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:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
14 / 1
Average Mileage:
79,798 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 11 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #145

Jul 282015


  • 61,250 miles


In less than a week, the power steering on my 2012 Ford Focus has failed three times. The first time occurred on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at 7:45 a.M. I had been driving for about two minutes when the following error message appeared on my instrument cluster: "steering assist fault/service required." I was just about to take the ramp onto the highway, but my gut told me to pull over to the right of the road (I had a child with me and did not want to take any risks). Just as I was doing so, my steering wheel locked, and I could not rotate it. As I pulled up next to the curb, I placed my car in park and turned on my hazards. I waited a few moments, but the steering wheel still would not budge. I turned my car off and on again, but the steering wheel still wouldn't move. I turned the car off again and waited about 5-10 minutes. Upon starting the car this time, the steering wheel was back to normal. I left my hazards on and made right turns all the way home (in case it went out again). This incident happened again on Wednesday, July 29 at 4:50 P.M. and Monday, August 3 at 5:05 P.M. both times I turned off my car, waited about 5 minutes, and then started it again. The power steering would then be working. This problem is extremely frustrating and I worry about my safety because I drive on the highway to and from work. While this has happened on the side roads, there is now a constant fear of this happening while I'm on the highway. I've read other complaints on online forums about this exact problem, so I would like to also file mine. It is also frustrating because I have had other problems with this car, such as with the moonroof, ac, and compass. I feel like Ford sold me a lemon. I purchased this car from a Ford dealership as certified pre-owned only a year and a half ago, so I shouldn't have this many problems with it.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #144

Jul 122015


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 30 mph, the warning chime sounded and the power steering warning light illuminated. The steering wheel was difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was restarted and functioned normally. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be duplicated. The failure recurred numerous times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000. MA 10/16/15

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #143

Jul 312015

Focus 4-cyl

  • 48,317 miles
For the past few weeks I occasionally get the "steering assist fault" message while driving and power steering stops working. Usually, when I restart the car it resets and works again. Today I got the message while at a stop light, restarted the cars a few times and it did not reset. I have contacted my dealer and they said they've never heard of this, despite my reporting it to them last fall as well. Update 9/15/15 update: I took the car into the dealership for repair, and the steering gear was replaced. So far, at 49,800 miles, the problem has not happened since the repair. The repair qualified to be covered by my extended service plan, and I paid 4100 deductible for the work. The repair was done at the same dealership where I purchased the car. Updated 09/29/15.... updated 09/30/15 updated 11/10/15.

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #142

Jul 272015


  • 1,000 miles


The Ford Focus 2012 SE hatchback, sport suspension. The chrome surface on the steering wheel began to peel off and flake soon after purchase. The shards are metallic and sharp, and have cut my finger while driving. The problem is a major irritant since this problem is located on surfaces that have buttons and are used to control various features. I attempted to make a warranty claim on the issue but ourisman Ford, alexandria va declined the claim. Many other Ford owners seem to have similar problems based on online research. Ford should offer to replace this inexpensive part which affects daily driving.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #141

Jul 232015


  • 113,000 miles
Chrome surface of steering wheel trim begins to peel without contact and is exceedingly sharp when it does so. I have now caught my finger on it twice, drawing blood on a highway traveling 70mph.

- Phenix City, AL, USA

problem #140

Jul 122015


  • 52,000 miles
While driving the vehichle the steering locks up and is very hard to steer to even get it off the road. The indicator in the car came on and warned of steering malfunction. Lost all power steering in the middle of driving down the road multiple times. Had to turn vehicle off to see if it would help, did momentarily but continues to malfunction after driving it. I can no longer drive my vehicle because it is not safe to do so, nor can I let my teenage daughter drive it because of the risk it poses if it happens to her while she id driving. If it was her, she would propbably wreck, because she would not know what to do. Ford refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem......!!!!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #139

Jul 172015


  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving at approximately 45 mph, all the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel and the steering seized. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #138

Jul 092015


  • 31,000 miles
Lost steering control, warning light came on to bring vehicle in for service. Steering became very stiff. Was passing an accident on the highway when this happened, scared me, was not sure what was happening. Brought it in for service, found out I needed to replace my steering rack and pinnon, electronic components, will cost me $3,400 (cdn). Warranty ran out one month prior. One month earlier my transmission seal went and now this, not very happy with Ford at all. First new car I have bought and may be the last.

- Stony Plain, AP, USA

problem #137

Aug 222013


  • 59,000 miles
Power steering assit pops up the day after purchasing and restarted car. Issue went away until after used car lot warranty runs out. Issue seemed to only happen in the warmer months of the year. Has happened approximately 40-50 times. Finally completely went out on June 10th 800 miles away from home while my wife and kids we on a tripped to see her parents. Had taken car to dealership numerous times over issue since we purchased and they finally acknowledged that there is an issue but their hands are tied til I pay the $1850 or a recall happens. So right now im stroking a car not on one bigass paper weight. Hopefully they will do a recall before they meet their"bloodshed quota"! its sad profit margins are more important than the safety of their customers. Hey Ford you might want to take care of your customers before you kill off client base!!!!

