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 1 of 11)

problem #213

Jan 102017


  • 85,562 miles


Takata recall so I was told after having multiple problems with my vehicle after bob lowth Ford selling me it that some parts are on recall and I have small children I don't want to put in risk if anything happens during the winter weather here in mn for insistence my engine light came on and it started feeling like it wanted to die out on us early morning around 7:30 am central time so I always try to make sure that my small children have blankets in case we die out in -20 weather

- Redby, MN, USA

problem #212

Jan 072017


  • 73,366 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had to physically push the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was included in a previous recall for the power train, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The recall details were not provided. The approximate failure mileage was 73,366.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #211

Dec 272016


  • 71,000 miles
Car at stop engine revs from low to high, if you press on the accelerator the engine will die even when you are in motion. Sometimes the engine will just die when you press on the accelerator. In traffic on highways this is extremely dangerous. The cost to repair this default in design was $889.18 at the Ford dealership where the car was purchased new. That is an egregious charge for a common complaint about this care. Per the internet research we have done. Ford says the car is out of warranty and take it up with nhsta so that is what I am doing.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #210

Dec 052016


  • miles


My car is in the fourth time for transmission related issues. Also this time the check engine light came on. Bill brown Ford in livonia mi diagnosed the problem as a failing catalytic converter. This is a known problem with the Focus, but Ford hasn't done anything about it. I've researched the issue on line and there are many complaints about the catalytic converter. I also have a friend who is a mechanic at a Ford dealership and he said Ford is quite aware of the problem. Two years ago I was almost rear ended when the car suddenly went out of gear and the check engine light came on and flashed a warning. Ford replaced the tcu. The car is now hesitating again along with shuttering when accelerating.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #209

May 072014


  • 35,000 miles
Since purchasing my Focus in November of 2013, I have had several issues with what appears to be the transmission that have caused me to fear for my safety as they have resulted in multiple near-accidents. I had the car looked at within the first several months of ownership and nothing was found, I then took the car back in when symptoms persisted and got the clutch replaced within roughly a year of buying. The symptoms subsided for a while, but have returned and are still an issue to date. Issues are detailed below: The car often chugs when in motion, especially during acceleration from a stopped position. There have been numerous occasions where the vehicle will intermittently and unpredictably refuse to accelerate in a normal fashion. This happens both while moving around 20-40mph and also when coming from a stopped position - say waiting at a red light or when waiting to turn left at a busy city intersection. This is terrifying as I never know when the car will accelerate normally and when it will not - at least twice in recent history I have attempted to make a left turn from a stopped position, had plenty of time to get through the intersection, but the car struggled and finally made it through too close for comfort. Other times, the rpms seem to rev up for no reason, and the car accelerates very quickly though the pressure on the pedal has not changed. Though the has happened with less frequency, it is almost more frightening as I feel like I am not in control of the vehicles speed while in traffic. Typically this happens when coming from a stopped position as well. Additional issues I've had include it rolling backward on small inclines - sometimes when brake pedal is sufficiently depressed and even momentarily when in drive and gas pedal depressed.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #208

Oct 272016


  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While stopped, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 158,000.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #207

Nov 152014


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning and the check engine indicator illuminated prior to the stalling. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the purge valve needed to be replaced, but was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 52,000.

- Brownstown Township, MI, USA

problem #206

Nov 052016


  • 97,000 miles
Takata recall. The car will die in the middle of driving. Doesn't matter the speed you are going the lights on the dashboard will light up and you cant accelerate or decelerate the car will just die.

- St.Charles, MO, USA

problem #205

Jul 152016


  • miles
Recalled vehicle for computer system. Defect causes breaks to wear early, shuddering in transmission, and eventual transmission failure while the car is running. Is a known problem as I see from many other internet complaints.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #204

Oct 252016


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle jerked, stalled, and the air bags inadvertently deployed without impact. The contact sustained head injuries that required medical attention. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 61,000.

- Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #203

Oct 122016

Focus 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles


Power steer assist system went out completely. I was driving and took a turn and the electric motor failed and cant steer the car at all. Sitting in driveway undrivable.

- Summerfield, FL, USA

problem #202

Aug 192016


  • miles
My transmission is going out and my car drivers really different from when I got

