What Problems Do Ford Escapes Have?


The Escape refers to a small SUV that Ford began manufacturing in 2001. The vehicle is among the most popular and compact SUVs in the market. 

It has been a top-selling model since its inception, creating many versions, including a hybrid-electric edition. 

The newly redesigned vehicle is generally loved by owners and reviewers alike, with a wide range of standard features and good reliability and safety ratings.

Although the Ford Escape serves as the second best-selling car after the F-Series vehicle, it has had its share of problems. 

Read on to know the most common problems and complaints about the Escape model, repair costs, and the safe year models to buy

What Problems Do Ford Escapes Have?

Despite being reliable SUVs, Ford Escapes have some well-known issues, depending on their model year. The most common problems include engine misfires, transmission failure, power steering loss, ignition misfires, brake issues, transfer case damage, PCM failure, and engine shutdown. 

What are the most common problems with Ford Escapes?

If you are looking for a compact and reliable SUV, you might be considering a Ford Escape. 

The car offers you great fuel economy, excellent vehicle handling, and a good infotainment system. 

While this vehicle has many things and features that attract customers, some people reported complaints after driving the car for several years. 

Here are the common problems reported. 

Transmission Failure

One of the most common issues with the Ford Escapes is transmission failure. The vehicle has both automatic and manual transmission options. 

According to Car Complaints, a manual transmission will need a replacement clutch once it exhibits poor overall performance. 

On the other hand, vehicles with automatic transmissions might experience loud or delayed shifts.

According to research, Ford recalled over 320,000 Ford Escapes with faulty transmission control modules that could cause the car’s engine to stall when decelerating.

The worst years for this specific problem are 2008 and 2014, according to Car Complaints. 

As reported by the car owners, one of the most common solutions is a transmission replacement, although several were in a position to rebuild the transmission. 

On average, the cost of repair for transmission problems ranges between $3,110 and $4,390.

Ignition Misfire

The other common problem faces by Ford Escape lovers is ignition misfire. Some people reported that the vehicle’s ignition coils fail after some time and must be replaced.

This problem is widespread and affects all engine sizes for each model year starting from 2001 to 2013. If you encounter this problem, getting the coil repaired or replaced immediately is important to avoid more damage to other parts of the vehicle. 

The overall cost of buying a new ignition coil and installing it ranges between $576 and $711.

Brake Problems

The Ford Escapes that were notorious for extremely noisy brakes were the 2016 and 2017 models. 

The most reported issue is brake failure, where the car brakes suddenly become too difficult to press. 

That means you will have to press pretty hard on the brake pedal to stop your car.

Other Ford Escape owners report brake failure when the car is in motion, putting the driver in danger.

If the problem is the brake pads only, you can get a complete set replaced at the cost of $300 to $400. 

But if your brakes lose pressure and become hard to operate or press, the brakes’ vacuum pump, also known as brake booster, may have failed. 

This issue will also cost you around $400 to replace. 

Transfer Case Damage

The transfer case problem is quite common among the four-wheel-drive models of Ford Escapes. You will hear abnormal and loud noises emanating from the car’s transfer case. 

Some Ford Escape owners reported that the noise sounds like howling and later turns into clicking sounds, especially when accelerating the SUV. 

The unusual noises can mean that the vehicle’s transfer case has sustained damages from regular use. 

Professionals also warn Ford Escape owners that the noises are similar to those made by muddy or irregularly worn tires.

Therefore, it’s important to have these sounds checked by an expert to ascertain that the transfer case is the main source of the problem. 

Some people have reported that replacing the transfer case or changing the case fluid resolved this problem.

If damaged, you cannot rebuild the transfer case, so you’ll have to replace it at the cost of around $88 to $111.

Engine Fires

Another problem faced by Ford Escape owners is engine fires. The 2013 model is known to have various issues, including engine fires. The company did several recalls within months after its release. 

The first recall was in July 2012, and it was due to a defective fuel line that would split and leak.

