Ford Escape Problems: 12 Most Common Most Common Issues, Best Solutions and Guides

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Ford Escape Problems are common for new or used cars of this crossover SUV type. The Ford Escape is one of the most popular compact SUVs. It provides comfortable seating, proper cargo space, and a smooth ride.

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The Ford Escape compact SUV is famous for its practicality, fuel efficiency, and affordability. Despite its popularity, the car is not immune to mechanical problems, especially automatic transmission problems. These issues range from minor sensor errors to complete transmission failure, leaving drivers stranded.

The Ford Escape is more competitive after its latest refresh. Updated sheet metal gives the exterior a more distinctive and expressive design, and an updated entertainment interface keeps Ford’s compact SUV competitive in its class. We give Escape high marks for its ride comfort and easy-to-use technology, but the non-electric powertrain still makes the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions more attractive.

Even with its latest model, the Ford Escape is about 8 inches shorter in length than the Ford Edge and offers additional hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options. The Escape can compete with rival compact SUVs regarding practicality, comfort, and efficiency but lags in driving dynamics.

In this article, we will bring you together to discuss and guide some of the common problems that arise from the problem and the intelligent solutions we present to anticipate things we don’t want so that driving comfort is better maintained. The car is always in optimal condition.

Ford Escape Problems Explained

We explore the most common Ford Escape Problems owners face across all generations. We’ll cover everything from engine failures to transmission issues and give you the information you need to keep your Escape running smoothly.

Before we discuss the most common issues, let’s quickly explain how we compiled this list.

First, we asked 268 owners (via Facebook) about their Ford Escape to find out their issues. It’s a small data set, but real-world data is hard to beat.

All owners owned a Ford Escape for at least a year, and we saw a wide range of mileage from 107,000 to 189,000.

Then, we turned to resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many others to review the most common complaint issues from owners, along with a complete history of recalls and active investigations.

Next, I fact-checked everything based on my nearly two decades of automotive experience working anywhere from dealerships to your local shop. Finally, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look at each issue and explains why it happened, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.

We review the data on Ford Escape Problems and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we created this list let’s get into it!

Here are the most common issues we found based on our survey of 268 Ford Escape owners:

Ford Escape Problems

Note: 31% of owners surveyed own a 3rd generation Escape (2013-2019), with the 1.6L EcoBoost engine experiencing overheating and cylinder head failure being the most common issues. 27% of owners own a 4th generation Escape (2020-Present), reporting a higher frequency of oil leaks and fuel vapors in the engine bay.

Important Point:

  • The 2010 Ford Escape had nearly 2,000 complaints logged by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, mostly related to power train issues.
  • The 2013 Escape has 16 recalls, the most in recent Escape history. The engine and electrical system were the most significant issues, with several recalls related to Escape engine malfunctions.
  • The 2014 Escape had the same number of issues as the 2013 and recalls due to accidental door rolls and doors opening while driving.
  • In just over two years after the fourth-generation refresh, the 2020 Ford Escape received more than 100 complaints and six recalls.

Ford Escape Problems: Common Problems That Occur

Some common Ford Escape problems are worth noting. Hundreds of thousands of consumers have driven the Ford Escape since its debut in 2000 for the 2001 model year. Automotive repair and maintenance site RepairPal has compiled data from actual owners to show the most common Ford Escape problems. Here are the top three areas that this Ford SUV can improve:

  • Misfiring ignition reported by 435 owners
  • Check engine light and hesitation or stumbling while driving reported by 387 owners.
  • Internal transfer case issues on four-wheel-drive models reported by 217 owners

A Ford Escape misfire typically occurs due to a faulty ignition coil. This part tends to fail after an average of 129,000 miles and costs between $99 and $128 to replace. Replacing the ignition coil as soon as a problem is detected is essential to prevent further damage to the engine.

What are the Common Ford Escape Problems: That Occur in all generations?

Engine Problems that make the Ignition process misfire

If your Ford Escape has misfires, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common Ford Escape Problems in all generations of Escape. The cause is usually a faulty ignition coil, leading to rough operation, stumbling, and stalling. In some cases, you may see the engine check light flashing, and if you pull up the code, you’ll see P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, or P0304. These codes indicate a misfire on one or more cylinders.

The ignition coil is responsible for generating the spark that ignites the fuel in the engine, so if it is damaged, it can cause various driveability issues.

Replacing the ignition coil is usually relatively easy and much cheaper than repairing other potential causes of misfires, such as faulty fuel injectors or damaged pistons.

Check Engine Starts and Hesitates or Stumbles While Driving

Another common issue affecting all generations of Ford Escape is the engine light coming on with hesitation or stumbling while driving. A few different things can cause this, but the most common causes are a dirty throttle body, a faulty mass airflow (MAF) sensor, or a problem with the fuel system.

If you are experiencing this problem, check the throttle body for carbon buildup. Over time, the throttle body can become filled with dirt and debris, which can cause the butterfly valve to stick and not open or close correctly. Cleaning the throttle body with a specialized cleaner can often solve the problem.

If cleaning the throttle body does not help, the next step is to check the MAF sensor. The MAF sensor measures the amount of air flowing into the engine, and if it is not read correctly, it can cause the engine not to run properly. You can try cleaning the MAF sensor with a special cleaner, but you may need to replace it if it doesn’t work.

Transmission Problems that can trigger Transmission Failure

Transmission failure is another common problem that affects all generations of the Ford Escape. This is a severe problem that can leave you stranded on the side of the road, and it’s not a cheap solution.

The most common cause of transmission failure is lack of maintenance, so if you’ve missed a transmission fluid change, now might be a good time to start.

If you’re experiencing transmission Ford Escape Problems, you may notice a few different symptoms. Your Escape may need to be in gear significantly when accelerating or climbing a hill. You may also notice a delay when you shift into drive or reverse or a loud clunk when the transmission is engaged. In some cases, you may even notice a transmission fluid leak underneath your vehicle.

If you catch the problem early enough, you can rebuild the transmission, which is cheaper than replacing it entirely.

However, if the damage is too severe, you may need to completely replace the transmission, which can cost several thousand dollars. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of your transmission maintenance and address any issues as soon as they arise.

Electrical Issues That Make the Blower Motor Only Work at High Speeds

If you find that your Ford Escape blower motor only works in the highest setting, you’re not alone. This common problem affects all generations of Escape, and a blower motor resistor failure usually causes it. The blower motor resistor is responsible for controlling the speed of the blower motor, and if it fails, you usually only get air on the highest setting.

You may also notice that your blower motor squeals or whines, especially when you first turn it on. This is another sign that the resistor is out. Fortunately, replacing the blower motor resistor is a relatively easy job most DIYers can do in their backyard.

Just ensure high-quality replacement parts, as cheap aftermarket resistors have been known to fail prematurely.

