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 15 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Mar 102013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles


I was driving on one of our first trips (400 miles) in the winter of 2012 in South Dakota interstate 90. There was snow and ice patches on the highway and the steering was easy to slightly turn one direction, but harder to slightly turn the other direction. Trucks and or wind always makes a car move and a person's steering makes a correction for this. This car's steering was easy one way and not as easy the other way. Very difficult to drive this way. I have been driving vehicles for 60 years and never had this experience before. I took the car to the Ford dealer and he said that Ford did have some recalls on this steering behavior, but my car was not included. He did drive it and said it wasn't perfect, but okay as it was electronically made this way. I wrote a letter to Ford Motor Company and they sent me back a letter telling me to work it out with the dealer. I guess they didn't understand my letter as I had already talked to the dealer and he couldn't do anything with it. I can only hope that we can trade it off before it causes an accident some day. Probably not another Ford! I also question why this steering behavior wasn't brought to the attention of the NHTSA? there were recalls before on this same problem. Thanking you in advance for patience, I was driving.

- Yankton, SD, USA

problem #64

Aug 272014


  • 79,000 miles
Driving on freeway and my steering wheel locked on me. Almost caused an accident. Luckily a tow driver was by me and he was able to steer traffic away from me and he helped me move my car to safety.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #63

Jun 022014


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. While driving approximately 75 mph, the power steering malfunctioned and the steering wheel became very difficult to turn. The steering assist warning sensor illuminated. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Winters, TX, USA

problem #62

Jun 182014


  • miles


The transmission is knocking when it shifts gears especially the lower gears. It stutters really bad as well.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #61

Jan 022012


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that the vehicle was not shifting into gears properly, would stall sporadically and would jerk intermittently. Additionally, the steering wheel would often seize. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times who had not been able to replicate nor diagnose the failure. The failure recurred and the dealer replaced the transmission and transmission sensor but the failure recurred. The contact also mentioned that the lights intermittently illuminated and the radio was making a loud noise when it was powered off. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who then diagnosed that the computer chip in the fuel pump failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #60

Jul 082014


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at 50 mph, the power steering became difficult to turn and the engine stalled. The contact also stated that the vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering pump needed to be replaced and the PCM failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 77,000.

- Brazoria, TX, USA

problem #59

Jun 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


On two occasions the vehicle stopped running while in motion. In incident 1, this occurred at highway speed (65 mph) and incident #2 in local traffic (15 mph). In both cases all power was lost including the acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 1, the car restarted and driven to the dealer - extensive repairs were made "to the transmission" (per the dealer). In the second incident after dealer repairs after incident 1, the car completely stopped at highway speed and would not restart - towed to dealer. Again loss of all power including acceleration, power steering, etc. After incident 2 the dealer replaced the "master control unit". while both incidents were covered by Ford under the "drive train" original warranty I am concerned about the loss of power in two incidents separated by about one month.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #58

Jul 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 55,950 miles
After sitting in neutral waiting for construction to allow us to proceed, started out and then power steering went out. Turned off at next red light and started again and began working. A few miles later stopped for gas and when started vehicle, no power steering and is still out.

- Warren, PA, USA

problem #57

Jul 102014


  • 55,000 miles
I bought a 2012 Focus as a certified used car, trusting Ford and having peace of mind with a warranty. Within a few months of ownership I started the car and a message saying "steering assist malfunction" displayed. After turning the car off and back on it went away. I have complained about it about 3-4 times while at dealers for transmission "fixes". every time they said they could not duplicate the problem so even though there is a technical service bulletin, it never got fixed. Now even if I restart the car, the steering is out. It is completely gone and they refuse to fix it without charge because it is not their fault they couldn't pull any codes before. So I'm left to decide, should I fight them for this and the transmission, or just give them another $100 for a warranty repair when I already gave them $2000 for a warranty.

- Jamestown, OH, USA

problem #56

Jun 182014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
The steering wheel has sharp metal edges protruding from the top of the wheel. While driving on the highway, I sliced my finger on the edge. Not a major incident... but upon reviewing the internet this is apparently a common issue with the Ford Focus. I have read on the internet that the metal edges can slice the airbag upon deployment. I am not sure if this is true but for the sake of my sliced finger and my air bag I would like someone to investigate! my hope is that Ford will repair or replace the metal on the wheel so it is no longer a danger while driving.

- Clayton , OH, USA

problem #55

Jun 142014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


The steering wheel would not move, there is an error message, steering assist fault. It happened before, but I turned the car off and back on again and it would turn. Before this incident there would be times when the A/C fan would adjust itself, by going higher or lower and the radio volume would increase or decreases without any help from me. This particular time it would not move and I was forced to leave it in a parking garage overnight. While attempting to get it to work by turning the off and on the brakes went all the way to the floor, suggesting the would not work properly if I were driving the car. Well, the car shut completely down and started to try to turn itself on without the key being in the ignition. After which it would not start at all. I had it towed in and of course it is no longer under warranty.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #54

Jun 092014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Upon starting the car a message appeared that stated 'steering malfunction assist'; then driving/steering was almost impossible. Shut the car off; then re-started and it was ok. Next day the message appeared again. The car is now parked with plans to take it in.

