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 1 of 36)

problem #716

Jan 182017


  • 147,400 miles


I was on my way home via typical city streets and the car's transmission would not catch gear after coming to a stop at a stop sign. It felt like the car was in neutral. I was able to pull into a parking lot to look under the car and see if there was any visual damage. Nothing visual but there was a slight burning smell coming from under the hood. I tried to drive the car again but this time it would not shift out of first gear. A warning appeared "transmission malfunction service now" I put the car in neutral to get down the street to a safe parking spot and before coming to a stop the "transmission overheating" warning appeared. This is the second time in 2 years that the car has had this problem. There were several tsb's issued by Ford for the transmission on the Focus and I had my car serviced accordingly so I was assuming the problems were fixed.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #715

Jan 102017


  • 85,562 miles
Takata recall so I was told after having multiple problems with my vehicle after bob lowth Ford selling me it that some parts are on recall and I have small children I don't want to put in risk if anything happens during the winter weather here in mn for insistence my engine light came on and it started feeling like it wanted to die out on us early morning around 7:30 am central time so I always try to make sure that my small children have blankets in case we die out in -20 weather

- Redby, MN, USA

problem #714

Dec 252016


  • 47,003 miles
Pulling to a stop light, as the transmission downshifted, it jerked really hard twice. When the light changed, we drove off, it wouldnt shift out of first gear. It had no reverse. Towed to the dealer, they placed a tcm on it without testing it first, said it was fine, we drove 3.5 hours and were now a total of 6 hours from home when it started feeling restritcive while doing 75 on the interstate at midnight in the rain. My husband thought it was road noise, but then it wouldnt pull the car at all and was slowing down. At this point, it had no movement forward or backwards. We had it towed to the dealer in bowling green ky, spent 3 days in a hotel for them to lead us on that there was potential for Ford to fix the now not covered transmission. The car has 47000 miles on it. They even tried to sell us a new car! the car was then towed back to the dealer in greenwood Indiana for potential repair. They didnt check the fluid in it, they didnt check the failure codes, they just put a tcm on it and said it was good to go, when clearly it wasnt.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #713

Dec 182016


  • 79,400 miles


Lost power steering to vehicle, unable to drive due to safety concerns. Transmission hesitates when driven or when gasing from a stop.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #712

Nov 122016

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to steering control module recall repair issues, transmission problems and windshield motor malfunction. The consumer stated on the night of November 12, 2016, a safety warning light appeared on the dash. When he tried driving about 12 miles home, he had no power steering. The problem did not occur again. On Monday November 14, 2016 the consumer stopped by a non-Ford garage. No work was performed. However, the mechanic stated the problem was the steering control module. The mechanic suggested taking the vehicle to the dealer. Upon inspection, the dealer claimed there was no problem, but to bring the vehicle back, if the light came on again. The dealer informed the consumer three were no transmission problem. However, in March 2016, the consumer experienced a transmission problem. The dealer stated the problem was due to a weak battery. The problem occurred again and the dealer stated it was the fault of the alternator not sending enough current to the module. The problem continued. On July 4, 2016, the transmission light illuminated. The consumer used the off key procedure, to put the vehicle into gear, but the light remained on.

- Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

problem #711

Dec 012012


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the speed suddenly decreased. The check engine indicator illuminated. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission was faulty. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,000.

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #710

Sep 232011


  • 2,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While attempting to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle shuddered and hesistated to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on numerous occasions for diagnostic testing. Components in the transmission were replaced and the software was updated, but the failure persisted. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #709

Dec 142016


  • 40,100 miles
My Ford Focus automatic transmission shudders and hesitates when has been to the dealer four times.there have been updates done to the still has the same issues.

- Northfield, NJ, USA

problem #708

Dec 132016


  • miles
I have taken my 2012 Ford Focus to the local dealership 3 times, 2 times by a letter sent to me wanting me to being my car to the dealership to have the kam reset and the PCM reprogram because the shaken and shudders when accelerating and the 3th time the same thing again. Now the car is doing the same thing again up to a speed of about 20-25 mph the shaking and shudders and noise stop.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #707

Dec 122016


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at 35 mph, the grade assist warning light illuminated as the vehicle independently revved. The contact stated that the vehicle was brought to a stop however, it continued to rev independently and the instrument panel illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 67,000.

- Burgettstown, PA, USA

problem #706

May 252016


  • 95,623 miles


My 2012 Ford Focus shudders, slow to accelerate and grinds when accelerating. I have lose power mutliple times as I am slowing to a stop and lost power complete in May 2016. The clutch was replaced and now December 2016 same problem. The dealership says I must pay for the repair, although should the clutch last longer than 7 months. These always happened in the city on either two lanes or four lanes and more often than not early morning in busy traffic. I don't feel confident that the care will run correctly and safely.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #705

Dec 052016


  • miles
My car is in the fourth time for transmission related issues. Also this time the check engine light came on. Bill brown Ford in livonia mi diagnosed the problem as a failing catalytic converter. This is a known problem with the Focus, but Ford hasn't done anything about it. I've researched the issue on line and there are many complaints about the catalytic converter. I also have a friend who is a mechanic at a Ford dealership and he said Ford is quite aware of the problem. Two years ago I was almost rear ended when the car suddenly went out of gear and the check engine light came on and flashed a warning. Ford replaced the tcu. The car is now hesitating again along with shuttering when accelerating.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #704