Ford Escape Problems: Special Problems That Occur

First Generation Ford Escape Special Problems (2001-2007): Suspension Problems – Wheel Well Rust/Excessive Shock Rating

Ford Escape Problems: If you own a first-generation Ford Escape (2001-2007), you should be aware of excessive rust on the wheel wells and shock towers. This is a common problem in road salt areas, as salt can accelerate corrosion. Over time, rust can weaken the vehicle’s structural integrity and pose safety concerns.

This problem is especially prevalent in the rear wheel wells, as the metal is prone to trapping moisture and debris. If you live in a rust-prone area, I recommend regularly checking your Escape’s wheel wells and shock towers for signs of corrosion.

If you catch the problem early enough, you can repair or replace the affected areas before the rust spreads too far.

However, if the rust has caused significant damage, you may need more extensive repair work. In some cases, the corrosion can be so severe that it’s not worth repairing, and you may be better off looking for a new vehicle.

That’s why it’s so important to keep up with rust prevention and address any issues as soon as they arise.

Ford Escape 2nd Generation (2008-2012) Specific Issues: Powertrain Issues – Internal Transfer Case Issues on 4WD Models

If you own a second-generation Ford Escape (2008-2012) with four-wheel drive, you may experience issues with the transfer case. The transfer case is in charge of distributing power from the transmission to the front and rear axles, and if it fails, you could lose power to one or both axles.

The most common symptom of a faulty transfer case is a grinding or humming sound coming from the vehicle’s center.

You may also notice that your Escape feels stuck in neutral, even though the transmission is engaged. Sometimes, you may notice a puddle of fluid underneath your vehicle, which could indicate a transfer case leak.

If you suspect that your Escape’s transfer case is faulty, the first step is to have it checked by a qualified mechanic. They will probably use a diagnostic tool to check for error codes, such as P1744 or P1746, which could indicate a problem with the transfer case control module.

Depending on the severity of the problem, you may need to rebuild or replace the transfer case entirely.

To help prevent transfer case issues, I recommend having your Escape’s transfer case fluid checked and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Using high-quality fluids and avoiding overloading the vehicle can also help extend the life of your transfer case.

3rd Generation Ford Escape Specific Issues (2013-2019): Engine Issues – EcoBoost Engine Overheating and Cylinder Head Failure

One of the most severe issues afflicting the third-generation Ford Escape (2013-2019) is overheating and cylinder head failure in the 1.6L EcoBoost engine.

This issue is caused by a design flaw that causes coolant to leak into the cylinders, leading to engine damage and eventual failure. Some of the most common symptoms of this issue include white smoke from the exhaust, loss of power, and engine stalling.

If you suspect your Escape’s 1.6L EcoBoost engine is overheating or has cylinder head damage, it must be checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

They will likely perform a pressure test on the cooling system to check for leaks and a compression test on the engine to check for damage to the cylinder head gasket or cylinder walls. Sometimes, you may see error codes such as P0300 or P0301, indicating a misfire or cylinder damage.

Unfortunately, these problems cost a considerable amount of money to fix. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to replace the cylinder head or even the entire engine.

Ford has issued a recall for some affected vehicles, so it’s worth checking if your Escape is covered. In the meantime, monitor your coolant levels and look for signs of overheating or engine problems.

Ford Escape Problems with Transmission – Transmission Slipping and Jerking

Ford Escape Problems: A slipping and jerking transmission is another common issue on the third-generation Ford Escape. This problem is most common in early models (2013-2014) and is usually caused by clutch wear or solenoid damage to the transmission.

If you experience this issue, you may notice your Escape slipping out of gear significantly when accelerating or climbing hills. You may also feel a jerking or shaking sensation when the transmission shifts.

If you suspect your Escape’s transmission is slipping or jerking, the first step is to check the level and condition of the transmission fluid. Low or dirty fluid can cause transmission problems, so ensuring the fluid is at the correct level and in good condition is essential. If the fluid is fine, the next step is to have a qualified mechanic diagnose the transmission.

They will likely use a diagnostic tool to check for error codes, such as P0733 or P0776, which could indicate a problem with the transmission clutch or solenoid.

Sometimes, the problem can be resolved by replacing the faulty solenoid or clutch. However, if the damage is too severe, the transmission may need to be rebuilt or replaced entirely. To help prevent transmission problems, I recommend having your Escape’s transmission fluid checked and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

Using high-quality fluids and avoiding aggressive driving habits can also help extend the life of your transmission.

Ford Escape 4th Generation (2020-Present) Specific Issues: Engine Problems – Oil and Fuel Vapor Leaks in the Engine Compartment

Ford Escape Problems: One of the most concerning issues afflicting the fourth-generation Ford Escape (2020-present) is oil and fuel vapor leaks in the engine compartment. This issue has led to several recalls as it poses a severe fire risk.

The problem is caused by a defective cylinder head, which can crack and allow oil and fuel to leak into hot engine components.

If you own a fourth-generation Escape, checking if your vehicle is affected by the recall is essential. You can enter your VIN on Ford’s recall site or contact your local Ford dealer. If your vehicle is affected, I recommend having your vehicle inspected and repaired as soon as possible.

In the meantime, watch out for signs of oil or fuel leaks, such as a burning smell or visible puddles under your vehicle.

Ford Escape Problems with Cracked and Leaking Fuel Injectors

Another engine issue affecting the fourth-generation Ford Escape is cracked and leaking fuel injectors. This issue has also led to a recall, as it can cause fuel leakage into the engine bay and increase the risk of fire. The fuel injectors are defective, and over time, they can crack and leak.

If you suspect your Escape’s fuel injectors are leaking, you may smell fuel coming from the engine compartment or see a visible leak under your vehicle. You may also need help running, misfires, or loss of power.

If you notice any of these symptoms, I recommend that you have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

To check if your vehicle is affected by the fuel injector recall, you can enter your VIN on the Ford recall website or contact your local Ford dealer. If your vehicle is affected, replacing the faulty fuel injectors immediately is essential to avoid potential safety hazards.

Ford Escape Problems with Electrical – Infotainment System Malfunction

Infotainment system malfunction is one of the most common complaints among fourth-generation Ford Escape owners. Many drivers report issues with the touchscreen freezing, crashing, or becoming unresponsive, which can be frustrating and distracting while driving.

If you’re having trouble with your Escape’s infotainment system, you can try a few things before taking it to a repair shop.

First, try resetting the system by pressing and holding the power button for at least 10 seconds. If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting the battery for a few minutes to reset the system. If the problem persists, you may need to update or replace the system with a qualified technician.

Ford has issued several software updates for the infotainment system on the fourth-generation Escape, so it’s a good idea to check if your vehicle is up to date. You can do this by visiting your local Ford dealer or checking for updates through your vehicle’s settings menu.

Ford Escape Problems with Braking System – Excessive Brake Pedal Pressure

Some owners of the fourth-generation Ford Escape have reported an issue with excessive brake pedal pressure, which can make it difficult for the vehicle to stop safely.

This issue is often caused by a brake booster malfunction or leak in the brake system, which can reduce the amount of power assist available when you press the brake pedal.

