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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
3,613 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments

problem #13

Jul 022014


  • 35,900 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle shook and became unstable. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the transmission oil seal was ruptured. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,900.

- Massillon, OH, USA

problem #12

Jan 202014


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle "power shift" transmission stalling issues. The consumer stated she would loose power while driving, and a metal noise was heard, as the vehicle shuttered and hesitated. A diagnosis revealed, the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. However, the parts were on a 30-day back order. The consumer stated 2 months have passed, and she has not received any notice or communication addressing the issue.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #11

Jul 192012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle was unable to shift. The contact stated that the automatic transmission was performing as if it were a manual transmission. In addition, when the contact would shift from reverse the drive, the transmission would omit first gear and engage into second gear erroneously. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic stated that the failure was contributed to the manner in which the contact was operating the vehicle. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 300 and the current mileage was 17,000. Updated 12/20/13

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #10

Jul 262012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmission problems. The consumer stated a problem with the transmission occurred, a day after the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle started making a grinding noise at 3rd and 5th gears. The dealer calibrated the transmission one month later. Two weeks later, there was a chatter coming from the transmission. Ford stated the transmission was performing as designed. A year later, the transmission jerked and slipped. The dealer verified the problem, and made the necessary repairs. The consumer stated the problem is still ongoing.

- Fall Branch, TN, USA

problem #9

Jul 012013

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Submission from constituent re problems with 2012 Ford Focus. The consumer noticed the automatic transmission seemed a bit jerky and it shifted more often. When the consumer visited the dealer to have the oil changed and the tries rotated, she mentioned her findings to the mechanic, and he indicated there was an update available they would perform. When she picked the vehicle up later that day, the problem was much worse. The transmission hesitated and shuddered even more than before the update and the noise was she was hearing, when the vehicle shifted was louder and sounded as if cans were in the transmission. The dealer advised the consumer, to give it a week, because the computer needed to reprogram itself. A week later, the dealer called the consumer, but the problem was still present. The vehicle was taken back to dealer. When the consumer returned to pick up the vehicle, there was still no change. Over time, the problem did not resolve itself. The consumer returned to the dealer, where they test drove the vehicle, and claimed the it was performing within Ford specifications and there was nothing else they could do. The mechanic did acknowledge there was a jerk in the transmission, it shuddered and hesitated, but stated, there was no fix for the noise as of yet.

- Berea, OH, USA

problem #8

Sep 272012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 940 miles
After feeling the automatic transmission was excessively lurchy, I came to stop at a traffic light on a busy road. When the light turned green I sat revving my engine and was unable to get the car to move. I put car in park and then back in drive with the same results. I tried the S mode with manual shifting and car still did not move. I eventually turned the car completely off and back on and this seemed to correct the problem. I found the situation very dangerous. Apparently from what the dealership said the clutch was not engaging. It is an automatic transmission car.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #7

Mar 202012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,493 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while merging into traffic, the vehicle lunged forward without any warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer multiple times where the technician was unable to determine the cause of failure. The technician reprogrammed the power train control module as a safety precaution however, the remedy failed to repair the problem. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 2,493 and the current mileage was 10,000. Updated 9/25/12 updated 10/03/2012

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #6

Apr 302012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,364 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph, the vehicle emitted a grinding noise and the transmission shifted erratically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on many occasions, but the contact was informed that the transmission was performing as designed and the grinding noise was normal. The dealer could not find a failure and stated that there were no recalls or warranties covering the failure. The manufacturer was notified and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 2,364. Updated 08/16/12

- Franklin, MA, USA

problem #5

Apr 252012

Focus 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
This is a ongoing problem with my Focus. When accelerating from a stop the Focus's automatic dsg transmission (in D) will quickly shift to a higher gear in an effort to minimize fuel consumption. During a stopped turn at a intersection this leads to a unsafe condition where commanded acceleration takes several seconds to happen. The problem happens like this: The car accelerates at a stop sign or parking lot. The car accelerates to 10-15 miles per hour. The driver lets off the gas during the "turn" part. The transmission shifts to second or a higher gear. The driver then commands a large acceleration - say due to oncoming traffic - and nothing will happen for several seconds. This is because the dsg transmission needs to shift sequentially into first and this takes several seconds. Also it appears that the powertrain is disconnected while this shifting takes place. When the transmission finally selects first the acceleration can be sudden and unexpected. This has happened to me several times and I believe it is a dangerous condition. It can be avoided by manually selecting first - then shifting to D when the turn is complete.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #4

May 212012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,549 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Focus. The contact stated that she received notification of a manufacturer's recall to reprogram the computer in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who reprogrammed the PCM, tcm and ABS on May 21, 2012. The contact stated that the transmission had caused the vehicle to run roughly with a jerking motion following the repairs. In addition, the vehicle would roll backward when stopped on an incline. The vehicle had not been taken back to the dealer. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 3,549. Updated 07/05/12 the consumer stated the vehicle was returned to the dealer on June 5, 2012 for the same problem. Updated 07/09/12

- Roan Mountain, TN, USA

problem #3

May 012012

Focus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2012 Ford Focus. Consumer writes in regards to engine, transmission, drive shaft and electrical system problems. The consumer stated the vehicle would jerk forward, hesitate and would not go into gear fast enough when changing lanes. The right passenger power window was slower that the driver's side, the door locks would not open properly. Updated 05/25/12

- Newark, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 202011

Focus 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
We purchased this car on 08/19/2011 and the next day while taking off from a stop sign the car would shudder, I do not have this issue when the transmission is cold but in stop and go driving and normal city driving after it has warmed up. Also when you depress the accelerator from a stop the vehicle will go for a second then have a nice sized flat spot so even the people in the car will go forward as if the brakes were coming on. I took the vehicle to the dealer and the tech drove it and verified that it did have this issue. They contacted Ford and Ford stated that it was normal and told them to do nothing. I complained to Ford customer service and all the lady had to say was that it is normal. Also Ford had stated that these are isolated incidents, if they are indeed isolated then they cannot be considered normal but rather a defect that Ford does not want to address. I was told that the clutches require a break-in but Ford does not state any break-in procedure that pertains just to the clutches other then the normal 1000 mile break-in for the vehicle in general. I and others I have communicated with all have these issues after the 1000 mile break-in and feel it is both a safety issue and a mechanical defect from Ford that would cost to much to repair so they claim it is normal.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #1

May 312011


  • 1,300 miles
I was driving and stuck in traffic. Going slow, 5-10mph, the car started shifting really strange, not moving when initially accelerating and then jerking from first to second gear. My destination was 3 blocks ahead of me so I stayed on route and parked when I arrived. As I got back into the car it wouldn't start. I managed to get the car to start after "messing" with the auto shifter and leaving the car in nuetral. Once started the car would not go into gear, or move when placed into D, R or L. I shut the car down and it would not start again after that. The transmission control module (tcm) is what the dealer told me had failed. It took a solid 7 days to get my car back. The first couple of days were spent trying to figure out what went wrong. The car has always shifted strange and continues to shift strange to this day. The problem was fixed but I think it is just a matter of time before it fails again.

- Lincoln Park, MI, USA

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