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #136

Jun 292015


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 65 mph, the steering wheel seized and excessive force was required. The steering assist fault service required warning light illuminated. The contact managed to merge the vehicle to the emergency lane and shut off the vehicle. The vehicle was restarted, but the failure recurred multiple times on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering rack needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 41,000.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #135

Jun 292015


  • 41,100 miles


Driving 2012 Ford Focus on highway July 29,2015. Mileage 41,100. Warranty just expired. While driving 55mph, steering wheel locked, almost impossible to steer car over to roadside. Dash message read "steering assist fault, service required". once stopped turned car off, then started car again; steering returned to normal. After first occurrence of faulty steering, others began 3 days later: •July 2, 2015; steering locked after pulling into parking lot, slow speed; turned car off, started up, steering worked again •July 6, 2015, steering locked on start-up; this occurred twice after turning off/on. •July 6, 2015, took car into dealer(northstar Ford in duluth mn), where I bought car new. Northstar took care of another recall—transmission, reportedly reprogrammed. Upon northstar inspection, dealer said power steering was working fine, but further inspection revealed car needs a whole new steering rack, to cost me $2,300 to repair (stated that warranty expired, no recall on this model). I declined repair, after paying $100+ for diagnosis. I felt strongly that this is a clear defection in 2012 Ford Focus. After researching I found numerous complaints of 2012 Focus steering malfunctions, as well as reports of NHTSA closely following the 2012 Focus steering issues and California class action lawsuit filing for Ford Focus 20102-2014. Driving little as possible hoping NHTSA will issue recall on the steering problem soon. •July 7, 2015; after parking, steering locked up when pulling out. Turned off and on twice before steering worked. Haven't driven since July 7. worried about my safety, as well as drivers and passengers of other Ford on the road, taking lives into their hands in event of on-road emergency, requiring quick action, operational steering. Hopeful NHTSA takes urgent messages seriously, & issues steering recall on the Ford Focus 2012.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #134

Jul 092015


  • 41,000 miles
While driving the car experienced sudden failure of the power steering. I had to pull over and turn the vehicle off for several minutes and restart the car to get moving again with normal steering.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #133

Jul 012015


  • 65,983 miles
I drove to the library with my baby, and parked. When I came out I started the car, and the steering wheel seemed to be stuck and difficult to turn. I was able with great effort to drive home, and I am going to be taking it in to the Ford dealership tomorrow. I have already had problems with the transmission stalling at lower gears, and also problems with the radio not recognizing usb drives. The siding along the doors just comes right off, and started tearing within a few weeks of buying it. I've had some of it replaced, but the dealership wouldn't do it. The seat belt on the driver's side gets stuck inside the clip, and I have to struggle quite a bit sometimes to take off my seat-belt. The air deflector came right off one day, and the dealership tried to charge me $150 to replace that piece of plastic. This car seems to be really cheaply made, and the dealerships are all pretty crooked if you ask me.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #132

Aug 142013

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 15 mph, the steering wheel seized and the steering assist service flashed across the instrument panel. The failure recurred several times intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated that the electronic power steering gear failed and the power steering needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000. Updated 09/03/2015 updated 09/10/15

- Humble , TX, USA

problem #131

Jun 182015


  • 24,152 miles
Electronic power-assisted steering (epas) failure due to rack-and-pinion steering defect. Required to replace the entire rack-and-pinion module, which cost $1,700, due to the fact that this widely known and dangerous defect has not been acknowledged or recalled by Ford and my vehicle is no longer under warranty.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #130

Jun 172015


  • 96,000 miles
My son was driving his 2012 Ford Focus SE, when the steering assist service light came on and he lost steering. He pulled off the road with no incident. The dealership said that it is a bad steering rack, $1500

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #129

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 #128

May 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
To whom it may concern: There is currently a recall for the electric power assist unit which is responsible for certain Ford products power steering. The recall includes several Ford/mariner SUV. I'm not sure if that includes Ford's Focus( I've read some internet articles that said it had and others it had not) but the affected vehicles include model years 2012 thru 2014. I had reported it to both Ford & my dealership roughly a month ago as it started roughly a month ago but to date nothing has been resolved but I was however made aware the cost to repair/replace was some $1,500 as of yesterday I now no longer have power steering now not only putting myself @ risk but others as well. I would hope Ford would repair this vehicle @ no cost to me...updated 08/24/15

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #127

Mar 022015


  • 80,000 miles
A power steering error message came up after starting the car. Indeed the wheel could not be turned. Sometimes, the error message would go away upon another start, and the steering would operate normally again. My Ford dealer eventually fixed the problem, but it cost me around $1800. Since previously I had the car in for a transmission recall, I thought I'd add this data point to what seems to be a growing number of people experiencing this same problem.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #126

May 112015


  • 40,100 miles
After 2 weeks of intermittent electric power steering engagement at start-up, the eps system failed completely, with just over 40K miles on this vehicle, a 2012 Ford Focus, I was surprised at this failure. With 50 years of driving experience, I am unimpressed with this new system. Unless a fan belt failed, I have never had a hydraulic power steering system failure. Although I had no accident or injury, someone with less upper body strength would have had a difficult time controlling the vehicle, especially in a turn or on wet or icy surfaces. This is an accident waiting to happen and should not need to wait for a 'blood priority' decision to be made to recall this system at Ford's expense. Since I need this vehicle on a daily basis, I was forced to pay over $1638 for this repair which involved replacing the entire electric motor drive assembly. Other Ford models have already been recalled for this problem and the 2012 Focus should be also.

- Valrico, FL, USA

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