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 4 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #153

Jul 262015


  • 67,025 miles


The vehicle would not turn over. There was no clicking of the vehicle trying to start. After 4 tries to start the car it was left to sit for 30 min before we tried again. The car then was tried to start again did not start until the 4th try. Then the car started. It seems to be skipping a gear while driving will go from 6K RPM to all of the sudden jumping down to 2K rmp. There is something wrong with the clutch/ transmission with shifting and now something going on with the starting system.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #152

Jul 012015


  • 34,000 miles
Letter from senator isakson on behalf of constituent re 2012 Ford Focus issues. (attn: Hanna yu). The consumer stated the vehicle had four major repairs and 6-8 minor repairs done to the transmission. The vehicle would jerk. Also, while in the middle of a making a turn, the vehicle suddenly stopped.

- Crandall, GA, USA

problem #151

Jul 192015


  • 67,000 miles
Accelerating up a shallow hill the transmission began to stutter and jerk and grind as it changed gears. In the middle of the jerking the car shifted into neutral and revved up. Complete loss of power at speed. Pulled over to the side of the road (on a hill) put the car in park and shut the car off. When I released the brake the car rolled backwards down the hill - clearly the car was not engaged in park. I applied the brake to stop the car and engaged the E brake. I tried to restart the car it would not start. Error kept flashing 'parking aid malfunction - service required'. the failure left us stranded on the side of the road on a 95 degree day without the ability to start the car. I am currently waiting for Ford dealer to determine the cause of the failure. The jerking and stuttering of the transmission is a very regular occurrence for my car. It happens at almost every startup, especially when hot. The jerking and stuttering has in the past resulted in loss of power to the point that I have almost been hit by oncoming cars when I tried to pull out into the street. I had also brought my car to the dealer previously complaining of severe jerking and stuttering and was told this was normal for the transmission.

- Ipswich , MA, USA

problem #150

Jun 212015


  • 112,000 miles


First incident traveling approximately 45 mph, as automatic transmission shifts gears, the transmission slips out of gear. Shifting to neutral and back into gear does not work. Pulled vehicle onto the shoulder, put into park, turn off the engine. Engine will not start, no crank. Let vehicle sit for a minute, retry starting, vehicle runs normally. Next incident around 2 weeks later. Similar experience, but travelling approx 75 mph on highway. Required to pull over, restart vehicle. Check engine light on at restart and engine running at lower RPM than normal in all gears. Vehicle rests overnight, runs normally with no check engine light. Subsequent incidents increase in frequency, without check engine light. Simply need to pull over, restart vehicle. Most frequently occurs while traveling on the highway at higher speeds. 6th or 7th incident, about a month after the initial incident. Check engine light remains on. Vehicle service scheduled but not yet performed due to backlog of transmission service repairs at Ford service center.

- Wayzata, MN, USA

problem #149

Jul 122015


  • 55,000 miles
(automatic hatchback) the car rolls back when in gear, on a steep hill. Shifting gears, it will hesitate on the highway and will jump gears and studder. A few days ago I was trying to back out of my driveway to get to work and when I put it in reverse, the car didn't move whatsoever, so I put it in drive to test and see if it was working, and it got in 1st gear just I tried to reverse again with the same issue. Then the engine light illuminated, so I left the car and got a ride to work, however that night when I came home, I tested the car out again and same problem, however a message popped up "transmission is not in park (P)" and I had it in reverse, so I put it in drive and the same message popped up. Now I cannot get it to move at all. While in drive, it will rev up, but it will not move! it will start up no problem, and sometimes it will drive, but it will lose power and not move again.

- Sale Creek, TN, USA

problem #148

Oct 102013


  • miles
2013, 2014, transmission clutch replaced, 2015 waiting for another transmission clutch replacement. Rear ended in 2014 when car bogged down getting on highway. Car died twice while on highway. Told by Ford customer care & dealership car was safe to drive before both incidents. Car revs up to high rpms for no reason while driving.. very scary. !!!! car has not driven correct since the day it left the dealership !!

