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 5 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #636

Jul 252016


  • 26,000 miles


I bought a 2012 Focus in 2015 with 14,690 miles on it. After a couple of weeks I noticed problems with the transmission but tried to think positive and say it can't be. As the days and weeks went on it got worse and worse the cranking noise the lack of acceleration and deceleration, the shuddering, etc.. then I get a recall letter from Ford motor stating there's a recall on the transmission and if affected have dealer take care of it, so I called the dealer and asked if they could give me a loaner since I have a severely disabled 8 yr old daughter that I must have transportation in case of any emergency they told me no loaners, so I called Ford motor told them my issue and they also said no loaners. I took the car and I got it back the same day they told me it just had to be reprogrammed ok so a week later the same thing started but I have to work as well so I can't take off from work so easily, so I just kept driving it since the service manager assured me it will never stall. Well it did just this week right in the middle of the road with the red malfunction light on. I was stuck I waited a few mins in the boiling heat with my daughter and restarted the car, needless to say it's going back to the dealer again. It's a hazard driving this car thank god no one hit me on the road. With this car you can have a major accident it is the unsafest car you could drive.

- Franklin Square, NY, USA

problem #635

Jul 222016


  • 74,000 miles
2 major issues: Transmission would sudden drop out of gear while driving. Several times I was on the highway and it would drop into neutral, leaving me no way to control my vehicle. This was fixed with a Ford warranty extension and replacement of the transmission control module (tcm). Now, at 74000 miles, I am having a malfunction of the electronic power steering (eps). Usually right when I start the vehicle and am backing out of my garage, but occasionally also while driving, a warning code appears on the dashboard saying "malfunction: Power steering" and the wheel locks in place. This is very dangerous and the 2012 Focus seems to have lots of major issues.

- Woods Cross, UT, USA

problem #634

Jul 012015


  • 70,000 miles
Tcm recall, I have had to take my car to the shop going on 3 times now for the same issue. My car is loosing power, hesitating to go into gear, and shuddering while driving. My radio is also turning off while driving and does not fix until I turn the car on and off. My transmission feels like its driving. I don't feel safe driving this vehicle and I have started the steps to file a complaint with Ford. I want to drive a safer car I feel like im risking me and my passengers lives when I drive this car. I love it but I just want to feel safe and want to feel like my auto company cares about its drivers. Once when they first fixed the tcm I drove it off the lot and got a transmission error message and they had to come take it back to the dealer. When I pull off at a light my car shakes until it gets to 20mph then it still shudders a bit until it gets about 50 mph

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #633

Jun 082016


  • miles


I've had problems with the transmission from the start. I've had the trans control module replaced twice. Problems include delayed starts, shuttering when shifting, revving high when about to shift, or sticking in gear and not shifting when it should. I kept taking it in, and each time they told me they couldn't find a code, so they couldn't fix it. They finally replaced the tcm, when my car just stopped in the middle lane, during rush hour traffic on the freeway. I couldn't get it to move, so I shut it off, then it wouldn't start again. It took emergency vehicles to get me to the side of the road because of all the traffic whizzing by. The second time they replaced it, I was on vacation, and my car kept sticking in gear, but the service engine soon light came on this time so they had a code to go by.

- Pinon Hills, CA, USA

problem #632

Jul 072016


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 20 mph, the transmission lost power. When the shift lever was placed in the drive position and the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle shuddered and failed to respond. The contact also stated that while attempting to traverse a hill, the transmission lost power and the vehicle rolled backwards down the hill. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact stated that the power train control module and transmission control module were reprogrammed, but the failure recurred five times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 13,000. Updated 01/05/17

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #631

Jul 132016


  • 59,100 miles
This is not the first time this auto manual transmission has caused problems. When I have taken this vehicle in for service and asked them to look at the transmission and when I have explained what it does they said that is how it should be. It has acted like it won't go and it has rolled back on hills. It has shuttered and stuttered to change gears. Finally it didn't and it was in traffic on a 70 mph highway. While driving in rush hour traffic - not stop and go - just morning traffic with several other drivers on a 70 mph the Ford Focus stopped accelerating. The car would not go past 40-45mph. I had to turn my hazards on and try to keep going and work my way over to the shoulder. It was difficult and very dangerous. I couldn't get over as quick as I would have liked and I could have died! the car wouldn't shift gears. It is like it was stuck in between and then it wouldn't really slow down and finally I had to coast on the shoulder to a stop. I was almost at an exit so I thought I would try to get off to a quick parking lot. But then it wouldn't go. It wasn't stopped, but it wasn't driving. Then a message indicated hot transmission and I waited as it indicated to let it cool. Finally it cleared and no more message. I tried to go again on the shoulder to get to a safe parking lot or something and it went for a minute got stuck at 40 mph and started to slow. The car's throttle was going and revving but nothing. I had to coast to a stop. Let it cool and then I just tried to go to this wide part of the shoulder on the exit ramp so it would be safe to get a tow and get my stuff out of my car to my husband's car. I got a tow to a local Ford shop and they said "you have to drive it differently." A car that I have had 4ish years, now I have to drive it differently" how do I drive to where it doesn't stop working" this should never happen!

