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 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #72

Jul 312012


  • 20 miles


Hesitation when starting shuddered hesitation and lunges forward on occasion. Several tries to fix then finally new clutch now knocking noise when accelerate, very stressful and I do not feel safe in vehicle.also charged when had the noise checked and they did not fix.noise louder now taking back again, garage giving me a hard time. I never ever will buy a Ford waiting for lemon law case to end in July and I am trading it. Hoping and praying it does not wreck before then.

- Lewistow, PA, USA

problem #71

Jan 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Transmission control module problem. Unexpected loss of transmission shifting while driving. Problems with shuddering, vibration between gears and hesitation with the transmission. Rolls backward on inclines like it is a standard but it is an automatic transmission. Ford performed a reflash, relearn, and a pinpoint test. Test failed and Ford removed the transmission and replaced the clutch and seals on 11/05/14 per recall14M01. Ford claimed that there were no other problems found with the transmission. On 12/08/2014 the shudder was back and the car bogged down to 30mph in a 55mph hwy. The situation was very scary and dangerous. I took the car back to the dealer and opened a case at 3:50 pm with [xxx], [xxx] at 1-800-392-3673. Ford refuses to acknowledge there is an ongoing problem that was not fixed the first time. The Ford dealership is maintaining fraudulent business practices by charging $1025 to fix the tcm (transmission control module) that remains dysfuntional and potentially dangerous on the road. [xxx] and [xxx] with the Ford sullivan dealership claim that the recall is separate from this related transmission problem. This was my first and last new Ford product. All the way around the transmission in this and many other Ford focuses is a major problem for consumers and NHTSA. Many deaths will happen due to Ford unwillingness to address these faulty transmission components. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brookhaven, MS, USA

problem #70

Aug 012013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that when starting the vehicle or when in the idle position, the power steering would disengage independently. The steering and power steering warning lights would illuminate after the failure. Additionally, when the contact was attempting to accelerate from a complete stop, there was a hesitation before the vehicle would respond followed by a brief rapid acceleration. The vehicle not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #69

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 #68

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 #67

Nov 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 78,069 miles
I was driving on a very busy expressway and my car lost the ability to accelerate. I was almost hit from behind. The car now has no power. It will not accelerate the way it is supposed to. I received a "courtesy fix" notice from Ford for the transmission problems that have been reported. The problem that I had is directly related to the faulty transmission in these cars. I was told by the dealership that my car could not be repaired for at least 3 weeks as the parts are on back order. I commute 90+ miles per day and I cannot drive my car and feel safe. This is a huge safety issue.

- Cocoa, FL, USA

problem #66

Sep 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 9,562 miles


I own a 2012 Ford Focus sel that has had multiple transmission issues along with an electrical problem relating to the steering wheel and a battery failure. The vehicle has had issues accelerating through 1st gear which was evident by extreme shuddering and shaking of the vehicle. This had put me into dangerous situations numerous times when trying to merge onto freeways as the vehicle hesitated to get up to speed in time. My transmission was replaced at 9,562 miles in Sept. 2013. The shuttering and acceleration problems recurred at 21,904 miles in Sept. 2014 and Ford ran a system update to 'fix' the problem. They also replaced the steering wheel for electrical problems at this time. The acceleration issues continued for the next month and the clutch was finally replaced in Oct. 2014. A couple weeks later the battery was dead 3 sundays in a row and was also replaced. Ford has not been able to reassure me that these transmission issues will not be on-going. I continuously read others accounts online stating they are having the same issues I am having, and in many cases their dealerships are ignoring the issues and making excuses. Please look into this matter.

- Farmington, MN, USA

problem #65

Oct 062014


  • miles
Was parking car when suddenly it lunged forward at a fast speed, I lost control and hit car in front of me plus 3 other cars then crashed into cement wall. I hit my head and left side of body on the door, I bruised my rib cage front & back plus my left leg very bruised. I was very lucky I didn't get killed.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #64

Sep 102014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,196 miles
When you take off the vehicle shudders during acceleration. We have taken the car into plano five star Ford twice now and they still say they cannot get it to act up. My husband drives 150 miles a day in this car and on September 26th we did not think we would make it home in it. He took in to plano five star Ford on Monday the 29th and they said they have driven it 90 miles this week and cannot get it to act up and told us to come and get the car. We received a letter dated August 2014 from Ford stating this is a problem and they have extended the warranty to 100,000 miles. We already have 86,000 plus miles on the car and the transmission will not last much longer. Please help us... [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Trinidad, TX, USA

problem #63

Feb 042012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Transmission malfunctions causing long delay/hesitation when shifting and slow/delayed acceleration. Noticeable shuddering and vibration when shifting between gears and occasional hard, pronounced shift changes causing driver and passengers to lunge. This creates very dangerous driving conditions mainly because it's difficult to control the acceleration of the vehicle. The check engine light comes on and a warning message appears in the dash stating ┐┐transmission malfunction service now┐Ł this event occurred the first week of vehicle ownership (I purchased the vehicle brand new January 2012). At that time the dealer recalibrated the transmission and it┐'s been performing satisfactorily until recently. This event has now occurred on four other occasions with the most recent event occurring on 9/30/2014. The 9/30/2014 event was the most dangerous and severe so the vehicle is now at the dealership for service.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #62

