Ford Escape Years To Avoid (5 Common Problems)

Ford Escape is a trailblazer SUV with lots of good features and techs. The SUV is well-built to last for a very long time and looks appealing all around.

It is a ride that can take you anywhere and get you back safely. Although in the compact SUV category, Ford Escape does offer ample space for up to five seaters. Ford Escape is a desirable ride, but it’s got some “problematic” model years you have to stay away from.

This article lists the Ford Escape years to avoid and why you really should “avoid” them. Well, it all centers on reliability; these model years are not so reliable and are linked with frequent expensive repairs.

Ford Escape Overview

The Ford Escape is a series of compact crossover sports utility vehicles manufactured by Ford. Currently, the series is in its 4th gen, which started with the 2020 model year.

However, Ford began manufacturing Escape SUVs in 2001 – with the help of Mazda, which is why the Mazda Tribute SUV looks pretty much like the Ford Escape.

Over the years, and across four generations, Ford has manufactured different models for its Escape series, including a Hybrid model produced between 2005 and 2007.

But currently, there are only five models, or better still, five trim levels for the Ford Escape SUV series: S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium.

The Hybrid Ford Escape is still being produced; you can get it on the SE Sport trim. Gasoline-only Ford Escape models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission; other models come with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

But you can choose between Front-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive on all models.

See Also: Ford Explorer Years To Avoid

Ford Escape Years To Avoid And Why

These Ford Escape model years are flagged as the worst years to buy due to the high number of complaints by people who own them.

Hereunder is a quick list of years before we go into the details.

  • 2002 Ford Escape
  • 2005 Ford Escape
  • 2006 Ford Escape
  • 2008 Ford Escape
  • 2009 Ford Escape
  • 2013 Ford Escape
  • 2014 Ford Escape

Out of these years, the 2005 and 2014 models are flagged as the “worst” Ford Escape models ever produced.

This is because the 2005 and 2014 Ford Escape SUVs typically break down at low mileage, and the repair cost is always on the high side because what breaks down is usually a crucial component such as the transmission, body panel, PCM failure, and the engine.

There are several problems reported for the above-listed Ford Escape years; notwithstanding, you can keep out some of the faults by simply sticking to a feasible routine maintenance plan.

Hereunder are the most common problems with Ford Escape SUVs.

Common Problems With Ford Escape

1. Failed Transmission

Transmission failure is the most reported problem with the 2014 Ford Escape (this problem was reported on many other model years too). Some owners allege that the transmission failed completely without showing any prior signs.

Apparently, working on transmissions is expensive, so it costs an average of $2,800 to fix Ford Escape’s transmissions problems. In the 2014 model year, the transmission allegedly goes out even before 70k miles.

2. Power Control Module (PCM) Failure

Several hundreds of the 2005 Ford Escape complained bitterly about the problematic PCM. Also, many owners of the 2005 Ford Escape had to trade their car for another non-Ford vehicle due to the high frequency of breakdowns, even at low mileage.

PCM failure was also reported in many other Ford Escape model years, but the complaints on other (newer) model years were less compared with the 2005 model. The average cost of fixing PCM problems on Ford Escapes is between $1,000 – $2,600 based on variable factors.

3. Battery Problems

A reasonable number of the 2013 Ford Escape owners have complained about the car’s battery dying off too quickly – even before 50k miles (in some cases). Some reported that they have to change the battery every 50,000 – 60,000 miles.

This may seem like an insignificant issue to some people,  but having to change your car’s battery every now and then is certainly not what you’d find “cool.” Arguably, this problem is due to faulty wiring from the manufacturer’s end.

4. Excessive Wheel Well/Shock Tower Rust

Funny as it may sound, some Ford Escape owners allege they had to deal with severe, worsening rust on the driver-side wheel hub.

This problem was mainly reported for the 2005 model year. Buying this model year means you may frequently have to go for bodywork on your car.

5. Power Steering Failure

Here’s another common problem with Ford Escapes produced in the indicated years above. According to reports, the 2008 Ford Escape typically has its power steering assist fail randomly without any sign – making the car difficult to steer.

The annoying part is that you could be speedy when the problem might occur.

What Are Most Reliable Ford Escape Years To Buy?

The newer Ford Escapes from the third-gen models are safe to buy, literally from 2016 to date models. These newer models have higher reliability, and it seems Ford fixed most of the issues complained about on the older model.

Some model years from the first and second generations are equally safe to buy: 2004, 2007, 2003, and 2011. However, no car would last you for a very long time without proper maintenance (the sturdiness of the components used notwithstanding).

See Also: Worst Ford Edge Models Year to Avoid

What More?

Ford hasn’t stopped producing Escapes – the SUV line is still in production, and it’s in the fourth generation.

Ford Escape is a two-row compact crossover SUV you can drive on any road, including snowy parts – during the winter season. It is a good ride, but staying clear of some model years is advisable.

The newer models years of the Ford Escape are reliable; the older ones are not reliable. This article has explained the worst Ford Escape years to avoid and why you should do so. Buying any of these Escape model years, whether brand new or used, you’d frequently spend a huge amount on repairs.

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