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The Ford Escape is one of the most popular compact SUVs in the industry. With excellent safety ratings, a host of standard features, and good marks for reliability, the newly redesigned SUV is generally loved by reviewers and owners alike. Ford has expanded the Escape’s already roomy interior to more comfortably fit five passengers, and 2020 saw the addition of an improved infotainment system, smoother handling, and a new powertrain system. However, there are some common Ford Escape problems.

Although the Escape has been widely popular since its introduction in 2001 and serves as Ford’s second best-selling vehicle after the Ford F-Series pickup, it has had its share of growing pains. We’ve compiled a list of the most common complaints about the Ford Escape that you should know about.

The Ford Escape problems with ignition misfire

A grey Ford Escape parked on the side of the road. There are some Ford Escape Problems, but overall is a great selection.
The Ford Escape | John Sciulli/Getty Images for Ford Motor Company

According to Repair Pal, the most common problem encountered by Ford Escape owners is ignition misfire. 418 consumers reported that the ignition coils failed and must be replaced. The overall cost of a new coil and installation ranges from $576 to $711.

The problem is widespread, affecting all engine sizes for every model year from 2001 through 2013. It is important to note if you encounter this issue, it should be repaired immediately to avoid damage to other vehicle parts.

Engine stumbling and hesitation

Repair Pal’s second-most common consumer complaint from Ford Escape owners is engine hesitation. 360 drivers reported the vehicle stumbled or died while driving, accompanied by the illumination of the check engine light.

The issue seems to be caused by a faulty EGR sensor, which causes incorrect exhaust gas recirculation pressure. Depending on the model and the extent of the damage, the EGR sensor and sometimes the EGR valve must be replaced to the tune of $211 to $280. This issue has affected every Ford Escape model since the vehicle’s initial release. 

The transfer case on 4-wheel-drive models

In a problem particular to the Ford Escape’s 4-wheel-drive vehicles, a howling or clicking noise may begin to emanate from the transfer case. Even with regular use, the transfer can become damaged internally. If damaged, it cannot be rebuilt and will have to be replaced at approximately $88 to $111.

211 Ford Escape owners reported this issue, and it has been reported in every model between 2001 and 2016. RepairPal warns users that the sound is similar to that made by irregularly worn or mud tires, so diagnostics are necessary to ensure that the transfer is the source of the problem. 

Transmission failure

A significant problem reported by Ford Escape owners is transmission failure. Car Complaints says that the top two complaints about this vehicle are due to transmission failure at approximately 70,000 miles. Car Complaints indicates that the worst years for this particular issue are 2014 and 2008, and there have been more than 120 complaints posted to their site.

The most common solution reported by owners is a complete replacement of the transmission, though a few were able to rebuild. On average, the repair cost for this issue ranges from $3,110 to $4,390. 

How serious are these Ford Escape problems?

Although it may seem like a lot of issues, the Ford Escape still comes out a winner. The majority of the problems are easily diagnosed and repaired for under $800. The transmission failure is a serious concern, but there are fewer complaints than about other, less expensive issues.

Drivers looking into purchasing a used Escape would be wise to pay extra attention to the transmission in the 2008 and 2014 model years. The other issues are easy to inspect for and quick to repair. Overall, the benefits of the vehicle outweigh the potential problems, and owners can consider the Ford Escape a sound investment.


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