Since 2001, the Ford Escape has been a top-selling Ford model across the country, enabling drivers to comfortably reach their destinations. Despite being a go-to choice for many individuals on the hunt for their next vehicle, this popular midsize SUV comes with its fair share of issues and challenges.

Let's take a look at the Ford Escape's reliability and some problems owners experience.

Is the Ford Escape Reliable?

Reliability is among the most crucial factors for consumers purchasing a new or used car, typically determined by price, efficiency, performance and safety.

The Ford Escape is a fairly reliable compact SUV, widely regarded for its safety features, pleasant internal environment and superior handling, which were enhanced by its 2020 redesign. However, with proper maintenance, you can expect any year model to get close to, or above, 200,000 miles. Models range from 21-26 mpg in the city and 27-34 mpg on the highway, offering spacious cabins and all-wheel drive capabilities for a smooth ride.

6 Common Problems With the Ford Escape

Like with any car, there is the potential for a Ford Escape to have issues that can impact its performance and safety. To help ensure you remain safe on the road, consider six of the most common problems in this model's history.


One of the major problems Ford Escape owners experience is transmission failure. These components proved unreliable within the 2006 to 2009 and 2014 models, often experiencing failure without any signs or warning. In some cases, transmission failure occurred while the vehicle was in use, causing it to stop suddenly in the middle of the road.

These transmission failures typically happen in vehicles with 70,000 or more miles driven. Many individuals have reported needing to rebuild or replace their entire transmission to remedy this issue, which can cost more than $3,000.

In another issue with their transmissions, Ford has issued a recall for more than 1.7 million Ford Escape models. This problem involves the decay or detachment of a faulty bushing that connects the shift cable to the transmission. When damaged, this bushing prevents the shifter from moving the transmission into the desired gear position. As a result, the shifter position could show the vehicle is in Reverse when the driver believes it to be in Drive, resulting in the car moving in an unintended direction.


Countless Ford Escape releases are known for their noisy brakes. Brake squealing occurs when front brakes have warmed up or been subjected to particular driving conditions. Ford has stated that owners can resolve these issues by installing a front lining kit, improving control and friction to decrease noise.

Similarly, problems with deteriorating and collapsing brake lines have been recognized in newer Ford Escapes, forcing Ford to issue a recall. They believe the rear brake linings were incorrectly manufactured, requiring drivers to apply more brake pedal force. Records state that 49,555 vehicles were affected. Conducting a rear brake line replacement with a higher-friction unit should solve the problem.


Within months of releasing the 2013 Escape, faulty fuel lines causing engine fires forced Ford to recall many of these models. The EcoBoost 4-cylinder 1.6L and 2L and 3-cylinder 1.5L engines are most susceptible to this problem, which affects models ranging from 2013 to 2022. These fires became so prevalent that Ford told customers to leave their vehicles where they were, sending trucks to their homes to collect them.

Later that year, another recall was issued for the same problem. This time, many Ford Escape vehicles were installed with inadequate cooling systems and faulty fuel lines that allowed leaks, causing fires once the fluids came in contact with the exhaust system. Many owners reported seeing warning signs including:

  • Low coolant warnings
  • Misfires
  • Check engine light illuminations
  • Blue smoke

Engine failures have continued well into the fourth generation of Ford Escapes, as Ford issued another recall in 2022 for models manufactured beginning in 2020. In these vehicles, there is an enhanced risk of under-hood fires and melted engine components caused by manufacturing issues.

If you do own a Ford Escape falling within these production years, it's essential to make sure you routinely check coolant levels and conduct regular maintenance. Unfortunately, many of the problems experienced were due to design flaws, meaning that unless you replace the engine entirely, there aren't any viable solutions.


You might think a little rust is just a cosmetic issue. But, if you're driving around a first- or second-generation Ford Escape, it could be a bit more severe than that. Older Ford Escapes have long been the victims of severe rusting, creating unsafe driving conditions for drivers.

In many models manufactured between 2001 and 2010, corrosion was extremely noticeable around the subframes, including wheel arches and shock towers. With increased corrosion, these areas begin deteriorating until they reach a stage where they can no longer support the vehicle. In many cases, the shock towers break through the body and leave the control arms and other suspension components nothing to grip. Ford released a recall for models created between 2001 and 2004, although they didn't include other affected model years.

You can find suitable replacement parts for most of the areas affected by this issue, but you'll probably have to invest significant time and money to complete the repair job.


Bad ignition coils are common problems in Ford Escape models manufactured between 2001 and 2013. Under normal conditions, the ignition coil converts the electric current from your car battery into power to ignite your fuel and start your engine. A faulty ignition coil will cause your engine to misfire and may lead to issues including:

  • Stalling
  • Sputtering sounds
  • Jerking and vibrating
  • Difficulty starting

If you notice any of the above problems in your Ford Escape, it's essential to replace your ignition coil immediately to avoid costly damage in the future.

Power Steering

Second- and third-generation Ford Escapes often suffer from problems with their power steering, which increases the effort needed to turn the steering wheel, especially at lower speeds. These issues are more common in older designs, although they are still seen throughout newer versions.

This loss of power steering is linked to sudden failures in their Electric Power Assisted Steering system, which halts the power steering control module (PSCM). In these situations, Ford has said the problem can be solved with a PSCM update available through your dealership.

However, these power steering failures have also been linked to faulty motors, sensors and control units, which will need replacing. You likely won't be able to replace these components individually, so you'll have to switch out the entire unit, which could cost up to $2,000.

Find the Parts You Need at StockWise Auto

If you're searching for parts to help you with repairs to your Ford Escape, StockWise Auto is ready to assist you. Our team maintains a large inventory of Ford Escape OEM and aftermarket parts, plus equipment to tackle any automotive project that comes your way. StockWise Auto has been operating for years, using an intuitive pricing and stocking system to ensure transparent prices and accurate inventory numbers.

Check out our supply of Ford Escape parts online to find what you need. You can also contact our professionals online to learn more about our product offerings.