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 5 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #133

Feb 282015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles


My granddaughter and I were returning home from out of town where we had been on tollways throughout the day. Fortunately, we were only a mile from home and out of the big city and off the tollways, when the car began to shudder and shake and completely stalled in the roadway as I was slowing to approach an intersection. It just seemed to lock up and shook violently and lights flashed and I immediately looked at the dash and it read service immediately. I looked in my rear view mirror and fortunately no one was behind me. I tried to accelerate to get to the side of the road and it jerked and slowly began to accelerate and slowly reach home. At home I put it in park and after that was unable to move it forward or backward. I had to have it towed to the dealership. Had this happened on the tollway I am certain we would have been hit from behind. I have no doubt. We have been dealing with this since shortly after we purchased the car in 2012. It has been in the shop at least four times for similar issues but never this serious. Each time gets worse. I am afraid of the car now and it has been in the shop now a month and is being taken to another shop out of town because the local dealership doesn't have anyone capable to fix it as per their service department. Most of all this was a dangerous event that needs to be taken seriously.

- Gonzales, TX, USA

problem #132

Mar 032015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Transmission shutters, feels like its skipping a gear, rolls backward down hill in drive. The vehicle's transmission, in the middle of an intersection, stalled and would not shift into a gear. This incident almost caused a wreck. The vehicle has been at 3 different Ford dealerships 7 different times for transmission issues. Ford refuses to admit that there is a serious issue with the transmission and is making customers drive unsafe vehicles during the weeks that those vehicles aren't in the shop.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #131

Mar 192015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 36,649 miles
I got into my car after work and noticed the check engine light on, as I left the parking lot of my job and headed towards the freeway which is across the street, my car would not accelerate. I could only reach speeds of 40 mph and the car began to shake and I could hear knocking sounds coming from the engine. I exited the freeway and took streets home, after about 30 minutes the shaking stopped and I was able to pick up speed but the engine light remained on. The very next day there was no engine light on and the car ran smoothly but on the third day as I got in my car once again the engine light was on, and as soon as I pulled out of my driveway, the car started shaking and this time I could only get the car to reach 20 mph which was once again accompanied by loud rattling and knocking coming from the engine. The engine sounds like it trying to accelerate but the car just doesn't pick up speed.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #130

Mar 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles


I purchased the car used in early 2014. I had this car not even two years and the transmission is a serious problem. The car shakes, rattles, and stalls as I'm driving. The letter I received from Ford states that this is a normal function of the car. The transmission fluid on my car is leaking and contaminated. The transmission fluid would be almost empty in 24 hours. In order to use my car for a day, I would need to refill my car with transmission fluid so it will at least move. The car at times would come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic. The power-shift struggles to change gears and at times won't accelerate. This problem maybe now beginning to affect my engine. The Focus won't even start at times. Another issue is the radio will go on/off and with time, shut off completely. Their are also reports of car will roll back on hills when in drive and it does. The Ford Focus 2012 has too many design and manufacturer problems not to have a recall or lemon lawsuits. This car needs to simply be replaced with another model (not 2013 or 2014 models, same reports) or full reimbursement.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #129

Sep 262014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 99,885 miles
The car was driving fine and all of a sudden the power train quit working despite the fact that the engine was operating correctly. Because of the loss of power, I was endanger of getting hit by other cars. The sudden loss of power is a hazard. The manufacturer said the resulting loss of power train was due to a transmission control module. This particular model has been plagued by transmission problems throughout its life. Mine began while it was still under warranty and continues today. I am going to abandon the car because I feel it is unsafe at this point for me or anyone else.

- Tyrone, GA, USA

problem #128

Mar 152015


  • 79,000 miles
This has happened multiple times, but on Sunday 3/15/15. My car has flashed hill assist not working and not in park when it was indeed in park after the RPM go up to 5 & 6 at any given time and forcing me to pull over. My car would start, but would not go into gear. When this happen before I was on the interstate doing 70 and the car jumps out of gear and I can no longer go, so I have had to pull over and luckily restart the car and go. I also have been having issues with the car not starting. What if this car causes myself and family to be involved in a accident" what if this happens during rush hour? this is a world wide issues and Ford is fully aware yet they do not have any recalls. I'm not sure I understand when or what will make you Ford stand up and correct the issue by issuing a recall on this unsafe vehicle? death"

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #127

Feb 192015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


Car lost power and engine light came on while traveling southbound on I-95. Underneath parts and lower body panels caught fire and melted. Vehicle was towed to the paul clark Ford dealership in yulee, fl. Where it was discovered the engine had experienced a catastrophic engine failure. There was a hole a little smaller than a basketball blown out of the bottom of the crankcase with the oil pump and pieces of the engine laying on the shield covering the oil pan. The car had just been fully serviced with it's routine oil change, recommended service routine, etc by same dealer. Even though the vehicle is under full warranty, nothing has been done to repair the vehicle as of yet. Ford is conducting an internal review and said it could take up to 90 days before a determination is made. They also have not offered a loaner vehicle or a rental car to the owner while this process is taking place.

- Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

problem #126

Sep 152014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,116 miles
When accelerating from a stopped position, the transmission slips gears and the car lurches forward or stalls and then lurches. I have almost rear ended several cars on many occasions. The car also lurches backwards when in reverse. I have taken the vehicle in twice for service. It is in for service as I am submitting this report. The first time, I was told there were recalls completed on the vehicle. I never received any paperwork from the dealership as to what was actually "replaced/recalled" on my vehicle. It seemed to drive smoother for a few months and then the same problems started again. I'm waiting to hear back from the dealership as to what they have found wrong this time.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #125

Mar 052015


  • 32,000 miles
The traction control in the vehicle operates in an unsafe manner in snowy road conditions. When climbing a slight grade in snow, the traction control continually reduces engine power to the point that the vehicle will no longer move forward. As the vehicle slows to a stop while modulating the accelerator, the engine will not rev above 1500rpm without the traction control cutting off power. Controlled and sustained forward momentum is required for safe driving in snowy conditions. That is not possible when traversing typical roadway inclines in snowy weather with the traction control engaged. Additionally, it takes no fewer than seven inputs from the driver to engage or disengage the traction control system; something that must be done frequently in this vehicle to keep it moving safely in snow. This creates undue driver distraction in already demanding driving conditions. A manufacturer retrofit of a simple on/off switch for the traction control system, as installed in most contemporary vehicles, should be the minimum remedy.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #124

Feb 032015


  • 33,342 miles
On January 27th.. my car (2012 Ford Focus SE 4door 5 speed) my car had 33,342 miles on it once it came into the service bay at asheville Ford in asheville nc. I was advised that the car would have to stay for the day and look into the situation. Car would die at random, lights would come on like a christmas tree (oil pressure light, battery light, traction light, ESC light, information light, check engine light) and a message would appear (engine malfunction service now). Asheville Ford was also notified of a sun visor popping, seat belts not releasing and creaking noises in the B pillars on both sides, and the ac was blowing hot air again (this was repaired on the 23rd before and already blowing hot air).

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #123

Sep 072012


  • miles


I bought this car with 17,000 miles on it and kept it a year and a half. I couldn't stand it anymore. When accelerating, it would shake and shudder. The automatic shifting into first and second gears was extremely jerky all the time. If I was at a complete stop and the pavement was wet, the car would bolt forward when I accelerated. Twice it like stopped when I was going 70 mph on a highway. It just sort of stopped operating for a flash and then resumed movement. It was scary. I took it to a reputable Ford dealership which was closer to my house than where I bought it, and they worked on it 4 different times. I came in with the same complaints every time. In addition, because the transmission was so screwy, it apparently affected the tires and I had to buy 4 new tires because the tread was so worn down. I traded it in on a new Toyota. That was my first Ford and my last Ford. Never again. The car is a menace and definitely unsafe.

- Franklin, WI, USA

problem #122

Jan 042013


  • 600 miles
I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus at my local dealership (5 miles on it); brand new. Within 6 months I had it in the shop 2 times. At the time my husband was an employee of that dealership and they gave him the run around. Indicating all they had to do was reset the computer. Supposedly they reset the computer twice however it never fixed the problem. Once it was diagnosed on the 3rd attempt at the local dealership that it needed "parts" I was given the run around by that dealership. After contacting Ford Motor Company on several attempts I finally received a response. I had to beg Ford for a rental car so that I had transportation for the week that the dealership had my car.once the vehicle was fixed and I picked it up; I noticed a really rough idle. After dealing with this for this for several months; the dealership had me bring it back in and had it for another week to fix the idle problem. As of today; it is still not running right. I am taking it back in on Friday to have it looked at once again as the entire front of the car shakes and the dealership indicated it "sounds like the transmission." Not only does it shake and rattle; it clicks at times and jerks/shudders forward. I have on numerous occasions contacted Ford Motor Company and have asked everything from buying the vehicle back and once and for all fixing the problem and get nothing but the run around. Today I my vehicle was taken back into the dealership and I was told that it needs another new clutch and they are backordered. Your Agency needs to do something about these Ford and the Ford Motor Company before it causes a fatality. The way the car lurches forward and shudders; this could cause an accident or someone could get hit by this. Please help Ford owners !! recall these vehicles.

- Arroyo Grande , CA, USA

problem #121

Jan 152015


  • 46,000 miles
I was driving in a residential neighborhood and approaching a four way stop so not going fast. My car stopped accelerating and then jerked forward causing me to have to turn off the road to avoid going through the stop sign. I instead hit the stop sign. The car has transmission issues that have not yet been resolved.