This problem significantly increased the engine fires, putting both the passengers and driver in danger. 

Ford issued another recall later that November for the 2013 Ford Escape, again because of engine fires. 

The Ford Escape model, along with other models designed by Ford, was reported to have insufficient cooling systems. 

The cooling systems could leak and even trigger vehicle fires once the flammable fluids came into contact with the car’s high-temperature exhaust system.

Power Steering Loss 

Ford has been experiencing power steering loss problems with its early-generation systems. 

The NHTSA investigated a total of 746,067 Ford Escapes of the year 2008 to 2011 due to power steering loss while driving. According to Ford, the problem was caused by some inefficient EPAS configurations that prevented the PSCM from detecting the driver’s steering input. 

Power steering assist loss is quite annoying, especially on long drives, because you’ll need more steering effort when driving at lower speeds. 

Luckily, this issue can be fixed using a PSCM update at your dealership. 

What Years Are Bad For The Ford Escape?

Like other car models by Ford, 2006-2009 Escape models were highly unreliable, with the most commonly reported problem being major transmission failures. However, 2014 was the worst year for the Escape model

Transmission problems are also frequently reported for Escape 2014. 

The other complaints of the 2014 model were about the vehicle losing all acceleration, not shifting properly, and other transmission-related issues. 

If possible, avoid buying the following Ford Escape models because they have many reported problems.

Moreover, these model years have many transmission issues reported each year, making them the most expensive and biggest problems common to the Ford Escape. 

Year models to avoid:

  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2006
  • 2005

While the other year models do not have many reported transmission problems, the 2001 to 2012 models are also more susceptible to transmission-related issues than other comparable models. 

Which Ford Escape models are safe to buy?

Based on the severity and number of owner-submitted complaints about every year’s model of Escape, the average mileage where the issues occur, and the amount it costs to fix them, I have created a list of the used Ford Escapes that are safe to buy. 

These models have fewer complaints, and the reported complaints against them are less severe and less costly to fix than the Ford Escape models mentioned above. 

Safe year models:

  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2007
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001

Do Ford Escapes last long?

With routine maintenance and careful handling, the mileage of Ford Escape models can go up to 250,000. 

And the average is around 130,000 miles. However, the mileage can vary in years. 

Depending on how often you use your vehicle, you can hit these miles after many years of use or pretty fast. 

The best thing is to keep your Ford Escape cared for with scheduled maintenance.

Ensuring your tires are rotated, keeping the car’s fluids in good shape, and avoiding skipping oil changes can significantly help your vehicle’s lifespan. 

If you’re reselling a Ford Escape that’s 7 to 10 years old, you need to know the care and maintenance that goes into ensuring it’s reliable for the other owner. 

Ensure the transmission is in good shape to make sure that the buyer will have a reliable vehicle for many years to come.

Is the Ford Escape a reliable vehicle?

Every vehicle has its share of problems, and Ford Escapes are not different. The Escape ranks 16th out of the 26 compact SUVs available on the market, with a 4.0 rating. 

This vehicle is known for its beautiful interior, superb handling, and exceptional safety features. 3

The average mileage ranges between 200,000 and 320,000, provided you regularly maintain it. The severity of Escape repairs is quite average, and major problems and repairs aren’t common. 

The Ford Escape average yearly repair cost is approximately $600, meaning it has standard ownership costs. 

Final Words

Owning a Ford Escape is usually a big deal. 

It is among the best and most stylish cars on the roads that attract many customers every year. 

Although the Ford Escape may seem to have many problems, it still comes out as a winner. Most of the problems are easily identified and fixed for less than $800. 

If you are thinking of buying a used Ford Escape, pay attention to the transmissions in the 2014 and 2008 model years to avoid purchasing a vehicle with mechanical issues. 

The other problems are pretty easy to check for and fast to repair. Generally, the benefits of the Escape model outweigh the potential problems. 

Therefore, you can consider this vehicle a sound investment.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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