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 1 of 6)

problem #112

Apr 142015


  • 100 miles


Purchased 2012 Ford Focus used, 04-14-15. I test drove the car it jerked a little. The rep stated it was normal. The next 4 months it continued to jerk, skip, hesitate and just not move when you accelerated. In 08-2015 I rec'd a letter from Ford, my car needed a tcm-software update. 09-09-15 I took the vehicle back to the dealership it took an hour to re-program the tcm. The dealership handed a printed copy of the tcm characteristics. I continued to drive the car with the same issues hoping it would go away. 10-19-15 went back to the dealer to have the tcm re-programmed again. I called Ford to complain 10-19-15 and a case file was issued #cas-8073663. I did not want to go back to the same dealership. 10-23-15 the car went to the 2nd dealership. Discovered the tcm had failed and had to be replaced., explaining to drive the car for a number of miles to correct itself. The drive had improved, but then started failing again. 03-16-16 I went back to the 2nd dealership, the tcm was replaced. Again the drive had slightly improved and had again failed. This time when the tcm failed, while driving on the highway the wipers came on without turning them on, even when the car was off. The next day the car wouldn't come on so I replaced the battery. Drove the car about 300 miles made a stop and it would not come back on. The car had to be towed and the local mechanic was able to get the car started again. Driving back home about 150 miles on highway all lights came on the dash, battery, fuel, trans, etc.. wipers came on, power steering was lost and engine shut off. Rolled to side of road. Sat 5 min, then started as if nothing happened!? we made it home. Car not starting. 12-06-16 towed to Ford. Tcm module crashed the computer operating system, replaced tcm and re-programmed system. 01-10-17 wipers still come on with engine off. W/return to Ford 01-17-17

- Leesburg, FL, USA

problem #111

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 #110

Oct 032016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact noticed a strong hesitation and delay upon applying the accelerator pedal. The contact had to apply force to the accelerator pedal to increase speed. A mechanic inspected the vehicle, but was unable to replicate or diagnose the failure. The mechanic recommended that the vehicle be taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #109

Sep 022016


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate. The contact had to apply force to the accelerator pedal to increase the speed. The dealer was notified of the failure and indicated that the vehicle had a salvaged title. The dealer refused to provide the recall repair and advised the vehicle owner to contact the manufacturer for a recommendation on a repair solution. A repair appointment was not scheduled with the dealer or an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was contacted to determine if the vehicle would receive the repair for NHTSA campaign number: 16V643000 (latches/locks/linkages). The approximate failure mileage was 78,000. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Ogden, UT, USA

problem #108

Oct 032016


  • 30,090 miles
Takata recall.chronic transmission issues with the powerpoint transmission and clutch; services 6 plus times in 2 years for the same complaints, the dealer updates the transmission or replaces the clutch then 3 or so months later the same issues arise. When in stop and go traffic or car is shifting from 2nd gear into 3rd there is erratic shifting, bucking, her king, lurching forward, hesitation when trying to pull into traffic. This car is chronically unsafe!

- Rockport, MA, USA

problem #107

Sep 232016


  • 95,000 miles
Takata recall. Transmission control module (tcm) Ford recall fsa 15B22. My vehicle would struggle to shift into second and third gear whenever I was driving, so I took my vehicle to a Ford dealership for the tcm to get reprogrammed, as per the manufacturer's recall in June 2016. It seemed to help with the harshness of the vehicle's shifting, until Friday, September 23rd, 2016 whenever I tried to get my car to reverse and it acted as if the vehicle was still in neutral. It wouldn't go in reverse and my check engine light was now on. The shifter was in reverse correctly, and the reverse lights came on but the car went nowhere. My Ford dealership told me to drive it up to the dealership so they could look at it and diagnose the problem, so I did. It overheated three times in the 45 minute drive up, despite cautious driving. I had to have it towed to the dealership, which was not covered by Ford in any way. The dealership service department told me that my car would be diagnosed later that day (Monday, September 26th) and any necessary parts would be ordered by the end of the day. I hadn't heard anything back from them in over 3 days so I called for an update. They confirmed that the problem is the tcm and it needs replaced, as the "reprogramming" they did in June 2016 was too little, too late. The problem is that the tcm is heavily backordered, so the factory isn't even shipping our any tcm's until November 4th, which mine might not even be included in that shipment and it is "highly likely" that it will be closer to christmas before I get my car fixed and returned to me. To add insult to injury, they are refusing to provide me with a service vehicle, so I don't know what to do for the next 3 months that my car sits at their dealership awaiting its part. How am I to get to work" pick up my son from school? get gtoceries" I'm an only parent and cannot be without a car.