Aug 052014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


Car stutters and does not shift. Severe shaking and loss of cruise speed is effected. The car does not accelerate properly and seems to lose speed while driving. I am scared to let my daughter drive this car and only have owning it for several months it has been in the shop once and going back again. There is no apparent fix for this problem and they will not do anything about it. The clutch was replaced and reprogrammed and this did nothing to fix the issue.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #61

Aug 292014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 43,200 miles
Driving on freeway, Friday light traffic. Accelerating and cannot go past 1000rpm. Check engine light came on. Could not go any faster. Lucky no one rear-ended me on the fwy. (previous to this incident, car routinely (many times a day) shudders upon acceleration (car shakes) and seems to have trouble shifting gears). Took to dealer who said they had to reset the computer, kept car over labor day weekend and supposedly all fixed. Picked car up 9/3/14 and same thing happened while stopped at a red light at night on way home from work. Could not accelerate past 1000rpm. Pulled over, called aaa and towed to dealer. After 2 days, dealer said the modular/component in the transmission needed to be replaced. Dealer kept car for another 5 days to drive around and see if this resolved the problem. I picked up the car 9/11/14. Car still has trouble 'shifting' from 1000 to 2000 RPM and still shudders but has not totally stopped accelerating, I am in fear everyday since I drive over 100 miles per day to/from work in heavy traffic.

- Irvine , CA, USA

problem #60

Sep 122014

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
The engine light came on while driving, saying check transmission. The transmission is not shifting the car shakes or vibrate when the peed change.

- Branson , MO, USA

problem #59

Jul 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
At random times the car will just shut off leaving a coasting vehicle down the highway, or leave you stalled out in the middle of an intersection. If you leave it sit for 30min-1hour it may restart. If you press the accelerator it was not respond. After a couple minutes the vehicle will recover from a rough idle and try to lunge forward even when vehicle is in park. Problem: Transmission control module.

- Jennings, OK, USA

problem #58

Sep 182013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
Shutters/ grinding noise/ tugs and jolts at low speeds and up hills. When in bumper to bumper traffic message on dash, overheating transmission pull over wait 8 minutes.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #57

Aug 262014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 57,500 miles
The car stopped accelerating while I was driving on 1-95 in New Jersey at rush hour. I was able to pull over safely, resumed driving and the car repeated this over the next day. After a service by a Ford dealer, the car ran smoothly for 10 miles then the problem re occurred and engine light went back on. Would not accelerate in reverse or drive. Definitely was not fixed. This is in addition to the constant sputtering and chugging when I accelerate. But coming to a dead stop on I95 in New Jersey traffic was terrifying.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #56

Aug 222014


  • 44,400 miles
I was traveling from the route 128 highway exit ramp onto the interstate 95 going approximately 50-55 mph, as I rounded the top of the ramp I went to accelerate onto I-95 when I found I was slowing in speed/decelerating and found that I had no pick up with the vehicle. I was actually coasting, the engine appeared to be on but I was unable to accelerate. As I coasted to the break down lane the check engine light flashed on. I sat at the side of the road for approximately 5-7 minutes, the car did re-start. Due to what appeared to be a dangerous spot on the highway I attempted to continue driving towards an exit. Approximately 4 miles down the highway ( I traveled at 50 mph in the far right lane) the car again, stopped accelerating was decelerating, I was pumping the gas petal without success and I coasted to the side of the road. I had the car towed to rodman Ford in foxboro MA. The service advisor is telling me the diagnostic shows nothing is wrong with the car. He also reports even though the check engine light flashed on twice their is no indication of the computer registering any type of failure.

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #55

May 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • miles
When turning to make a right turn the front of the car makes a metal on metal scraping sound (intermittingly) also the transmission doesn't seem to always kick in when after coming to a complete stop the car shakes as the gas pedal is pushed. I've brought it to the dealership where I bought it and they keep telling me nothing is wrong with it, it is just how the car operates.

- St Bonifacius, MN, USA

problem #54

Aug 062014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
Without warning, (no lights on dash-board - no unusual noises - no problems starting etc), there were no gears and I was left in neutral. It required coming to a stop, putting it into park and starting again to limp along to get to a safe point to park the car and call for help. Luckily I was not yet onto the freeway! the Ford dealership mechanic was able to replicate these circumstances and he too found himself without gears; he was on the freeway on-ramp and was lucky to not be hit. I can only imagine how dangerous this is if you are in 4 lanes of traffic going 60 mph!!! notwithstanding the severity of this "module" defect, the problem according to Ford does not come under the 'transmission recall' and my car is 3,500 miles over the magical 60,000 power-train recall. I am stuck with a $1,500 bill and the fear that it might happen again; if not to me, someone else with this model/year Focus.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #53

Apr 092014


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

- Laughlin, NV, USA

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