Dec 052016


  • miles
My vehicle has been in for service 3 times this year alone for the same transmission issue. Every time I go in they adjust something or replace a small part, but never completely fix the problem. It shudders, hesitates, bucks, and kind of stalls because the transmission is trying to shift or making grinding noises. It can do it speeding up or slowing down or in the middle of the drive, it is unpredictable. I have had the transmission also over heat and tell me to pull over on large busy roads and have a loss of power when not stopping fast enough. It is scary when my car is shuddering going no where and I am in the middle of traffic or going through an intersection with my 2 kids in the car. Fords response is to continue driving the car, some times they say it is within specs and sometimes they say that I have to drive it while I wait for parts to come in, which are usually back ordered. The service adviser told me herself that she wouldn't drive the car but I am expected to drive it because they can not give me a loaner and they have no parts to fix my car, and even when they do "fix it" the same problem starts again within a couple months. I think they are just waiting and riding it out until the warranty runs out on it. Now to top it off there is also a recall on the door latches where the doors can just open and they also do not have those parts. It is an unsafe car and a horrible experience that I am going through.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #703

Nov 282016


  • 68,000 miles
My car has a problem with the transmission and I found out that there is a recall from the company. They have 3 recalls on the transmission: Transmission control module reprogramming for overt tcm failure warning transmission clutch shudder / transmission input shaft seal warranty extension transmission control module extended warranty coverage I called them twice and they checked my VIN number and they found me eligible to get my car fixed at one of their dealers. I took my car there and the dealer refused to fix my car because my car has a branded(salvage) title. Now, if you can't build a car right, leave this business to somebody else.when you have all these failures in the transmission, this tells me the whole transmission is just a scam and it shouldn't be there.if a car got a hit in the trunk far away from the transmission and didn't even touch it, what this has to do with your mistake. Why do I have to pay for your mistake"do you even know what this transmission problem does to the car?here is what happened, I was driving my car on the freeway almost 70 miles/hour with my family and suddenly my car was not going forward and although pushing on the gas pedal, the car was not speeding. Do you realize that any car from behind could just hit me from the back because I didn't hit the brakes and no brakes lights were on nor any warning that I was slowing you know how I was terrified to go from my lane to the shoulder while losing speed and any truck or car can hit me and kill me with my, you don't know because you don't care about other people's lives. If you care you won't let these cars run on the roads. 3 failures in the transmission, 2 of them will cover my salvage title and 1 won't cover it, why?? the way I see it is you messed up in the transmission and they are all connected with each other, why do you cover 2 faults and not the 3rd one"

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #702

Dec 012016


  • 89,350 miles
I was driving in traffic at approximately 40 mph. My vehicle lost all power. I almost got rear ended. My vehicle will not automatically shift now. It has lack of power and it jerks and lunges while driving also it lost its reverse gear this all happened at the same time get on to the freeway

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #701

Dec 102013


  • 81,220 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled and the check engine and transmission warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch shudder failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred numerous times. The contact also mentioned that several other parts were replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 81,220.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #700

Nov 152015


  • 67,000 miles
The dual clutch transmission was rebuilt less than a year ago after the clutches began to badly slip. Had noticed the trans slip some around town but car was okay to drive. On a weekend trip to the mountains it began to slip so badly that I did not know if I would make it back to town. Apparently the strain on the trans from all the hilly city driving compounded the already existing problem that was of no concern back home on regular terrain. Now the trans is displaying some of those slipping characteristics again. I was planning another mountain Excursion but am now afraid to do so. I cannot afford to buy another car nor can I afford to put confidence in my car on any such trip out of town. This car should last me many trouble free years of operation at least as far as the transmission is concerned. I am trapped with a car that will probably be back in the repair shop before long. Not to mention that I see where many Focus owners are having multiple repair jobs for the same reason. I love the car but am thoroughly dismayed that a long term fix does not seem to be attainable.

- Starr, SC, USA

problem #699

Feb 012015


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle suddenly failed to accelerate. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission module needed to be updated. The software was updated, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the module needed replacement again. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 37,000.

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #698

Nov 272016


  • 87,000 miles
Transmission - transmission on late model Ford Focus is dangerous. Car shakes, shutters and transmission will not go in gear at time when in traffic. Clear safety hazard that vehicle is dangerous when operating and concerning when car has movement issues in intersections and at stop lights. Car has been to service center over a dozen times for transmission reprogramming over past 4 years, car has received three clutches and now other major components are failing within the transmission. Car recently broke down while driving and started missing gears, lurching and shaking on a road at 50 mph. Had to pull over. Was able to travel 1 mile to get home but car was difficult to stop and jerked uncontrollably. Car would not go into reverse and had to push out of road upon arriving home.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #697

Nov 292016


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle independently shifted into neutral and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. After five minutes, the vehicle became operable. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the clutch position sensor needed to be replaced. The dealer was contacted, but the vehicle was not repaired due to the workload of the dealer. In addition, the contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 16V643000 (latches/locks/linkages); however, the parts to do the repair were unavailable. The manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 46,000.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

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