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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Apr 152013


  • 25,600 miles


Shuttering and stalling upon tends to roll backwards for no apparent reason on slight incline. Speed acceleration and speed deceleration at random times. Car hesitates badly when accelerating on to on ramp to merge with interstate traffic or to pass a vehicle on the highway. It's luck of the day if you accelerate and actually live or get hit when car shutters and hesitates. Good luck Focus owners.

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #31

Oct 152013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
Pulling on to a main street in the rain, when I tried to accelerate move along with the speed of traffic the wheels started spinning and the car started a loud banging noise and lurching. I was having difficulty controlling the vehicle and had to release the accelerator quickly to avoid losing control. Traffic had to swerve around me to avoid a collision. The malfunction of the traction/stability control made more difficult to control the car.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #30

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 #29

Oct 312013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 19,400 miles


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, this is an ongoing problem.

- Hazlehurst, MS, USA

problem #28

Jun 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 6,012 miles
This car has had transmission problems with the dual clutch automatic transmission it will shudder when changing gears, rollback, come close to stalling. I took the car in to be "reprogrammed" back in June of 2012 it drove okay with only minor hiccups with transmission until October 20, 2013. The car has less than 22,000 miles on it and the car is now not shifting properly. I put the car in drive and it was like I was still in neutral, once it did get going then it did not shift into 2nd gear properly. The car is not safe to drive. I will be taking back to dealership once again to reprogram hopefully at no charge. This car is a lemon and needs to be on a mandatory recall.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #27

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 #26

Sep 122013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while coasting downhill at 20 mph, the vehicle down shifted and was close to stalling. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal to prevent the stalling but the vehicle then accelerated independently and crashed into another vehicle. A police report was filed however, there were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 35,000. *updated 09-18-13 the consumer stated the vehicle was declared totaled.

- Veron, NJ, USA

problem #25

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 #24

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 #23

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

problem #22

Aug 242013


  • 16,000 miles


I was driving down a 35 mph road, trying to push the gas to get to 35 mph, but it failed and revved the engine and RPM without increasing my speed. I was going 20 mph and worried that my speed would affect other cars behind me to possibly hit me. There is some noise coming from the engine. It happened three times within less than a mile so I pulled over off the road to check and still unsure. The car is still brand new and only at almost 16,000 miles.

- Griffith, IN, USA

problem #21

May 182013


  • 4,500 miles
While coming to a stop, the stop safely now warning chimed and vehicle lost all power. It would not go into park, or neutral to allow it to be pushed off the road. After several minutes of powering it on and off it eventually restarted and worked without incident until recently on 8/15/13 the same message occurred at a stoplight and the car again lost all power. After about 2 minutes it started and ran ok.

- Oceanside , CA, USA

problem #20

Aug 202013


  • 6,100 miles
Was sitting at a stop light after leaving work and the "stop safely now" message appeared. Car would not move. After several cycles of turning the car on and off, opening and closing the driver door, locking and unlocking the car, it managed to reset itself and work again, only to have the problem recur about 5 minutes later, requiring the same steps to resolve the issue. The car worked normally the rest of the day after I arrived at my destination.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #19

Jul 252013


  • 7,400 miles
Our 2012 Ford Focus electric totally shutdown after receiving the stop safely now warning alert. Car shut down in traffic within 30 seconds of receiving the warning. We had no time to react or pull the car safely to the side of the road. This is clearly a safety issue.

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #18

Jun 252013


  • 10,500 miles
Incidence occurred twice in 2 day period. "stop safely now" error occurred while driving the vehicle. 1st instance was while breaking as approaching a stoplight. 2nd instance was while accelerating on freeway onramp. Both instances I lost all engine power and could no longer accelerate. I had to coast to a safe spot to put the car into park and turn off the vehicle but was able to restart it and drive to dealership for repair. Serious safety concern with this vehicle as driver may not have ability to coast to safe stop while driving on freeway or busy traffic. After researching online, there is rampant occurrence of this exact failure being described on vehicle owner forums for Ford Focus electric both 2012 and 2013 models.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #17

Jul 092013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
I was driving down a bumpy road at 40mph this morning, came to a stop at a stop sign, attempted to turn right and merge onto a busy highway with an 50mph speed limit, the car started to go and then all power cut out without warning and the "stop safely now" and "refer to owners manual" warnings came up on the left screen! luckily, I was not fully into the traffic yet as there were several semis coming. I veered to the shoulder and stopped. If I had got going even for a second more I would have been out in traffic in the path of a semi coming at over 50mph. It took a few minutes of trying to turn it off. Eventually I opened the drivers door and that seemed to free it up to turn it off. I was then able to start it back up again and carry on with my day.

- Surrey, WA, USA

problem #16

Nov 052012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Repeated problems with transmission "slipping", lack of power, surging when finally does shift, extremely unpredictable acceleration from stop (e.g., pulling into traffic at intersections, or up hill at highway speeds). Did not display problems during test drive, but at approximately 1,000 miles up to current mileage (about 2,200) it occurs every time I drive. Have had three near miss accidents due to unpredictable acceleration from stops, also on highway under hill load. Had dealer service check three times, first time updated software in PCM/tcm, second time with same dealer returned "no errors", tried different dealer, also "no errors" but was told other customers complained and "that's how it's designed". sent Ford Motor Company demand for refund under California lemon law, Ford customer relations center called and stated they will not pay refund at this time but requested opportunity to send special technician to local dealer. Have not heard back to schedule with special technician after one week.

- Fort Irwin, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 182012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
I put my 2012 Ford Focus in park and left the motor running. I got out of my car to remove a box of donations at a local salvation army when the car started to roll forward. I jumped back into my car to stop it from rolling into the person in front of me and turned the wheel while practically standing on the brake with my right foot and had my left leg outside the vechile. The car would not stop until I eventually side swiped the persons car in front of me then crashed into a pile of donated furniture and curbing in front of the building. Once the car finally stopped I was able to shut the ignition off. It was just luck that I did not hurt anyone or myself.

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #14

Oct 112011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
I was stopped, at a parking lot exit, waiting to enter a thoroughfare, engine idling, with my foot lightly on the brake. Suddenly, the car accelerated forward, into the traffic lane, as though someone had pressed the accelerator pedal to the floor, or nearly so. I took a 45 mph "T" bone on my driver`S side door. I was shaken, but not injured and my elderly wife suffered a severe heart bruising from the seat belt. I was wearing a tight-fitting baseball cap, which was laying on the back seat. I figure the air bag saved me from a serious injury. I was not ticketed, but I lost about $10,000 on the deal and I am paying a small fortune for my insurance now, through no fault of mine. I have an excellent driving history, up to this point.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #13

Nov 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 22,673 miles
The car shudders and hesitates on take off to the point of stalling. Happens always from stop to running.

- Frisco, TX, USA

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