If you experience this problem, you may notice that you have to press harder than usual on the brake pedal to slow or stop the vehicle. You may also hear a hissing sound coming from the brake booster or see a warning light on the dashboard indicating a brake system problem.

If you suspect your Escape’s brake system is not functioning correctly, I recommend having it inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. They will likely perform a thorough visual inspection and a pressure test to check for leaks. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may need to replace the brake booster or repair leaks in the brake lines or calipers.

Ford Escape Problems with Rear Brakes Squeak or Squeal

Another common brake issue reported by owners of the fourth-generation Ford Escape is a persistent squeak or squeal coming from the rear brakes. This problem is most noticeable when backing up or braking at low speeds and can be annoying for the driver and passengers.

The cause of this problem is usually a buildup of brake dust or dirt on the rear brake pads or rotors, which can cause the brake pads to vibrate and create a high-pitched noise. In some cases, the noise can also be caused by worn or damaged brake pads or rotors that need to be replaced.

If you are experiencing squealing or squeaking from your Escape’s rear brakes, I recommend having them inspected by a qualified mechanic.

They will likely perform a visual inspection of the brake pads and rotors and measure the thickness of the brake pads to determine if they need to be replaced. In some cases, cleaning the brake components and applying a high-quality brake lubricant can help eliminate the noise.

It should be noted that some dealers may try to pass this off as a “normal” or “typical” problem with the vehicle, but persistent brake noise should be taken seriously and addressed immediately to ensure the safety and comfort of you and your passengers.

Based on 5 Model Years to Avoid Due to Engine and Electrical Issues, Potential Safety Issues:

More than twenty years on, the Ford Escape remains one of the automaker’s best-selling cars. However, some compact SUV models—including 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2020—are experiencing a plethora of issues that could jeopardize safety and call into question the vehicle’s reliability.

2010 Ford Escape Problems: Power Train Complaints

The 2010 Ford Escape is the second-worst-year compact SUV to experience problems and recalls for this generation of Escape. According to the NHTSA, the 2010 Escape has received 2,000 complaints, noting problems with speed control and power train components.

The electronic throttle bodies of the 2010 Ford Escape engines, both the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6, are perhaps the most problematic components owners have experienced. They lose power suddenly or stall while driving. The problem was so widespread that it led to two NHTSA investigations.

These NHTSA investigations revealed an internal throttle body component on the Ford Escape engine could develop residue buildup that causes electrical connectivity issues, leading to reduced engine power. Ford extended the throttle body warranty coverage to 10 years of service or 150,000 miles from the vehicle purchase date.

Other reports of age-related engine failures, component failures, oil leaks, and gas leaks are rising.

The 2010 Ford Escape has been recalled five times, the two most critical of which affected more than 1,000,000 vehicles. One of those recalls, involving a failure of the electric power steering, was caused by a problem with the torque sensor in the steering column.

The second involved a fuel leak in a 3.0L engine vehicle caused by a cracked fuel delivery module. Both recalls injured the driver and passenger, but Ford dealers can repair them at no cost.

2013 and 2014 Ford Escape Problems: Similar Issues and Recalls on Several Major Components, Mostly Engine and Electrical System-related

The 2013 Ford Escape had more than 2,000 NHTSA-registered complaints and 16 recalls, the most problematic year for the model. Escapes from 2014 didn’t fare much better at 1,200 and 14.

The 2013 and 2014 Ford Escapes reported serious powertrain and electrical issues. The problematic 1.6L EcoBoost engine was recalled for overheating, which can lead to overheating, cracking, and oil leaks due to a faulty engine guard. As a result, fire hazards and engine failure occur. More than 1,000 engine-related complaints confirm that oil leakage and overheating are problematic.

The electrical system of the 2013 and 2014 Escape could be more problematic. Based on a review of the data, as vehicles age, sensors and other electrical components deteriorate, causing distractions for operators and potentially increasing the risk of accidents.

The 2013 and 2014 Ford Escapes underwent multiple recalls. The most significant issues in both model years, affecting most vehicles, were problems such as unintentional rolling of the car due to a disengaged shift cable, faulty engine wiring on the 2.0L EcoBoost engine, and doors opening while driving. While each issue increases the risk of accidents, Ford provides free solutions for owners to fix.

2017 Ford Escape Problems: NHTSA-reported Complaints

The 2017 Ford Escape introduced a mid-cycle update with new technologies and engines. Unfortunately, the 2017 model year had more issues reported to NHTSA than any other year after 2017 (before the fourth-generation 2020 Escape).

NHTSA data shows the 2017 Ford Escape has nearly 500 complaints, and about half are related to the Escape’s 1.5L or 2.0L Ecoboost turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Misfiring and engine coolant leakage in the cylinders due to engine block cracking are the ’17 Escape’s biggest engine problems, with possible failure and even fire hazards.

These problems appeared on a vehicle with only 50,000 miles. The owners filed a class action lawsuit because Ford had not issued a recall for this issue, and repairs/replacements could cost up to $10,000.

Only one recall has been issued for sure: the 2017 model year Ford Escape Titanium and SE vehicles were manufactured between October 5, 2015, and May 12, 2016.

An issue with the closing force on the power windows could cause them to close before they can be automatically reversed, potentially causing injury. Ford dealers’ quick update to the power window operating system software addresses this.

2020 Ford Escape Problems: Showing Signs of Electrical Issues

The new fourth-generation Ford Escape was introduced for the 2020 model year. In just two years of travel, the 2020 Escape has received over a hundred NHTSA complaints and six recalls issued by Ford.

The 2020 Escape’s electrical system is complicated. Most complaints reported oddities with the vehicle’s infotainment system, specifically the backup camera not activating when backing up, other random issues such as the hands-free elevator doors not opening, or driver assistance features activating or deactivating inappropriately.

Six recalls as early as 2020 in the Escape’s lifecycle are cause for concern. Most of these problems occurred on a small number of vehicles combined (approximately 1,000 units), such as insufficient lubrication problems in the rear drive unit, damage to the tire pressure monitoring system, missing or loose bolts in the automatic start/stop mechanism, and side curtain airbags not inflating correctly.

Two other 2020 Escape recalls, one for rearview cameras and the other for seatback strength, affect Ford and Lincoln products more. Fortunately, each of these recalls offers ready-to-use solutions at no cost to owners.

