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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Ford Focus:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 6 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #616

Apr 252016


  • 40,000 miles


Since we purchased the car new in 2012 it has not operated properly. I understand it is a hybrid transmission and feels different from other automatic transmissions. That is not the problem. The problem is that the car shudders and jerks forward when you step on the accelerator. We have taken the car in for this problem and have been told there is no problem. Yet there have been about three recall or transmission updates. The last recall was serviced in January 2016. Several times I have had to pull off the road and recently the car's engine light came on had to have the vehicle towed to valley isle Ford because the car would not drive. There response after resetting the check engine light was that the car drove fine. I went to pick the car up and I barely made it home. The car again needs to towed back to the dealer. This model needs to be recalled and have the transmission replaced as it will never be able to be fixed.

- Wailuku, HI, USA

problem #615

Apr 262016


  • 102,000 miles
Powertrain is slipping, car lunges forward when presses on brake, rolls when gear, and the powertrain light turns on. This is the second/third time that this has happened.

- Onset, MA, USA

problem #614

Mar 042016


  • 50,000 miles
I have taken my car into two separate Ford dealerships (elder Ford and bill currie Ford, both located in tampa, fl) for service due to the transmission audibly grinding and the car literally shaking on take off. It sounds like the car is going to die at any moment. Each time I have taken it in, I was told it just needed to be "re-programmed". they would do that then send me on my way only for me to return a month or two later with the same issue. This past time, they replaced the transmission control module again only for the transmission to fail once more. While driving home, my car inexplicably stopped running in the middle of traffic on a busy street. The dashboard showed a transmission malfunction and to get it serviced immediately. I have called Ford's corporate office and they keep telling me to speak with a customer service manager who just refers me back to the dealership for repairs. What if the car had stopped the way it did while I was on the expressway? this is not a safe vehicle and Ford doesn't seem to care. I have copies of the documentation from each time the car was serviced for this issue. I am writing because I am at my wits end and I have given Ford multiple opportunities to get this corrected and they keep trying to put a band-aid on it. I have done my own research and this problem is a very common one among this particular model of vehicle. I want to make sure that awareness is brought to this so that hopefully something can be done before something tragic happens.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #613

Jul 222012


  • 1,000 miles


Clutch in trans. Skipping. This has and still happening two months after purchase, .been in Ford dealer ( park Ford ) wesley chapel fl. Several times, still reacting the same.very aggravating.sooner or later it's going to jam, causing an accident. Ray beaudoin

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #612

Apr 032013


  • 31,000 miles
Sometimes upon cranking the car and trying to put the car in gear it comes up "transmission not ready" and will not engage. Upon takeoff, it jerks and shudders every time. Going up any kind of incline, it grinds and shakes or shudders. It never takes off smoothly and I am afraid that I am going to get stranded any time due to this. However, technicians tell me all this is normal - it is not!!!!! I am told this is due to a new type of engine - however it does appear to be very faulty. This happens on a daily basis - whether I am on the highway, a two lane road or in a parking lot. This has happened lots of times and I have records where I have taken this to the Ford dealership around six times since I purchased it.

- Cullowhee, NC, USA

problem #611

Oct 162015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle started to vibrate. The contact stated that the accelerator pedal was depressed; however, there was a hesitation before the vehicle responded. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the repair failed to remedy the issue. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage and VIN were unavailable.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #610

Apr 032016


  • 61,000 miles


Car hesitates when at low speed; terrible grinding noise when going uphill especially when stop start on a hill. Gears slip while driving; I have owned and driven manual transmissions as well as automatic transmissions that can switch to manual but never experienced anything like this. Today my car would not start: All the interior lights came on just fine- definitely not the battery. Error message on the dash said "parking assist malfunction" - this ended up to be..... the transmission control module. There is definitely something wrong with the way these transmissions were made.

