaced. I asked how long I could expect that repair to last. He admitted - away from other employees - that the vehicle should not be allowed on the road because it is too dangerous. The Ford service consultant advised me to park the car and to sell it but my conscience will not allow me to put someone else at risk by driving it. I have parked the Focus and will not allow anyone to drive it. A used car lot employee told me on 27 August that she refuses to sell them because they are too dangerous. A brief search of the net reveals lawsuits in australia, Canada, Illinois, and California all for the same problems. These vehicles must be recalled and the transmissions must be replaced with a system that actually works, not with the same bad system. It is a matter of time before one of these defective transmissions gets someone killed.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #648

Aug 012016


  • 490,000 miles
I purchased this car used in may of 2015.. I immediately noticed the car running shaky and attributed that to bad fuel. It was intermittent and would come and go. May 2016, my husband, son and I are traveling to his track championship and were stopped at a red light. The light turned green and my husband stepped on the gas to accelerate. The car jerked us all forward hard and would not accelerate with cars honking behind us. We had a message ┐transmission malfunction service now┐. he called a Ford service center and was told my transmission was under two separate recallscar fax report shown at the dealership). We had the car towed to the Ford service center. They explained that there are three steps to try to get this corrected. They performed the first step which was to reprogram the transmission control module. I was driving to work the next day and pulling out into a busy intersection. My car jerked me forward hard and doesn┐T accelerate and I am facing traffic from both directions. I crept out slowly, shudder, shake, shudder shake and narrowly miss a collision from both directions and had the same message ┐transmission malfunction service now┐. I had my car towed for the second step of the recall. The second step is to replace the transmission control module. I am pulling out of a local store and again my car jerks me forward hard and failed to accelerate with a logging truck coming upon the driver's side of my car. Once again, I narrowly escape another collision. Third step of the recall which was to clean the clutches. I got the car back and a week later. Again, my car jerked us both forward hard and wouldn┐T accelerate. My son is yelling ┐mom, get going they are going to hit us┐ as he is looking back at a car that almost hit us from behind while my car fails to accelerate.

- Bradford, ME, USA

problem #647

Nov 192013


  • miles
Transmission dangerously erratic, underpowered, bucking, lurching, fading out on acceleration from stand still. Worse when temperatures are above 70 degrees F. ambient temp. Have had all the service done as per customer satisfaction programs from Ford. Have had it services for transmission chatter issues at 46K, 54K, 59K, 77K. At 59K Ford service replaced clutch with "F asy". clutch was supposedly replaced at 30K. Dangerous when trying to speed up to enter traffic, traffic circles, or avoid contact with other vehicles. Turning causes a great deal of shifting vibrations. Regular automatic transmission mode is lagging and unresponsive in normal driving and lagging in city traffic conditions. From standstill I have had the car lurch and buck forward. Also the car rolls backward in drive on a hill. This Ford had marketed as a feature to not happen. Ford announced the powershift transmission as " powershift will deliver the fuel efficiency of a manual gearbox with the convenience and ease of a premium automatic transmission ┐ the announcement goes on to say "powershift provides the full comfort of an automatic with a more sophisticated driving dynamic, thanks to uninterrupted torque from the dual-clutch technology, which consists essentially of two manual transmissions working in parallel, each with its own independent clutch unit. One clutch carries the uneven gears ┐ 1, 3 and 5 ┐ while the other the even gears ┐ 2, 4 and 6. subsequent gear changes are coordinated between both clutches as they engage and disengage for a seamless delivery of torque to the wheels." The product is the furthest from the description and dangerous on top of the rhetoric.

- Camden, ME, USA

problem #646

Aug 152016


  • 94,000 miles


Ford has a transmission with dry clutches. This transmission has stranded many people in very unsafe situations. The transmission just stops working while driving. Many complaints have people left in the traffic lanes and the cars simply will not move. Fortunately for me I was not on the freeway, but on the feeder to the freeway, and the car just stopped moving. The engine RPM's dropped like it was running out of gas. Then the engine rpms picked up but it wouldn't move. Tried putting it in reverse and still wouldn't move. The tow truck driver had towed this very same car to the dealer 8 months ago. The problem is that the transmission is of such poor quality that the vehicles are in the shop on a regular basis, costing us huge amounts of money to fix. I bought the car 7 months ago with an extended warranty. The car has shuttered and the transmission has slipped pretty much from the time I got the car. Reading many complaints about the car, some from brand new owners in 2012. Really need to research this transmission and engine for that matter.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #645