Ford Escape Problems: Top 12 Most Common Ford Escape Issues

  1. Ignition Misfires: A common cause of ignition misfires is a faulty ignition coil. The coil must be replaced as soon as the problem is detected, as otherwise, misfires may damage other components.
  2. Check Engine Light and Hesitation or Stumbling While Driving: Many customers state that while driving their vehicle, the engine will stutter, stumble, or lose power. In more severe cases, the EGR valve could be physically damaged. The engine check light would come on in all cases, and a diagnostic trouble code would be stored in the PCM. Diagnosis of this problem concludes that the differential pressure feedback (DPFE) EGR sensor is often problematic and incorrectly measures the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) pressure. Correcting the problem requires a diagnostic scan identification of the faulty sensor, and, ultimately, the sensor and EGR valve may require replacement. On some models, the DPFE sensor is integrated into the EGR valve, and should be replaced together.
  3. Internal Transfer Case Problem on the 4WD models: Ford Escape four-wheel drive models may make abnormal noises from the transfer case. This may sound like a howling sound, but will turn into a clicking sound at higher speeds. The transfer case on these models is notoriously troublesome and can fail if used usually, and the failure sound is very similar to the sound heard from mud tires on pavement. To eliminate the noise, the vehicle should be inspected, and if the transfer case has internal damage, it should be replaced, not rebuilt. Changing the transfer case fluid on schedule might help, but many failures occur before the first fluid change interval.
  4. Blower Motor Only Works on High: The 2008-2012 Ford Escape with manual temperature and fan controls may experience issues with the blower motor only blowing air at specific settings. Generally, the fan will only work on the highest setting. This is a well-documented issue caused by a blower motor resistor failure. Fixing the problem is straightforward and requires replacing a small resistor. The resistor is usually found in the back of the glove box, next to the blower motor.
  5. Coolant Pump on Hybrid May Fail and Cause CEL/Engine Shutdown: Hybrid models have a coolant pump that cools the control electronics. The pump may fail or spin slowly, causing the Check Engine Light to illuminate and the engine to shut down completely.
  6. Transfer Case Problem on the 4WD Models: Abnormal noises may arise from the transfer case. In this transfer case, parts are unavailable to repair internal damage; replacement is the only option. It is not uncommon for irregular tire wear to cause similar noises. Diagnosis should be done to ascertain the cause of the drive line noise. Tire noise can be reduced by rotating the tires at least every 5,000 miles.
  7. Check Engine Light With Code P0442, P0456, and P1450: The Check Engine Light may come with codes P0442, P0456, and P1450. These codes are related to the EVAP system. Our engineers told us that if there is no confirmed EVAP system fault, the latest software available for the powertrain control module (PCM) will resolve this issue.
  8. Inactive-Merged-Failure of EGR Differential Pressure Sensor: The DPFE (EGR differential pressure feedback) sensor is prone to failure. It monitors the function of the EGR valve by measuring pressure changes in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. Symptoms of a faulty DPFE sensor are hesitation or stumbling while driving accompanied by an illuminated Check Engine light.
  9. Hard driving conditions, including quick starts from a stopped position and hard acceleration uphill, May cause the rear motor mount to crack. A damaged motor mount needs to be replaced; otherwise, it may damage the hybrid drive system.
  10. Blower Motor Only Works on High: The 2008-2012 Ford Escape Hybrid with manual temperature and fan controls may experience issues with the blower motor only blowing air at certain settings. Generally, the fan will only work on the highest setting. This is a well-documented issue caused by a blower motor resistor failure. Fixing the problem is straightforward and requires replacing a small resistor. The resistor is usually found behind the glove box, next to the blower motor.
  11. Check Engine Light and Hesitation or Stumbling While Driving: Many customers have stated that while driving their vehicle, the engine will stutter, stumble, or lose power. In more severe cases, the EGR valve could be physically damaged. The engine check light would come on in all cases, and a diagnostic trouble code would be stored in the PCM. Diagnosis of this problem concludes that the differential pressure feedback (DPFE) EGR sensor is often problematic and incorrectly measures the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) pressure. Correcting the problem requires a diagnostic scan identification of the faulty sensor, and, ultimately, the sensor and EGR valve may require replacement. On some models, the DPFE sensor is integrated into the EGR valve, and should be replaced simultaneously.
  12. A/C Fan Speed Changing Constantly: The 2008-2012 Ford Escape Hybrid with automatic climate control may experience problems with frequent fan speed changes when using the heater or air conditioner. Usually, the fan speed changes only to maintain the selected temperature, but if the fan speed changes frequently and unnecessarily, there is a problem with the fan speed control unit. The fan speed control unit, sometimes mistakenly called the blower motor inhibitor, regulates the speed of the motor to maintain the temperature set by the driver. If it fails, the fan will run at random settings, and the temperature control becomes inaccurate. However, this does not affect the temperature of the air coming out of the vents but rather the amount of air coming out. The fix is simple and quick. The control unit is behind most models’ glove boxes; removal and installation take only a few minutes. This only applies to vehicles with single or dual automatic temperature control.

Ford Escape Transmission Problems

Ford Escape Problems: The most common fault that owners report with their Ford Escape is transmission problems. But what problems are people experiencing? Well, the stories vary but most owners (60%) report that, at some point, the Escape suddenly stops while being driven.

Thirteen owners reported that this happened alongside the transmission warning light coming on. To add to these reports, most users stated that this problem occurred on an odometer of 80,000 miles or lower. Some unlucky users experienced the problem at 20,000 miles before most transmissions fail.

Another proportion of problems reported were gearbox-related, with the car not shifting gears as desired, losing all acceleration, and other miscellaneous issues. There are many stories of cars stalling while being driven. Some owners report this in traffic and in the middle of the highway.

Others have had to travel at certain intervals because their cars repeatedly stop without warning. Some unfortunate people have had to reach their final destination by sitting in the passenger seat of a tow truck.

Ford Escape Transmission Problems When Compared to Other Models

So, we know that Ford Escapes often have transmission problems. But what about when compared to similar models? Suppose we compare the Ford Escape’s transmission problems to other SUVs like the Pathfinder and Enclave. In that case, the Ford Escape is usually less reliable than similar models.

With less than half the total number of reported problems related to the car, the Pathfinder is also much more reliable with its gearbox. Although some owners reported having to replace their transmissions, the proportion of total problems found with the gearbox was much less.

The Enclave’s gearbox problems occurred at 80,000 miles, similar to the Ford Escape. If you’re looking for an SUV, it’s worth investigating this model too. This will ensure you get the best value for money.

Ford Escape Problems: Symptoms of Transmission

While all of these symptoms point to a potential transmission problem, the best way to be sure is to seek professional help. Having your Ford Escape checked regularly by a qualified mechanic can identify minor problems before they become more severe, saving you significant costs and ensuring the longevity of your car.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #1: Smooth Shifting Shifts

A well-tuned transmission should shift smoothly and efficiently, whether in automatic or manual mode. If your Ford Escape suddenly begins to exhibit changes in shifting behavior, such as jerks when changing gears or hesitation when shifting, this could be a sign of potential transmission problems.

These symptoms often precede more severe transmission problems, so addressing them early can save you from costly repairs later.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #2: Unusual Sounds

The silence of your Ford Escape when shifting gears is a testament to the car’s solid construction and careful engineering. But if you start hearing whining, humming, or clanking noises as the vehicle shifts, it may signal a transmission problem.

Worn components, improper lubrication, or internal damage can cause these noises. Never ignore these noises; instead, consult a mechanic immediately.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #3: Abnormal Fluid Leakage

It is always a good practice to check for fluid leaks in your parking lot. Transmission fluid is often red or brownish and smells sweet or sour. If you see a puddle of this fluid under your parked Ford Escape, it may indicate a transmission fluid leak, which may be caused by damage to seals, gaskets, or a cracked transmission case.

