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:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,305 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 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #92

Aug 172015


  • 87,400 miles


What has happened with my 2012 Ford Focus on August 18, 2015 has now happened 2 additional times since then. On 8/21/2015 my vehicle was dropped off at skinner & damulis to reprogram the transmission control module (field service action: 15B22 transmission control module reprogramming for overt tcm failure warning). On August 27, 2015 while driving down the road at 55 mph again I had the same loss of power, this time had an 18 wheeler behind me that was not slowing down, I pulled over to the shoulder and needed to use reverse and the vehicle would not go into reverse, it just revved like it was in neutral. I turned the vehicle off, called Ford, again, and told them my issue. After restarting the vehicle after the phone call I was able to put in reverse. I returned vehicle to skinner & damulis on 9/3/2015, vehicle was "repaired" on 9/4/2015 and invoice stated my concern: Car having issues with revving and won't go into reverse at times and their correction was they found tcm & PCM software update and performed software update. On 9/25/2015 I again had the same issue with revving while driving (35-40 mph) and was again unable to get the vehicle into reverse. Car had 90,111 miles at the time. Contacted Ford and was given case# cas-7944030 and will be in contact with john from Ford by Monday evening. This no longer works for me. This car needs to go, it is going to kill someone, me, people in another vehicle, something and I am not going to have my family sued because this problem occurs again. I need a vehicle as an outside sales person and no longer feel safe in my 2012 Ford Focus. This car needs to be taken back by Ford and destroyed. It has no trade value and I do not want another family to have this car and get killed because of it. Please do something about this, I know I am not the only one with these issues. Kevin fike

- Ilion, NY, USA

problem #91

Sep 132015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 67,542 miles
The transmission clipped as to a 4th replaced faulty clutch while backing into the garage. The car jerked backwards out of know where and hit the side of the garage while backing in to park. The rear fender, bumper and parking aid sensors are now damaged thank you to a faulty transmission and clutch. I am tired of not feeling safe with my daughter in the car.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #90

Jul 102015


  • 36,670 miles
After driving for about a half hour in rush hour traffic in the southern California area, my car slipped from active gears (I believe 2nd gear) and right into neutral. I couldn't accelate and drive with trafffic, while travelling up hill my car decellerated quickly. In trying to get to the shoulder, I narrowly avoided an accident. After finally reaching the shoulder I was able to put the car in park (it started to roll downhill) and then apply the parking brake. 10 seconds later my car was running fine again. That following Monday I brought my car into the dealership to be serviced. This was the second time that this exact issue happened. The first time was the week prior to.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #89

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 #88

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 #87

Jul 082015


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle was engaged into the drive gear and it suddenly accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was informed that the vehicle was operating as designed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000. The VIN was not available.

- Eats Haven, CT, USA

problem #86

Jun 262015

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles


It's like it doesn't want to shift and then that hesitation you feel and it'll kick in, ? driving down the street transmission will stop working. There is never any warning signs. Very dangerous. Does not matter if you are going up an hill or driving flat road and speed has no factor either. Then the car will turn off on its own. There are a lot of complaints with transmission problem with Ford Focus. Every complaint is about the same transmission issue. Ford Focus 2012 is a lemon....... now family can't ride in this car. Not safe! it just sits at home.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #85

May 292015


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owned a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 2 mph and attempting to park, the vehicle experienced unintended acceleration and drove over the sidewalk and crashed into a wall. No warning indicators were illuminated. It was unknown if any injuries were sustained. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was informed of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000. The VIN was not available.

- New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #84

Jun 162015


  • 72,000 miles
This is the second time in 2 months that I've had problems with this car's transmission. Not only does it stutter when shifting and take time to accelerate, but now the transmission is not working. In April, the car completely stopped accelerating, almost resulting in a crash on the highway. The dealership diagnosed it as a transmission censor and cost was paid out of pocket. This time, the car began jerking and the transmission light flashed. I drove the car home and because of the violent jerking almost wrecked on several occasions. I am taking it to the dealership for repairs today. Considering this car is only 3 years old, it should not be having any of these problems and I consider it unreliable and a hazard to my family and other drivers on the road.

