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 9 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #53

Apr 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 665 miles


I purchased this vehicle on March 21, 2012 and first took it into the dealership April 4, 2012 because the transmission boggs for the startup 0 to approximately 20 mph. This created a safety hazard when pulling into oncoming traffic because the vehicle had no power, especially when in a stopped position. Passing vehicles was unsafe if you were in the lower gears of the transmission due to lack of power. Another safety hazard is that the vehicle drifts backwards when I take my foot off of the gas pedal, as if it was a standard shift transmission. This was especially dangerous on a hill or a grade. This vehicle also drifts backwards when you put your vehicle in park and release the brake pedal, causing danger to pedestrian or vehicles behind you. I have taken this vehicle back numerous times since I have owned it for the same types of problems with the transmission (now at various speeds) and drifting backwards. The dealership has made numerous adjustments and changes to the transmission, but to date this vehicle basically remains, in my opinion, a safety hazard. To date, Ford company states that all of the above has a reason and states that it is "normal" for this new type of transmission. In my opinion, this transmission evolved to save gas, not lives.

- Mercer, PA, USA

problem #52

Jan 312014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus SE. The contact stated while driving, the car would violently shudder and shake, a grinding noise could be heard in the front of the vehicle and it stalled intermittently. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The dealer stated that the control module was defective and a new seal was installed. The dealer repaired the defect; however, a day after picking up her vehicle the failures persisted. While driving she also heard a "clucking" noise in the same place she previously heard the grinding noise. The vehicle was towed again back to the dealer who stated that they could not find any defects she "just have to get use to her vehicle". when the contact drove the vehicle home the transmission over warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000 miles. Updated 04/17/14 the consumer stated the transmission was replaced. However, the shudder continued. Updated 05/20/14

- Tarzana, CA, USA

problem #51

Aug 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 23,892 miles
My car has almost gotten me in 3 accidents and it rolls back on hills I was pulling into a drive way and it started to roll back then it slowed down and there was a load noise and we started rolling backwards it was just a drive way. The car has absolutely no power at all it stutters and when you are driving in busy places and your car wont pick up enough ton enter on the highway or freeway its scary and its unsafe it will shake the whole car when it pulls back and stutters. It is awful and I went on a 3 hour drive to go on vacation I actually rented a car instead of taking my brand new car that I got to last me years fro now was the plan if it makes it another 1 year I will be surprised very dangerous Ford.

- Moreono Valley, CA, USA

problem #50

Jan 102014


  • 12,000 miles


After about 30-45 mins of driving the car will begin to shudder going from 1st to 2nd gear. It occurs most noticeably driving from a stop. I have brought my car in numerous times and have been told numerous excuses. At this time it is getting annoying, however it becomes a concern when turning onto roads because it does not produce any power during this time. Its only a matter of time before a accident occurs because of this issue. There needs to be a recall on the transmission on the 2012 Ford Focus. Updated 03/25/14 also, an oil leak was found, the vehicle would shudder in reverse and it felt as though the traction control was engaging.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #49

Jun 292012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated while traveling at various speeds, the vehicle began to shake. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 400. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 2/11/14

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #48

Dec 152013


  • 33,300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while sitting at a red light, she attempted to accelerate but the parking aid malfunction, check engine and ABS warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection but they could not determine the cause of failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 33,300.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #47

Nov 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


This is an ongoing problem!!!! my vehicle vibrates when trying to accelerate from a complete stop. It hesitates and does not want to accelerate and it appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.when pulling of from a stop position sounds like a rattling or something making a cranking noise. Also car stalls at times. Taking off from stop sign car stalls when gas is pressed. My car rolls back when taking off from an incline and a flat surface.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #46

Nov 172013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 15,860 miles
While traveling down the interstate there was a sudden loss of power while pressing the gas and hesitation when power finally returned.

- Fountain, CO, USA

problem #45

Jul 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 250 miles
Vehicle vibrates when trying to accelarate from a complete stop. Hesitates and does not want to accelarate. Appears to not want to shift gears. Does the same thing at low speeds as well.

- Weslaco, TX, USA

problem #44

Oct 012013


  • 26,000 miles
Clutch quit at approx. 26,000mi. This was preceded by heavy shuddering and vibrations (for approximately three weeks). The manufacturer, fomoco, diagnosed the problem two weeks ago but was unable (or unwilling) to immediately replace the part, putting me in a long, "backorder" queue. My personal feeling is that the transmission is defective and should be subject to a recall.

- Wrentham, MA, USA

problem #43

Sep 182013


  • 3,800 miles


Car stops dead and the "stop safely now" light comes on.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #42

Aug 232013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 25,700 miles
I have only owned this 2012 Ford Focus for approx. 6 weeks. It has been hesitating, sputtering, and jerking upon acceleration and when driving at low speeds since the first day I owned it. At first it was intermittent but now it happens most all the time. When I stop and take off it feels like it is going to stall out. When on an interstate ramp I feel I cannot get up to a higher speed fast enough. I took it to the dealer for service. The dealer said that they would need to drop the engine, replace the seals (there is leaking around the seals) and replace the clutch. And, the seals are on back-order for 2 to 3 weeks! they say it is safe to drive and to let them know if it worsens (how can it get worse). They may say it is safe, but I sure do not feel safe or comfortable driving this car. I have read hundreds of complaints from other Focus owners on this same issue. Ford needs to recall these cars and listen to consumers. This is a defect that needs Ford's ownership. I have been in contact with Ford and have a case number. Thank you.

