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 3 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #173

Nov 132015


  • 77,250 miles


Owned car for 2 years, in shop 5 times so far for dct issues. Car is completely unpredictable and going to cause me to get in an accident! sometimes I hit the acceleration and it lurches forward unexpectedly causing me almost to rear end someone. Other times I hit the gas expecting it to go and I get a really sluggish response to the point where I'm scared another vehicle will hit me, so I will floor it trying to get it to move, this will result in the back wheels locking up and fish tailing! I have had at least six moments in this week where the car responded unexpectedly and made me think I was going to get in an accident. Tonight in rush hour I was maintaining a speed of about 20 mph, the car decided to downshift and send more forward a few yards. I want so badly to get rid of this car as I have a baby, but I'm very upside down on it. I have various warranties but have been warned by Ford that they are a "one time get out of jail free card" and if the car comes in for the same repair it previously had it will no longer be under warranty! this is horrible, my car is constantly in the shop for the same transmission issue!

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #172

Nov 112015


  • 26,500 miles
After driving for 40 mins, the check engine light came on. I was in stop and go traffic and from stop (0 mph) to 30 mph the transmission would downshift violently and stall. I would give it gas, but the car would not move and the engine would rev up and lunge forward violently causing cars to almost hit me in the rear. I put in a similar complaint a few years ago about a shuttering when accelerating from a stop after 40 + mins of driving. This is unacceptable for a car company to allow this car out on the streets.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #171

Oct 012013


  • 40,000 miles
This car has been a lemon. Ford has attempted to "fix" the repeated issue I am having with this car stalling out unexpectedly due to transmission failure. Ford replaced the tcm but the car still is unreliable. The service advisor at the O'meara Ford in Colorado told me that this car is a lemon and that he has not seen a product from Ford this bad in many years. He also said that he has advised his family to not ride or drive one of these cars as they are unsafe and dangerous! this car has stalled out while I am trying to make a left turn, in the middle of the highway, and in many situations that have compromised my safety and the safety of my fellow motorists. I feel that Ford needs to buy this car back and replace it as it is clear that this car can not be fixed in any lasting way. I ask NHTSA to please step in and investigate these dangerous cars before someone gets killed! I absolutely hate my Ford and will not by another.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #170

Oct 152015


  • 55,100 miles


On 10/15/15 my car stalled and completely pulled back, died down to almost a halt then kicked into gear again, like a pull and let go motion. Out of nowhere, this gave me a scare since I was driving and could have been rear ended because of this complete stall in the middle of the road on N.E. 163rd street North miami beach towards biscayne blvd. Engine light went on and a screen message showed up asking me to service transmission now! I have had to park car until I figure what to do? this car has turned out to be a problem for me, first with the back driver side door latch where door just flew open while driving, (that's a different claim I have placed with NHTSA). I can't afford to keep fixing these problems appearing to this Ford Focus. Radio also went dead with a super loud disrupting pop sound and loud static electrical noises which could not be controlled by lowering volume or turning off radio, this loud pop sound startled me also while driving on turnpike from davie towards North miami beach. Would like to get Ford motor to recognize that my Ford Focus 2012 is a lemon, if not the right term then it's a product of shoddy parts used to construct this car.

- North Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #169

Oct 142015


  • 500 miles
Transmission hesitation and car jerking when accelerating at especially lower speeds. Shuttering sound and lack of power and then sudden acceleration after the hesitation. Feels unsafe to drive. Have had in for Ford service 3 times and going back for fourth time this week. Never seems fixed. Inclined stops on hills and intersection quick acceleration are very bad.

- Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #168

Jul 302012


  • 5,000 miles
Ever since I have owned this car since May 2012 it has shuddered when driving, stalled while driving, and shakes and does not increase speed when the accelerator is stepped on. The car now does not even start when it is turned on, despite the battery being good. Car was towed into dealership several times and they supposedly fixed it. Did several repairs to it but to this date it still shudders and stalls while driving. The latest repair they did was to fix the alternator...we will see....have come to the conclusion this model has several defects and would term it as a lemon. It barely has 60,000 miles on it and a car this new should not be having these issues as they are safety issues and I fear for me and my childrens lives and safety as this car does not function safely and stalls when we are driving! when I expressed my concerns to Ford over these issues they took no action except to tape record my complaints...they do not care about these safey issues....the car has been in the dealership service center four times in the last four months....the last repair bill cost me $650....but I have no faith that they (Ford) have fixed the problems.....I am fearful to drive this car but I am a single mother and cannot afford to trade the car in for another as the Ford sales person told me no bank would loan me money on another car as I owed too much on this lemon that Ford has sold me....Ford was of no help and does not care....I told them that it would take someone dying in a car crash from these defects in order for Ford to do something about these issues.....these issues happen while the car is in motion and when it is sitting still...the car will not start and has to be towed into the repair shop...

