2012 Ford Focus / Repeat No-Start Issues

I own a 2012 Ford Focus Sedan. It’s terrific except the battery has died four times in the last three months, more than all of my previous vehicles combined.

The third time, the dealership concluded that the electric programming wasn’t communicating correctly and staying on when it should be shutting down, therefore draining the battery. They reset the programming and it drove painlessly for a month and a half until a week ago when it promptly died again. At the time of this post, I still don’t have a resolution and was left without a car for nearly a week.

I have been told that no other 2012 Ford Focus is exhibiting this behavior. What I would like to grasp, from the republic of Click and Clack, is if this is an accurate report?

If you have been experiencing something similar, or have any advice, I look forward to hearing thoughts.


Keep all your receipts and document these problems. This is one of the rare cases in which “lemon laws” may apply.

Lemon Laws:



Quick update to the forums:

After retaining my vehicle from the dealership, with still no conclusive answer to the causes, the agreement was that a representative from Ford HQ would be flying in to assess the repeat batter failures and I would be called to make this arrangement.

Since then, I haven’t heard from the dealership, Ford HQ, or the red puppet Doug that plagues recent commercials.

Also since then, the battery has not demonstrated further mysterious failures.

Not sure where to go from here, but I just wanted to keep this space updated.

At stand-still for the moment.

Well, even though it appears that your car is now fixed, I hope that you have taken the time to educate yourself about the details of the Lemon Law in your state.

Based on what you told us in your earlier posts, it sounds like you have already reached the point where you would qualify for a Lemon Law settlement. Some states only allow for a comparable replacement vehicle, and others give the aggrieved owner the option of a full refund. Find out the exact details now, just in case you do need to file for a settlement.

If the battery problem recurs, I urge you to obtain the appropriate forms immediately, and to file them with your state Attorney General right away.

Thanks for the recommendations, VDCdriver.

In perspective of the Lemon Laws, I consulted the requirements and the car must be taken into the dealer at each instance of failure. Unfortunately, the first and second time do not qualify for consideration.

Thank you kat6. We have probably the exact same circumstances regarding 2012 Ford Focus. Since purchasing the vehicle on April 1, 2012 the battery has gone dead 5 times and had to be either jumped or towed to the dealership. This is an inexcusable issue with a new vehicle and Ford Customer Relations has been polite, but nothing has been done from the dealership to permanently fix the problem. I have also reference all communications from Customer Relations and the dealership, but the car was purchased in Michigan and now resides in New Jersey. In what state does one pursue the lemon law to remedy the situation that is becoming increasingly frustrating since Ford has not responded appropriately. Would appreciate any suggestions in pursuing this legally.

I have the same problem with the 2012 Focus. I bought it September 1, 2011 and within the past 40 days or so the battery has died mysteriously 5 times. Brought it to the dealership two times, but both times the car has been fine and they cannot replicate the problem. I need to read up on lemon laws, any more advice would be appreciated.

I’m sad to report and update the forum that I’m facing instance 5 of the mysterious battery failure / no-start issue. Visit 4 is scheduled for the dealership.

kbellis88> Lemon Laws vary per state (to my research, state in which the vehicle was purchased) and usually require a dealership visit categorized under the same problem to qualify as an documented event. Your instances occur more closely together than mine have, I would recommend calling Ford Motor Company and getting a case number to reference.

A rep at my local dealership suggested there was a service bulletin (which I could not publicly locate) may have been issued on the vehicle suggesting that replacing ‘ground strap’ would cure the problem.

I’ll post more when I know more.

And another mark for the board: six unexplained car battery failures / no-start issue. It moved the scheduled appointment for services up two days, but leaves me unclear for a well-charged tomorrow.

You keep saying “Battery Failure”…Is the battery itself failing, or is it being discharged by a parasitic load the dealer can not find?? Do they replace the battery or just charge it and check it for serviceability?

I would suspect that one or more of the many electronic modules on the car isn’t going to sleep like it should after parking. Since this may be software-related, and is intermittent, it should be a joy to troubleshoot, much like an intermittent blue-screen/reboot problem with a home computer.

