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 8 of 36)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #576

Jan 302016


  • miles


Since purchased new, every 15K-20K transmission failure. 5X changes, now at 85K same issue, transmission jerks hard, doesn't shift. In addition, even with the extended warranty, they are claiming part of the clutch system is not actually covered only a portion of it.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #575

Feb 012016


  • 86,000 miles
The transmission on my vehicle has failed multiple times while driving the vehicle. While driving at idle speeds, the car shakes. The transmission failed while I was turning in an intersection and stalled. It then lurched forward and continued to function in a lurching and jerky manner. Just yesterday, I could not slow the car while traveling at 50 mph, despite pressing the brakes, due to the erratic behavior of the transmission. This lurching, jerking, erratic behavior is extremely dangerous and could potentially be deadly. I have had the transmission worked on a total of three times. Each time, the dealership told me that the problem would be fixed. This is highly irresponsible for Ford to ignore this issue and continue to put customers in harms way. This is an inappropriate way to handle a life-threatening issue.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #574

Jan 312016


  • 45,100 miles
Happening intermittently after a complete stop, highway city and residential roadways the transmission exhibits what appears to be slippage causing a delay of the vehicle to move and accelerate in a manner that I would consider to be safe. This behavior goes back to 06/2012 at that time my transmission clutches were replaced and now again the same problem is happening. After taking the vehicle in for service on 02/01/2016 I made the dealership rep aware and was told it would be looked into. After picking up my vehicle I was told that the "transmission was operating normally at this time" I was also told that Ford has an acceptable amount of slippage considered acceptable and my vehicle was considered "normal" I again explained that this defect occurred intermittently so a tech was not likely to encounter it in a test drive. I do consider this behavior a safety concern and this is the reason that I am filing this report.

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #573

Oct 312013


  • 59,324 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 35 mph, the engine light illuminated that the transmission was hot. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that a faulty seal in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. In addition, when the vehicle was parked on a hill, it drifted in reverse. The vehicle was repaired twice for the same failure; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 59,324. Updated 04/26/16 updated 09/06/16

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #572

Nov 112015


  • 22,511 miles
Power-shift 6 speed transmission. Erratic clutch changes, grinding, hesitation, unwanted gear changes is heavy traffic lower gas mileage. After 3 software updates (January 2013, December 2014, August 2014, Nov 2015), and a parts clutch replacement (December 2014), the car still does not run properly. Car worked fine for a few days, then went back to the same problem. Ford admits that the Focus clutch assembly is defective and on 12 November, 2015, Ford agreed to replace it. However, I am in the 10th week of waiting, and still no clutch. I must use my vehicle and it is getting worse every week. Ford says there is no recall, only a software update. I have noticed that the internet is filled with other Focus owners with the same problem. Even the mechanics at my Ford dealer feel the cars are getting more dangerous as they age. My wife is afraid to drive the car and I have begun to use the manual shift option instead of the drive option.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #571

Jan 052016


  • 78,288 miles
My car has been shuttering and jerking and shaking does not shift into gears and the car dropped and will accelerate by its self. This is an ongoing issue since I bought the car in 2014

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #570

Jun 102015


  • 50,000 miles


I have taken my car in for service 16-18 times for problems with the sync and the transmission since I bought this car. I have had both the sync module and the transmission module reset repeatedly and finally replaced. I have had the clutch replaced twice in two years. The worse incident and the reason for the second clutch was because the car's transmission failed completely while I was driving approx. 45 miles an hour down a very busy two lane city road. I was able to pull over, turn off the car and restart the car and got about 3 miles from home and it failed again. I was literally in the turning lane for my subdivision and it failed again. I had to have the car towed from my house. I was lucky I was not involved in an accident. Ford refused to buy back my car when I requested it. I have copies of my service records as does Cherokee Lincoln Ford of alpharetta, ga.

- Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #569

Mar 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the transmission began to hesitate in a jerking motion and the vehicle stalled without warning. After waiting ten minutes, the vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The vehicle was repaired under the manufacturer's customer satisfaction program where the transmission control module was replaced; however, the transmission continued to exhibit hesitation after the remedy was performed. The contact mentioned that the rear exterior passenger side door failed to unlock until after numerous attempts. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 45,000. Updated 04/08/16 the consumer on a regular basis, while the vehicle was running, passenger had a difficult time exiting the vehicle. The door locks were difficult to unlock. The consumer had to press the door lock repeatedly before they would unlock. The consumer also stated the vehicle would stall at times at intersections. Updated 04/14/16

- Afton, NY, USA

problem #568

Jan 162016


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle began to decelerate unexpectedly while driving on the interstate at 65 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the vehicle was safe to drive. Days after the failure, the key was inserted in the ignition and the transmission malfunction and check engine warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was not returned to the dealer to be diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was approximately 84,000. Updated 04/20/16

- Las Angeles, CA, USA

problem #567

Jun 052015


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that there was a random failure in which the various instrument cluster gauges flashed and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer more than five times, but they could not duplicate or remedy the failure. The manufacturer was notified and provided no solution to the dealer for months. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

- Burbank, IL, USA

problem #566

Jan 122016


  • 60,000 miles


Clutch slipping; 60200 miles on the car. Clutch is slipping as was confirmed by my mechanic. The clutch has to replaced and Ford will not fix it. No reason the clutch should need to be replaced this soon. I have had other manual vehicles where the clutch lasted 150K or even 190K miles. Clearly a faulty design and or product. Buyer beware

- Clifton, VA, USA

problem #565

Jan 012016


  • 54,000 miles
Transmission shutters and slips when hot or when going up steep hills. Transmission will not downshift when pressing harder on gas pedal.

- Zebulon, NC, USA

problem #564

Jan 182016


  • miles
Since September 2014, the transmission has shuddlers, and shakes violenly, while the vehicle accelerates, deaccelerates or even in reverse. The transmission is extremely loud while the vehicle is either drive or reverse as well. My vehicle has been taken to four different Ford dealers at five different for this issue and yet this problem has not repaired. Since September 2014 to present the vehicle issues has worsen by increased excessive noise levels and the drivability as well.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #563

Nov 112015


  • 16,700 miles
Transmission is erratic, you do not know what it might do. It has a shuttering sound coming from underneath the vehicle when going 20-40 miles per hour. Drivers side window does not open and have 'information' light is on for low pressure on tires and aren't currently low. Brakes are making a growling noise when coming to a stop.

- Poplar Grove, IL, USA

problem #562

Jan 042016


  • 29,500 miles
I purchased my car in June 2012. I have had to replace the clutch three times due to issues. I have had to have the roof liner reinstalled as it had come loose. Now, only a month after the $700 repair for the roof, I am now told to pay $950 to repair my brake booster which as broken and messed up the primary shaft. My car has less than 30,000 miles on it and is only 3.5 years old, yet seems to be falling apart now that it is out of warranty. I asked if I had done anything to cause the brake booster to fail, and was told "no, it is just a mechanical failure, " that I have to pay for because it is out of warranty. I was also told that there was no way that the mechanics could have seen the issue, even though it mysteriously started less than 2 weeks after I had it in the shop for over a week. After getting the roof liner and clutch reinstalled I was told that they had also updated all of the software in my car. A little over a week later the check engine light came on as I was stopped at a red light. I thought it was a software glitch as the light turned off when I started driving again. It happened once more about a week or so later, but it was at the same stoplight, so I thought it may be the particular angle of the car at that light or something, but resolved to take it in if it happened again. I was gone for 2 weeks for christmas break, then when I came back the low brake fluid light came on every time I was stopped for more than 30 seconds. I stopped driving my car until I could get it into the shop. So, with less than a month of driving my car since it was last in the shop, apparently $950 in damage was done that, while not my fault "could not have been avoided" and is something I have to pay for if I want my car to be safe to drive.

- Hanover, MD, USA

problem #561

Dec 182015


  • 55,000 miles
I am having issues with the transmission in my vehicle. It has been in the shop 30 days now waiting to have it's 3rd transmission since birth. It has had two reprograms of the module as well. This car is unsafe and dangerous to drive. It shudders and shifts terribly. It seems to want to start in third or fourth gear many times, exposing me to danger when pulling out into the highway. This car needs to be bought back. I had the trans replaced in Oct of 14 and it made it a whole 14 months before needing to be replaced again. The regional customer service manager will not do anything but "expedite" parts that are already on backorder and the service manager at our dealership says are faulty anyway. Ford can't seem to make this work and I am paying the price. There are significant issues on this make of car by multiple owners. It's time they were forced to but these pieces of junk back.

