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 7 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #93

May 012014


  • 54,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the transmission was replaced, but the vehicle shifted roughly after the repair. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #92

Jan 022014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
While driving my Ford Focus 2012, the engine would shutter inbetween shifts. This resulted in delays in the shift and then sometimes in surges in power, back and forth. There was also often a grinding or clicking noise coming from the undercarriage during the shift. I finally got Ford to fix this problem after taking it into the shop for service three different times and making numerous phone calls. In the interim, I believe my life was in danger do to the unpredictable malfunctioning of this vehicle. There were several times when I was trying to get through an intersection or get on the highway when the delay/shutter/surge of the vehicle could have caused me to have an accident, as I could not predict when the incidents were going to occur, or exactly to what degree. I believe Ford's repeated refusal to remedy this issue put my life in danger. The fix ended up being a replacement of the clutch. However, I was advised by the technician that this would only be a short term fix and that eventually the problem would return (no doubt next time only after my warranty has expired and I will not be able to afford the repair). Please help resolve this problem before some is seriously injured by Ford's refusal to take responsibility for their dangerous and defective product.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #91

Aug 162014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 48,500 miles
While driving my 2012 - manual 5 speed Ford Focus down the highway the car lost power. There was no indication that anything was wrong, but all of a sudden while in 5th gear at 70mph the car had no power to propel itself forward, at the same time the radio/entertainment system malfunctioned and turned off. Luckily, I was able to make it over to the shoulder and roll to a stop without an incident. Turned the car back on and there was very little power getting to the car, maxing out a speed of 50mph on the freeway so as not to stall again, made for a scary ride home. This is the 3rd time this has happened since owning the car, which I purchased brand new and now has 49,000 miles on the odometer. The previous 2 times, I took it to a dealer to diagnose the problem, but they said that there is nothing that they can find wrong with it. Now I am active on a Ford Focus forum because it seems that I am not the only person out there with this issue. Ford needs to get it together before they have an injury lawsuit on their hands.

- Hoschton, GA, USA

problem #90

Aug 162014


  • 23,700 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to an authorized dealer. The vehicle was currently being diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 23,700.

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #89

Apr 092014


  • 26,000 miles
Accelerating from stop, engine hesitates, causing turns and acceleration onto streets to take longer than expected.

- Laughlin, NV, USA

problem #88

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 #87

Jul 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 29,800 miles


Vehicle does not start when key is turned. Electrical systems come on but engine does not crank. Engine finally starts normally after multiple attempts to turn the key (20+) and then runs fine. This problem usually occurs after the car has not been used for several hours, I.e. being parked in the garage overnight or after a shift at work. Once the car starts, it can usually be turned off and then start again without incident, as long as the car has been driven recently. This began as a sporadic issue but now happens nearly every time I try and start the car in the morning or after work. The car has been taken back to the dealer twice but they are unable to identify the problem. Battery tests fine and no error codes are reported in the computer.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #86

Jul 032014


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate, the engine would rev but the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle was able to restart and operated as normal. The contact stated that the failure occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who recalibrated the tcm but the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 41,000.

- Medford, OR, USA

problem #85

Jul 282014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The vehicle doesn't automatically shift properly. It doesn't shift up when it should and revs up badly. The same thing happens when I go down large hills. It shifts down and it shouldn't, so the engine revs and I have to put it in neutral when going down hills. Further, when I am parked on a hill, it rolls back a bit before stopping. Lastly, the bluetooth microphone is dying and sounds terrible on the other end.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #84

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 #83

Jun 292012


  • miles


Purchased vehicle in June 2012 and transmission has been shaky, slipping, stuttering, jerking, stalling on acceleration, overheating, rolling back on hills, no acceleration on hills, and grinding ever since. Had clutch seal replaced within a couple of months from purchase which they claimed caused the problem. Problem persisted but they told me to give it time to adjust to the repair. I took it back in at 11,000 and they replaced one of the clutches. Problem persisted only then the car's system indicated the transmission was overheating (while I was on the highway) and indicated on the console that I needed to wait until the car cooled down. The temp on the car was in normal range. I was 3 hours from home with small children in the car and left on the side of a major highway because my car's system said the tranny was overheating. Took it to the dealer again and they said it was a glitch; no concern necessary. I complained again about the jerking in the transmission and they said I needed to give the car some time to adjust to the repair at 11,000. At 24, 000, I was fed up from waiting and took the car in again only to be told that I needed the entire clutch assembly replaced but they were on back-order. Contacted Ford for a buy back and they said "no, that's how the car drives - it's normal" car is now at 50,000 with same problems. Currently working with an attorney on a suit against Ford.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #82

Jul 082014


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at 50 mph, the power steering became difficult to turn and the engine stalled. The contact also stated that the vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering pump needed to be replaced and the PCM failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 77,000.

