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2012 Ford Focus transmission problems: shudder and vibration sounds on takeoff

Shudder And Vibration Sounds On Takeoff

2012 Ford Focus (Page 1 of 4)

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:
44,500 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (33 reports)
  2. replace dual-clutch (16 reports)
  3. only solution for me is to get rid of it! (9 reports)
  4. replace clutch/repair main seal (3 reports)
  5. recall15b22. reprogrammed pcm tcm (1 reports)
  6. replace transmission (1 reports)
2012 Ford Focus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2012 Ford Focus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #63

Sep 172018

Focus SE Hatchback

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


This is the 3rd or 4th time I've had my Focus to the dealership regarding the clutch recall. The recall will cover the clutch, again, but this time I have to pay my deductible for a rear main seal that is leaking. I do take it to my trusted mechanic for all routine maintenance and with 75,000 I want to keep it up, as this is something I need to last at least another year. Another issue is the smell of gasoline, dealership says no leaks but at times it will be strong and give my kids and I a headache.

Would be nice if Ford resolved the several other issues that we owners are complaining about.

- Tara M., Mishawaka, IN, US

problem #62

May 102018

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles

I paid J&L Auto in West Chicago, Illinois $1300.00 to replace transmission. Ford did nothing concerning this transmission. They couldn't have cared less!!

- colleenbetsinger, Dekalb, Illinois, US

problem #61

Sep 092017

Focus Titanium 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Bought the car in 2014 used from local dealer and they insisted I buy the extended warranty, unbeknownst to me of the "transmission shudder" problem Ford knows about. Two weeks of within purchase I noticed the problem and took it back to the dealership. Service manager said "yep, transmission shudder, we know all about it." REALLY! So they replaced the clutch discs and I had to take it back the next day because the service tech did not tighten all the bolts up. Couple months goes by and it starts doing it again. Take it back and they say we'll do a transmission computer sink adjustment. Car worked again for a while and of course it started doing it again. What Ford did and one of their worst ideas, remember those commercials? was to use a manual case transmission and use electronic components to make the transmission shift like an automatic transmission and a "dual clutching" system. Apparently one of the problems are the seals in the case fail and allows fluid to get on the clutch discs which then cause the problem. So after eh 3rd time of failure I decided to try a different dealership. First thing is their service tech said "we don't even bother trying to reprogram the computers, we just replace all associated parts". I must say that I got the longest time period. Here's where it gets interesting. At that time the service tech said that because of the problem Ford was offering a 10 year or 150K customer satisfaction warranty on these transmissions and it was for all 2012 -2016 Focus's and Fiesta's with this piece of junk, can't be fixed transmission. This was before the transmission would not go into gear. So back to the dealer it goes and what was wrong was with association of the disc and seal problems, the transmission control module (TCM) have failure problems too! Again the service tech don't worry Ford has offered this extended warranty. Service manager says "yes if Ford could figure how to deal with the clutch disc and TCM problems...REALLY! Well folks, guess what? It started to shudder again so I called the dealer to take advantage of this so called extended warranty. By this time a class action lawsuit had been filed against Ford for this very problem. So I call the dealer to schedule the appointment for the 6th time and guess what happened, the terms of the customer satisfaction warranty changed to " Sorry sir that 150K customer satisfaction warranty was for the TCM's only and only 100K on the discs. Now you have to understand I drive and commute over 27K miles per year, which is why my mileage accumulates so fast, but that shouldn't matter. So you mean to tell me that Ford in all it's glory can't build a dependable vehicle that can't make it past 100K miles let alone a transmission design that they don't have a solution to fix??? So I am no longer a Focus owner. I have lost my faith in American cars and will never, ever buy another Fix Or Repair Daily again. Driving a Toyota Rav 4 now. Buyer be ware, don't buy a Focus or Fiesta with a 6-speed, dual clutching transmission! You'll wish you didn't !

- randyyates, Shelby, US

problem #60

Mar 012014

Focus Titanium

  • CVT transmission
  • 11,429 miles


I am on my FOURTH clutch assembly for the 2012 Focus Titanium that I purchased brand new.

FOUR. Now I have the steering assist error that causes the wheel to lock. I have fought with Ford from day 1 and no help from the dealer or the company. Piece of crap car. Will NEVER buy again.

- Dori G., Stoney Creek, ON, Canada

problem #59

Feb 172012

Focus SE 2.014ditivct

  • Automatic transmission
  • 600 miles

I went to the dealership and asked the service writer if it was a known problem and he stated no, it was a new type transmission and I would have to get used to how it responds. This was only the beginning, I had the car for 20 months and I think it was in the shop at least two months. If you count days, maybe more. I invoked the Lemon Law and did not ever receive any satisfaction. Eventually after no resolution I traded the car in. This upset me because I knew I was not going to get all of my money back.