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #630

Jan 122016

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle vibrated and jerked forward when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The vehicle was taken to be repaired, but the issue recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 30,000. Updated 09/06/16 the consumer stated the vehicle hesitated at low RPM's upon take off. Updated 09/08/16.

- Whitehall, PA, USA

problem #629

Jun 062012


  • miles
From the day purchased, transmission shudders while driving, going up a hill or taking off. Took to dealer and they said that's normal.

- Moca, PR, USA

problem #628

Jun 022016


  • 96,886 miles
I bought my 2012 Ford Focus new. Ford has replaced my transmission/seals/ clutches four times thus far. I have had to schedule three appts with paul miller Ford in lexington ky since transmission #4. the first & second inspection passed all tests, 'it's within parameters' was the only response the technician would tell me. My third appt, my transmission failed & now need yet another transmission. Ford says my vehicle 'safe to drive'. will take 2-3 months for parts. Focus continues to: Shift erratic, RPM needle in 6-7 range, transmission slips, jerks, hestitates, boggs down, delayed acceleration, shudders, surges forward when stopping, decreased fuel mileage, and transmission is leaking. The cover for under carriage is covered/caked with transmission oil. How can this vehicle be safe to drive when clearly testing indicates the transmission has failed.

- Lawrenceburg, KY, USA

problem #627

Jul 022016


  • 1,500,053 miles
Tcm problems wife pulled out to a residential intersection and the car stalled, luckily no cars we're coming at the time she called me and was scared she didn't know what to do it took me I'm out 30 minutes to get to her meanwhile cars were backing up and going around her we pulled it into my mother-in-law's driveway which was near and ask my brother-in-law that is a mechanic to check it out and he indicated that it was the tcm that was out I have had problems with my transmission about six months after I bought it new it finally went out. I use this car to go to work I am a state circuit rider and put a lot of mileage on my car ilearn to deal with the sluggish transmission because of the dealers indicated they couldn't do anything about it just to reprogram the transmission that was done and that was the only thing that for done for my vehicle. After Ford indicated recall I had too many mileage on my vehicle to qualify it was just barely over 50,000 miles the first time. Second letter indicated for me to take the vehicle in to be checked but the dealer mechanic said that they had to physically hear or feel the shuddering of the transmission before they could program it again this went on until I had no warranty on my vehicle. The vehicle with sometimes do the shuttering or skipping of the transmission not all the time that's why the dealer said that he could not do it until it was doing it for him. So I learned to ignore the shuddering and skipping of the transmission and adapted to driving with it butt when my wife drove the car and it finally died on her that is too much to deal with.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #626

Jul 012016


  • 70,000 miles


We purchased this car new in August of 2012 and have had nothing but problems with the transmission. Jerking, stuttering, etc. Clutch has been replaced by Ford at least three times under warranty to only fail again. Ford has extended the warranty to 100,000 due to their known faulty design but has yet to fix the problem. Owners will be left with a car that is unsafe, expensive to maintain and / or unusable once the warranty expires. We have had problems on the highway and is city driving. Currently the car will not go above 30 miles and hour and no support from local Ford dealer or Ford corporate on getting rental car until they can finally fit us in 4 days from now. Mind you this car is under warranty and is a known defect they've yet to fix. Why after five years of known problems has this car not been recalled" how many people have to die in accidents before something is done" listed today's date as date of date of incident although this is just the lastest in a long line of headaches and transmission problems we've experienced since buying this car.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #625

May 212016


  • 94,000 miles
I have had my Ford Focus since 2012. Bought new. Noticed roll back at stop signs and definitely on hills. Had it looked at, was told it was fixed and as good as it is going to get. Still rolls back. One night put car in reverse. It didn't move. Shut it off three times, it finally reset. Talked to the dealership about this. Said they have never heard of this happening. Have noticed a little jerking here and there. One day, June 2016, drove the car to downtown madison, parked in a ramp. All was fine. Got back in and started it up to bells and whistles telling us the transmission malfunctioned and to have it serviced immediately. Car would not shift properly. Had the transmission control module replaced. Two weeks later, 350 miles from home, after passing a semi, pulled back into the right lane and 10 minutes down the road, car refused to accelerate. It would rev up to 4500 RPM's but not move. All the way home. Going up hill, same thing. Get on a straight away and it moved fine, but to start off and stop lights and intersections, it would start slowly. But RPM's would rev every time. Dealership just called. The work they did is "fine", now running a diagnostic on the powertrain. Already 100 dollars in. Not a happy camper at this moment.