- Steilacoom, WA, USA

problem #167

Oct 062015


  • 117,000 miles


While driving car lost per and almost caused a major accident I was going 65 mph computer said my transmission was not in park.

- Childs, PA, USA

problem #166

Aug 172015


  • 87,400 miles
What has happened with my 2012 Ford Focus on August 18, 2015 has now happened 2 additional times since then. On 8/21/2015 my vehicle was dropped off at skinner & damulis to reprogram the transmission control module (field service action: 15B22 transmission control module reprogramming for overt tcm failure warning). On August 27, 2015 while driving down the road at 55 mph again I had the same loss of power, this time had an 18 wheeler behind me that was not slowing down, I pulled over to the shoulder and needed to use reverse and the vehicle would not go into reverse, it just revved like it was in neutral. I turned the vehicle off, called Ford, again, and told them my issue. After restarting the vehicle after the phone call I was able to put in reverse. I returned vehicle to skinner & damulis on 9/3/2015, vehicle was "repaired" on 9/4/2015 and invoice stated my concern: Car having issues with revving and won't go into reverse at times and their correction was they found tcm & PCM software update and performed software update. On 9/25/2015 I again had the same issue with revving while driving (35-40 mph) and was again unable to get the vehicle into reverse. Car had 90,111 miles at the time. Contacted Ford and was given case# cas-7944030 and will be in contact with john from Ford by Monday evening. This no longer works for me. This car needs to go, it is going to kill someone, me, people in another vehicle, something and I am not going to have my family sued because this problem occurs again. I need a vehicle as an outside sales person and no longer feel safe in my 2012 Ford Focus. This car needs to be taken back by Ford and destroyed. It has no trade value and I do not want another family to have this car and get killed because of it. Please do something about this, I know I am not the only one with these issues. Kevin fike

- Ilion, NY, USA

problem #165

Feb 092015


  • 15,000 miles
When excelling from a stopped position the car jerks as if the clutch is not catching. I have taken my car to the Ford dealership 4 times in one year. They have replaced the clutch plates and they said I had a transmission leak. A car that is still under full warranty should not be having these issues. The car still jerks although they have replaced multiple things on the car.

- Stow, OH, USA

problem #164

Apr 022015


  • 38,000 miles
Purchased new and within 40,000 miles the clutch has failed two times and the transmission module has failed once and has had to be reprogrammed twice. The suspension makes loud noises on the front end whenever you hit any bump. I feel unsafe driving this car because it can lose the ability to accelerate at any time without warning.

- Hammond, IN, USA

problem #163

Sep 112015


  • 57,770 miles


While driving the check engine light turned on, the shift display started blinking (so the "D" was flashing) and then the vehicle slowed to a stop where it was turned off. Vehicle would not turn on again. The next day it started, and after inspection by retailer autozone read tcm module issue. Vehicle had a full tank of gas, recent oil change, and had battery replaced with new one as recommended. Following battery replacement the vehicle again slowed to a stop with shift and check engine light illuminated. Towed to Ford dealership where a software update was done and told it would function properly. Approx 30 miles later the vehicle again came to a stop, but the check engine light did not illuminate, only the gear it was in blinked. Told by separate Ford dealership that the tcm module needs replacement. Prior to software update check engine light would go on, but after that it would not but the vehicle did continue to come to a stop. Could rev the engine but to no avail. Stopping incidents occurred several times within a few days. Very dangerous when driving on highway or street as the 2012 Ford Focus SE stops within a few minutes of alerting the driver to issue and will not restart.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #162

Sep 032015


  • 42,000 miles
While driving, my car suddenly stopped functioning. The engine light came on, followed by all other lights. I was able to pull the car over, but unable to restart. I called for a tow truck (aaa). After waiting for an hour, I tried the ignition again, and the car started right up. The same problem occurred the following night. The car was towed to the dealership, tom's Ford in keyport, New Jersey, where it still remains.

- Keyport, NJ, USA

problem #161

Sep 012014


  • 48,000 miles
This is not the only issue, but this has been the most dangerous for me... for the past year, the car has lost transmission power while driving - I was on hwy 40 and the car just stopped working - twice I was in the middle of a busy intersection and the car cut off - I was at a near stop and the car stopped responding....this has been reported numerous times by others. The gas pedal just stops responding at all. The time it stopped working in the middle of the intersection, the gears would not allow me to move the car into a park position, it would not move at all. It allowed me to turn my car off, in drive. After sitting there for a bit and multiple restarts, the car engaged again. Ford's fix? they came out with a software update that may turn on my engine light before a failure. This is not a fix. I asked them if someone needed to die in their car or get crushed in an intersection for them to do something. I filed a formal complaint with Ford. So frustrated and angry.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #160

Sep 012014


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly lost power and failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine block fractured. As a result, the control module and the engine block needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 150,000. The VIN was not available.