- Mahtomedi, MN, USA

problem #120

Sep 012014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2012 Ford Focus SE. I bought my Ford Focus in December 2012 from folsom lake Ford located in folsom California. At 20000 miles I took my car in for its factory service and advised the transmission was not operating correctly. According to folsom lake Ford their service department reprogrammed the transmission computer and ordered parts for the transmission┐┐parts that would take a month to arrive, but never heard back from folsom lake Ford after that. About 35000mls started major transmission issues with my Focus-it would not shift correctly. The check engine light never came on, nor were there any other diagnostic/malfunction advisements from the vehicles information system. Other systems began to malfunction 'specifically electronic systems, idle control malfunctioned-. idle rough, sometimes idling wild and extreme Focus would stall constantly while stopped at intersections, also randomly stalling while at driving speeds. Multiple times my Focus stalled on the freeway, while driving at normal freeway speeds 55-70mph. After my Focus had a stalling incident it would not start at all as if it was due to a power drainage. If it did not immediately fire-up, the starter would continue to operate whether I tried to discontinue or not. When the vehicle did finally start, the transmission always operated unusually after that 'shifting incorrectly, not smoothly shifting into gear, sometimes not shifting into the proper gear or not shifting at all. At about 42000mls service performed on my Focus the battery checked and in good working order. By 43000mls after major transmission issues my battery was corroded/ruined.

- North Highlands, CA, USA

problem #119

Dec 302014


  • 23,000 miles
I am filing a complaint against a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The car has been making transmission noises that cannot be resolved for quite some time now and while driving on the 101 freeway, all of the instrument panel lights came on and the entire car completely shut off and no controls were working at all almost causing an intense pile up that could have killed my mother and I instantly. We were left in the middle of the freeway with not power of any use of controls until chp officers were finally blocking traffic from hitting us. This is the worst vehicle we have ever owned and Ford should be ashamed for being negligent.

- West Hills, CA, USA

problem #118

Dec 202014


  • 68,000 miles
I have a 2012 Ford Focus. I was in the middle of the road when it decided to stop accelerating. The engine light came on and it did not move. I turned it off and on again, which gave me another shot at getting off the road before it shut down again. It was pretty unnerving not knowing if I was going to cause a wreck or be rear ended.. this is just one of the hundreds, if not, thousands of the same complaint out there. Something has to be done before there is a death.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #117

Dec 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
At first I reported issues with dealership regarding car moving backwards at time when I release brakes to go forward and my car is automatic. Also informed them after a red light I press the gas but car would not move immediately they said it was normal due to dual transmission. Car was not put in service. I had same incident and a month later I received an alert regarding a clutch recall and took it in for service today and explained to them I had same issue. Car was not put in service and they said it was normal cause car is automatic with a manual transmission and they stated to only bring it in if I hear metal grinding.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #116

Aug 152014


  • 62,382 miles
The car goes into neautral with no warning loose all power and three months later it does not go into reverse and lost gears we had to pay out of pocket someone going to get hurt this car needs a recall on transmission before someone gets hurt bad there is so many complaints on transmission.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #115

Oct 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
My 2012 Ford Focus sel dies when a 'engine malfunction service now' message appears. This has happened on two different occasions. Both times, the message appeared, and about 30 second later, the engine completely dies. The second time this occurred it happened as I was pulling out into traffic from an intersection. On both occurrences this has fortunately happened at low speeds however I am concerned it will happen at greater speeds with a loss of power steering, brakes, and possibly airbags. I have been instructed by the dealership to continue driving the vehicle and wait for the situation to worsen.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #114

Nov 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
To whom it may concern, I am a very unhappy customer with a car that I had purchased from your company. The car is not reliable what so ever and I can't trust it with anything! I have always wanted the newer model Focus and when I finally have the money to afford one I am extremely disappointed. I have never had this many issues with a car and this is one of the newest cars I have yet bought. I have missed 8 days of work this year just because the car has its own games to play.the car has almost cost me my life a few times due to the jerking on the engine that you guys feel is normal. When I go to make a turn the car jerks so much sometimes that it's just makes it before I get smashed. This car is horrible and I think that it is so wrong that there is so much wrong with this car yet you still keep it on the market. One day this car is not going to go when I push the gas and I will get seriously injured. I have complained to service many times about this issue and they simply say" ?well just push the gas a little harder" I'm sorry maybe the car should simply go considering its main function is to drive!!! this is one of the most disappointing, nonfunctional, and depreciative vehicle I have ever bought in my life. I will never buy a Ford again if something cannot be done. So thank you so much, instead of me saving for college I now get to save up to buy another car because I was wrong about this car being dependable. Thank you so much for all the hardship your poor manufacturing has caused me and my wallet. I really so hope someone can be of assistance and correct this issue because if not you will surely be losing a customer along with me posting this to social media in the months to come if something is not resolved. I figured if you guys don't care enough about my well being then the world must know.

- Northlake, IL, USA

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