- Greenfield , MA, USA

problem #147

Jun 152015


  • miles


While driving home, I came to a stop behind a car at a traffic light. When I tried to accelerate, the car would not move. It was as if the car was in park and I was stepping on the gas. The car behind me almost crashed into the back of me. I had to completely turn off my car while in the middle of the road and restart the car. No later than 15 minutes later while on a hill by my apartment, the car once again would not accelerate. If I hadn't pressed on the brake as quick as I did, it would've rolled back on the car behind me. I have had 3 transmission related issues with this car and 2 incidences prior to today that involved endangering my life. I have taken it to Ford 3 times in one year. This car is indeed a safety hazard and with all the complaints and lawsuits, needs to be recalled.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #146

Nov 192014


  • 65,000 miles
In October 2014 there was a recall regarding transmission clutch shudder. I made an appointment to have the transmission looked at on 11.19.14. On the day prior to said appointment, roy O'brien Ford canceled my appointment stating there were no parts available. I have now been calling both the dealership and Ford Motor Company for eight months attempting to have my vehicle inspected. I also filed a case number with Ford on 01.13.15 - #cas5815506. To this date nothing has been done. I finally called Ford again on 5.11.15 and was told, by patricia - a 2nd level customer service rep" that it's "not really a recall". take your car in to see "if" it needs service. Well, I can't very well do that when the dealership won't reschedule an appointment. This is vehicle has dangerous potential to stop running at any moment. These models with transmission issues should never be sold.

- Pleasant Ridge, MI, USA

problem #145

Jun 072015


  • 96,000 miles
Since the purchase of this for Focus 2012 two years ago, the engine will suddenly stall out and stop working entirely. I am 6 months pregnant and after bringing this car in for numerous repairs of this issue, with no real resolve, I am now furious. I was driving down a 4 lane highway at 65 mph and my engine said "parking assist failure" and the car died. I was almost hit by multiple cars as I tried to coast my way to the shoulder of the road. I turned the car off and back on and it started again. I called the dealership and was told I could bring it in "but they already fixed it." Then just a few days later I am at a busy intersection, and it stalls again..this time wont turn back on. I have been given the run around from Ford, and the Ford dealership, and I need out of this car. I have always driven volkswagon's, and this was my first Ford. Never again. Meanwhile, I am underwater on my car loan now, because I have a car that is worth nothing.

- Auburn, NH, USA

problem #144

Apr 262015


  • 69,698 miles
1. car occasionally drops out of gear on highway causing cars behind me to swerve around 2. car at stops signs/stoplights occasionally drops out of gear on acceleration. Almost got hit by a truck when making a left and car slowed to a crawl due to dropping out of gear. 3. reverse gear does not work occasionally

- Los Banos, CA, USA

problem #143

Feb 152015


  • 29,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at various speeds and attempting to accelerate, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate. All of the warning indicators on the instrument panel illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine had a leak and needed to be repaired and the brake line and circuit board failed. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 29,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #142

Sep 062013


  • 25,600 miles
The Focus has a manufacturers problem with the transmission clutch. It often breaks and often leaves me stranded. It will stop accelerating or get stuck when accelerating on the highway and I've almost had a few accidents because of it. I have also been stranded on the side of the road because of it late at night. Ford has fixed it four times now with no resolution. They say its a common problem that they can patch but not exactly fix.