The dealer may have to keep the car for several days to try and catch the problem occurring. At least it seems that you’re not alone in having this problem, so Ford should be investigating this problem, and it may lead to a recall or service advisory.

Caddman> They check it for serviceability @ the dealership and run “load test,” they tell me it passes (last set of tests were run in August). On my last jump start (#6), the rep from Roadside (certified Tech) said in short terms: if the battery was “okay” before, it isn’t now and should be replaced. Hey also had some comments that they were probably using the wrong device to test the battery at the dealership (I checked service records, they used a Rotunda Tester) and would happily consult if they would give him a call.

Oblivion> They reset all the programming and this stalled the issue for a few weeks, but it still reoccurred. Perhaps, if they’re going to put computers and software in cars, there should be an option to run disk utility or norton for the drivers to reset their own programming? Maybe let us replace the logic boards? Or run a clean install instead of just resetting?

I’ll be back with new words when I have them.

Oh, and just to keep track of the numbers: we’re up to seven “incidents.”

Kat, when you say they “reset all the programming”, this could mean anything from they upgraded the firmware (the internal software that runs the vehicle), to they reloaded the same firmware you had, or maybe they just disconnected all power to it for a while to ‘reset’ it. Depending on the skill of the tech and how busy/interested they were, it could be anything. It would be interesting to know exactly what they did. If they reloaded the same firmware you had or an ‘upgraded’ version that still has bugs, they may not have accomplished much.

Or it could be a hardware problem with one of the modules. Who knows. It should be possible to troubleshoot this in the same way you’d troubleshoot any parasitic power drain—connect an ammeter between the battery and electrical system and look for abnormal current flow with everything off. Then pull fuses one at a time until the problem goes away. It’s a bit harder with a modern vehicle and more time consuming because it may take some time for everything to settle down and go to sleep, but the principle still applies.

My first guess is a battery drain. Does anything keep working that should not after you turn of the ignition? Sometimes it as as simple as a trunk, hood or glove compartment light. other times faulty door locking mechanisms.

We need more information about this “battery failure.”

The terms “battery failure,” and “dead battery,” or, “car won’t start,” are entirely different things. How has “battery failure” been determined, and by whom?

If the battery failed, it would not pass a load test, and kat6 said it passed.

The battery has not failed. There may be an excessive drain on the battery, but it hasn’t failed.

I’m going to suggest the OP has come up with the term “battery failure,” even though it’s not appropriate.

I don’t recall reading that the battery has been replaced, so it hasn’t “failed,” it’s just losing its charge, or maybe something else is happening.

So please stop saying the battery has failed.

Try saying, “my car won’t start,” or “my battery is dead again.”

Kat6 Your car has an intermittent parasitic load that is draining the battery…An electrical drain like that is pretty easy to find if it is constant or occurs regularly…But when it happens at widely spaced intervals, they can be almost impossible to find…

I have a 5000 word update, but will spare the forum from such a long-winded ordeal (not that the following outline is very short-hand, but I promised an update … so here we go).

The “no start” incident meter has clicked over to 9.

Outline [bracketed comments]:

Vehicle experienced “no start” incidents 6, 7 and 8 within a few days of each other.

Vehicle spent two weeks at dealership with hours tech and Ford corporate support.

Only draw on battery happened when the lights are left on manual.

I was advised not to leave the lights on manual, only leave them in auto. [*I can assure the CarTalk forums, and any enlightened deity of choice, that lights were not left “on.” In fact, the auto setting has been the primary setting.]

Leaving the lights on to cause a drain in battery is not a factory defect. As such, vehicle could not be reviewed for replacement.

Was told there was nothing more that could be done or determined unless the vehicle was brought in dead.

Lights were set and left in auto and exterior lamps were visually observed every time when leaving the vehicle to be assured that they all shut off.

“No start” state 9 occurred about two weeks later.

Vehicle towed in to dealership.

Was told that vehicle did not start at dealership.

Vehicle was jump started, run, tested to draws, and no reports yielded a conclusion. [The point of having it in a “no start” state didn’t / doesn’t contribute to a resolution.]

Was told there was nothing more that could be done because evidence of the cause was still not found.

Do you have that nSync option?