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2012 Ford Focus transmission problems: multiple shifting problems

Multiple Shifting Problems

2012 Ford Focus (Page 1 of 3)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer. Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
23,850 miles
Total Complaints:
58 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (41 reports)
  2. replace automatic clutch (6 reports)
  3. swapped it for says their is no solution (5 reports)
  4. replace clutches (3 reports)
  5. fixed (1 reports)
  6. ford forced to buy back focus (1 reports)
2012 Ford Focus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #58

Aug 182018

Focus S 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,023 miles


2nd report.. mentioned the first time happened on the way home. The second time the transmission failed was barely a day after the first time. I was driving home and was in my neighborhood when the transmission failed to switch gear, leaving me stuck in first. I couldn't even get it past 10 without revving the engine hard so I opted to roll about 500 feet home with just torque power. When I get in front of my house I attempt to reverse like an idiot, knowing it probably won't work and I get stuck at like a 45-degree angle in my street blocking it. Luckily my stepdad was able to come out and push me to the curb. Two minutes later we fire up the engine again and the reverse gear engages and works fine. Check engine light is still on though but it works.

This report was written an hour after this incident. Have an appt. with Ford in a few days.

- Nicholas M., Whittier, US

problem #57

Mar 012018

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,704 miles

In the ongoing saga of trying to get Ford to address the transmission issue, I reported the transmission shudder while taking the vehicle in for other service. The told me that they couldn't replicate the problem, but didn't even bother to document it on the service record.

- Dave W., Decatur, IL, US

problem #56

Aug 122015

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Scared. I brought the 2012 Ford Focus because I totaled my 2007 Ford Focus which I loved, I never had a problem with that vehicle in 7 years I had it. The only thing I ever put money out for was 4 tires, battery and wipers, nothing else. That was a good little car. I never had any problems with that vehicle.

Then I brought this one nothing but a problem with the transmission, I have this vehicle at Bob Davidson Ford 3 times for this problem. I took in back in February and told them they better fix it this time or I will drive it through their window. A very nice mechanic told me he would drive the vehicle to see what I was taking about. The vehicle scared him, it was making such a noise and hesitating really bad, the car was racing and would not stop.

He kept the car for over a week, told me it was the clutch plate, that was the second time it was replaced. But this time he found oil in my transmission fluid and fix it but the vehicle still races, the RPM goes up when I start driving over 3 and 4 at times. I hate to say it but I do not like this car and I am so sorry I put $7,000.00 down on that vehicle when I brought it, I should have brought a new vehicle and not a 2 year old one. I also hate the wipers they are too big. I also wish it had a wiper on the back window. .

- Richelle M., Baltimore, US

problem #55

Aug 172016

Focus 4 Cyc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles


seventh time I have the car in the shop for the transmission.

- Jakob H., Qu, AZ, USA

problem #54

Oct 032016

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,565 miles

They literally charged me over 1500 dollar for wiring for apart that was recalled. The Ac was at least that, the power steering needs to be fixed average of 2000 dollars. Already up to almost half of the cost of the car in repairs that are all or should be recalls. Hundreds of people complaining about these issues

- Wes S., Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #53

Aug 102016

Focus Titanium 2.0L Dosch Flat 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Any Ford nowadays has the same automatic transmission and they seem to be getting better but aren't quite there yet. My 2012 Focus hatchback started to slip around 3 weeks after I bought it and I considered selling it back for to ford but I paid 16 for it and literally 3 weeks later they were willing to give me 9 which is sh*t. Never buy a ford even the manuals have issues as well. One of my friends has a MT variant of the SE and the synchros are pretty much nonexistent and he only has 30k on his. However, ford did change my clutch for free and warrantied it to 96k but there is no way I am going to keep it that long I'm planning on selling it end of Aug for 7.5k

- Spencer J., Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #52

Sep 282016

Focus SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


Ford is well aware of the rampant transmission problems in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 models, but other than extend the factory warranty on the drive train to 100,000 miles they refuse to acknowledge it. The "manual" transmission in an automatic car is the worst idea of the century! Due to the failure of the car shifting into gear from a dead stop and rattling and banging at low speeds and shuddering, the dealership has had to replace the clutches last year (2015) and again two weeks ago (Sept 2016). This is on top of multiple "computer resets" which is a pain in the butt! I have to drop off my car to the dealership each time and find a ride to and from work. I live 25 miles from work so this is a huge inconvenience for me! The dealerships have "porters" which don't even show up to the lot until 8 am. I have to be at work at 8 am! No loaners available either for this issue. Not covered under factory warranty. I'll never buy another Ford again based on their lack of customer service and refusal to issue a recall on this car!

- ykrendick, Akron, OH, USA

problem #51

May 012016

Focus SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Car started shuddering every so often at low speed then it got all the time and I drove to dealer and was told it was a faulty clutch. Be advised that over a couple of years I told them of the slight shuddering, recall, etc. and each time they said to wait until it got worse. When it did I paid $1300 to get new clutch. One month later it now seems to go into neutral when going from 1st to 2nd or from 2nd to 3rd. No power and it revs up to 5 or 6 RPM's. Service told me that this was "normal" and there was nothing they could do. Not normal and this transmission/clutch issue has been reocurring. Scary that I paid $1300 for a new clutch and it is still not working properly. We just purchased a 2014 Focus and am unhappy that the Ford dealer recommended this car - could be another problem car as I noticed it shuddering when I drove my husband's car the other day. Bad transmission, paid for new clutch for $1300, still not fixed, Ford not making right their mistake.