- Cary , NC, USA

problem #141

May 052015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
I have been to my Ford dealership 10 times last year and 4 times already this year. I have multiple check engine light that came on and each time they replace a part on my car. I had my car last week for service and now it's back this week again for service. I have all my repair receipts and I am completely sadden that Ford cannot do anything for me as I called the Ford cooperate office and have their specialist looked at my case and I am having the same issues. My car shuts off on me so many times while driving with me 1 year old son in the middle of the street. They will fix it today and next week I am back in the shop. They have my car more times in the shop than I have on the road. I am extremely tired! I told them to test drive my car each time they "supposedly fixed" my issue and the problem remains the same. I have spoken to [xxx] at the cooperate office in Florida ( 1866-631-3788) ex [xxx] and he has never solved my problems or return any of my calls. --at present writing this issue I am scheduled for another "repair". another check engine light situation. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #140

Apr 262015


  • 40,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at 5 mph, the vehicle lost power. In addition, the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle failed to accelerate but increased in rpms. The traction control and engine warning lights illuminated. The contact also stated that hill start malfunction was displayed across the message board. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,500.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #139

Apr 222015


  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle lost drivetrain power on the freeway. I went to accelerate in very heavy traffic, and the engine revved without moving forward (similar to someone depressing the clutch and accelerating). Shifted the car into neutral, back into drive in order to jog the transmission into operation, that did not work. I shifted into the 'sport' mode in the transmission thinking that would help, that didn't work. I had enough forward momentum to get the car to the shoulder and call for a tow, but overall, the car would not travel under it's own power. At this point, I am quite concerned that I own this car, and it's not safe to drive. Once it's fixed, I am still quite concerned that I've owned this car for 2 years, and it's been in the shop between 8 - 10 individual incidents. I am concerned that I cannot put myself or my family inside this car with any reasonable expectation of safety. Please, Ford Motor Company needs to issue a full, mandatory recall of this car in order to get this issue fixed before someone faces a severe injury or death as a result of this issue. If I was in front of a truck that wasn't paying attention, I could have been killed.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #138

Apr 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,599 miles
I was driving the vehicle down the highway and it all of a sudden lost power and would not shift and slowed down to around 40mph automatically and almost caused me to be hit from the vehicle behind me and had to immediately pull of to the shoulder. A message came up on the hud/display and said transmission malfunction service now!. I then shut the car off at a parking lot and let the car sit for over an hour and made phone calls to the dealer. This has also has happened when going to step on gas to yield at an intersection and the motor just went up in RPM but did not move or go into gear while in drive. This is vehicle is dangerous while driving due to these issues and the dealer acts like it is not.

- Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

problem #137

Apr 102015


  • 32,000 miles
The parking aid light came on and the car won't start! I have had the car in three times for transmission and shaking and it has yet to be fixed. The car does not accelerate properly and is going back in again today. Ford will not buy me out of my loan or work with me on replacing it. I bought this for my daughter and I do not feel safe with her driving it at all!

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #136

Apr 102013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The transmission doesn't function properly -- delaying on acceleration, then 'catching' and accelerating in a burst. I've had it 'fixed' once and am trying to get it fixed again. It isn't safe, particularly in hilly traffic-heavy seattle. Ford really needs to be accountable for the problematic transmission that they have running around the streets. I am in my mid-twenties and this is my first car. It's been very depressing, and I would love fair resolution.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #135

Apr 052015


  • 68,000 miles
The car was running fine until last week when I drove to the supermarket. After I came out and attempted to leave, the engine would not turn over. Everything works electrically (radio, lights, etc...) but turning the ignition key fully did nothing. This now happens daily after the car warms up. If you turn the car off it will not start or turn over. If you let the car cool down for a couple hours it generally will start. Driving is done mainly at highway speeds and the oil level and engine temperature are fine according to dipstick and gauges. Bought a new battery in case something was wrong with it. It did not resolve the problem. Ensured the negative terminal of the battery was solidly attached to metal (not painted metal) to ensure proper grounding. Nothing helped. Dealer appointment this week. Also received "hill assist not available" warning on dash. A friend of mine who owns the same exact model and year vehicle (2012 Ford Focus) had the exact same thing happen to him. The dealer switched out their tcm (transmission control module) and this fixed their problem. Time for a recall.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #134

Mar 102015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle started to jerk without warning. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. Updated 6/8/15

- Boston, MA, USA

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