Aug 162016


  • 33,600 miles
At 9829 miles (11/2013) noticed transmission slipping, jerking, crunching and clutch pac and seals replaced and tcm recalibrated. At 16839 miles (8/2014) brought in for hesitation and shudder and told nothing wrong. At 29324 miles (2/2016) brought in for losing power and surging forward and clutch pack replaced again. At 33K miles car would not move forward in middle of stop and go traffic on coronado bridge. Finally did move after about 30 seconds and then flipping in and out of gear and driving terribly. Afraid to drive. Brought it in and they are replacing transmission control module. Now I am afraid to drive it period. I limit my driving now and would never take it on a long distance drive.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #644

Jul 292016


  • 65,112 miles
Transmission control module failed. Car was not responsive to gas pedal. Would not reliably accelerate, would not reliably brake.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #643

Aug 052016


  • 124,049 miles
I was driving on a city street travelling 50 mph when my car started to stall. I hit the gas and my car jerked and stalled again. Then my car read a message that said "transmission malfunction service now." Once I was able to get to a safe location, I parked my car and it made some funny sound almost like a clunking noise. This is not the first time my car has stalled out and had transmission issues. This is actually the third time I have been driving my car and been scared out of my mind due to my car stalling out while driving.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #642

Aug 022016


  • 27,000 miles
While driving on freeway, transmission failed to provide power upon acceleration

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #641

Aug 012016


  • 39,000 miles
I purchased a used 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in October 2012 that had 29,000 mile on it at the time. I drove the vehicle up to 39,000 and the power steering failed as I was initiating a left turn across traffic. I looked down to see the power steering assist fault error message. The car was out of warranty at that point, and I was out 2,000$ in repairs. I have seen that Ford has recalled other vehicles for the same issue, just not the 2012 Focus yet. In October 2014, I found the hard stuttering upon accelerating and then I received my first recall notice. A new tcm was installed, reprogrammed, along with a new clutch. About two weeks after that the clutch failed and I had to bring it back in for repairs. About 6 months after that I was driving on the highway at around 70 mph and the dashboard lit up with a transmission malfunction, service now error. I took it to the dealership and they replaced the tcm again and reprogrammed. In August 2016, the car is now at around 65,000 miles. I was driving around 40 mph on a busy city street when I received the transmission malfunction, service now error. I just got the car back from the dealership yesterday, the 4th time, with a new tcm that has been reprogrammed. This car is unsafe, and Ford is aware. The technicians I have dealt with all know the exact issue before I explain it to them. I asked for a complaint line, or any options for consumers in my position and was told by both the dealership and the Ford customer service hot line that there are none. I asked the technician at the dealership if they knew they were handing me an unsafe vehicle, and he shook his head then stated he wished there was something they could do but I am out of luck.

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #640

Jul 302016


  • 86,000 miles
I purchased the car from Ford dealer used.transmission acted up after a month took in in and they said it would cost me $200 to look at it.I purchased the 2 year extended warranty, but would still cost me that.I left, a few month later the car would not move and transmission light came insurance towed the car at that time the dealer kept my car for a week, charged me $500 for cables to the battery.1 week later I was driving back from Arizona to Nevada in the middle of the desert and the car light came on again car was shuttering losing power thank god I made it about 2 months later I was driving home from work and turned my driver side door flew open..thank god I wasn't close to oncoming traffic and had seat belt on.however now my driver side door will not close or lock.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #639

Apr 062016


  • 44,250 miles
Transmission is faulty. While driving, the car will slow down, shake, and shudder and will not accelerate. The rpms will increase to 5000-6000. This happens in city driving and highway driving. On the highway the car will slow from 65mph to 40mph without warning and will not accelerate. Very unsafe!!!! the car has been back to Ford dealership several times. Each time they say the car is fixed only to be back with in a week or two for the same problem. Seems Ford does not have a fix for this problem and I dont want the car because someone is going to get injured driving this unsafe car.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #638

Sep 032013


  • 61,312 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle would accelerate or decelerate without warning. When the contact attempted to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle sputtered. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission and the computer chip for the transmission failed. The computer chip needed to be reprogrammed and the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired a total of three times; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 61,312.

- West Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #637

Jul 172016


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 65 mph, the transmission independently shifted into neutral and the rpms increased. The vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the PCM, tcm, and shaft seals were replaced. The failure occurred only after the vehicle was serviced per the manufacturer's voluntary recall in which the clutch and the tcm were replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000.

- York, ME, USA

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