- Trenton, MI, USA

problem #159

Jul 202015


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at 25 mph, the engine vibrated and the contact could heard a metal to metal grinding noise. In addition, the vehicle would roll back and lose power when stopped. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that there was a transmission failure. The technician cleaned the engine and replaced the clutch and rings, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Adel, GA, USA

problem #158

Jul 152015


  • 83,000 miles
My 2012 Ford Focus has been really messing up lately. After having it reprogramed since it was shuttering and such... on 3 occasions this car has completely fallen out of gear, twice while I am going full speed at approx 50 - 55 miles/hour. The display begins flashing and then complete loss of acceleration. I have had to coast into a turn and turn off the engine and then turn it back on and it would go back into gear and everything would be fine. The first time this happened I called the Ford dealership in my town and spoke to them about this and asked them to look into why my engine would loose power completely and he said that he would look into it and never returned my call. On the second event the drive indicator D flashed and the engine light came on and complete loss of acceleration (50-55mph) and then I coast to a turn and shut off the engine and turn it back on and am able to put it into drive but this time the check engine light stayed on. I call the Ford dealership and they have me bring it in and they look at it and discover it needs a new tcm so they order the part and then I take the car home. The next day I am in town shopping and I turn into a parking place and while I am in the process my car makes a clinking, screeching sound and then acts like it has fallen back out of gear again! this time it does not go back into gear so I call the dealership and they have it towed to them and then the tcm was put into it. I am now actually scared of driving this car. So, I have had the car reprogramed once...3 complete gear tcm... we need Ford to buy back this car it is dangerous!!!

- Carney, OK, USA

problem #157

Aug 192015


  • 79,000 miles
Engine light went on, starting to get on interstate, car would not excelerate past 30 mile per hour all the way home about 45 miles

- Port Chester, NY, USA

problem #156

Aug 082015


  • 73,000 miles
Purchased a 2012 Ford Focus in December of 2014. The transmission has had shifting issues almost the entire time that I have had the vehicle. In may, the transmission began stuttering at low speeds. When reaching speed on an interstate on-ramp, the vehicle showed the message "vehicle not in park" and shut off as I was pulling into traffic. A day later when driving it, it stuttered again and the check engine light came on. Took it, along with a defective part notice to the dealer for the automatic transmission clutch system, which the dealer said was the issue and supposedly replaced it under the warranty. The dealer also reset the "autolearn" feature in the transmission. For a few days it worked fine, then the stuttering and shifting issues began again. On August 8th, 2015 the vehicle was driven to the store, and worked as it usually did, with minor stuttering and grinding that appears to characterize the Ford transmission. It was parked for roughly 30 minutes while in the store, upon starting and putting the vehicle in reverse, the transmission would not turn or gain enough power to propel the car out of the parking space. As it rolled back, it was shifted into the drive position, the vehicle began to propel until it went to shift and the car "missed" the gear and stuttered losing all momentum. This continued from every start/stop. Stopped at another store, when came back out the car would not start on the first crank, and the check engine light came back on. The power issues to the transmission on take off and the missing gears continued all the way to my home.

- Mebane, NC, USA

problem #155

Jul 162015


  • 50,000 miles
While driving in open country, vehicle suddenly shut off. After approximately 15 minutes the vehicle could be restarted. Drove the vehicle approximately 10 additional miles after restart and then the vehicle suddenly coasted as if in 'neutral" even though gear shift was in "drive" position. This time the gear indicator light flashed and the engine continued to run with the vehicle in "drive." Shut off vehicle. Shut off the engine. After approximately 10 minutes, restarted the vehicle and drove remainder of trip without incident. Next day while driving in local country traffic, vehicle again coasted and appeared to shift to "neutral" without warning. Gear indicator light flashed and engine continued to run even though shift lever was in "drive." Had vehicle towed to dealer for service.

- Palmyra, VA, USA

problem #154

Feb 282015


  • 30,000 miles
There was a loss of power in February when I was driving so I took my car to Ford and apparently there was a problem with the transmission. However, two days ago (July 27th), my car stopped working completely while I was driving. I was really scared since all power was off. Then I have to try several times to turn on my car again. There was a loss of all changes, reverse position did not work. Took the car to the dealer again and I am waiting for an answer. I do not want to drive the car until I know it is completely safe to drive it. I have a kid so this situation is very dangerous for me...updated 05-10-16

- Arlington, VA, USA

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