- Sharon C., Millsboro, DE, US

problem #58

Oct 152016

Focus SEL 2.0L I4 Gdi Engine

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


- Kelli C., Ft .Myers, US

problem #57

Jul 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles


Always has recall but never has the parts. Car is very slow and sticks.

- Theresa N., Rancho Mirage, CA, US

problem #56

May 182017

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,411 miles

The car has shuddered for almost the entire time I have owned it. I had the clutch replaced on 5/25/17 and a day later it started shuddering again. I was told there is nothing else the dealership can do for me and that I should try another dealership. I am extremely unhappy with this car and the whole situation. I am a single mother of 2 and have to drive my children around in this death trap!

- Krisha C., Norwich, US

problem #55

May 012014

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,282 miles

At first I was annoyed then the issue became more pronounced. Ford under warranty replaced the clutch. Problem came back later... next post.

- Rob B., Blumenort, MB, Canada

problem #54

May 012015

Focus 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

Second clutch replacement under Ford extended warranty. Getting really concerned about the car reliability. More to come...

- Rob B., Blumenort, MB, Canada

problem #53

Apr 032017

Focus SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles


I've had the typical issues associated with the TCM and clutch. As I test drove the car, February, 2015, I noted the shuttering and questioned the sales man about it AS I WAS PHYSICALLY DRIVING THE CAR. I was informed, for the next year, that I was due to my driving. I then receive a letter from Ford addressing the issue with a recall. I made an appointment to take my car in for the servicing.

The Sunday prior to my appointment, my car was towed to the dealership because the check engine light came on and advised me to "Service Transmission Immediately". Turns out, my clutch had completely failed. Keep in mind, my mileage was approx. 99,000. My car proceeded to sit at the dealership for eight weeks due to the parts being back ordered.

Finally my car was fixed. Great! 6 months/16,000 miles later, I note that my car starts to shutter again. I make an appointment and am informed the clutch has failed, yet again. I was initially informed it would be covered under warranty but about an hour later, received a call telling me it was not covered under warranty by 4,000 miles. You're kidding, right?

I understand companies and dealerships have their own warranties. What I don't understand is HOW the first clutch lasted 99,000 miles before completely failing and needing replacement but the second clutch lasted 16,000 miles before failing and needing replacement. Ford really needs to start taking ownership for this POS they created. Shelling out $2,000, for repairs I shouldn't have had to cover, for a car that isn't even worth it.

- Gabby R., Breinigsville, PA, US

problem #52

Apr 232017

Focus SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,800 miles

Left California today, for a cross country trip. ( The car is only 5 years old, with 44,800 miles on it. I have basic maintenance done every 6 months. No major problems, until today. ) While in Kingman, Arizona, caught in heavy traffic, uphill, a red "transmission malfunction!" light went on, and the car immediately started shuddering and lurching forward. I was only going 5 - 10 mph in traffic, but the car was also shaking ( as if it was going to stall ).

I pulled over and off the highway, to a nearby mini-mart / sells gas ( but didn't have a service station ) parking lot. I pulled out the owner's manual, just to read that this was a severe problem and "transmission malfunction - see your authorized dealer". When I re-started the car, the light went off. I was so freaked out, that I went to the nearest hotel because I'm scared to drive the car now ( for my own safety and anyone near me, on the road ).

I went online, just to find out that there are other complaints ( same as mine or worse - steering & shifts giving out or car just suddenly stopping on the freeway ), and that even taking the car to a Ford dealership ( to have the car re-programmed), doesn't fix the problem, but is crazy expensive. Now I'm stranded in Arizona, with a major expense expense, if I have it towed to a nearby dealership, not knowing if it will be fixed, and not knowing how many days and nights I'll be stuck in Arizona. MAJOR HASSLE! I want to get rid of this car now, and after reading the other complaints, I will never buy another Ford again, because I no longer feel safe driving one.

Any class action lawsuits over this issue? Has anyone been injured or died because of this issue? Why aren't these cars being recalled by Ford ASAP?

Update from Apr 26, 2017: Took my car to the Ford dealership in Kingman, AZ, the very next morning at 7:30 am. I was told the "transmission malfunction" was a common problem and that there is a recall ( for 2012 - 2016 Ford cars) to replace the clutch ( along with another recall for door latches ). The parts, services, and labor could easily be $3,000.

Luckily, I have an extended warranty for my 2012 Ford Focus. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of cars being repaired and also red tape ( the accounting dept. in California has to approve recall parts & services, depending on the computerized test results from the pre-programmed engine ), it took 2 full days to complete the work. That meant 2 more nights of unexpected hotel & dinner expenses, because I'm traveling, not a local. Also, when they looked under the transmission, the mechanic noticed an oil leak, caused by a broken main seal ( which contaminated the clutch & affected the transmission ). Because it involved the clutch, it was covered under the warranty. Feeling very relieved and hoping to continue my road trip tomorrow, without anymore car issues.