- Brazoria, TX, USA

problem #81

Mar 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
Within a month of purchase, the vehicle has been "shuddering" I have reported this to the dealership every time I sent it in for service and all they tell me is "it is normal, you have to get used to it. Its the new transmission technology of Ford." I cant believe that after 2yrs and 17K miles on it that it is still exhibiting the same problem and there has been no resolution to it. May I know until when am I going to wait? another problem that just came up- I have witnessed a loud sound coming from the speaker. Seems like a thunder/cracking noise. My husband has heard it twice. It is a very loud sound. It scared me when I heard it the first time.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #80

Jun 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
On two occasions the vehicle stopped running while in motion. In incident 1, this occurred at highway speed (65 mph) and incident #2 in local traffic (15 mph). In both cases all power was lost including the acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 1, the car restarted and driven to the dealer - extensive repairs were made "to the transmission" (per the dealer). In the second incident after dealer repairs after incident 1, the car completely stopped at highway speed and would not restart - towed to dealer. Again loss of all power including acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 2 the dealer replaced the "master control unit". while both incidents were covered by Ford under the "drive train" original warranty I am concerned about the loss of power in two incidents separated by about one month.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #79

May 152013


  • 10,000 miles
My car (2012 Ford Focus) has problems shifting and makes a shutter noise while taking off I have taken it to the dealer multiple times and they told me nothing is wrong with the car.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #78

Jul 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 64,559 miles
Driving on the highway when car did not want to accelerate and suddenly accelerated. Motor light turned on. When taken to get checked, motor light was off and. Was told others have been experiencing the same. This is the second time it happens.

- Clint, TX, USA

problem #77

Aug 132013


  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to acceleration problems. The consumer stated it felt as though the vehicle was loosing power and trying to stall out. She would try to accelerate and the vehicle would rev, but would not go, and when it finally did go, it was very jumpy and slow. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer five times for the same issue. The dealer stated the vehicle needed a computer upgrade. The dealer stated it would take a while for the upgrade to work, but it never did, and the problem worsened. The next time, the dealer stated the tcm needed to be replaced. The replacement of the tcm, made the problem even worse. The vehicle began jerking upon acceleration and it felt as though the transmission was slipping.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #76

Jan 022014


  • 30,000 miles
I had my Ford Focus for about 1 week. Bought used from the dealer. I started to take off from walmart parking lot and the car started jerking and stalled. So I took it to the dealership and they determined it was a faulty clutch. After repair my car has only gotten worse. Now it rolls backwards on hills in automatic. Grinds gears when it tries to shift out on hills. And still jerks terribly when taking off. The shop tells me its because its built like a manual for excellent gas mileage. Note no manual shift ive ever drove "grinds or jerks" if it is shift right. This car is terribly dangerous

- Tyner, KY, USA

problem #75

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
On-going problems with the transmission. The first incident occurred approximately one month after purchase. I took it to the dealer and they told me that the shuddering/shifting problems that I was experiencing were "normal" and that the vehicle needed an adjustment period. I was told that it would smooth out once it got used to my driving pattern. The problem continued and I took it back several times to the dealership. Each time I was told that the car needed to get used to my acceleration. During one of the visits the dealer did replace the clutch assembly and several seals. The vehicle shudders badly, on take off, and has bogged down to the point that I feel unsafe in the vehicle. I am completely disappointed in this vehicle.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #74

May 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Driving on highway in fast lane at 60 mph, pressed foot on accelerator and engine revved but did not increase speed. In fact, slowed down. I was able to put hazard lights on and get to right shoulder (coasting, no acceleration power at all). Engine never died. Towed to dealer.(we had extended warranty). They had it 4 days could not find anything wrong with it. Since no problem found we had to pay for our rental and their diagnostic fees. After returning car to us, same thing 2 days later. Barely avoided being rear-ended in intersection this time. After this 2nd incident, engine light stayed on. 2nd trip to dealer, since engine light was on, they were able to adjust something in computer. Car did ok next 10 days. Then started doing the 'revving accelerator' but no increase in speed again--twice almost causing accidents. Today, 5th episode in 5th week, car hesitated, all dash lights came on, very loud 'boom' or 'thud' in engine. Was able to coast to shoulder. This car is dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Ford does not want to do anything unless they have a light they can fix via what a computer tells them.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

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