- Mount Jackson, VA, USA

problem #41

Sep 212013


  • 10,960 miles
While driving approx 30 miles per hour on a B road, just after turning right the car displayed a "stop safely now" warning and the car lost all power to the drive train and the car literally stopped moving. Luckily, there was no one behind me when the fault occurred. I power cycled the car and I was able to drive away after a few minutes. I have never had an issue with the car until last night.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #40

Aug 202013


  • 15,900 miles
While driving through uptown charlotte, the car gave a "stop safely now" alert and the car lost power. It coasted enough to roll to the right lane and then died. I could not get the warning flashers to work. I tried for about 7 minutes to get the car to turn off, every combination I knew. After that, the car 'reset' and I was able to get it to start. I drove away as if nothing happened. It hasn't happened since. It's not cool to have the car quit in traffic like that. I think the battery control computer picked up a radio frequency interference.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #39

Apr 172013


  • 5,000 miles
The vehicle came to a complete stop in front of the caldecott tunnel that separates the East bay to contra costa county. The vehicle stopped in the middle of traffic during commute time. Also resulted in a terrible backup on the highway. Spent over 3 hours dealing with this break down that included finding care for our children and finding someone to pick her up at dealership as it was after hours.

- Orinda, CA, USA

problem #38

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The Ford Focus 2012 is a true lemon! it runs rough jerking movements esp in low gear. It has lack of acceleration. I bought this car new and have had it to the dealership four times only to be told its all normal for the 2012. However I feel its not normal! my last visit I was handed a sheet filled with '' normal'' things to expect! the dealership refused to allow me to trade it back in. I wrote to the Ford Motor Co and I only got a very nice lady who just kept saying oh I am so sorry. They along with the willis Ford dealer in smyrna de acted like it was just me with this complaint. After viewing the pages and pages of complaints most like myself I can see I am far from along. What can be done ? so far I see nothing being done about this serious problem.

- Smyrna, DE, USA

problem #37

Jun 252013


  • 2,250 miles
I purchased a new 2012 Ford Focus ev on June 7, 2013. Twice (still in June), while driving at speeds approximately 50 mph, the "stop safely now" warning came on and the vehicle lost power. Both times I was able to restart the vehicle within a couple of minutes. I made sure to note all the indicators to provide the Ford service techs as much information as possible. When I brought the vehicle in to be serviced, the technicians professed no knowledge of the issue and contacted Ford for support. They could not repeat the issue and the car had no log of the events. Finally, I was told the problem was a faulted power control module (PCM). Unfortunately, this part was on a national backorder for 6 weeks (probably as a result of the known problems). After the part was finally replaced, I was told that the PCM would not program correctly, and that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. End result, I have my vehicle back, just in time to take it back for a recall. At least it hasn't stalled ??. yet.

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #36

Aug 282013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,328 miles
The incident happened on 8/28/13 as I tried to pull onto the busy intersection. My car did not want to change gears and had no power at all. I had to be towed since I was over an hour away from my home. My car has been in the shop since this date. I called on 8/30/13 and was told by the dealership that it was ok for me to take my car and drive it over the holiday weekend. I asked if it would hurt the car to drive it and also if it would be safe. The technicians assured me that it would be perfectly fine and that I was to return the car to the dealership on 9/3/13 and when the part came in, the car would be repaired. I decided to take my car and proceeded to drive it home. Approximately one half mile down the road I realized that the car was having great difficulty trying to change gears and had no power at all. I was almost hit by an oncoming car because mine was stalled and just sitting there. I decided to take the car back to the dealership where it will remain until it is completely repaired. I love my Ford Focus, but do not want to have to worry about it breaking down on the road or being unsafe for me to drive.

- Greensburg, KY, USA

problem #35

Aug 242013


  • 39,000 miles
Since we purchased the vehicle, it seemed to stutter when trying to go from a stop. I was told that this is normal for this transmission. But on August 24th, the transmission started to have even more problems. First the vehicle was having a hard time accelerating past 20 mph. Then it started jerking back and forth, lunging to and fro. It was not shifting gears like it should have, and it felt like it was going to stall, so complainant had to pull over to avoid an accident and allow fast moving traffic to pass. After traffic had passed, complainant turned around to go back home, jerking and lunging the whole time going less than 20 mph. After leaving the car sit for several hours, the vehicle started up again, and seemed to be operating normally. However now the vehicle is having a harder time going up hills, and has trouble coasting. Feels like something is dragging it down. This could be very unsafe, as the problem is not predictable, and could potentially cause an accident. A 2012 vehicle with 39000 miles should not be having transmission problems already.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #34

Jun 302013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
We first noticed when we bought the car that it was jerky when accelerating, was told that is the way the car drives. Went on a road trip and trying to accelerate to expressway wouldn't go just revved then jerked out into traffic, we almost got killed and had to go to the shoulder to avoid accident. This happened multiple times and was very unsafe. We got to the point we were afraid to drive it, cause we didn't know when it would just rev and jerk or if it would actually work properly. It didn't matter if you just started and tried backing out or were on the road, the problem was constant. That is very dangerous on the road and you don't know when it will happen. Took to dealer on July 6th and my car has been there since, it is now 6 weeks and they are replacing transmission clutches, there is a backorder of over 8,000 clutches, which means that many people have taken their car in and there is no recall for this car and we have no idea if the car will be repaired. The manufacturer of these parts does not have any in the warehouse and Ford is estimating Sept 7th which we doubt. This car is very unsafe cause you do not know when the transmission is going to shift.. I think there should be a recall. As of right now we have filed complaints and no longer want the car back. Reading blogs we have discovered that there are still problems with the transmission on the 2012 Focus after repairs. If you have this problem, file a complaint and maybe there will be a recall. They will not give you a rental unless you have an extended warranty which we luckily do, otherwise we would have been paying for a rental for who knows how long. Ford sold these cars knowing that this was a problem because it was revised for the 2013.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

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