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Escape the Ford Escape

October 14, 2006

Filed under: life,review — Terry Wohlers @ 07:22

We purchased a new 2003 Ford Escape exactly four years ago. I can never remember owning an automobile with so many problems. And Ford wonders why it’s in trouble. We’ve purchased two Japanese cars in the past and had fewer problems in more than 10 years of driving them. One of the reasons for purchasing the Escape was to buy an American-made automobile. Despite the relatively poor fuel economy, an SUV works well to taxi our daughter and her teammates to/from soccer practice. Also, we take it to the mountains, especially in the winter for snow skiing. The vehicle does exceptionally well on snow and ice. 

We have had the Escape in for repair 12 times in four years. Just got it back (again) yesterday. It’s the third time the dealership has attempted to fix a nagging squeak in the steering wheel. They’ve pulled the steering column twice. The other current problem is the air bag indicator light. It remains on at all times, which means both front airbags are disabled. Not good. The service technician explained that Ford issued a technical service bulletin on the problem, so finding the resolution was relatively quick. The work will involve the removal of the two front seats and replacing electrical connectors that are located under them. The job will take about 2.5 hours and cost $315. Time ran out yesterday, so it will go to the shop again next week. The warranty expired a year ago, so that’s money out of our pocket. 

Other problems: a powertrain control module, replacement of rack and pinion parts, replacement of the assembly that holds the driver’s seat, a sticky accelerator pedal, squeaks in the brake peddle and rear door latch, and disc brakes that became out of round after about a year. We got off to a bad start from day one when we discovered a deep scratch in the rear window after bringing the Escape home. When replacing the glass at the dealership, the repair technician dropped the glass against the quarter panel, which produced a dent that had to be repaired. It didn’t have 50 miles on it at the time. We’ve since driven it 52,000 miles. 

Dealing with all the service problems is a headache and a drain on one’s time. Getting the car to and from the garage is never fun. Fortunately, the dealership has been willing to pick it up and drop it off the last three times they worked on it. They must be feeling sorry for us. 

Ford is not going to solve its financial problems until it produces a product that is on par with the quality that you get from foreign auto manufacturers. Until then, the company will continue to suffer.


  1. Sorry to hear about you experience. I maybe able to help with your squeak, but first let me tell you about our Escape.

    We bought our’s when they came out in 2001. We were drawn to the body style and took one for a test drive. We purchased an XLS with a 4-cylinder engine. My wife likes the fact that it has a low-emissions rating (LEV). She averages 28 MPG in the summer. It drops to 25 in the winter. This was something we could not find in any other SUV, Foreign or domestic. Since the purchase the Escape has been excellent. Nothing more that routine maintenance has been required until we developed a sqeak in the steering this winter. We now have 80,000 miles on ours and will buy a new one when Ford comes out with a new body style.

    Here is what I did to fix the squeak.

    My wife started hearing a squeak from the front end while turning the steering wheel to the left or right side. I found the technical service bulletin (TSB) #04-22-10 on the Internet. Although the symptoms from this bulletin where identical to mine this was not the solution to my squeak. I narrowed it down to the tie-rod end on the Driver side. I removed the boot from the tie rod end, lubricated the ball joint with lithium grease and packed the boot full of wheel bearing grease. This solved the problem.

    Cost of repair $0 dollars, Time spent 1.5 hours,
    Wife satisfied: Priceless

    Ask your dealer to check the tie rod ends. They will appear to be in fine conditon, they are just dry on the inside. I hope this helps.

    Comment by greatescape — December 10, 2006 @ 19:12

  2. I also bought a 2001 and up until February 2007 it was trouble free. I live in the mountains, to get in and out of my home, I have to use a dirt road and a gravel road.

    Other than it’s usual maintenance, oil, oil filter, air filter, tires, my first major repair was the tie roads. Granted I’ve only put 40,000 miles on but they’re hard miles in harsh conditions.

    I also purchased a Mazda Tribute for my wife at the same time, it has many more miles on it and has been trouble free as well.

    If and when my Escape stops running, I’ll probably repair or replace it’s engine.

    Comment by chuckoff — February 4, 2007 @ 19:50

  3. I have a 2001 ford escape and today I put it in reverse and it got stuck. I turned off the ignition, and now it won’t start and is still in reverse. Someone told me to check the linkage, but I don’t know where the linkage is. If anyone knows how to fix this or where the linkage is located, I would appreciate the help. Thank you.

    Comment by karissa — April 13, 2007 @ 17:32

  4. I wanted to say thanks; your entry helped me diagnose the problem with my 2001 Ford Escape, which has 110k miles. I had to take mine to the mechanic though to get it fixed ;-). My friends and family tease me about having a Ford, but it’s paid off and been a really good to me!

    Comment by leigh — June 20, 2009 @ 07:56