- Nanticoke, PA, USA

problem #609

Mar 012015


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at various speeds, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted. Approximately 30 seconds later, the engine stalled and did not restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the control module and the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired five times, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was inoperable. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 40,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #608

May 152015


  • 13,000 miles
The transmission jerks and will not shift to gears

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #607

Mar 272016


  • 44,000 miles
I bought the car used in July of 2014 with about 23,000 miles. Shortly after buying the vehicle, I experienced the transmission making grinding sounds and shuddering during acceleration. Generally after the vehicle is warmed up and been on a drive. A reprogram was done and I went back to the dealership for the same problem a few weeks later. At this point, with about 30,000 miles, a new clutch and plates were installed. The vehicle performed fine for about 5,000 more miles. The shuddering and grinding noises have returned. The transmission has been reprogrammed twice since the new clutch. I currently have about 45,000 miles. Ford will only reprogram or repair the vehicle if the shudder is outside of a certain range and attempts how to explain this is normal. I am still under factory power train warranty but it is like an act of congress to get the issue resolved. This is a recurring problem and I have been to the various dealerships at least 5 times for help. The transmission will sometimes jerk and struggle to accelerate. Really concerned about my safety and others. I have had this issue from about September 2014 to the present day.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #606

Mar 232016


  • 96,000 miles


Since the introduction of dual clutch technology, beginning with 2012 Ford Focus models, there have been numerous documented cases of transmission problems. At least two recalls were to address the sluggish shifting. In my case the transmission has never functioned adequately, however I never experienced total failure. On March 15th, in heavy interstate traffic, the transmission experienced a failure. The engine warning light illuminated and the car would not propel forward, even in drive. I turned the vehicles ignition to off then on. That reset the system and I drove home. Now just yesterday, March 23rd, the same thing occurred, however this time I had to tow the car to a Ford service shop. In these events the warning light illuminates and the dashboard indicators flash. The car then idles and shakes failing to propel forward. This is a major safety hazard and I am reading this is a common occurrence with this model year. Serious injuries can occur with this type of failure while driving in traffic congested areas. Ford has not adequately addressed the issue and no resolution exists at this point. A class action lawsuit is in process against Ford due to this issue. This is a very serious matter which should be addressed aggressively and promptly. The vehicle was in motion on an interstate expressway. Note the recalls for their automatic transmission.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #605

Apr 012015


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle hesitated and "pull over for six minutes" was displayed across the message board. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic on multiple occasions who diagnosed that the transmission and multiple other parts needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 14,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Louiseville, KY, USA

problem #604

Mar 182016


  • 44,000 miles
The transmission on this car is horrendous! I frequently experience severe grinding and shuddering when accelerating and have experienced complete stall outs when turning/merging onto roads and lanes. It is absolutely unsafe and have brought this up to the regional manager of Ford during my current complaint with them. Their response? that it's my fault for how I am driving the car. I am waiting my 3rd clutch replacement due to a 3-5 week backorder due to the frequency of this issue but it's somehow my specific driving causing the problem. Worst of all is that their own service rep admits to this being a patch, not a solution. I will experience good performance for 2-3 months and then the problems will begin again.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #603

Mar 192016


  • 89,900 miles
Got in my car on a Saturday morning to go to work. Noticed the transmission was shifting very roughly. As the day progressed, I noticed that when it shifted into 3rd, the RPM's would jump from 3500 and take a while to go back down into 2000rpms. In the afternoon, cranked my car up and now my check engine light is on. The shifting has gotten progressively worse. What makes this even worse is I have already had my transmission control module replaced once. I took it into the dealership on Monday after not driving it all day Sunday. I noticed as I got on the highway to get to the dealership, as my car shifted into 5th or 6th it went from 3500 RPM to 4500 RPM. I am afraid to drive this car! got to the dealership finally only to be told they are 2 weeks behind on transmissions and that they can't look at my car till at least Thursday. I have the extended warranty and won't be able to get a rental till they diagnose it. I will never own another Ford. This is unacceptable!

