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:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,734 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Jun 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,400 miles


The first incident occurred while in traffic on the interstate highway during rush hour evening traffic. I had to come to a stop on traffic in a construction zone due to traffic at a point where there was moving traffic in lanes on either side of my vehicle. The car was running as normal, no lights came on (nothing to alert to an issue), however, when I went to accelerate my car would not engage the transmission. It was as if my car was in park and I was revving the engine. I put my hazard lights on, called 911 to report I could not get out of my vehicle to move my car as I feared I would be hit since it was rush hour traffic and could not even open my door. I shut my engine off, waited a few minutes, and tried again. The car still would not move. After being stopped and unable to move for approximately 20 minutes, the transmission seemed to re-engage and I was able to get my car off the highway. I had the car taken to the dealer as it was still under warranty. I was told that they could not duplicate the problem after having my car for a week. As soon as I got my car back, I drove approximately 10-15 miles, and this same issue occurred again, but thankfully I was close to home and not in any heavy traffic as I was with the first incident. Again, it was arranged to take my car to the dealer (the dealer had my car from approximately 7/11/14 to 8/1/14). Again, I was told they could not duplicate the problem. Within 2 days of having the car returned to me, I drove approximately 20-30 total miles, and my car stopped on another highly traveled road, but thankfully while in a turn lane. A stranger helped me push my car to a nearby gas station where it had to be left until it could be towed back to the dealer.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #50

Jul 092014


  • 26,400 miles
My car was in the shop about 4X's in 1 month. Issue began driving about 45 mph. Went to accelerate felt a sudden jerk & nothing. Look down to see my drive light flashing & am steadily decreasing in speed with no way to accelerate, like in neutral. I luckily was able to get out of oncoming traffic, put the car in park which began to flash. Accelerated a couple times to be sure it responded before driving but the service engine light was on. Driving again, about to make a left turn, not a mile down the road, same thing happened. This time put it in park, accelerated & nothing. Shut off my car to reset it & my car would not turn on. After waiting for the tow truck, the car would just not turn on, everything related to the battery would turn on but the car didn't. in the shop this 1st time a total of 3 days, still unsure about it being fixed (because they just fixed the "electrical" part, not the issue) lo & behold when I turned into my neighborhood same thing happened (drive light flashed & accelerator didn't respond). I get home to park & turn on my car, after attempting to turn it back on, nothing. Another tow truck came the next morning to get it, this time my car was there 7 days. After 2 days of driving the same thing happened I was on a hill almost began rolling backwards into another car until I put it into P & pulled the E break. Car went in they stated that they figured it out & I hoped 3rd X's the charm. Nope, I was on a highway had to pull over away from oncoming traffic decrease the risk of me being hit. 9 days in the shop after ordering a transmission control module for my car & replacing it, it works. Although I was just informed that the same thing is now happening to a friend with a 2013 Ford Focus. It's something that needs to be looked into because loosing the ability to accelerate in the middle of traffic is very dangerous life threatening & scary.

- Cameron, NC, USA

problem #49

Jan 022012


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle was not shifting into gears properly, would stall sporadically and would jerk intermittently. Additionally, the steering wheel would often seize. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times who had not been able to replicate nor diagnose the failure. The failure recurred and the dealer replaced the transmission and transmission sensor but the failure recurred. The contact also mentioned that the lights intermittently illuminated and the radio was making a loud noise when it was powered off. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who then diagnosed that the computer chip in the fuel pump failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #48

Jun 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


The steering wheel would not move, there is an error message, steering assist fault. It happened before, but I turned the car off and back on again and it would turn. Before this incident there would be times when the A/C fan would adjust itself, by going higher or lower and the radio volume would increase or decreases without any help from me. This particular time it would not move and I was forced to leave it in a parking garage overnight. While attempting to get it to work by turning the off and on the brakes went all the way to the floor, suggesting the would not work properly if I were driving the car. Well, the car shut completely down and started to try to turn itself on without the key being in the ignition. After which it would not start at all. I had it towed in and of course it is no longer under warranty.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #47

Jun 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
While I am driving (this has occurred three times) the check engine light comes on and the gears keep slipping. I take it in and they reset the computer or whatever they do and it works fine right after but continues to drive like the gears are slipping.

- Alice, TX, USA

problem #46

Jun 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
When exiting grocery store parking lot, as we pulled out into traffic, the car experience a sudden loss of acceleration/drive train power, while electrical systems started to flash, and electronic gear indicator transitioned from gear to gear. Rpms, were still registering and on acceleration, drive train was unresponsive. This happened all while in traffic, when oncoming vehicles were approaching. We turned on hazard lights and moved to the road shoulder. Powered off car for a minute, then restarted. Car started but still experienced severe hesitation on acceleration, and seemed as if it was struggling to stay on. Pulled onto a side street to get out of traffic, then after turning car off, it would not turn back on. After approx. 10 minutes, tried to turn on car again, and it started. Was able to carefully drive car home, however check engine light has now been illuminated. This will be the 5th instance (all instances documented by dealer, and serviced by dealer) that the car has had this issue, and we have brought it to the attention of the dealership, with no 100% remedy being given. Will be taking car in once again to dealership for service and hopefully resolution of this ongoing issue of hesitation on acceleration, and total failure of drive train during vehicle operation.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #45

May 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


The vehicle would not start; Ford had the car for 17 days before they decided it was the transmission control module; they charged us in excess of $1400; we have had the vehicle in for service many times over the past 2+ years for navigation system freeze ups and noise/vibrations in the front end.