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #201

Sep 092016


  • 114,000 miles
My wife traded in her 2009 Taurus for a new 2012 Focus sedan back in April 2012 at green Ford. A month or so after getting the Focus, it had a transmission fluid leak. Green Ford fixed the problem. In mid-2015 we started to notice transmission issues like erratically shifting in second and third gear, very sluggish shift between low gears and that the upshift bags down like the vehicle might stall, bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, delayed acceleration and lurching forward into intersections at red lights due to the failure of their braking efforts to stop the car. We took it to green Ford on 9/18/2015. They stating that it was working as designed. However, for a precaution, they said they reprogrammed the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (tcm). However, it was a recall issue for that stated problem/S. in the official service history for the Ford owner's records, there is no mention of the safety recall done on my Focus, just the routine maintenance and a mileage of over 96,000 miles on the Focus at the time. Jump forward to a year later, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at 2pm, my wife was traveling in a 45 mph speed zone when the car's check engine light came. Seconds later, the Ford started to stall and have power issues, causing her to find the next side road to pull over. The car completed stalled and could not turn over. After 2 towing events, from the breakdown location to thomas tire, thomas to stearns Ford, and sitting over the weekend, on Sept. 9, we found out it was the recall tcm that broke. The tcm was in back order until October 28, 2016. Stearns Ford sent me to enterprise where they paid for a Ford rental. The only Ford on the rental lot was the transit 250 or 350 van (very low mpg). I had to pay for the liability insurance coverage daily. After the 3rd day, I borrowed a family member's car.

- Mcleansville, NC, USA

problem #200

Sep 012016


  • 92,000 miles
Driving on freeway at 65mph engine shut down without warning. No power steering and no power brakes. Was able to coast to the shoulder. When tried to restart violent shaking. Towed to Ford dealer for repair. Not diagnosed yet after 2 days. This car is a lemon. Had transmission clutches replaced twice. Had transmission control module replaced when it failed. Have continuous wheel bearing noise that was brought into dealer under warranty and they never solved the problem.

- Pacific Grove, CA, USA

problem #199

Aug 272016


  • 60,000 miles
My daughter was driving the car at a very high speed, the vehicle died suddenly, and she was forced to "glide" into the median. Took vehicle into dealership, and was told the trans module is on a "replacement program", and that the module is on back order. I was told that I could rent a car because there is nothing I could do. Most importantly, when I reminded the gentleman this was a safety issue, I was told that its really not a concern.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

problem #198

Aug 152016


  • 94,000 miles
Ford has a transmission with dry clutches. This transmission has stranded many people in very unsafe situations. The transmission just stops working while driving. Many complaints have people left in the traffic lanes and the cars simply will not move. Fortunately for me I was not on the freeway, but on the feeder to the freeway, and the car just stopped moving. The engine RPM's dropped like it was running out of gas. Then the engine rpms picked up but it wouldn't move. Tried putting it in reverse and still wouldn't move. The tow truck driver had towed this very same car to the dealer 8 months ago. The problem is that the transmission is of such poor quality that the vehicles are in the shop on a regular basis, costing us huge amounts of money to fix. I bought the car 7 months ago with an extended warranty. The car has shuttered and the transmission has slipped pretty much from the time I got the car. Reading many complaints about the car, some from brand new owners in 2012. Really need to research this transmission and engine for that matter.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #197

Jan 222016


  • 66,000 miles
I bought my car in January 2012 - the car ran great for the first 8 months, it was a smooth ride and the acceleration was quick. That year I drove almost 30K miles up and down the California coast. Towards the end of that year I started to notice my car wasn't running the same, the acceleration lagged and when I would accelerate from 0mph to 20mph it would shake - felt like the transmission wasn't switching gears properly so I brought it into Ford where I originally bought it in seaside ca in monterey county. They ran some tests and said it was fine and that what I was feeling was from the new engine Ford had created to help their cars run efficiently and not use as much gas. I also brought it into Ford santa monica in los angeles ca several times with the same issue - this went on for years and they always said the same thing. In August of 2015 santa monica Ford finally discovered that my car indeed had a recall and needed a new clutch, but it was back ordered. On January 18th of 2016 my girlfriend and I were driving on the 405 South headed to orange county. My girlfriend was driving about 65 in the carpool lane - all of a sudden the gas pedal stopped working and the rpms were flooring, but the engine couldn't catch - we had to get over 5 lanes before we ran out of gas and were almost killed by a huge semi/18 wheeler that was driving over 70mph. I had my car towed first thing Tuesday morning because Monday was a holiday. Santa monica Ford said it was fine, that Friday the same thing happened so I brought it to Ford star Lincoln in glendale. I've had over 4 cases with Ford corporate about my clutch and transmission issue and every couple months they change the regional manager I was dealing with and every single case has mysteriously been closed for no reason. When I call Ford to ask why they are closed when they haven't been resolved and they say they don't know.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #196

Aug 122016


  • 4 miles
Vehicle in motion driving about 60-65mph on the highway, the check engine light turned on the dashboard. Vehicle could not accelerate felt as if on neutral. I began to lose speed and had the fortune no incoming vehicles were behind me. I shut the car off once on the side of the road. Vehicle after being off for 15 minutes was able to drive but reverse gear was none functional.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #195

Jun 112013


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at any speed, the vehicle lost power and stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 41,000.

- Corp Spring, TX, USA

problem #194

May 192016


  • 70,000 miles
The car has 70,000 miles on it. It has had 3 oil leaks (1 oil pan & 2 head gasket); I have also had to have the clutch replaced twice. The first time was due to shuddering and the second time was due to a transmission malfunction code. The two clutches were replaced 10,000 miles apart.

- Bloomfield, MI, USA

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