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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,962 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Jul 062014


  • 162,063 miles


The contacts owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while parked, the vehicle caught on fire from under the hood. A police report was filed and it was stated that the fire started near the ABS brakes. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN number was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 07V156000 (service brakes, hydraulic). The failure and current mileage was 162,063.

- Camdenton, MO, USA

problem #24

Jun 102011


  • miles
My car is a part of a recall for rust and the lower control arm, but I think that scope is too narrow. My Escape has rusted wheel wells and a rusted gas tank cover that I can see. I have also ready had to replace anti-lock brakes for rust, along with the exhaust system and all of its parts, the front lower control arms, sway bar links and all parts of the oil pan. All of this is due to rust. This was at the mileage of 58,465. I still have less than 80,000 miles but I am afraid to drive my car the 90 miles from my home to the jersey shore.

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #23

Apr 102012


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated the ABS light illuminated intermittently and the brake pedal bounced abnormally when depressed. In addition, there was a burning odor released from under the hood. The vehicle was taken to the local mechanic who inspected the vehicle and located the failure at the ABS module. The manufacturer was made a ware of the failure and denied assistance with the repair, stating that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 07V156000 (service brakes, hydraulic: Antilock: Control unit/module). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 60,000.

- Sunnyside , NY, USA

problem #22

Feb 012010


  • 109,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that she noticed a leakage on her driveway. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and they informed her that the brake hose fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified. In addition, the contact mentioned that the lift gate would not open. The vehicle had not been inspected by a dealer nor had it been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 109,000.

- Riviera Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Aug 142011


  • 80,000 miles
ABS light on 2003 Ford Escape keeps coming on....was never notified by Ford about a recall on this...also have had to replace an engine in it only had it for 37,000 miles when I had to replace the engine....Ford does not notify customers of potential problems with this vehicle.

- Kings Mountain, NC, USA

problem #20

Aug 222011


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the anti-lock brake light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, where the contact was informed that the control unit module was corroded. The contact was also informed by the dealer and manufacturer that the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 07V156000 (service brakes, hydrualic:antilock:control unit/module). The failure and current mileages were 89,000.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #19

Aug 152011


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked for thirty minutes when smoke started to emit from the engine. The hood was then raised and flames were also coming from the engine. The fire department reported to the scene, but the contact extinguished the fire himself. The fire department filed a report which was available if needed. No injuries were reported and the origin of the fire was located at the anti lock brake control box. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, who would inspect the vehicle and report their findings to the contact. Neither the manufacturer, nor insurance company were made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 170,000.

- Hill City, SD, USA

problem #18

Jul 082011


  • 150,000 miles
Fire emerging from hydraulic anti-lock control unit the subject to Ford recall # 07S51 after recall work was completed,

- Ontario, 00, USA

problem #17

Jul 012011

Escape 6-cyl

  • 110,033 miles
2008 Ford recalled my 2003 Escape for ABS module connector. I had it repaired. My Escape has began to "grab" when I apply brakes. New rotors & pads did not help. While online to, I saw another recall for ABS module connection for 2003 Ford Escape has been reopened.(Jan 2010) but I was not notified. I have had trouble with brakes on this vehicle for the past 4 years.

- Hallsville, OH, USA

problem #16

Mar 302011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Front brakes and rotors shot at 50 thousand miles and were replaced, rear brakes showed very little wear, 100,000 miles and rotor and brake wear are again excessive and need replacement soon, rear brakes still ok and are the originals. The brakes on this vehicle always have seemed inadequate, as if the rear brakes do not self adjust they were checked and cleaned and determined to be working ok. I do perform the reverse and brake technique to adjust them. Bottom line "the rear brakes do not self adjust and braking is wholly on the front brakes prematurely wearing out rotors and pads!"

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #15

Feb 012011


  • miles


Sudden failure of ABS system. ABS light not operating on dashboard indicator panel.