- Cathy I., Hope Valley, RI, USA

problem #50

Mar 142016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

im getting it checked on wednesday, but never knew how bad all the recalls are on this car and am very upset. i was sold this car and am paying alot of money a month for this car when it has sooo many problems

- Joanne A., Clifton Heights, PA, USA

problem #49

Dec 042015

Focus SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,556 miles

I've truly loved this car until now. I shouldn't be having this serious of a problem this early in the life of this vehicle! I've never been a Ford man until this Focus achieved 42.9 mpg. Ford's solution to the problem will definitely affect my manufacturer preference!

Update from Dec 11, 2015: Ford replaced the TCM unit free of charge due the recall/extended warranty. It was completed in one day, it solved the problem and I am pleased.

- mspinafl, Leesburg, FL, USA

problem #48

Jun 012014

Focus SFE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


Shifting problems. Constant since I bought the car. No solution. "Just how it is".

- Julia K., Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #47

Nov 122014

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

Purchased vehicle June 2014. Went from driving a Grand Marquis to Ford Focus, big power difference. Noticed minor transmission noises, gradually got worse, including shifting issues. Contacted dealership approx March 2015 after receiving "customer satisfaction program 14M02. The dealership checked the car, I do need the TCM replaced, leaking. Finally got a call that the part was in in August 2015, scheduled appointment. Had a medical emergency, canceled. Tried to reschedule 2 days later, and was told that my part wasn't in, after waiting SEVERAL MONTHS!! I have had several times that the transmission doesn't seem to want to engage, while I am driving, including when I was merging into traffic. That was scary, because the car didn't want to go. Not a good time or that to happen! I spend a lot of time driving, long commute. The dealership said the part would probably only be a week or so. Now there is a Software Update Program that will warn me of possible TCM Circuit failure. I do not feel safe driving this car.

- rnsafe, Chestertown, MD, USA

problem #46

Jul 222015

Focus SLE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I bought my car about a year and a half ago. About a week after buying the POS (miles were around 33,000) I started to notice that my car didn't want to start from a stopped position or want to go after going around a corner or up the on ramp to the highway. I also started to feel a shutter when I tried to go. I had to take my car in and they told me they needed to replace a few parts and reprogram my transmission. After that about two months or so I had to take it in again for the same issues. Again they "replaced and reprogrammed my transmission".

After they "fixed" my car it seemed to be OK for a while. About a week or so ago I started to hear a grinding nose when I would turn and get on the gas or if I was trying to go up a hill. I was also having the loss of power again when I tried to take off. So as normal, I called the dealership and took my car in. They told me after the test drive they did some "reprogramming" and took it for another test drive and still had the "grinding nose" that I was talking about. When I called the dealership to find out what they figured out with my car they told me that everything was within normal specs. REALLY, WTF. I asked them again about the nose that I heard and they said, yes it is all normal. How can this be normal if I didn't have this the first two times I took my car in and now all of a sudden I am having this issues?

So i picked my car up today and took it for a quick test drive with one of my uncles (who is a mechanic) and the first turn out of the dealership parking lot he heard and felt the nose that I was talking about. We went a little further down the road and still had the same problems. He told me this can't be normal. I don't know what to do with my car anymore. I bought a little newer car so that I knew it would be reliable and instead I got a car that is in the shop all the time. I am glad I found this site and see that I am not the only one having problems with my car. I hope that Ford gets their sh*t together and takes care of this problem. I don't want to be stuck on the side of the road somewhere and not be able to use my car.

- Dana K., Kewaskum, WI, USA

problem #45

Jan 012014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Ford better fix this at no cost to consumer!! It's going back to Carmax tomorrow!

- Melissa B., Newport News, VA, USA

problem #44

Oct 212014

Focus SE 2.0L Duratec Ti-Vct I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

I've had awful performance from my Focus since about 35,000 miles. I'd had the rolling backwards that many described, and increasingly worse hesitation off the line before then, but it really didn't get bad until around that 35k mark.

One morning on my way to work, I had just merged onto the highway and was still speeding up in 4th or 5th, when suddenly it shifted rough and I lost all power. The CE light came on and I was quickly slowing down. I pulled over to the side of the road and turned off the ignition. When I turned it back on it seemed to work again, though it definitely felt like it was shifting too early, leaving the car feeling breathless.

I took it to the dealership, where they said the ECU needed to be flashed. Got it back a week later and it seemed fine (in the sense that it was just back to rolling and being slow in low gears). The problem got worse over the next several thousand miles and I took it back to the dealer a second time, only to hear that nothing was wrong and I was driving it too hard. Fed up, we sold it a few thousand miles later and purchased a Chevy Sonic, which - aside from a few gripes about the interior and tiny driver armrest - seems to be a great alternative in that price range.

