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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,507 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Ford Escape body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Nov 102016


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. Upon exiting a parking area, there was an abnormal suspension vibration near the front of the vehicle. The front subframe fractured and impacted the front passenger side tire. The contact and a mechanic inspected the fact that there had been premature rust and corrosion associated with the underbody, subframe, and the bar that was connected to the frame. The vehicle was unable to be driven and was towed by the mechanic. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and provided no solution other than for the contact to take the vehicle to the dealer. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V165000 (structure) and 15E045000 (suspension). The failure mileage was not available.

- Ashtabula, OH, USA

problem #32

Oct 132016


  • 140,000 miles
The vehicle was moving at 35 mph, the front passenger side wheel started making noise and got wobbly. I took it to a Ford dealer. The service department took a day to diagnose the problem. They indicated that the sub frame has rusted out and the lower control arms are not secure in the sub-frame and may separate anytime. They refuse to fix the problem as per the recall saying that they put a cross brace and the recall is fixed. The cross brace that was put, is a band-aid fix and does not address the failure of the defective sub-frame. The sub-frame will fail even after installing the cross brace that Ford seems to think will fix the problem. The lower control arm will separate and the cross brace will not prevent any accidents that could result from lower control arm separation.

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #31

Oct 202016


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure). The vehicle was repaired. While driving approximately 5 to 10 mph, there was a grinding noise. The vehicle was coasted over to the side of the road and towed to a mechanic. It was diagnosed that the subframe was completely rusted. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000.

- Carroll, IA, USA

problem #30

Jul 232016


  • 64,958 miles


While driving, the front right tire felt like it was going to fall off the vehicle. I took it to my mechanic who stated that the sub-frame was cracked and Ford had a recall in place. I had it towed to the nearest Ford dealership who stated that it would be covered under the recall. Instead, they put a cross-bar on the cracked sub frame because they determined it was "not broken" only "cracked". the sub frame had "rusted and corroded" due to Ford's own admittance of "faulty parts". I asked if the vehicle was safe and they stated "no". I asked if the vehicle would pass inspection and again they stated "no". I asked if this was a "bandaid" that they put on to make themselves feel better about the fact that anyone operating the vehicle could lose total control. I asked to speak to a manager, who told me there was nothing he could do. He did state he would makes some calls and called me a day or two later to say, that his manager said if I wanted the vehicle fixed, I could pay $1,200 for the part and an additional $600-$800 in labor to fix the vehicle, or I could trade it in. I am beyond frustrated that Ford will not back up their product. The vehicle has less than 65,000 miles on it!

- East Pembroke, NY, USA

problem #29

Aug 012016


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact was informed that the vehicle would not be repaired per NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure) due to excessive corrosion on the subframe. The vehicle was unsafe to drive. The frame needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Sandy Hook, CT, USA

problem #28

Feb 012013


  • 80,000 miles
The ash gold paint is bubbling all over the outside roof rear door sides (all over) the car to include the interior. The roof has rusted and Ford won't do anything. I went to two Ford dealers in san diego and called Ford direct. The passed me over to the highway safety admin hotline that told me to call Ford, they will handle the complaint. Everyday more paint peels off.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #27

Apr 272015


  • 118,546 miles


0N Apr 22, 2015 while driving from shady spring wv to princeton wv on I-77 to a drs appt, my wife and I noticed a popping sound coming from the right front of the veh when veering or turning right. I had to work that day after I returned from the dr and had planned to take the veh to a mechanic after I got off to find out the problem. While driving home from work on pluto road in shady spring, I rounded a curve to the right at 20 mph and something broke causing the veh to come to a sudden stop. I had the veh towed to a&R service ctr in shady spring and was notified that afternoon that the sub frame broke/ lower cv joint had came loose and that there was excessive rust and corrosion covering the whole underneath of the veh. I notified kc preowned auto whom I had purchased the veh from in Sept 2014. He went to the mech and looked at the vehicle and called me and stated the good news is there is a recall on the sub frame that had broken and could be taken to Mountaineer auto in beckley wv for repair. The veh was taken on Apr 27 2015, and after being sent to a body shop for a rusted and broken bolt, a new sub frame was placed on the front. My wife picked it up on Jun 20 2015 and noticed driving home a vibration coming from the front right and a grinding sound coming from the middle of it. I took it back to Mountaineer auto the next day and was told by the svc rep (J T) that Ford was not going to put anymore money in to this veh and there was nothing they would do. I notified the wv atty general for help and after trying to rectify the issue received a letter that nothing could be done. The veh sat in my driveway until Feb 3, 2016, when I saved up money to fix it myself. I took it back to Mountaineer auto and was told the carriage bearing was broke, and nothing could be done due to excessive rust and corrosion. Took it to 2 brothers and received the attached statement.