Check your transmission fluid level regularly and top up if necessary. Remember, low fluid levels can lead to overheating and severe transmission damage.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #4: Check Engine Light Illumination

The check engine light is a valuable indicator of many potential Ford Escape Problems with your vehicle, including transmission issues. If this light comes on on the dashboard of your Ford Escape for no apparent reason, consider it a sign of possible transmission problems. A diagnostic scan can help identify the specific issue that triggered the warning.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #5: Delayed or Missed Shifts

A properly functioning transmission should shift into the correct gear smoothly according to your driving conditions. If your Ford Escape delays shifting or even misses a gear, it’s a vital sign of a transmission problem. This could mean a transmission control module problem or indicate internal transmission wear or damage.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #6: Overheat Indicator

Transmission fluid has two main functions: lubricating moving parts and cooling the transmission. If your Ford Escape has a burning smell, it probably means the transmission fluid is overheating.

This usually happens when the fluid level is too low, or the vehicle is overstressed. An overheated transmission can cause severe damage, so this symptom should be addressed immediately.

Ford Escape Problems Transmission Symptom #7: Erratic Behavior While Driving

If your Ford Escape exhibits erratic behavior, such as lurching forward or lagging when accelerating, it may be caused by a transmission malfunction. A sensation of “slipping”-when the vehicle accelerates slower than usual even with increased engine output-often indicates a transmission problem.

Similarly, this is another sign if you notice an uneven or staggered motion when the car shifts gears.

Did Ford Fix the Escape Transmission Problem

Ford Escape Problems: The Ford Escape transmission problem initially puzzled Ford mechanics. While some attempted to solve the problem with a new set of spark plugs (have you ever trusted a mechanic less without meeting them?), others refused to believe the problem existed.

If Ford recognizes and admits there’s a problem with the Escape’s transmission, it will have to recall the vehicle, which would cost a lot of money. Ford refuses to take responsibility since this issue does not constitute an inherent safety risk. This leaves owners having to spend their own money to fix this problem themselves, and it is costly to repair or replace the transmission.

Ford Escape Transmission Maintenance

Before you experience Ford Escape transmission problems, here are some preventive maintenance tips to minimize the possibility of the problem reappearing.

  1. Check Fluid Levels Regularly:
    Monitoring your transmission fluid level regularly plays a vital role in preventive maintenance. As mentioned earlier, use the dipstick method to keep track. Low fluid levels can cause erratic shifting and eventually damage the transmission.
  2. Frequent Inspection of Gaskets and Bearings:
    Regular inspection of gaskets and bearings is essential to detect leaks early. If you notice a leak, address it immediately to prevent further damage to your transmission.
  3. Keep the Filter Clean:
    Cleaning or replacing clogged filters regularly helps keep transmission performance optimal. Following the cleaning and replacement guidelines in your car owner’s manual ensures you handle them properly.
  4. Regular Professional Inspections:
    Scheduling regular inspections with a professional mechanic can help identify potential problems before they become more severe.
    Mechanics can check elements such as the control module – essentially, the transmission computer. If this component malfunctions, it can disrupt the shifting process. Repairing the control module might solve the problem without a complete transmission replacement.

In conclusion, Ford Escape transmission problems can range from minor issues like low fluid levels to more significant problems requiring complete transmission replacement. Regular maintenance, including fluid checks, filter cleaning, and professional inspections, can prevent these Ford Escape Problems and extend the life of your transmission.

Ford Escape Transmission Technical Service Bulletin

Ford Escape Problems: Keep up with all transmission issues. Ford issues a series of technical service bulletins or TSBs that address specific model-year Escape vehicles with known transmission failures.

1. Transmission Recall: Gear Lever Disconnection (15V606000/15S28)

Ford Motors issued a recall in October 2015 due to a faulty gear lever bolt on CD4E transmissions installed in Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners manufactured between 2001 and 2008. In certain cases, these models may have received remanufactured CD4E transmissions manufactured between June and July 2015, and the transmission lever bolt may not be tightened properly.

The danger is that if the transmission lever is disengaged from the transmission, this could trick the driver into believing the vehicle is in the Parking position when it is not, causing unexpected vehicle movement and potentially resulting in property damage or personal injury.

In response, Ford directs its dealers to tighten the gear lever bolts or, in some cases, replace the entire gear lever assembly.

2. Risk of Rollover: Broken Shifter Cable Bushing

From 2013 to 2021, Ford experienced recurring issues with damage to the bushing that connects the shifter cable to the transmission, resulting in multiple recalls. This defect primarily affected the 2013 to 2019 Escape models. These defective bushings can mislead drivers into believing their vehicle is in the Parking position when it is not, posing a risk of vehicle rollovers.

Over the years, four recalls related to this issue have been conducted, affecting nearly one million vehicles. The defective bushings, made by automotive supplier Hi-Lex, appear to have been damaged by exposure to moisture and heat, although the exact cause remains unknown.

In response to this risk, Ford dealers replaced the defective bushings and added protective caps free of charge.

3. Transmission Technical Service Bulletin

Ford has issued various Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) to address transmission-related issues.

  • TSB 388560 for 2013-2016 models highlights the loss of hydraulic pressure in the transmission, which causes hesitation when shifting from the 2nd to 3rd gear.
  • TSB 378464 identifies a potential transmission fluid leak from the left side axle seal on 2009-2014 Escapes built before October 14, 2013, equipped with 6F35 transmissions.
  • TSB 373466 addresses the sticky, honey-colored fluid on the underside of the transmission housing, which is most likely a residue from the assembly process.
  • TSB 07-5-6 addresses the issue of engine stalling when shifting into Drive or Reverse or stopping on 2005 – 2008 models caused by internal wear on the torque converter.
  • TSB 12-4-8 reports the sudden loss of 2nd and 4th gears on 2007 – 2008 models, affecting four-cylinder and V6 models.
  • Proposed solutions range from replacing components, such as the torque converter and overdrive band, to acknowledging and monitoring the occurrence.

4. Ford’s Solution to the Escape Transmission Problem

Ford’s proactive response to this transmission issue, as evidenced by the recall and TSB, demonstrates its commitment to customer safety and satisfaction.

While these issues may deter some potential buyers, it’s important to remember that most Ford Escapes don’t have these issues, and the manufacturer has generally repaired the models that do have them at no cost to the owner.

So, while Ford has acknowledged some of the issues, it is not conducting a recall and is simply recommending how to prevent these issues to owners. If you’re in the market for a new SUV and choose the Ford Escape, see which years you should avoid and which years you should consider buying. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of them below.

Ford Escape Lug Nut Problems

Another Ford Escape Problems that can also occur with the Ford Escape model is the swollen lug nut on the Ford Escape wheel; this happened to one of the Forum members, Bobistheoilguy, who did repairs at one of the repair shops. He wanted to install new brakes on the 85k-mile car and add brake fluid.


