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:
4 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,524 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 11 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Dec 102012


  • 27,800 miles


I ordered the car from Ford in 2011 as soon as they allowed orders. I have approximately 27,800miles on the car. I have yet to get the fuel economy that Ford stated. I do both city and highway everyday and my combined fuel has not gone over 27 miles per gallon since I have owned it. I have even had it run out of gas on 3 separate occasions when the car was registering 30 and 34 miles to empty.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 022012


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that whenever attempting a left or right turn, there were several seconds of hesitation before the vehicle would respond. The contact had previously received notification of a manufacturer's recall and took the vehicle to the dealer who reprogrammed the computer. After receiving the vehicle back the hesitation continued to occur. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who advised the contact that the failure was normal and there was no other remedy for the hesitation. The manufacturer was notified who also stated the failure was normal and offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 11,000.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #11

Sep 152009

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,800 miles
When in stop and go traffic, the vehicle lunges whenever you go back and forth from the accelerator to the brake, nearly causing several accidents.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #10

Aug 052011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 200 miles


I bought my 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in July of 2011. Almost immediately I noticed problems. The problems included the car rolling backwards on hills, sputtering when stopped (like at a red light), jumping upon acceleration, & briefly losing acceleration while the RPM??S revved. I took it back to the dealership & they told me that the backwards rolling, revving & jumping of the engine was a trait of the car. I told them it was dangerous depending on where I was when these things happened (for example, at an intersection or in stop & go traffic with a car in front of me). They assured me that there was nothing wrong with the car. On October 17, 2011, the car broke down. I pulled out of a parking lot & pushed down on the accelerator, at first the car started to accelerate, but once it got to about 15/20 mph, the RPM"?S began to rev & the car would not accelerate so I took my foot off of the accelerator & the car stopped revving. If I had been on a highway, this would have been very dangerous. My car had to be towed to the dealership. They reprogrammed the powertrain control module & transmission control module. The car would then drive, but the rolling backwards on hills, sputtering when stopped, jumping upon acceleration, & briefly losing acceleration while the RPM?"S revved still continued & after several trips to their service department, the dealership could still not fix these issues. I then received a letter from Ford referencing a customer satisfaction program 12B37 dated May 2012. It acknowledged these issues so I took it back to the dealership. Although they reprogrammed the powertrain control module, transmission control module again as well as the anti-lock brake system, the car continues to have the same problems. These problems could potential cause a wreck, injuring myself or others around me.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #9

Sep 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 34,750 miles
My boyfriend and I bought a 2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback on September first. After driving the car for a couple of days my boyfriend noticed that the transmission was not right but he thought this was happening just because the car was new. Then, when driving to work I noticed that when I stopped on any incline street between taking the foot off the brake and placing it on the accelerator, the car rolled back quite quickly to the point that I almost hit the car behind me. Days later, I started to feel that the steering required both hands at all times. It was constantly wandering and shaky specially during turns. To top it off on September 27th something terrible happened. I was in the drive way, I shifted from reverse to drive and the car took off at a lurch. The car accelerated so rapidly even with my foot on the brake pedal. I lost complete control of the vehicle. The car failed to slow down hitting two cars and tearing down a fence. I could finally stop the car when I quickly shifted to park. I do not understand how Ford sells this car with all these problems risking people's lives. This is a serious issue. How many fatalities are they waiting for" are they going to do something ever about these malfunctions" this is ridiculous if I have known all these issues with this car, I would have never bought it for sure.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
3 separate incidents have occurred in my 2012 Ford Focus all related to the transmission. The first incident occurred on August 25, 2012 while traveling at 40 mph, I suddenly lost power between the gas pedal and the car itself. The RPM's continued to climb but the car was no longer moving. Took to Ford dealer to be serviced and was told they could not find a problem. The next incident occurred on September 8, 2012 - not necessarily a safety concern but contributes to overall problem - pulling out of a parking lot, placed car in reverse, it did not move. Took to Ford dealer where the transmission was "reprogrammed". the most recent incident occurred on September 9, 2012, I pulled out into 35 mph traffic, my car would not shift out of first gear, going 10 mph and "revving" but not accelerating fast enough to stay ahead of traffic. Had car towed to Ford dealer where it is at this time.