- Kensington, OH, USA

problem #106

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 #105

Aug 262016


  • 75,000 miles
While traveling home from work, my car stalled briefly on main street. I immediately pulled into a parking lot to get my car out of the street. I turned it off and back on and resumed driving. I made it to my destination and got in the vehicle to drive again and the car would run go anywhere. The Ford dealership said to bring it to their shop for a diagnosis. I was on the way to take my 2012 Ford Focus titanium to the service department at empire Ford in abingdon, va. They stated the car would be ok to drive if I could get the vehicle to go forwards. I was traveling 65 mph down the interstate and the vehicle stalled out on the interstate. I tried to give the car fuel and began pressing the gas and the car would not move. Speed limit is 70 and 70-75 mph cars were coming towards me. I was forced to cross over the on ramp where cars were merging on to the interstate to get to the emergency side of the interstate. It was a pretty scary event and I felt that my life was put in danger. So, now Ford is saying there is nothing they can do but fix the tcm (transmission control module). There is no fix!!!! if there was, I feel like it would have already happened. So I am stuck with a vehicle that has been in the shop five times now for transmission issues. It is clearly unsafe to drive. What is it going to take in order for Ford to see there is not a fix for these models, someone losing their life?

- Meadowview, VA, USA

problem #104

Feb 222016


  • 62,000 miles
Shuddering of engine between gear. Lose of power when accelerating. Red lines when trying to accelerate between first and second gear.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #103

Jul 102015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle jerked and the battery and tire pressure warning lights illuminated continuously. In addition, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the diagnosis was unknown. The technician stated that there was a recall on the vehicle. The vehicle was repaired according to the unknown manufacturer recall; however, the failure recurred a week later. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #102

Feb 172016


  • 125,000 miles


Car dies on highway while driving. Fuel system and sensors seems to be failing or fell apart inside the vehicle it will not show appropriate fuel levels. It stuttering after filling up to full tank. Vehicle is very dangerous to drive on a highway to work when fuel system is failing. Many complainst have been filed on other automitive websites and forums about this exact fuel system issue. Collapsed fuel system / fuel guage I just purchased this car 3 weeks ago and my previous Pontiac Grand Prix 2006 gave me less issues than this Ford Focus. Something really wrong is here with Ford, I think they have gotten to a massive point they believe they cannot be held responsible for there mistakes or recalls since they are too tied into the dependecy of all the people.

- Donna, TX, USA

problem #101

Jan 202016


  • 61,000 miles
I have been having transmission issues with my 2012 Ford Focus. We purchased the car brand new off the lot it had 4 miles on it when purchased. Not even a year after purchase we started having issues with the gears not wanting to shift properly. We sent car to dealership for repair. It was fixed for a while up until recently and we have been trying to get it fixed since. I got into a wreck because my car bogged out at a redlight causing me to get stuck under a redlight and being hit while occupying the road. My car has been at dealership ever since. They called us about one week after the wreck to let me know that the recall for the transmission module had been fixed and they drove it and everything checked out fine. So my husband goes and gets the car and it breaks down on him not far from leaving the dealership. The car just completely quit shifting and bogged out and RPM shot up way high. He had to leave on the side of the road. So here goes trip 3 back to dealership for repairs for the same thing that has supposed to had been fixed. Why has the government issued a recall on the transmission for these cars. They are not safe to drive. Something needs to be done.

- Tallassee, AL, USA

problem #100

Feb 012016


  • 86,000 miles
The transmission on my vehicle has failed multiple times while driving the vehicle. While driving at idle speeds, the car shakes. The transmission failed while I was turning in an intersection and stalled. It then lurched forward and continued to function in a lurching and jerky manner. Just yesterday, I could not slow the car while traveling at 50 mph, despite pressing the brakes, due to the erratic behavior of the transmission. This lurching, jerking, erratic behavior is extremely dangerous and could potentially be deadly. I have had the transmission worked on a total of three times. Each time, the dealership told me that the problem would be fixed. This is highly irresponsible for Ford to ignore this issue and continue to put customers in harms way. This is an inappropriate way to handle a life-threatening issue.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #99

Jan 122016


  • 97,000 miles
Focus has been under many recalls and at Ford for repair multiple times for transmission. Every 6 months issues occur causing me to take back into Ford. Last couple weeks I noticed intermittently, when I take foot off accelorator, rpms continue to increase, and car does not slow down, causing me to pump breaks multiple times to be able to stop. Yesterday during a snow storm, I again took foor off accelerator, this time the car again would still continue to drive without my control, causing me to spin out, not once but three times. I did not get hit by other cars as everyone was going slow, but I did have to call into work as my car was not safe to drive. This is now a safety concern for my Focus, and myself, and my paycheck. Something has to give as Ford, has offered nothing but to keep bringing it back when issues occur. This is not appropriate customer service, and I feel there is a huge safety concern for my vehicle.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #98