Some other problems that occur with the Ford Escape?

The second most common Ford Escape problem is engine hesitation. This happens while driving, which can be scary on the highway. In the most severe cases, the EGR valve is damaged and must be replaced. This repair generally costs $151 to $178.

The 4WD transfer case on some Ford Escape models is notorious for breaking down due to regular use. When the noise starts, it may sound like a howling sound but can turn into a clicking sound at higher speeds. Changing the transfer case fluid may help, but most owners who report this problem must replace the entire unit. This problem generally appears after 125,000 miles with regular use of the 4WD system.

Ford Escape’s Worst & Best Years

Many cars experience problems, with some versions and model years more affected than others. This can be due to changes in the design, manufacturing, or even the sales area.

For example, even a small change to the manufacturing process can cause thousands of vehicles to experience component failure, requiring a recall. The Ford Escape is no different, with many problems seen over 20 years. However, transmission problems always seem to occur.

Ford Escape Problems with transmission were the top issue in 8 of the last 20 years of the Escape. While not the top issue, it still ranks up along with other issues and has been the 2nd or 3rd most reported issue in 7 other years, putting it on the problem podium for 75% of the last 20 years!

Ford Escape Problems: Which Ford Escape Year is Bad?

But which year should you avoid to avoid Ford Escape Problems with transmission in your new SUV? In short, our research says to avoid Escape model years because of transmission problems and engine problems (some of which were resolved with the 2014 recall mentioned earlier).

Transmission Ford Escape Problems occurred in the 2001-2003, 2006, 2008-2011, and 2014-2016 model years, which we recommend avoiding at all costs. The 2013 model, the first year of the third generation, should also be mentioned here.

In less than a year after its release, Ford recalled the car 3 times due to fuel line and antifreeze issues. Some of these problems resulted in fires. Avoid the 2013 at all costs. rated the Ford Escape in these years as “Avoid like the Plague.” Here at MotorVerso, we agree.

We’ve researched the Ford Escape extensively, and rather than give you a list of ones to avoid, we have a few model years that we recommend you stick with if you believe the Escape is the right choice for you.

Ford Escape Problems: Ford Escape Years to Avoid

If you’re thinking of buying used, given the frequency and seriousness of these Ford Escape transmission issues, here are the worst model years to buy (avoid them all)

2005 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2005 Ford Escape is notorious for transmission failures, often requiring complete transmission replacement. Owners commonly report shaking, slipping, and sudden failures, often while driving on the highway. Difficulty shifting gears can quickly become a complete inability to engage the transmission, rendering the vehicle inoperable.

This problem is often caused by internal component failures, such as worn seals and gear degradation, most likely due to design or manufacturing defects. The fix requires a complete overhaul or replacement of the transmission, which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on labor rates and parts prices.

2006 Ford Escape Transmission

Ford Escape Problems with transmission continue to plague the 2006 Ford Escape. Many owners experienced rough or delayed shifting, especially in low gears. There were also reports of complete transmission failure, similar to the 2005 model year.

The leading cause of this problem is often the torque converter. If the torque converter fails, it can cause damage to the transmission fluid pump and ultimately lead to transmission failure. Fixing this problem usually requires a new torque converter and, often, a complete transmission rebuild, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $3,500.

Ford Escape 2008 Transmission Problems

In 2008, Ford Escape transmission problems often manifested as erratic gear shifts, transmission whining noises, and severe jerking during acceleration. Owners reported that the transmission seemed to have trouble finding the right gear, causing significant discomfort and raising safety concerns.

This problem is often attributed to a malfunction of the transmission control module and solenoid, which affects the transmission’s ability to shift gears properly. Fixing this problem generally involves replacing the faulty parts, which can cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on the extent of the problem and the mechanic’s labor rate.

2013 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2013 Ford Escape has had its share of transmission issues, with many owners complaining of grinding and shaking noises during acceleration and a lack of response from the gearbox. In more severe cases, the transmission has reportedly stopped working altogether.

Many of these issues stem from damage to the transmission clutch pack or, in some cases, the control module. These components directly impact the vehicle’s ability to shift gears and, if damaged, can cause severe damage to the transmission. Fixing these issues often requires replacing parts or completely rebuilding the transmission, with costs ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

Overall, this Ford Escape model poses a significant transmission failure risk, requiring extensive repairs. If you’re looking for a used Ford Escape, consider another model year or seek an extensive vehicle history and pre-purchase inspection to avoid these potential faults.

Which Ford Escape Year is Safe?

  • 2004: The 2004 Ford Escape experienced engine issues discovered in a 2014 recall. The other biggest complaint for this model year is not a mechanical issue but rather a body or paint issue. We recommend this year if you’re looking at older Ford Escapes. However, proceed cautiously, as some owners still report transmission issues, electrical issues, and problems with the wiper mechanism.
  • 2007: Another Ford Escape model year that looks promising compared to other years is 2007. While the trend of transmission problems is much lower this year, there is still data to show that this is still seen in some cars. Be careful, and be sure to ask about the vehicle’s history.
  • 2012: The 2012 Escape is the best we’ve seen yet, with a much more acceptable complaint history. The main complaint about this model is that the rear window often leaks during lousy weather. As the mechanical issues progressed, the 2012 Escape experienced fewer complaints than in previous years.
  • 2017-2021: Data for these years is limited, with cars in circulation for less than five years. However, transmission and engine problems in the Ford Escape were still present between 2017 and 2021. Therefore, we cannot recommend or rule out these years. Make sure you thoroughly check your background before buying a Ford Escape from one of these years.

Best Ford Escape Years: For used car options

However, if you are thinking of buying a Ford Escape on the used market, here are some model years that are safer and better in terms of Ford Escape transmission issues.

2001 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2001 Ford Escape generally shows fewer Ford Escape Problems transmission than some successors. Most owners report minor issues such as shifting too hard or a slight delay in shifting, especially in older or high-mileage vehicles.

Most of these problems are caused by routine wear and tear, requiring special maintenance procedures such as fluid changes or transmission flushing. More severe cases may involve replacing the solenoid or valve body, costing between $200 and $600. The 2001 model year has proven relatively reliable, mainly if serviced regularly.

2002 Ford Escape Transmission

Like the 2001 model year, the 2002 Ford Escape had fewer transmission problems. However, owners report occasional problems, such as gear slipping or difficulty shifting gears.

Many of these problems are caused by worn transmission bands or clogged fluid filters. Standard repairs usually involve band adjustment and filter replacement—both relatively simple tasks. Depending on the problem’s specifics and the repair’s location, repair costs can range from $100 to $500.

2003 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2003 Ford Escape is considered a good year for this model regarding transmission reliability. Although some owners report rough shifting, this problem is often related to aging vehicle parts and routine wear and tear.

This problem is usually resolved through routine maintenance, such as fluid replacement or transmission mount replacement. In more severe cases, the transmission control module may have been replaced, a task that usually costs between $500 and $1,000, depending on the mechanic’s rates.