- Chandler, IN, USA

problem #14

Sep 262010


  • 90,000 miles
2003 Ford Escape recall - #07V156000 recall for service brakes, hydraulic : antilock : control unit/module I have owned this vehicle since August 2005. Apparently in 2007 there was a recall on this brake issue. I was never notified, nor did any dealer attend to this issue during a routine service. I contacted Ford September 2010 when my anti lock light started to appear on my dash. Ford did not list me as the owner even though I purchased this vehicle through a reputable dealer and had my info stored on their owners web page, and have all bill of sales info on file. While talking to the Ford customer service person it was clear that he was editing the record to somehow show that I either knew about the recall or that some dealer inspected this issue and found nothing wrong. When I asked to talk to a manager, I was put on hold for over 30 minutes and finally hung up. I then sent an email complaining. Ford wrote back they will do nothing about this as the campaign is over. I now have a very serious anti lock brake issue. The anti lock mechanism has now failed. I wish the NHTSA to help me get Ford to fix this issue since I owned the vehicle since 2005, the recall was in 2007, Ford never tried to contact me on this recall, and no Ford dealer ever inspected my vehicle for this issue. Thank you for your time. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #13

Dec 212010


  • 114,120 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving 5 mph the brakes failed. The brake pedal extended to the floor without stopping the vehicle. The vehicle crashed into a snow bank. There was no damaged to the contact or the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who repaired the brake hoses at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was not contacted. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 114,120.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #12

Dec 152009

Escape 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Intermittently when the brakes are applied, the vehicle accelerates without warning. The outside temperature does not seem to matter. The only way to stop the increase in speed is to apply hard pressure to the brakes and shut of the ignition. The first time was about three years ago. The last time was in December, 2009. I( notified the dealer in 2008 and was told there was no similar occurrences reported.

- Delanco, NJ, USA

problem #11

Nov 152008


  • 49,600 miles
I have an 03 Escape. Since fall 08 I have heard, felt this stutter, but didn't know what to call it. At first it was occasional, but has grown increasingly frequent--three to four times in a row accompanied once in a while with a ticking sound, and pulling the car to the left. Mechanics couldn't replicate the problem. Today they are replacing the tone rings. Having a term to use, I got on line and found out it is a frequent problem for owners.

- Uniontown, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 182009


  • 146,834 miles
January 18, 2009, was the last time I drove my 2003, Ford Escape. The day prior, I drove my kids, two blocks away to a park. I got back home and parked my vehicle at approx 2:30 P.M. the next morning at 11:14 a.M. I received a call from my apartment manager stated that my vehicle was on fire and the fire dept was outside putting out my car fire. The fire captain stated that the fire had started from the ABS system and to check online and see if there was a recall on this part. My insurance company came out and claimed it a "total loss". within the last six months to a week ago, Ford had worked on my vehicle in which I had spent over $5,000 to get it in tip top condition. Ford had a recall on this type of vehicle but stated that my vehicle's VIN number was not part of there recall. They also stated to my adjuster that this ABS part was no longer made, so my insurance company tried to locate this part and no other parts store carried this part.

- Davis, CA, USA

problem #9

Jan 042009


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle slowed down but would not come to a complete stop when the brake pedal was depressed. The contact applied the emergency brake, but the vehicle still failed to stop. He was forced to crash into a snow pile in order to stop the vehicle. The contact was not injured and the vehicle did not sustain any damage. Prior to the failure, the accelerator pedal became stuck. The contact waited a while before the accelerator pedal returned to normal. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop and inspected by a technician, who determined that the throttle cable was failing. The cost for the repair would be $300. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact called the manufacturer and was informed that no compensation would be provided because there was no recall. The failure mileage was 68,000 and current mileage was 70,000.

- Isanti, MN, USA

problem #8

Aug 202008


  • 24,949 miles
Brake rotors failed at 24947 and at 36010. This Escape has one adult driver and the brakes pedal was not "ridden". lots of premature rotor wear complaints on the site but no Ford recalls. Rotor replacement adds about $250 to bill.

- Bridgeton, MO, USA

problem #7

Aug 152008


  • 24,947 miles
Second time to replace brake rotors on 2003 Ford Escape.

- Bridgeton, MO, USA

problem #6

Aug 092006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked overnight, it erupted into flames along the left front hood area without warning. Bystanders extinguished the fire with a fire extinguisher. There was moderate fire damage. The police were not alerted. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who determined the hydraulic control unit of the brakes shorted out and caused the fire. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Lexington, KY, USA

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