- Cross Plains, WI, USA

problem #624

Jun 152016


  • 111,000 miles
Ever since we purchased the vehicle brand new, the vehicle has shuddered and had transmission issues. For dis refusing to fix the issue. I was left stranded on the road because the tcm had to be replaced. PCM and tcm have been reprogrammed multiple times and the clutch has been replaced in it 3 or 4 times as well. Ford keeps saying that this is normal and how it should operate the shudder and jerkign happens mostly when taking off froma stop like at a stop light

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #623

Apr 282016

Focus 4-cyl

  • 10 miles
Ford Focus SE 2012 [xxx] purchased 08/25/2011. Since new, the vehicle shudder and shake because transmission problems. It was again on the dealer in May 2016 for 2 weeks, after having to wait 20 days for the parts to arrive, at pines Ford in pembroke pines, fl. During this repair also, one of the engine mounts was found broke and the dealer and Ford Motor Company refused to pay for the replacement and the labor, $ 250 dollars total. Really" for an engine mount? the dealership service advisor referred to the engine mount as a "tear and wear" part. Really? this is the first time in my life I have to replace an engine mount on a vehicle 65K miles old. What about all the shuddering and shaking to the engine and transmission component" since new, the car has been at the dealer in more than 8 occasions. In two of this occasions, it took at least 2 weeks to get the car back. The tcm has been replaced and reprogrammed several times, the clutch and or transmission in more than 2 occasions. The dealer service advisor has always tried to convince us that the shuddering and shaking is "normal" as he called. In two occasions the vehicle stall and refuse to come back to life until 30 minutes passed. During last month repair also a case was open with Ford Motor Company on 4/28/2016 [xxx] was closed by [xxx] without our consent. Case is still open and valid. Car is a lemon, plain and simple. ┐information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #622

Jun 072016


  • 56,000 miles
We had to have the front suspension repaired 3 times in the first 5,000 miles. There was a major knocking sound and you could feel movement in the steering wheel when the car was transistioning over a speed bump or into a driveway. Right after this was fixed, after the third replacement of the same parts, the transmission had to be repaired 4 times, 3 times the clutch pack failed which happened regularly every 10,000-12,500 miles. The car would jerk violently during start of moving and then the clutch would slip while driving at speed. The clutch pack was replaced 3 times. The last time the transmission just failed to shift into any gear, forward or reverse, this happened while the car was moving in a parking lot. We are afraid this will happen driving on the street, through an intersection, getting on or driving on a freeway. The dealer looked at it, they said the onboard computer showed a failure code, they reset the code and then stated there was no porblem. When asked why the part that the failure code said was bad was not replaced the dealer stated that there was no problem and just drive the car. If it fails again have the car towed in and they will check again.

- San Jacinto, CA, USA

problem #621

May 262016


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 60 mph, the transmission slipped out of drive into neutral without warning. The contact turned off and restarted the vehicle and it returned to normal. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Concord, AR, USA

problem #620

Jun 022016


  • 26,300 miles
In 2012 I purchased the vehicle from future Ford in sacramento California. Over the past four years, the car has problems with the transmission, PCM module, transmission control module, clutch, starter, steering wheel, electrical system. I took the car to two Ford dealerships for repairs. The service technicians cannot repair the car. I contacted Ford Motor Company many times and they refuse to refund my money and recall the vehicle the car is very dangerous to drive and a risk to my life and safety. Updated 07/19/16

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #619

May 192016


  • 70,000 miles
The car has 70,000 miles on it. It has had 3 oil leaks (1 oil pan & 2 head gasket); I have also had to have the clutch replaced twice. The first time was due to shuddering and the second time was due to a transmission malfunction code. The two clutches were replaced 10,000 miles apart.

- Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #618

Apr 252016


  • 57,000 miles
New 2012 Ford Focus B/C I didn┐T want used car repairs. At 57.2K miles the transmission started to makes noises, automatically shift on its own sometimes to a crawl, roll backwards & lurch forward when stopped at lights/stop signs, no power up hills. The automatic transmission cost $1,000-$1,500 dollars but it drives like a clutch. My mechanic told me Ford extended the transmission warranty to 7 yrs or 100K miles B/C of this. He gave me a copy from hotline archive 1) first perform the transmission adaptive relearns using the factory or equivalent scan tool 2) if these codes are P2831 and/or P2832 return immediately, it is likely there is an internal clutch issue. Note, there is a common concern of internal seals leaking fluid onto the clutch Ford has increased the warranty on the internal seals to 7yrs or 100kmiles. Potential causes: Internal automatic transmission 2) transmission control module adaptive relearn - confirmed fix summary: 3) replace automatic transmission. Prior to contacting my mechanic I called the dealership they were vague about the transmission problem. My researched identified other complaints for the same thing. The dealership told me that the parts are backordered 3 months nationwide but it's ok to drive the car including on the freeway & it won't hurt the transmission anymore than what it is. Later I thought what happens if it damages other non-transmission parts not covered under the transmission warranty - will that cost me out of pocket expenses - actuators/synchros/engine mounts, etc. Ford should have told us about this new european dual clutch/auto transmission technology before they sold the car. I think they knew about the problem at the manufacturing stage & still sold the cars. The 2012 Ford Focus should fall under the lemon act. This is wrong from a consumer & safety stand point - driver, passengers, other vehicles.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #617

Apr 272016


  • 71,015 miles
Ford Focus recall. Car lost all acceleration while driving about 10mph in traffic but electrical stayed on. Luckily it was traffic and I was able to coast to the roadside. Happened first in November 2015, dealer said it was battery dying. Happened again April 27 2016. Now they're saying it's transmission electrical issues.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

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