- Petersburg, MI, USA

problem #44

May 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
Car's transmission felt sluggish (hesitate to accelerate) after 15-20 minutes of low-speed driving (0-10mph) in a traffic jam. Ten minutes later, engine stalled on freeway at 70mph. Tachometer dropped to 0 and speedometer displayed was 0. car restarted, and continued to be driven for 15 minutes. Gear disengaged when turning into a parking space, car rolled backwards. Power did resume after 2 seconds while constantly giving gas. Restarted the car after around 30 minutes, car stalled again few minutes later. Engine would not restart instantly. Only clicking noise was heard in the engine bay when turning keys. Waited 10-15 minutes to restart. Car accelerated to 70mph before stalling again after 1-2 minutes. Gear indicator was flashing. When the car stalled, engine raved with lost of power for 1-2 seconds. Car felt like in neutral even shifter was in drive. Tachometer then dropped to 300rpm and never rav again. Car was pulled over. The cycle of stalling and restart repeated 5-6 times until I arrived home. The next day car was drivable again (I only have a 5-mile commute). Similar troubles occurred three weeks ago when car was totally disabled after 20-30 minutes parking lot driving. Car hardly restart and refuse to go into gear. Gear indicator constantly blinked. I previously thought the issues were related to the usage of S gate, where it happened for two instance. There are 3 occurrences of similar troubles. First time was about a month ago when car refused to start, but it was perfectly drivable again after being cool down for a night. Towed to dealer but problem could not be duplicated. The reason that prompts me to write this report is due the lost of power on freeway which I believe is a safety related issue. Also, there doesn't seem to be a trouble code in the computer, which makes it hard for dealers to diagnose the problem.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #43

Jun 062011

Focus 6-cyl

  • 3,800 miles
April 2011 -- issues began within a week of purchasing the vehicle. Complete electrical system shutdown (causing air/radio/sync system to be of no use). Brought vehicle in because I was scheduled to go on road trip to mass. (sync system shut down in route to mass.). soon thereafter, the jerking and shaking of the vehicle. Each time I called or brought the vehicle in, I was told "we cannot replicate the problem". back and forth meeting with management at waldorf Ford dealership and phone calls with Ford in detroit. Continued issues with the jerking and vibrating of vehicle; continued complaints that the RPM needle would race up and down and the engine would revved because the engine was not getting into gear; May 2013 50K miles -- while in columbia, md was still having the jerking and "shifting" issues that the dealership "could not" and I received a message on the vehicle that said transmission failure service immediately. I was in traffic and was almost rear ended on several occasions until I arrived at a friend's. drove home hours later; transmission/powertrain system "fixed"; May 2014 74K miles -- jerking/vibrating/grinding sounds; engine light on and off (not flashing); vehicle not getting into gear from a dead stop and above 50 mph; autozone plugged into vehicle system and received following message/code P2862 "shift fork 'B' acuator circuit high" unable to access any information about the problem; an issue which Ford considers a "common failure" with this vehicle. Nothing like putting a driver and passengers at risk as well as causing accidents. Why are these vehicles still on the road with as many complaints that have been made??

- White Plains, MD, USA

problem #42

Apr 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Car sitting in driveway. Went to start would not even turn over. Car completely locked out. Had it towed to winner Ford in dover Delaware. Car is not even 3 years old spent over $700 in repair work. Then on 4/14/14 car broke down again in driveway again. Had it towed to winner Ford in dover Delaware. Now the dealership replace the battery said it was completely dead. The battery is now even 3 years old! I am very fustrated and winner Ford would not provide me with any credit or reimbusement of my expenses. They kept using the car is out of warrenty. I am a first time by of Ford products will not buy another Ford product or use a Ford product even if it was given to me for free. Quality of their cars is awfull and the customer service at the dealership is even worse.kept hiding behind the warrenty terms.