- Hilliard, FL, USA

problem #53

Jun 072014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 42,468 miles
Was leaving my destination when the steering wheel locked and sensor light came on stating steering assist fault service required. Brought car to gus machado Ford of kendall was told needed new power steering gear and that I would have to pay $1778.81 to replace. After researching complaints about the 2012 Ford Focus, I could not believe how many consumers had the same problem. Obviously there must be a defect in this particular part. Thank goodness I was not in the middle of driving when this occurred, I could have caused a fatal accident. This should really be investigated in order to avoid a fatal accident from happening. I have contacted Ford with this issue to get my cost covered in order for them to repair it. Apparently this is not under warranty.

- Cutler Bay, FL, USA

problem #52

Apr 032014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
We had a problem with Ford Motor Company over our 2012 Ford Focus. As background, while my wife was driving 40 mph on a straight road the car steering locked and pulled her into a curb causing a broken wheel, rim, and tie rod (estimated at $1500 to repair by bob tomes Ford in mckinney Texas). After the car setting at the dealership waiting for word from Ford's corporate office for seven weeks we just found out they are not taking responsibility for this issue. It's pretty incredible to me that it took Ford seven weeks to respond while I made two car payments and paid for insurance throughout that time without a car. We had found through research on the web that many people are reporting steering problems on the 2012 Ford's Focus. For your information we do not feel safe with this car and are asking bob tomes Ford to help us resolve the issue locally since Ford has not offered any help.

- Fairview, TX, USA

problem #51

Mar 132014

Focus 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
On March 13th, I was driving at approximately 55 miles per hour. All of the sudden I lost complete power in my car. The rpms revved up extremely high and I gained no power when pushing on the accelerator. I lost all speed in a matter of seconds and was forced to pull over. I was almost hit by another car as I was attempting to get out of the way. Steering became hard and it took more effort to break and slow the car. I turned the car off as soon as I came to rest. I attempted to restart the car and the car would not even turn over. I called a tow truck and had my car towed to Ford. They had the car for 4 days and replaced the transmission control module (tcm). The part was covered under the emissions warranty according to Ford. I was told the car was fixed and sent on my way. On March 24th the car broke down again. The car did the same thing as the first time and again almost caused a car accident in which serious injury could have resulted. I sat with the car turned off for approximately 5 minutes and then tried to restart the car. The car restarted on the 4th time. I called my local Ford and asked if it was safe to attempt to drive over, they said it was. They have now had the car for one week and are unable to locate an issue. I was given a loaner vehicle which they have now demanded they get back. I been told the process of Ford deciding what to do can take up to 2 months. I am no left with no car and Ford is claiming no responsibility and providing no customer service. Ford needs to fix this issue and refund those affected.

- Buellton, CA, USA

problem #50

Feb 212014


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while reversing, the steering wheel failed without warning and became hard to turn. The power steering warning light illuminated after the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 41,000.

- Washington , PA, USA

problem #49

Nov 282012


  • 16,500 miles
I purchased Ford Focus used- one year old- with 16500 miles. Three times it stopped as I was turning left in oncoming traffic. One time I backed up and it would not go into gear. Other times it would not shift gears on hills or on ramps two times on my steep driveway it came out of gear. Brought to shop numerous times - told nothing was wrong repeatedly. I got rid of car after 13 months and took a financial hit but now I am driving a safe car. The difference is amazing and I am simply driving a Chevy Cruze so not an expensive car in comparison. Focus is dangerous to drive!

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #48

Nov 222013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The aluminum trim on the steering wheel where the driver can rest hands is splintering off. It is sharp and jagged metal. It cut three of my fingers deeply. Ford will not warranty this even though many many owners are complaining of the defect.

- Grassy Key, FL, USA

problem #47

Nov 282013

Focus 4-cyl

  • 40,440 miles
While turning the steering wheel, my left hand middle finger was sliced open by a silver trim piece around the horn/radio control area. Specifically, the silver piece is like a foil type covering with a raised edge which is sharp like a razor blade. Once I was cut, I pulled over to see what had cut me and I realized it was the silver trim. Upon further inspection, I was able to peel the silver piece back since it is like tin foil and remove it. Upon further inspection, I noticed other areas around the steering wheel with the same issue for the silver piece being raised. Further search on the internet revealed this is a common complaint. I am bringing my car to the dealer today (11-29-13) to take a look at the steering wheel.

- Middletown, DE, USA

problem #46

Mar 072012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
While driving this 2012 Ford Focus sel, the steering has intermittent issues. At highway speeds at 65 mph the car wanders to both sides of your lane, sometimes almost sideswiping other vehicles. The steering wheel becomes stiff as though the power steering is gone. Other times it feels like it's going through a windstorm and feels out of control. Dealer hasn't been able to "replicate" therefore, no corrections made from Ford. This is a dangerous and very scary vehicle. I'm afraid to drive it at highway speeds.please investigate. Lives could be lost because of this.

- Fairview, MI, USA

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