Crossover & Midsize

Ford Escape: The Most Common Complaints You Should Know About

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.

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 suffers from ignition misfire

The new Ford Escape is revealed on Hollywood’s red carpet in advance of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17, 2015
The Ford Escape | John Sciulli/Getty Images for Ford Motor Company

According to RepairPal.com, the most common problem encountered by Ford Escape owners is ignition misfire. 418 consumers reported that the ignition coils fail and must be replaced. The overall cost of a new coil and installation is in the range of $576 to $711.

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

Engine stumbling and hesitation

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

The issue seems to be caused by an erroneous 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 normal use, the transfer can become damaged internally. If damaged, it cannot be rebuilt and will have to be replaced at a price of 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 major problem reported by Ford Escape owners is transmission failure. In fact, CarComplaints.com reports 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 issues 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 who are 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 issues, and owners can consider the Ford Escape a sound investment.