- Magnolia, DE, USA

problem #41

May 222014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Driving down highway, car lost power, the check engine light and the traction control light came on. Would not accelerate, brakes would not function properly to stop. When I finally got the car stopped in a parking lot next to my place of business, the car would not start up again, and when it did, it would not go into any gear. Sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes trying to get the car to start up and go into gear. When it finally did go into gear, I got it to my place of business 2 blocks down and parked it. I am afraid to drive the car as it is a major safety issue. There have been recalls on the electric version of this car, but not the gasoline versions. This needs to be a recall on all of these models as there are several hundred complaints online about the same issue. Ford will not do anything about these issues unless the car is taken to one of their dealerships, which in past experience, they don't do anything at the dealership except overcharge for diagnosing the car, and for them to tell you nothing is wrong with it and that they know there are issues with the cars, but they do not have a fix for them and they can change the parts, however that will not solve the problem and it will happen again. I have been told this by the manager at a dealership and he has stated there is nothing he can do to change the situation. This is a major safety issue and someone needs to look into Ford for the same issues GM is having with their small cars.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #40

May 212014


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate, the vehicle lost power. The contact mentioned that the check engine and the gear switch warning lights illuminated. The door chime sounded and the vehicle was able to restart approximately 15 minutes later. The failure recurred on two other occasions. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the computer failed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 53,000.

- St Albans, WV, USA

problem #39

May 192014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 68,850 miles
I have a Ford Focus 2012 SE with winter and comfort packages. My vehicle suddenly swapped up from 79 mph to 81 mph when I pressed the down button to slow the car.

- Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #38

May 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 29,187 miles
This car has been the shop 4 times for the same problem. The car randomly does not start for a period of time, absolutely no rhyme or reason. It does start eventually. Everything electrical comes on, interior lights, A/C, heater, radio, exterior lights, just no engine. The problem only occurs after being driven. In other words, it never happens first thing in the morning after sitting all night, it never happens after a full work day (sitting 8 hours). The longest period of time it has set and still not started is about 3 hours. The problem also never occurred until they had to replace the transmission.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #37

Feb 012014


  • 37,000 miles
Alarm system and horn completely quit working- now I have to pay to have it repaired. A few months ago the window motor would not work- electrical problems with car.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #36

Mar 142013


  • 12,000 miles
During a tight turn on a bendy road going about 55 mph the vehicle lost all power. As if someone turned they key off. Lights, infotainment, steering, brakes, everything was effected. Luckily steering doesn't lockup on a Ford Focus. And can be steered but without power assist. Once at a complete stop, the car could be restarted with no instrument lights on, as if nothing happened.

- New Braunfels, TX, USA

problem #35

Aug 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,892 miles
My car has almost gotten me in 3 accidents and it rolls back on hills I was pulling into a drive way and it started to roll back then it slowed down and there was a load noise and we started rolling backwards it was just a drive way. The car has absolutely no power at all it stutters and when you are driving in busy places and your car wont pick up enough ton enter on the highway or freeway its scary and its unsafe it will shake the whole car when it pulls back and stutters. It is awful and I went on a 3 hour drive to go on vacation I actually rented a car instead of taking my brand new car that I got to last me years fro now was the plan if it makes it another 1 year I will be surprised very dangerous Ford.

- Moreono Valley, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
We took our car in yesterday because the engine kept lurching and stalling. They said it was the power train, and that it was a problem with the computer. The berge Ford dealership reprogrammed the computer, and today when I got in the car the radio was on. I just unlocked it and opened the door, and the radio came on. The key was not in the car at all, and the only thing I did was unlock it with the remote and open the door. I did not have this problem prior to them "reprogramming" it to fix the power train/transmission problem. Then when I started to drive it the engine seemed sluggish and it seemed to be lurching again, but not stopping for an instant like before. So I went from having transmission/power train problems, and a seat belt problem to having them both with a computer problem added in... I'm not a computer engineer, but when a piece of equipment has hardware problems it would make sense to replace or fix the hardware instead of reprogramming the software. I'll be taking it back in, and while the computer is out of warranty I think I should be able to get them to look at it and fix it without charging me because they caused the problem.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #33

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have had numerous issues with transmission and electrical problems with my vehicle. I have had it in for service about 6 times in the past year. Car shifts hard, when driving, sputters, and even once stalled out in the middle of a intersection. I had these issues from day one with the vehicle but was told the cars computer has to "learn" how you drive. Electrical, the locks sometimes works, or the doors lock when they aren't supposed to. Key fob doesn't work sometimes. This is something that is ridiculous and Ford Motor Co. Should do something about it. My car has 27500 miles on it and runs like it is 15 years old! my warranty is up at 36000, so then all these issues become the consumer problem even though Ford is aware this is an issue they are having and won't recall until someone gets hurt or killed.

- Mt. Washington, KY, USA

problem #32

Oct 042013


  • 5,800 miles
I have a Ford Focus bev ( battery electric vehicle), 2012. I came out from work and unplugged my car from the charging post and got into it as usual to go home. I pressed the start button and a mechanical warning window came up on the dash. I closed it and the "stop safely now" message came on. I closed it and the first message came back again. This went on for several cycles until I hit the start button again. I tried the start button again, and the same thing happened. I plugged it back in, unplugged it and tried again. Same thing. I called the dealer, the lady there called roadside assistance for me. They sent a truck to tow it to a closer dealer, where it currently sits. Initial diagnostics are not showing a cause. I will learn more on Monday. This is apparently a common problem according to the internet.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

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