Ford Escape Problems

by Dennis Hartman
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The Escape is a small SUV that American automaker Ford began producing in the 2001 model year. It has been a strong-selling model since its introduction, spawning several variants including a hybrid-electric version. However, with the Ford Escape owners and potential buyers should be aware of several common problems.


Some of the most common problems with the Ford Escape involve the vehicle's transmission. Ford has offered the Escape with both manual and automatic transmission options. Manual transmissions have been known to require a replacement clutch after exhibiting poor overall performance. For Escapes with automatic transmissions, delayed or loud shifts are among the most common complaints. In 2004, Ford recalled more than 320,000 Escapes with a faulty automatic transmission control module that could cause the engine to stall during deceleration.


The Escape's safety systems also have had several problems. Many of these have been the subject of recalls by Ford. A 2005 recall of nearly 200,000 vehicles dealt with a faulty wiper motor that could leave drivers without functional wipers during bad weather, increasing the risk of a crash. Another recall in 206 involved 134,000 vehicles with head restraints that might ail to protect passengers in case of an accident. In 2004, a recall of more than 262,000 vehicles corrected a problem where the rear liftgate could come open during a crash, endangering vehicle occupants. Earlier models of the Ford Escape were recalled because of safety problems involving the anti-lock brakes, seat belts and cruise control systems.

General Issues

A group of problems with the Ford Escape involve general complaints and issues as noted by drivers and auto critics. One of these complaints concerns the interior design and materials of the Escape, which have been called cheap, uninteresting and unattractive. Drivers may experience a lack of power on models of the Escape equipped with a four-cylinder engine. In addition, Escape drivers have complained of excessive road noise and wind noise at high speeds. Finally, some have complained about the Escape's fuel economy (on nonhybrid models) despite its relatively modest weight and power output.

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