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #602

Aug 012013


  • 25,888 miles
Takata recall. My 2012 Ford Focus has multiple transmission issues. Including overheating issues, transmission seizure all while in motion in a straight direction on city streets and interstate highways. Constant vibration, shifting in and out of overdrive and shifting gears at the wrong moment. This has put not only myself in great danger but the passengers in my car and of course other drivers near by. I have been told it is being caused by the transmission control module which, to my knowledge, as stated by the dealership has been both reprogrammed and in some cases replaced due to damage of some sort. Replacement or reprogramming the (tcm) has never cured any issues. I've been going back and forth between Ford Motor Company and my law firm with this nonsense to no avail to date. My attorney has written a letter and called Ford Motor Company stating my concerns and Ford responded with a small list of instructions as to what to send to their company (from the written letter but the phone call message was ignored). I followed every instruction Ford gave and since then nothing further has been addressed by Ford and I am still driving this very questionable product produced by Ford. This issue is a problem for many 2012 Ford Focus owners. I am asking that Ford steps up and takes responsibility for this known and dangerous issue before someone gets hurt or killed. Ford seems to not care about their current customers and shows little respect for others as this vehicle (and many others) is still being driven. I have been a loyal Ford customer for over twenty years and now I am being disrespected and ignored. Evidently, Ford's customer service leaves little to be desired as well. Ford, I am asking you to step up and own your responsibility, as it seems to me and many others, your company is failing. Restore faith in american auto makers and do the right thing.

- Merrillville, IN, USA

problem #601

Mar 172016


  • 72,000 miles
1st time - car died on the highway and wouldn't drive. I took it to the closest dealership which was joe cooper Ford. Said that they couldn't cover a rental and reprogrammed the control module and said it was fixed. 2nd time - car died again so took back into joe cooper because they said they fixed it the first time. Checked in by adam (rude) and went and got rental again. Dealership covered this time. Car was there for 7 days before I had to call to find out what was going on and I was told that adam who checked me in took no notes and it had been setting there not being looked at. Finally was looked at after 11 days and told the clutch test was "not bad enough" to warrant it to be fixed under warranty and we would do out of pocket. They also said "we were not used to an automatic and not used to a standard because this car had an automatic clutch for its standard option". 3rd time - took in and they recognized me and said right away we can't cover this rental and they can't get to it for 2 weeks. I called Ford Motor Company to get help. At first I was told the same thing but asked for supervisor and received a call back 3 hours later that Ford would cover only 3 days of the rental.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #600

Jul 052012


  • miles
My car has transmission problems. Every single time I start and stop the car shudders and hesitates. The car is unsafe to drive. Also the car's cruise control broke within 3 months of owning the car, it was fixed and then broke again a month later. And hasn't worked in 2 years. This car is junk. I have taken it to three different Ford dealerships and they refused to fix the problem. They would tell me there was nothing wrong with the transmission it was the way I drive. Every time I took it in for the cruise control Ford would tell me that they were unable to fix the problem because the cruise was working that day, when it never worked for me. They refused to fix the problems and I finally ran out of a warranty and gave up. I don't have the money to pay to have this car fixed when I bought a brand new car I college to not have to worry about getting work done to a car. This has been the biggest disappointment and I just want them to be recalled. Ford owes it to all the customers that are currently stuck with this car and paying big money for a car that doesn't work. I don't not feel safe allowing my family in the car because it is too dangerous to drive. It stresses me out on a daily basis having to drive this car and never knowing when it's going to stop working. I have been having there problems since I bought the car in July of 2012.

- Oak Harbor, OH, USA

problem #599

Mar 152016


  • 69,359 miles
Vehicle failed to move after transmission malfunctioned at 69,359mi after a few minutes the vehicle was operational enough to move off the highway to park it for the night.

- Magnolia, DE, USA

problem #598

Oct 272014


  • 43,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle felt as if it were jumping in and out of gear. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be reprogrammed. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred several times. The transmission jumped out of gear and the vehicle could not be driven. The vehicle was towed. It was diagnosed again as needing a new transmission module and clutch. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure kept recurring. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, extended the warranty, and placed an emergency order for the parts. The contact was informed the parts would not become available for a few weeks. The contact also wanted to file a complaint against Ford Motor Company because she was unsatisfied. The failure mileage was 43,500.

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #597

Mar 092016


  • 40,000 miles
Even after reprogramming the transmission control module, the car continues to present bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, and delayed acceleration, as well as lurching. Today, the transmission control module completely failed to start the vehicle, although all other electrical works.

- Madison, WI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?