- Va Beach , VA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


When accelerating, whether from a dead stop or coasting, 1st, 2nd (& now starting to do it in 3rd) gears audibly rattle and clunk. Very slow response time when accelerating after car is "warmed up." The more it is driven in stop and go and/or city traffic, the worse the acceleration (and rattling when shifting) becomes. So much so that when trying to pull out into traffic on 09/04/12 I thought the car would be hit. I had 3 kids in the car with me! and I always allow plenty of time to pull out because of this issue. It has been a near constant issue with this car which was purchased in May 2011. Car jerks when accelerating in stop and go traffic and will sometimes "jump" and rev into a higher speed. All the above issues had been addressed and "fixed" twice before the "customer satisfaction" recalls were sent out in May. Issues are resolved for a limited amount of time and then start happening again. Car still rolling back when brake is released at a stop on slight inclines. Another "customer satisfaction" recall. Minor issues: Barely be heard when speaking on the "sync" system while driving *clock changes time randomly *rear defroster doesn't automatically turn off speed changes after car is turned off to a random speed setting *radio will change to a random station *sometimes* after making a phone call.

- Harper Woods, MI, USA

problem #6

Aug 282012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
On 8/27/2012 I drove off the car lot with 7 miles on my new car. I noticed a little bit of rough shifting as the day passed. On 8/28 the car started bucking and jerking during acceleration. There was little power on inclines. The problem progressively got worse through the day. I set up an appointment to drop off for service the next day. Took in for service on 8/29 and was told that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The car had 187 miles on it. On 8/30 I was told the car was fixed and I picked up my car. Within a few miles the problem was back, but worse this time. I had some slight noise coming from the engine when the car was bucking and jerking. It almost stalled on a busy highway in rush hour traffic several times while on my way back to the dealer. It was struggling. The car is back in service with 220 miles on it. Now they want to keep it for at least 3-4 days. 8/31 I was asked to drive the car with the mechanic to see if problem would reoccur. With the exception of a kick while pulling out of the dealership, the car drove ok, although we only drove around a block together. Sales manager says that if the mechanic can't find any further problem, then I have to take the car back into my possession since it's my car. He says that sometimes things happen and I have to deal with it and let the mechanics do their job. I've had the car in my possession under 30 hours since I purchased it on 8/27. The car also has an issue with rolling back on an incline.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,225 miles
Recall done --not fixed abc control system. Still rolls back at incline. Accident parking lot stopped shifted from drive to park (thought) open door stepped out car started rolling back jumped back in not to get run over to hit brake pedal. Front door open hit parked truck (accident) destroyed my drivers door with major damage to door and some damaged to parked truck. Had friend in the passenger sit and saw what happened. VIN# [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #4

Jul 112012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
The trunk lid is out of alignment the vehicle shudders at acceleration major suspension work required do to engineering and production engine shudders and clunks when shutting off rough idle and engine misses. Problems are inconsistent.

- Berryville, VA, USA

problem #3

Jul 022012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


When accelerating car jumps or hops violently. Engine makes grinding/chattering noise when changing gears. Experience roll back when on a slight incline. Power shift 6 speed is not safe. Have trouble crossing lanes of traffic for the jumping/launch judder problem.

- Lebanon, VA, USA

problem #2

Feb 142012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,917 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact started the vehicle and the vehicle accelerated rapidly even with the brake pedal engaged. The vehicle failed to slow down and crashed into a cement wall. There were no personal injuries. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. In addition, the manufacturer issued a customer satisfaction program under reference number 123B7 (transmission control module) and after the recall repair was performed, the vehicle rolled away with the gear in park. In order for the vehicle to remain stationary, a block was placed against the two rear tires. Also, a strong antifreeze odor emitted inside of the vehicle and an oil leak was visible on the ground. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 12,917. Updated 08/23/12 updated 09/24/2012

- Portersville, PA, USA

problem #1

Apr 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
This is a ongoing problem with my Focus. When accelerating from a stop the Focus's automatic dsg transmission (in D) will quickly shift to a higher gear in an effort to minimize fuel consumption. During a stopped turn at a intersection this leads to a unsafe condition where commanded acceleration takes several seconds to happen. The problem happens like this: The car accelerates at a stop sign or parking lot. The car accelerates to 10-15 miles per hour. The driver lets off the gas during the "turn" part. The transmission shifts to second or a higher gear. The driver then commands a large acceleration - say due to oncoming traffic - and nothing will happen for several seconds. This is because the dsg transmission needs to shift sequentially into first and this takes several seconds. Also it appears that the powertrain is disconnected while this shifting takes place. When the transmission finally selects first the acceleration can be sudden and unexpected. This has happened to me several times and I believe it is a dangerous condition. It can be avoided by manually selecting first - then shifting to D when the turn is complete.

- Austin, TX, USA

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