- Beloit, WI, USA

problem #560

Jan 122016


  • 97,000 miles
Focus has been under many recalls and at Ford for repair multiple times for transmission. Every 6 months issues occur causing me to take back into Ford. Last couple weeks I noticed intermittently, when I take foot off accelorator, rpms continue to increase, and car does not slow down, causing me to pump breaks multiple times to be able to stop. Yesterday during a snow storm, I again took foor off accelerator, this time the car again would still continue to drive without my control, causing me to spin out, not once but three times. I did not get hit by other cars as everyone was going slow, but I did have to call into work as my car was not safe to drive. This is now a safety concern for my Focus, and myself, and my paycheck. Something has to give as Ford, has offered nothing but to keep bringing it back when issues occur. This is not appropriate customer service, and I feel there is a huge safety concern for my vehicle.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #559

Dec 242015


  • 45,000 miles
I can spend the remainder of my day regurgitating all the issues those that have proceeded me have detailed or say this. I purchased the 2012 Ford Focus titanium (with everything) it's a great car on the inside and the engine for a 4 cylinder kicks @$$ since 2012 it has had major repair or replacement (not just software updates X3) 4 times.... that's right 4 major transmission issues, 1 new transmission and several rebuilds. This transmission issue will ensure I never buy a Ford again...!!!! final straw christmas 2015 driving down the street looking at the lights enjoying the cold weather, holidays, etc. Car slams (I mean literally we were thrown forward and our seat-belts locked in place) and the awesome sync screen displayed "seek immediate transmission repair"... family and I spent the remainder of the christmas holiday in a rental. Only to be told "glad that did not happen to ya on the highway huh, it was only the transmission control unit that needed to be replaced" imagine what would have happened if I had been at speed on the highway!!! wtf?

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #558

Dec 082015


  • miles
I purchased a 2012 Focus in 2012 in dallas with 7,000 miles on it. Since the very beginning the transmission shutters upon leaving a red light. I took it back and Ford told me it was normal for that model until they came up with a new transmission programming. It was very alarming. I have taken the car to Ford 4 times for the same issue that seemed to be getting worse. Then in March 2015 they came up with the computer reprogramming for the transmission. I took it another 3 times for them to finally decide to reprogram it on my car although it was a recall. Finally, when we thought this would solve the problem, the transmission stopped working the week that they performed the update. Now they are quoting us with $2,200 for a new clutch to be put in a faulty transmission by design. There are several class action lawsuits out there for that transmission. They also told us it was not under warranty. They supposedly sent a "customer satisfaction program" for the clutch in August 2014 to fix the issue that now hit us due to their faulty transmission. However, this letter was never sent to us. We have received every single letter from them but that one and now the car is over the 100,000 mile limit of that customer satisfaction program. We would think that upon our 7 visits for that issue that someone in service would have mentioned that they can fix it for free. Ford has been in complete denial of this transmission issue and will not fix the safety issue that they created although they had the chance to at more than one occasion. The car is no longer operable past first gear and 15mph. 7 visits in which they ignored the danger that we were presenting them...while they perfectly knew a recall was available for it.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #557

Jan 172015


  • 28,000 miles
I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus sel last year. I have had continuous problems with the transmission since purchasing this vehicle. When taking off (shifting from 1st to 2nd gear), the transmission makes a shuddering noise, the vehicle fails to accelerate, and the car bounces as it struggles to shift gears. I believe this problem is well known to Ford since numerous consumer websites have customers with similar complaints. Soon after purchase, I had it back in the service department. I had a technician drive around with me. The technician stated that everything was normal and that the clutch plate just gets dirty by too "gingerly" accelerating. He walked me through how to power brake (holding down the brake, flooring the gas pedal, and then releasing the brake to quickly accelerate through the first 3 gears). This appeared to help for a day or two, but I find it hard to believe that this is the solution for a $12,000 certified pre-owned vehicle that I purchased. I recently received a recall notice claiming that the tcm software needed to be updated and that the transmission warranty would be extended. I had this upgrade completed with no improvement to the situation. The technician that I spoke with said the upgrade will probably not help the shuttering. He suggested again that I give it more gas when accelerating. He said something about it being similar to a stick shift stalling when not enough gas is applied. This does not work. I give it more gas to no avail. I have also recently seen where a class action suit against Ford for similar complaints from customers. My 17 year old daughter frequently drives this vehicle and I feel it is a safety issue that needs prompt attention. I have been a loyal Ford customer for many year. Please let me know what resolution you have for my complaint.

- Huber Heights, OH, USA

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