Aug 272012


  • 52 miles
My issues with this car started the day I drove it off the lot and have not stopped. There was an issue with the fan that made my engine sound like it was chewing rocks whenever the air/heat was on - this has been fixed. I bought the car brand new and from day one it has been grinding, shuddering and not shifting smoothly. I've had issues with the RPM's skyrocketing when I'm slowing down and the RPM's skyrocketing when I'm trying to accelerate but the car isn't moving. I've had the car feel like it's completely lost power while in stop and go traffic then "wake up" and lurch transmission has been replaced once, my clutch replaced twice. Once I've been told it's a figment of my imagination and once I was told that I need to learn how to drive the car. The clutch I have now is the same one being used in the 2015 Focus's, and though it's "better", it's still's just off so sporadically that I can't bring it in because I don't want to be told it's all in my head again. This car is not safe. It is not a car that I'm comfortable passing on to my child when she starts driving next year and it's not a car that I would drive day to day if I had to drive rush hour traffic. It's too bad, too, because the design of the car is wonderful - it's comfortable, it's got the right set up, but the most important part of the vehicle is dangerous and doesn't operate properly.

- Carver, MN, USA

problem #97

May 102014


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. When the accelerator pedal was engaged at approximately 20 mph, the vehicle failed to respond without warning intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the the dealer where the technician stated that the vehicle was operating as designed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 52,000. The VIN was not available.

- Voorhees, NJ, USA

problem #96

Nov 232015


  • 84,000 miles
For the fifth time in only eight months, the transmission has malfunctioned in this vehicle, causing it to stop accelerating or stall. It is a safety hazard, as it has happened on the highway twice and has been on the street in motion the remaining three times. Each time we have taken it to the shop at the owner's expense and it has required towing each time because it no longer accelerates. The transmission sensors (there are two) continue to misfire and fail, despite being replaced several times. This car was bought new in 2012 and has had issues since the purchase. We have two children and another is due at the end of January and I do not feel safe driving this car, as it has almost been the result of several accidents when it stalls and shudders.

- Gallipolis, OH, USA

problem #95

Oct 182015


  • 85,000 miles
In 2014 I was driving from grand forks, nd to bemidji, mn on the interstate going around 60 when my car shuddered and slowed down to close to 15. I was able to get onto the shoulder after being stranded in the middle of nowhere I was able to call for help. My car was then taken the the Ford dealership in bemidji and I had someone pick me up and was able to bring me back to grand forks. (Ford had refused to give a rental) around 2 weeks after I got a call stating that my transmission was fixed. I got a ride to bemidji, picked it up and headed home. Shortly after I got it back to grand forks I was driving around a residential area in grand forks when I stopped at a 4 way stop waiting for my turn, went to go forward and my car started moving in reverse. I had to slam on my break so I didn't hit the car behind me then I brought it to the Ford dealership in town. They "fixed" the issues and gave it back to me two more times, each time I couldn't make it out of the dealership without it shuddering and refusing to shift. Finally they "fixed" it at the end of the summer in 2014. This summer I was noticing the car was shuddering when I was in residential areas and it was stop and go, I brought it back down the the dealership I bought it from and they assured me it was fine but they would replace the parts to be sure. This weekend I went home to the cities and as I was driving back it broke again. I was in the passing lane going around 70 when my car shuddered, went down to 55, shuddered again and went down to 10. I was forced to swerve quickly into the left shoulder since I had a semi-truck behind me going 70 that almost hit me and had to cross the interstate to an off ramp to be safe. They have "fixed" it four times and it still breaks down. I've almost gotten into 4 accidents, missed days from work and I'm too scared to drive my vehicle at this point.

- Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #94

Oct 062015


  • 117,000 miles
While driving car lost per and almost caused a major accident I was going 65 mph computer said my transmission was not in park.

- Childs, PA, USA

problem #93

Sep 292015


  • 36,000 miles
Bought a new 2012 Ford Focus for my daughter so she would be safe. She just moved across the state for college. We have had constant symptoms with the transmission and she has been on the freeway 3 times when the car suddenly just comes to a crawl with the engine shaking and jerking. This makes the car unresponsive. Dealer updated tcm - PCM and replaced clutch and throw out bearing in August 2015. September 2015 she lets me know that while going to school on the freeway the car did the same thing, loss of power no control of throttle and the car is shaking and jerking. Transmission malfunction warning light came on again. Jerking and shuddering of the transmission. I'm afraid my daughter and others are going to be severely injured when this happens. No control on the freeway is very dangerous. I have read that people have changed their clutch and bearing 5 times? it doesn't seem to fix the problem and it appears to be a design flaw. It's like putting a band-aid on an open artery. Problem happens at slow and fast speeds.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

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