2004 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2004 Ford Escape also reported fewer Ford Escape Problems with transmission than in later years. Common problems include light slipping or a slight delay in gear changes, especially on higher-mileage vehicles.

Root causes range from regular component wear to software glitches. Usually, a smooth change or software update can solve the problem. However, in more severe cases, the transmission control module may need to be replaced. Fixing this problem can cost from $100 for a smooth change to $1,000 for a module replacement.

In conclusion, these four model years of the Ford Escape are considered safer options for transmission-related issues. However, as with any used vehicle, conducting a thorough pre-purchase inspection and maintaining a regular service schedule is essential.

2007 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2007 Ford Escape is considered a reliable model year when it comes to transmission issues. Although some owners have reported minor issues, such as difficulty in shifting gears or occasional slipping, these Ford Escape Problems are often due to normal wear and tear.

Many of these Ford Escape Problems can be traced back to simple factors such as low transmission fluid levels or old, dirty fluid. Standard procedures such as fluid replacement can resolve these issues, costing between $75 and $150. In rare cases, the transmission solenoid may need to be replaced, which can cost up to $600, including labor.

2009 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2009 Ford Escape continues the trend of relative reliability in transmission performance. Some owners have experienced issues with rough shifting, but these cases are much less common than in problematic model years.

Again, many of these Ford Escape Problems are caused by common factors such as dirty transmission fluid or worn components. Regular fluid changes and replacing worn components such as solenoids or sensors can solve this problem. The cost of these repairs can vary between $100 and $700, depending on the severity of the problem and labor rates.

2010 Ford Escape Transmission

Transmission complaints are very few on the 2010 Ford Escape. Most of the reported problems are mild, such as a slight delay in shifting or intermittent “hard shifting.”

Routine maintenance, such as transmission fluid changes, usually prevents and resolves these issues. If a component, such as a solenoid or sensor, is damaged, replacement usually solves the problem, with repair costs ranging from $200 to $600.

2011 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2011 Ford Escape is another model year that stands out for its reliability. There are occasional reports of erratic shifting or transmission slipping, but these cases are relatively rare.

As with previous years, these Ford Escape Problems often result from normal wear and tear. Regular fluid changes and replacement of aging components usually solve the problem. If the transmission sensor needs to be replaced, it can cost between $200 and $500.

In conclusion, the 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Ford Escape models are relatively safe choices regarding transmission reliability. Proper maintenance is key to preventing these issues, and a thorough pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended when purchasing a used vehicle.

2012 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2012 Ford Escape is one of the most reliable years in transmission performance. Some owners report issues such as difficulty shifting gears or transmission slipping, but these complaints are much less common than in problem years.

Most of these Ford Escape 2012 Problems are related to routine wear and tear or software glitches. Solutions typically range from a simple transmission fluid change to transmission control module software updating. Repair costs range from $100 for fluid replacement to around $500 for software updates and labor.

Ford Escape Transmission Problems 2014

After a troubled 2013, the 2014 Ford Escape bounced back with fewer transmission issues. Owners sometimes report rough shifting or a slight delay in gear changes.

These issues are often resolved through routine maintenance, including fluid changes and software updates. In more severe cases, the transmission control module may need to be replaced. Repair costs can range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the specific problem and labor rates.

Ford Escape Transmission Problems 2015

The 2015 Ford Escape Transmission Problems also has a good reputation for transmission reliability. Minor issues, such as rough shifting, are occasionally reported, but these Ford Escape Problems are usually resolved with essential maintenance.

Most of these Ford Escape Problems can be solved with regular changes and periodic software updates. In rare cases of transmission sensor failure, sensor replacement will solve the problem. The cost of this repair can range from $100 to $500.

2016 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2016 Ford Escape is considered one of the safer years regarding transmission issues. Most reported issues involve a slight delay in shifting gears or an occasional “difficult shift.”

These Ford Escape Problems often stem from routine issues like dirty transmission fluid or software errors. Standard changes or software updates usually resolve these issues. Such repairs can range from $100 for fluid replacement to $500 for more extensive work.

In conclusion, the 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016 model year Ford Escape is relatively reliable regarding transmission performance. Proper maintenance, including regular fluid changes and software updates, is critical to maintaining transmission health. A pre-purchase inspection is always recommended when purchasing a used vehicle.

2017 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2017 Ford Escape is generally considered a reliable model year for transmission performance. Some owners have reported minor issues such as difficult shifting or occasional jerking, but these Ford Escape Problems are not widespread.

Most of these issues can be traced to software or dirty transmission fluid. A simple transmission fluid change or software update usually fixes these issues, with costs ranging between $100 and $500.

2018 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2018 Ford Escape continues the trend of reliable transmission performance. There are occasional reports of transmission hesitation, but these issues are not widespread.

Software issues or sensor errors generally cause these Ford Escape Problems. An update to the transmission software or sensor replacement generally solves the problem. Repair costs can range from $100 to $600, depending on the extent of the problem and the labor level.

2019 Ford Escape Transmission

The 2019 Ford Escape was a solid year for transmission reliability. Some owners have experienced minor issues such as intermittent jerks or delayed gear shifts, but these are relatively rare.

These issues are usually caused by software glitches or worn sensors. In most cases, a software update or sensor replacement can resolve these issues. The cost of this repair usually ranges from $200 to $700.

Transmission of the 2020 Ford Escape

The 2020 Ford Escape is widely recognized as reliable for transmission issues. Some owners have reported minor issues, such as erratic gear shifting, but these cases are relatively rare.

These issues are mostly related to software problems or minor damage to components. Regular maintenance, software updates, or component replacements can resolve these issues. Repair costs can range from $100 to $800, depending on the problem’s severity and the labor level.

In conclusion, the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 model year Ford Escape is generally reliable regarding transmission performance. Although Ford Escape Problems occur occasionally, proper maintenance, including regular fluid changes and software updates, can prevent or fix most issues. A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection is recommended when purchasing a used vehicle.

What to Do About Ford Escape Transmission Problems

Most owners have reported issues when their car randomly stops in the middle of a trip or is unable to shift out of a certain gear. If this happens to you, you need to know what to do. There are also some things to tell your mechanic.

If your car stops while you are driving, you should pull over as early as possible. At this stage, you can try to restart your car. This may work if your Ford Escape has transmission problems, as some owners report that the car will restart. They should then complete their journey in various sections.

If this doesn’t work, you should still pull over and call a tow truck to come and get you.

What If You’re On The Highway

If you are on a highway or busy road and are in a position that blocks traffic, then you need to turn on your hazard lights. This will alert other road users that you are not a moving vehicle and maintain a wide berth.

Stopping on a busy road can result in an accident if road users do not take the necessary precautions. To find out more about what to do if your car stops while driving, click here. Once you get your car home, you will need to contact your mechanic. If you contact a Ford mechanic, chances are they will have encountered this issue.