- Shady Spring, WV, USA

problem #26

Feb 072016


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle had a recall on the frame and was repaired. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle shook and the steering wheel wobbled. The front driver side wheel was straight while the front passenger side wheel faced outward. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the subframe was completely fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 145,000.

- Dekalb, IL, USA

problem #25

Feb 012016


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 10 mph, a loud thumping sound came from the front of the vehicle and the steering malfunctioned. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the subframe seperated due to severe rust and corrosion, which caused the lower control arm to fracture. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 167,000.

- Edwardsburg, MI, USA

problem #24

Apr 012015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximatly 25 mph, the vehicle appruptly stopped. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who discovered that the frame fractured near the front passenger side wheel well. The vehicle was repaired by the manufacturer but, while driving, the vehicle experienced severe shaking and vibrations. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notied of the failure. The VIN and failure mileage were unknown.

- Shady Springs, WV, USA

problem #23

Nov 302015


  • 109,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving at a high speed, the vehicle veered to the right and failed to remain in position. The contact had to steer the vehicle in excess in order to keep the vehicle in position. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who repaired the vehicle under NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure); however, the local dealer stated that there was corrosion around the attachment area and the subframe needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 109,000.

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #22

Dec 032015


  • 50,000 miles
My Ford Escape had recall 14S02 completed, which was supposed to "fix" the rusting out sub-frames made of inferior metal due to salt-belt states salting of roads, by installing a flimsy brace across the sub-frame, but I'm honestly not sure what it does besides prevent your car from "completely" losing control. Ford refuses to truly fix the problem and it posses a serious risk to me, my family, and others on the road. If the sub-frame does detach on my car, which it is one nasty pot-hole away from detaching, than I will lose control of my car when the control arm breaks off the sub-frame and I will be in a potentially life threatening situation. My local independent mechanic warned me of the danger of this problem just recently while it was stationary, but Ford did not. Ford simply brushed me off and didn't explain to me how dangerous this supposed "fix" is. I am student, and in order for me to fix this on my own the cost will be unbearable. I do not think this is fair or following federal law, and I don't know how this pathetic brace held on by a couple of bolts was considered a real fix for a very dangerous problem. The manner in which Ford has handled this situation has been deplorable as well, and I have received nothing but rudeness from their service department, and customer service representatives. The danger of this particular problem is that when the car is in motion and it does detach, especially on a highway, then I, and others will be at a risk due to loss of control of steering.

- Winchendon, MA, USA

problem #21

Nov 162015


  • 90,470 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving at various speeds, there were abnormal noises coming from the front of the vehicle. In addition, both front tires leaned inwards. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the front control arm, sway bar, and tie rods needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the mechanic also stated that the subframe corroded and needed to be replaced. A week later, while reversing at a low speed, the contact heard a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Upon inspection, the contact noticed that the control arm and axle fractured. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure) however, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 90,470.

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #20

Oct 302015


  • 127,000 miles
Last year I returned my vehicle to the dealer for the sub frame recall. I had the new support installed. This year when I went for my annual vehicle inspection I was told to stop driving the vehicle as my subframe was so badly rusted that it could break at any time. Why was the subframe replacement not included in the recall?

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #19

Oct 122015


  • 60,000 miles
Steering lose with little control. Mechanic states a separation of the lower control arm due to excessive corrosion in frame. Matches Ford recall 14S02. Yet recall was performed June 2014. So safety recall failed.