Ford can't ignore this issue forever.

- Alexander A., Olmsted Township, OH, USA

problem #43

Nov 012014

Focus SEL 2.0 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Vibration, shake when accelerate low or high speed . Feels like the car doesn't want to go and is going to die on me in the middle of the road. I have looked up on Internet to see what the problem is, and find out a lot of people have the same problem. Some people even took it to Ford dealership and Ford didn't stand behind their own problems. What are shame. And some people said it's going to be around 3 or 4 thousands dollars to fix this stupid problem. With car only has 50000 miles on it and already have transmission problem I think it is ridiculous. I hope more people would complaint about this so Ford will take care this problem for those owner of this vehicle.

- Bernice X., Round Rock, TX, US

problem #42

Aug 182013

Focus SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,256 miles

FORD has manufactured a terrible automatic transmission. Took it in today was told there is no fix. Bill Currie FORD Tampa. Service manager - Bill Cornish.... Said it could never be fixed.

This car has only 28K on the clock.

Personally, I think FORD has its dealers denying problems and not properly documenting complaints to avoid a tremendous recall.

How do I know this? The Assistant Service manager told me that they get a tremendous amount of complaints on this, And are kept busy all the time.

I have had cars with PDK transmissions and This does not react as a good one. Also the service manager says it is a manual transmission made into an automatic. So that is an excuse for making a lousy transmission?

I'll never buy another FORD. Should have bought the VW I wanted.

- schnellerkerl, Tampa, FL, USA

problem #41

Oct 092013

Focus SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles

I bought the car new and it was great until ~21K miles, then the 6 speed trans began to slip, ...badly. Took it into the Ford dealership and after 4 days they told me it was the trans. They said they replaced the seals, clutches, etc, and it ran OK until ~31K miles, and then same issue occurred. Took it back to the same dealer and they said it was OK, it just needed the computer to be reset. Now have 32K miles on it and it's worse.

I'm writing a letter to Ford today, telling them of my absolute displeasure with the car, and why is it when you look at other people who have had issues with the same trans, all they can do is to reset the computer!!! I should have gone with my gut, and bought a Honda.

- John G., Middletown, DE, US

problem #40

Mar 032014

Focus SE 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

When I purchased the car back in 2012, I noticed that the trans would shift very roughly, especially from first to second. I thought maybe because it's new and it would work itself out. Well after the first three thousand miles it did not, so on my first oil change I told the service manager about the problem. He explained that the cars computer needed to learn my driving habits and that it would eventually go away, but by the second oil change it had not. So I told the service manager again about the problem, when they were done with the car he told me they reprogrammed the control module for the trans and that it should take care of the problem. Well it did not so I went back a third time, he explained that this was a new type of trans, it was an automatic stick basically. The trans was split into two halves, the one side was 1st,3rd,and 5th, the second side was 2nd,4th,and 6th and all were controlled by a computer. So they reprogrammed againand it did seem to work fine for a while but it started acting up again after about 500 miles.

So I wrote in a service feedback that Ford needed to step up and take responsibility for this problem. I also stated that the dealer was very understanding of this issue and did try to rectify the problem,but to no avail. About two weeks later I got a call from the dealership stating that they would replace the clutch assemblies in the trans at no cost to me. They had the car for two days but did supply me with a loaner. That was several months ago and the car seems to run fine now. Of course I constantly monitor it and the dealer did say if there were any further issues to bring it back, knock wood so far no problems.

I would suggest approaching your dealer with the same proposal. I know it can be frustrating at times and I sympathize with those who have had the same issues. Good luck to all.

- lefty64, Williamstown, NJ, US

problem #39

Oct 012014

Focus ES 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

The transmission jumped out of gear at speed on the freeway, 45-55 mph. Check engine light came on. Unable to engage transmission, even tried the manual option. Turned ignition off, then turned back on. Transmission engaged intermittently, sometimes shifting into what seemed to be a couple of gears too high. Sometimes revved up like it was in neutral. Engine light stayed on. Was able to get home. Started car up next day, and engine light was cleared, car ran ok. Took to dealer the next day, drove fine for about 8 miles, suddenly as I was slowing down for a red light, there was a clunk and transmission seemed to have jumped out of gear, but was engaging intermittently. The check engine light came on, and it stayed on. Limped to the Ford dealer, with transmission seemingly slipping in/out of gear. Left it running for them. Service supervisor saw the engine light, said they would get right on it. Somebody must have turned the ignition off, as they have been unable to find any trouble code in the ECM, or duplicate the problem, some 78 miles of test driving and they have had it for about a week. I don't think they will find anything and we will be back driving this car with great uncertainty as to when it will happen again.

Update from Oct 15, 2014: Dealer had car nearly 2 weeks. Yesterday (10/13) we got them to return our call. They said the key had been misplaced. Today (10/14) we were called by the police department, dealer has reported car stolen. I suppose the transmission issue is now moot, unless we recover the vehicle. I can't help but be suspicious.

- kahiku, Mililani, HI, USA

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