- monarrez, Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #51

May 252016

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,325 miles

This time apparently it came back with codes:

u0100 u0101 p0850 in system C

Replaced TCM

Preformed PMI

Completed the transmission adaptive learn program

- Tanya C., Whitby, ON, Canada

problem #50

Aug 242015

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,361 miles

This time they replaced the Clutch assembly again, replaced all Seals, replaced engagement bearings, removed and reinstalled transmission, reprogrammed transmission, replaced cylinder assembly

- Tanya C., Whitby, ON, Canada

problem #49

Sep 112013

Focus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,125 miles

Took my car to the Ford dealer to complain and have my car looked at as I just bought this car less then 3000KM ago. Was told from the dealer that this is the way the ford focus drives and gave me a printout on the ford focus transmission. I was told that I did not know how to operate my Automatic transmission (Even though I have owned multiple Fords including standard Mustangs.

Rep from Service Department told me I was a liar and there is nothing wrong with the car and told me to leave the dealership and not return as they will not service my car again for transmission issues. I left in tears. Only bought my car less then 10,000KMs ago

- Tanya C., Whitby, ON, Canada

problem #48

Sep 052012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles

Well i brought my 2012 ford focus brand new on my L's, i was hoping to get a good reliable car. Ha wishful thinking i have had my transmission fixed and couch replaced more times then needed. I got the run around story that it was my driving for years! how sexist. I went back to ford ( Peter warren) so many times for them to check the car as it just stops going around roundabouts or streets. Then on sunday my car couldn't reverse and went straight to ford the sunday afternoon they told me to come back monday as the service department was CLOSED. LIKE WTF. Then to make things worse they told me dont expect a call until lunch time as they are to busy in the morning another WTF moment. I left my car there as i didn't want to drive it. Got to work monday they called me without looking at the car telling me its the battery ?? I know a battery has nothing to do with being able to reverse or NOT. Around 12 they call me to let me know it was the transmission module was faulty. I was pissed off at this point as they think because i am a young girl i am stupid. I had to google and got advice from a mechanic as i believe they will tell you anything so they dont fix the car. Then once i had enough i requested a meeting with the higher management they told me they can fix the car and i would be happy? I have had it fixed so many time i said can you guarantee it will fix the issue they said we can't but we can try. I said no thanks i want my money back this time. They SAID NO and to try them in court. BUNCH OF ASSHOLES i wont ever buy a ford again. I have had different people look after me there as they can't keep there staff due to these issues.

- Kelly H., nsw, Australia

problem #47

Jun 142016

Focus V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,036 miles

returned car to dealer for same problem as in Jan. 2016. This time they ordered and changed one clutch. I was with out my car for 4 days and since my job is 50 miles away I was forced to miss work those days.

- Coleen M., Rutland, VT, USA

problem #46

Jan 292016

Focus V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

at 45000+ miles the car jumped at take off, then it started shuddering. I took car to dealer for warranty repair & it was fixed for now.

- Coleen M., Rutland, VT, USA

problem #45

Jan 022015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,458 miles

I bought this car in January 2015 for my sister-in-law who lives alone in NC as she was in dire need of a reliable car and couldn't afford one of her own. I handled all the aspects of the sale with Lafayette Ford in Fayetteville, NC, via phone, fax, email and UPS, as I live in Florida. The car had some hesitation problems as she drove off the car lot, but the salesman, Darryl, told her that it would be fine, that the transmission just needed another thousand miles or so to "work out the kinks," more or less. She doesn't put very many miles on a car, so it took some time and she kept being patient.

At this point, the car was shuddering and vibrating on take-off. In time, it got worse. She finally took the car in for repair in September of 2015 after receiving the recall notice, and was told that the shudder was within "normal limits" and that it was fine. The car continued to shudder and vibrate, sporadically.

By September of 2016, she had to take a longer trip than is her usual practice, and throughout that trip, it sputtered, shuddered, vibrated loudly, hesitated at every stoplight. She was afraid she wouldn't make it home. Subsequent to that, she took the car back to Lafayette Ford and was given the same spiel: they put it on the machine, checked it out, everything is within normal limits!!! That is not normal for a car to shake, rattle and roll all over the place every time you try to accelerate.

She is now taking the car back into the shop with the same complaint within a few days. I'll post the results afterwards. This car is a piece of sh** and the Ford company knows it but refuses to fix it. That is extremely poor customer service, the likes of which I've never experienced in my more than 50 years of buying cars. I will NEVER recommend Ford or Lafayette Ford to anyone unless they make this right with me and fix my car ONCE AND FOR ALL!

- ronaldwilbur, The Villages, FL, USA

problem #44

Jan 122016

Focus 4

  • CVT transmission
  • 60,000 miles

soooooo disappointed. transmission is slipping, grinding, just terrible. I took it to Ford dealer parts wont be in for 12 weeks,grrrrr,i should be able to get a loaner, but dealership said problem is so extensive, they would'nt have enough cars to compensate the masses.

- maloimorannj, Pittsgrove, NJ, USA

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