- Collingswood, NJ, USA

problem #18

Sep 302015


  • 100,078 miles
Went to get car inspected and the exhaust Y pipe and engine cradle subframe has corrison. Called the Ford recall and for some reason my vehicle did not have a recall, but there were other 2003 recalls for the control arms and corrison of the frame and members. This seems to be a problem with a lot of Ford vehicles but not on the recall list and should be. Vehicle has 100,078 miles. There is also noise come from an area around the tires not sure which one.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #17

Jul 072015


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving over a bump in the road at approximately 10 mph, the front passenger side wheel well fractured and damaged the suspension. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the subframe was rusted. The failure was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 145,000.

- Bloominburg, NY, USA

problem #16

Apr 202015


  • 75,000 miles
The lower control arm on my 2003 Ford Escape is rusted through and Ford didn't include my vehicle in the recalls. They are obviously having a wider issue with this control arm since recall number 14so2 has affected my Escape as well. They claim that my lower control arm wasn't part of the factories that was listed so they won't include me in the recall. I have had this issue for a while and if I was going down the highway my entire wheel could have disconnected and cause a horrible crash. They must include all Ford Escapes from 2001 through 2004 as listed in this recall since my Escape is obviously included in this recall and I should not be charged for the repair or at least notified of the danger. They should not be allowed to pick and choose which car they deemed acceptable for the recall if there is obviously a defect which could cause harm to the owner and is documented as being harmful, ,

- Blowing Rock, NC, USA

problem #15

Sep 052014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,693 miles
On June 9 2014, I took my Escape to the Ford dealer to have recall 14S02 performed. We had recently purchased the car and had gotten the recall notice. The service writer called me to say that "the car wasn't safe to drive" because of the rust spots that had eaten through the engine cradle. He warned me that if this went unrepaired, the frame could collapse under the weight of the engine. He reassured me that he was working with Ford to replace the engine cradle as part of the recall. He took pictures (twice) of the car and submitted them and a request to Ford for the repair. On July 13 2014, more than a month later, the service writer let me know that Ford had rejected the repair claim, saying that "they didn't think the rust was significant, it was surface rust, and the car was actually safe to drive." The dealer installed a bracket across the bottom of the rusty cradle. I understand that the bracket is part of the recall. I picked the car up on July 14 2014 and was told that it was safe and not to worry about the rust. We subsequently spent over $1,500 making other repairs to the car, believing it was a good investment. Less than 2 months later, on September 5 2014, my daughter experienced a catastrophic failure of the engine cradle, bending the drive axle on the passenger side and rendering the car unable to drive. The service writer had been correct, it was unsafe to drive and it did fail. We had the car towed to the nearest dealer. On September 9 2014, I was told that Ford had again rejected the claim to repair the (broken) engine cradle. This time, the reason given was "they had already done the recall" that was meant to address the cradle damage from rust. I have appealed the rejection through Ford customer care and through the special services group and they continue to reject the repair. I would like Ford to repair the vehicle at their expense.

- Montgomery, OH, USA

problem #14

Nov 132013

Escape 6-cyl Diesel

  • 123,000 miles
I have entered the VIN correctly but your system doesn't recognize it. First flat tire in the 10 years I have owned car purchased new. Jack, jack tools and temporary spare never used before.. following owner's manual instructions, jack does not raise vehicle high enough to remove original equipment wheel and specified standard-size tire. Attempted flat repair on flat paved surface. I have 50 years experience working on automobiles.this flaw could be life-threatening if someone is trying to replace a flat tire in dangerous conditions (darkness, weather, dangerous location, medical emergency). The jack works mechanically and lifted the right rear corner of the vehicle but lacked 4 to 6 inches of lifting vehicle high enough to remove wheel. This is a factory defect and not an incompetent user. Jack was positioned as shown in manual. My first car was a 1931 model a Ford and this is the first time I have encountered an oem jack that wouldn't work at least once.

- Imperial, MO, USA

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