- Covington, KY, USA

problem #83

Aug 012014


  • 25,000 miles
While driving (at multiple speeds, on multiple occasions), transmission disengages for absolutely no reason and car must be parked and restarted to move again. The engine does not stall, and you can rev the engine, but transmission will not engage (like being in neutral) to move vehicle. Took Ford dealership multiple times to fix the issue because they needed an error code to work from, even though anecdotal evidence suggests that this is a well know defect of the transmission control module (I.e. computer chip that regulates the transmission), in this vehicle, which was eventually replaced (and now the car runs fine). Submitting this complaint because it caused multiple dangerous road situations where I could not power the vehicle on a freeway with traffic at high speeds. This could cause injury or death that is completely avoidable by the replacement of one computer chip, and Ford is most likely aware of it....updated 07/30/15

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #82

Oct 132014


  • 51,095 miles


I have a 2012 Ford Focus. Only a year after buying this car I began to notice issues with shifting while driving and even complained about transmission issues to my dealer. I was told this was "normal operating condition". before the implementation of the fors customer service program happened, there was a minor recall to reduce instances of rolling back on hills. I took my car in to have that fixed only to have more intense issues surface later. My car has been in the shop for diagnostics more times than I can count with no real results on the transmission. In October of 2014 -2.5 years after purchasing a brand new car. My transmission officially failed as I tried to merge onto the highway. Ford issued a not-quite-recall announcement, and I took my Ford in to get the repair service done with 51,095 miles on the vehicle. I had transmission components (seals and clutch) replaced exactly as was instructed by Ford Motor Company. 10,000 miles later, in April 2015, I began experiencing the beginnings of the same issue again. It would seem that whatever Ford corporate claims is the issue is not the case or that the fix Ford corporate isn't an actual fix. More than this, I've been instructed to do the same replacement process when Ford confirmed that the same issue was happening and the same outcomes were imminent. I ordered the parts on 4/16 because they were on back order and not available. 2 months later, the parts needed to do this are still not available. I'm lucky that my highway merge stall-out didn't end poorly the last time but not knowing whether accelerating is possible or when your transmission will fail is scary. The fact that this is happening at 60,000 miles is inexcusable and unsafe. This "program" allows Ford to avoid fixing the issue and leaves consumers in an unsafe, unreliable and financially draining situation.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #81

May 052015


  • 51,344 miles
While driving in stop and go traffic, my cars engine light came on, as I was accelerating to move forward in line a warning stating the transmission is overheating pull over safely for 8 minutes. This is the fourth time something has went wrong with the transmission since buying this car in September of 2012. The first time this happened I was driving on the interstate going 70 miles per hour and I didn't have anytime to pull over safely, I had to coast because my car was running but would not go forward. That happened in December of 2014. Then two weeks ago I was again in stop and go traffic and the engine light came on and the car would not move forward, but no warning to pull over safely. I have taken the car to two different Ford service centers and though my car has codes stored they state it is how I drive or that an update was needed. When I ask about the car just stopping with the transmission overheating they say it is a safety feature for the transmission. In most circumstances this would be great but when this happens in a situation where the car can't or won't make it to pull over safely then someone is going to be seriously injured. I am very unhappy about the way my car repair has been going especially since I bought this car new and to tell me it is just the way the car runs or it needs an update and that will take care of it is ridiculous. Someone is going to get killed driving this vehicle and I pray it is not me.

- Bethlehem , PA, USA

problem #80

Apr 152015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 39,662 miles
I was driving at a steady speed of 40 mph on a flat road. I was gradually slowing down as I was coming towards an intersection and gradually applying the brake. The car was going at about 10 mph and then I attempted to accelerate as I was about to drive on pass the intersection. However, the car suddenly lost power completely and it could not accelerate at all. I was stuck on the road. I repeatedly pressed on the gas pedal to attempt accelerating a few more times and the car just would not move. Each time I press the gas pedal, I heard a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle but the car didn't move. The engine continued to remain running and both warning indicator and traction light suddenly came on. I had to shut off the engine by turning the key, and attempted to restart the car, both the warning indicator light and the traction light went away and the car seemed to behave like normal as I could move my car again. I then took the car to the Ford dealer to investigate the cause, but the technician said that there were error codes within the ABS module but they could not explain or figure out why the ABS module would suddenly stall the car. All they did was to clear the code in the ABS module, but that does not appear to solve the underlying problem. Plus, there was no assurance that this problem would not happen again. Sudden lost of power can lead to extremely dangerous situation and I earnestly NHTSA could take action to this investigation to improve safety for me and for others driving the same car model.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #79

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 #78

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 #77

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 #76

Sep 012012


  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle intermittently accelerated and vibrated. The vehicle was repaired under an unknown manufacturer recall, where the PCM and tcm were restarted. The failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The contact was informed that the part needed for repair was not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 500.

- Newton, AL, USA

problem #75

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 #74

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 #73

Dec 172014


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while attempting to merge lanes with the brake pedal depressed, the vehicle suddenly accelerated independently. The contact mentioned that due to the failure, there was almost a crash involved. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Appleton , WI, USA

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