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Ford Escape Reliability and Common Problems

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The Ford Escape is an all-around reliable vehicle that’s worth the price, whether you buy it new or used. It’s known for its exceptional handling and user-friendly controls, which lets you maximize all of its features. It has a considerable resale value, depreciating around 54% after five years according to CarEdge.com.

Are Ford Escapes Reliable?

According to RepairPal, the Ford Escape ranks 16th out of 26 compact SUVs, with a 4 out of 5 rating. The Escape is known for its exceptional safety features, pleasant interior, and superb handling, which was further enhanced in the 2020 redesign. Your Escape’s mileage can average from 200,000 to as much as 320,000 as long as you maintain it regularly.

2021 ford escape blue
The Ford Escape is known for its exceptional safety features, pleasant interior, and superb handling, which was further enhanced in the 2020 redesign. Image source: Ford

Top Ford Escape Problems

Despite being a reliable SUV, the Ford Escape does have some common problems, depending on its model year. Here are the most well-known issues:

Brake Issues

The 2016-2017 Ford Escapes were notorious for excessively noisy brakes. A technical service bulletin (TSB) was released in 2016 concerning brake squeal, which usually happens when the front brakes have warmed up. It can also be caused by different driving conditions. Ford has said that this can be remedied by installing a front lining kit.

Aside from brake noise, Ford issued another TSB for 2017 Ford Escape brake problems concerning the lit electric park brake warning indicator as well as an anti-lock brake system (ABS) lamp illuminated for four-wheel drive (4WD) variants. The diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) were provided in the TSB along with instructions on how to resolve these issues.

Suddenly Stopped Working Due to Transmission Failure

Multiple Ford Escape owners have reported that their SUV suddenly stopped when it was working just fine minutes before. For some, their vehicles suddenly stopped while they were driving with no warnings or symptoms. Most have reported that they’ve encountered Ford Escape transmission problems with the 2014 and 2006 model years. Some owners have also reported that they had to get their transmissions rebuilt or replaced to resolve the problem, but it cost them a lot, around $4,000 or more, depending on parts and labor.

Engine Fires

The 2013 Ford Escape is known to have multiple problems, including engine fires. Ford did a series of recalls within months from its release. The July 2012 recall was so extreme that Ford advised all owners to simply park their SUVs and sent over tow trucks to get them. Ford said this was due to a faulty fuel line that had the tendency to split and leak, which increased the risk of fires, putting both driver and passengers in danger.

Later that November, another recall was issued for the 2013 Ford Escape, once again due to engine fires. The Escape, along with other Ford models, was reported to have inadequate cooling systems, which could leak and trigger a vehicle fire once flammable fluids came in contact with the high-temperature exhaust system.

Ignition Misfire

Another common problem with 2001-2013 Ford Escapes is ignition misfire due to bad ignition coils. Some owners have reported that all that’s needed is an ignition coil replacement. This also means that you should follow your service schedule, so that the problem can be diagnosed sooner rather than later. Leaving it unaddressed may lead to further damage of other components, which means more costly repairs or replacements.

Power Steering Loss

The NHTSA investigated 746,067 units of 2008-2011 Ford Escapes due to loss of power steering assist while driving. Ford said this was caused by inefficient configurations with the Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system that stopped the Power Steering Control Module (PSCM) from detecting the driver’s steering input. Many SUV owners found this annoying on long drives since it would require more steering effort at lower speeds. Ford said that this problem can be fixed with a PSCM update that can be done at your dealership.

Engine Shutdown and PCM Failure

2005 Ford Escape owners have reported unexpected engine failure, with many saying that their SUV would unexpectedly shut down while driving. It occured so frequently that Ford recalled units of the 2005-2008 Escape in 2014 due to powertrain failure caused by overheating, which would lead the vehicle to stall.

The 2005 Escape’s power control module (PCM) also malfunctioned once the SUV reached 100,000 miles. However, the standard warranty only covered up to 80,000 miles. Most of the SUV owners who had this problem were 20,000 miles past the mileage limit. Some owners have reported that they resolved the PCM issue by replacing affected components including spark plugs, coils, cylinders, and the actual PCM, but it cost them an average of $2,000 worth of repairs to get their SUV working properly again.

2014 ford escape
Many users have reported that they’ve encountered Ford Escape transmission problems with the 2014 and 2006 model years.

Transfer Case Damage

4WD Ford Escape models are notorious for abnormal noises coming from the transfer case. Some owners have reported that these sounded like bearing howling, which turned into clicking sounds as the SUV accelerated. These unusual sounds can mean that the transfer case may have sustained damage from regular use, so it’s recommended to have these noises immediately checked by a professional. Some owners have reported that changing the transfer case fluid or the transfer case resolved this problem.

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