They must have seen it already, as it is a common issue in some model years of the Ford Escape. We recommend that you ensure all mechanics are aware of common Ford Escape Problems with Ford Escape transmissions, especially if they are local mechanics and don’t specialize in Ford.

At this point, you will be presented with 3 options, and your choice will depend on your budget.

Option 1: Buy a Used Transmission

The quickest solution on this list is to buy a transmission from another car and transfer it to your Ford Escape. This will address any issues that your current transmission is having and get you back on the road as soon as it is installed.

However, you need to find out the current transmission state you’re getting. This means that you may experience the same problem in the next few years. This can be very expensive and usually only comes with a maximum warranty of 90 days.

Option 2: Repair the Transmission

Your next option is to repair your current transmission and contact your local repair shop. They will be able to tell you what they think. Technical ability and experience vary from technician to technician and shop to shop, meaning it may be worthwhile to contact a few shops to get an idea of pricing. Repaired transmissions usually have a 1-2 year warranty.

Option 3: Buy a Remanufactured Ford Escape Transmission

If you want your car to be a daily driver and feel confident every time you start it up in the morning, this is the best option for you. The most expensive on the list, it will give peace of mind to any driver experiencing Ford Escape transmission issues.

Ford Escape Transmission Repair Cost

One owner had to spend over $2,000 to solve his transmission problem. Here’s what they had to say about the issue:

Owner Number One – 2002 Ford Escape, XLT, V6

“So, we set off on a trip, and the transmission looks a little funny (jerky) but nothing too major. Enjoy a nice weekend with no further Ford Escape Problems. We start driving home and the car starts shaking a bit here and there and gets lazier at every stop (rest areas, tolls).

We were about 3 hours away from home when the OD light started flashing and the car seemed to be getting worse. Oh my God! All we could do was pray that we got home safely. There were a few near misses that we couldn’t avoid and almost got hit, but we made it home safely. ”

The owner asked a transmission specialist to check the car, and the owner was told that the transmission was missing. The owner added that the Escape “…[was] no longer safe to drive, and $2,000 to rebuild”. With the added note ‘by the way, we rebuild transmissions exactly like this on average 3 times a week’. Ford seems to be speeding up production, and this is a known failure.”

What About Other Model Years

That’s for the 2002 model year. states that the 2006 and 2014 model years are no cheaper to repair. The website states that the 2006 model year experienced “a solid trend of engine failures—$4,500 to repair at an average of 85,000 miles and transmission failures $3,000 to repair at an average of 75,000 miles”.

They say they would not recommend this year’s Ford Escape to anyone except their “worst enemy.” With 85 complaints (at the time of writing) with a severity rating of 9.2 out of 10 for this particular issue on the 2006 Escape.

Unfortunately, things don’t get any better for the 2014 model either, with the same source stating that transmission issues are a “major problem” for the Escape occurring at around 70,000 miles. That’s a relatively low mileage for a transmission and a repair cost of over $4,500.

The website awarded the 2014 Escape with the “Beware of the Clunker” badge. More than 50 complaints have been documented on the website for Ford Escape transmission issues on the 2014 model.

Ford Escape is a Popular Versatile Crossover: With Few Problems

Positioned as one of Ford’s highest-selling vehicles, the Escape is praised for its evolutionary updates in exterior design, powertrain, technology, and safety updates. As a result, the Escape has experienced several issues and recalls of various critical components throughout its production history.

Ford Escape research revealed the 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2020 model years had the most reported issues and recalls. Therefore, these model years should be avoided when considering the Escape. Although these issues and recalls vary in severity, it’s best to consider the Ford Escape beyond these model years.

Can the Ford Escape be the right compact SUV?

Ford redesigned the Escape for the latest model year, marking a new generation for this compact SUV. The 2023 Escape features two hybrid engines, a sporty ST-Line trim, and sleek styling. Ford also added new advanced driver assistance technologies to make the Escape safer than ever. In addition, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains have an estimated range of 400 miles.

Overall, the 2023 Ford Escape is a sturdy yet passable compact SUV. Despite its fuel-efficient powertrain and easy-to-use infotainment system, the base engine is noisy, and the interior materials look cheap.

Is the Ford Escape a reliable, compact SUV?

The Ford Escape earned an excellent reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. That puts the Escape at 16th out of 24 compact SUVs. The ranking is based on three factors:

  • Cost: The average annual repair and maintenance cost of the Ford Escape is $600, compared to $521 for all compact SUVs.
  • Frequency: Escape owners take their vehicles to the shop for unscheduled repairs 0.31 times per year, compared to 0.3 times in the class.
  • Severity: The likelihood of a severe repair on the Ford Escape is 11%, equivalent to 11% for all compact SUVs.

While these small SUVs are usually reliable, some model years receive more complaints from owners than others. The five worst Ford Escape years by number and severity of complaints are 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014. In contrast, the 2016 Escape is an excellent model year.


The Ford Escape is an affordable, roomy, and comfortable SUV. It has been part of the crossover segment since its launch in 2000. However, it has had problems over the past 20 years. Buying a Ford Escape can be daunting, with numerous recalls and complaints for each model year.

It often feels like walking into a minefield without detection equipment. The transmission issue, especially, has caused a lot of stress for previous owners and resulted in a lot of money being spent on repairs. It has also sparked distrust between Escape owners and Ford Motor Company. Some owners stated that they would never own a Ford again.

Based on everything mentioned above, the recommended years to look out for your used Ford Escape are 2004, 2007, and 2012. While there are not many complaints regarding the newer models (2017 – present), there is still a trend with these complaints.

Transmission and bodywork issues are already evident, so we recommend being careful if you’re looking for a newer model. If possible, avoid all other model years. If you own a terrible model year, replace it immediately.

The 2005, 2008, and 2013 model years have the highest number of owner-reported Ford Escape transmission problems. Complaints often mention the 2014 and 2008 models as problematic. The 2008 Escape, in particular, is riddled with transmission problems, ranging from complete failure to gear shifting and gear hunting.

Fixing transmission problems is costly, averaging $4,000, as a new transmission is often required. Most repairs occur in the 80-120K mile range. Compared to full-size SUVs like the Pathfinder and Enclave, the Escape’s transmission could be more reliable.

Banging sounds, burning odor, sluggish response, leaking fluid, and a check engine light are signs of transmission problems. If you are considering buying a used Ford Escape, test drive the car and have a local mechanic inspect it for transmission Ford Escape Problems.

Based on owner complaints, the 2001-2004, 2007, 2009-2012, and 2014-2020 models are more reliable. Avoid the 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2013 model years.

Lastly, as we have seen, each generation of the Ford Escape has common issues to look out for. While no vehicle is perfect, being aware of these issues can help you make more informed decisions when buying or maintaining your Escape. Based on the information we covered, if you’re buying a 4th-generation Escape, be sure to check if the engine is affected by the engine or fuel system recall.

If you’re looking at an older model, watch out for signs of rust, especially on first-generation Escapes. With a little knowledge and preventive maintenance, your Escape can provide a reliable driving experience for many miles.