Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,566 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #19

Mar 042014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle abnormally accelerated without warning. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling vehicle speed control) however, the failure was not corrected. The vehicle later stalled while traveling 60 mph and the contact was able to stop the acceleration failure by forcefully applying the brakes. The manufacture was made aware of the failure. The dealer inspected the vehicle and advised that the throttle needed to be cleaned or replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The current and failure mileage was 140,000.

- Hartland , MI, USA

problem #18

Jul 192012

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the RPM increased excessively and the vehicle suddenly accelerated which caused the contact to crash into a building. The contact was rushed to the hospital where he sustained back and neck injuries. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic where it was not diagnosed for the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number : 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control). The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 150,000...updated 06/24/13 updated 06/28/2013

- Tamplin, VA, USA

problem #17

Oct 012012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 86,900 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that she received notification of NHTSA campaign id number 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control) and took the vehicle to the dealer for recall repairs. The contact stated that approximately six months after having the vehicle serviced under the recall the vehicle began to exhibit acceleration issues. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph and the vehicle would not accelerate over 60 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised her that the catalytic converter failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 86,900. The current mileage was approximately 88,841.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #16

Sep 102012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


My car is misfiring and stalling on de-acceleration (when we slow down). It started recently. First it had the engine light come on. We had it tested by a mechanic with the electrical reader and it said we needed a new coil. We replaced the coil, did a full tune up and it still is not working. After many hours of research we see that the Ford Escape PCM has been a consistent manufacturing problem and the 2003 Ford Escape had this problem. I call Ford and they tell me my car was not covered under that particular recall. However, it is clear that this is a serious problem with Ford Escape. What I am to do" drive the car like this and risk it stalling in an intersection or on a hill and have the possibility of a crash" Ford should be held responsible for this manufacturing problem that they have documented over the years.

- Ketchikan, AK, USA

problem #15

Mar 082012


  • 157,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked in a residential driveway when there was a loud noise and the entire vehicle became engulfed in flames. The fire department was called and extinguished the fire. The origin of the fire was unknown and a fire report was filed. There were no injuries and the insurance company was contacted. There had been no maintenance performed on the vehicle prior to the failure for at least six months. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 157,000.

- Woodsfield, OH, USA

problem #14

Feb 152012


  • miles
When I recently had my routine maintenance check on my vehicle I was horrified when my mechanic informed me that the front sub frame was rusted from the inside out! can you imagine my utter shock when my mechanic advised me that this vehicle is prohibited to be driven since catastrophic outcomes would be likely? how very fortunate nothing fatal took place while being in this vehicle; because based on the condition of the sub frame it could have been my reality to suffer detrimental consequences. My young children are in this SUV every single day and to think their lives were at risk just by being a passenger has sickened me beyond words. I had no other choice but to get it repaired asap, so I informed the customer relationship center of Ford Motor Company as instructed by their website and all they could do was apologize for any inconvenience. This frightening situation goes far beyond from being an inconvenience it could have been a major life threatening issue. I was not asking Ford for a new vehicle, I simply was asking for assistance towards a major expense that was not caused by my lack of protecting my major investment with routine maintenance checks but by Ford having defective sub-frames installed in their vehicles. My mechanic has never seen such a structural defect as this ever before! Ford has already manufactured vehicles that involved major recalls for the exact same problem, so quite naturally other Ford models could suffer the same dangerous consequences with regards to the front sub frame. I believe an investigation on this horrific issue is deemed a necessity due to the history of Ford's sub frames. This has been very devastating to me and I can't imagine allowing another consumer to endure this major fear. Your attention to this is appreciated.

- Mckees Rocks, PA, USA

problem #13

Feb 012012


  • miles


This vehicle has a bad misfire problem, rough idle as well as bad hitching on highway. Looked it up on yahoo answers and a lot of people are having the same problem. Is there going to be a recall on these vehicles. I'm hearing faulty computers.

- Lubec, ME, USA

problem #12

Jul 172011


  • 141,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated the vehicle started hesitating and sputtering prior to the failure. The contact took the vehicle to a mechanic who changed was the spark plugs and the coils were replaced prior to the catalytic converter failing. The catalytic converter failure ruined the engine. The failure mileage was 141,000 and the current mileage was 142,000.

- Sarasota , FL, USA

problem #11

Jan 162011

Escape 6-cyl

  • 43,625 miles
I have a Ford 2003 Escape 6 cyl. Bought in may of 2004 new - 76 miles on it test driven from a dealer in schulenburg, tx - the check engine light came on - the PCM computer went out and blew a spark plug on 1/16/2011 - I had to replace the PCM (which I was told should have been a recall on the 2003 Ford Escape) since this should never go out on the car. The mileage was only 43,625 on 1/16/2011 when this happened. I have the car for 7-8 yrs. Now. I had to replace the PCM with a remanufactured (since it would cost way more for a new one) PCM - electronic ignition costing me just over $2,100. Again, this part was intended to never go out for the life of the car, period. This should have been a recall on Ford Motor Companies part - and I was told to complain and record this to NHTSA as others have, and if enough do, they would have to recall. I am not sure if I am in the right place to place this complaint.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 282010


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle suddenly shuttered and completely stalled. The contact was able to restart it. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that there were no recalls on the vehicle. The failure mileage was approximately 150,000.

- Gadsden, MD, USA

problem #9

Jul 222008


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. Intermittently, the vehicle failed to accelerate while the contact was driving approximately 60 mph up an incline. The vehicle would also suddenly accelerate without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the gasket recirculator was repaired. The contact was informed to drive the vehicle on the highway at a high speed. As the contact was attempting to accelerate to a high speed she suddenly heard a loud sound. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the gasket recirculator was repaired for the second time and the catalytic converter was also serviced. In March 2010 while traveling at 60 mph the contact attempted to accelerate and the pedal had fallen to the floor and the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the contact was informed that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that they would not offer any assistance with the repairs. The current mileage was approximately 100,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 80,600.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #8

Dec 222009


  • 63,500 miles
Ford is not allowing my car to be included in the safety recall: 04S13 for powertrain control module re-calibration. I have notified Ford and they are saying they never miss a vehicle that gets recalled. My vehicle has stalled more than 7 times when decelerating under 40pmh. I have brought my car into a mechanic two times for the same problem. Everytime it was determined that there was no reason for the vehicle to stall.

- Green Bay Wi , WI, USA

problem #7

Jul 142008


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. When the contact decelerated and reached a speed of 40 mph or less, the vehicle would stall. It would completely shut down with no power steering or braking ability. She shifted into neutral while depressing the accelerator pedal in order to restart the vehicle. The failure occurred at least once per day. The dealer stated that they would repair the vehicle at the contact's expense. The manufacturer stated that her VIN was not included in any recalls related to the failure. The current mileage was approximately 110,000 and failure mileage was approximately 107,000.

- Hope Mills , NC, USA

problem #6

Aug 102008


  • miles
My 2003 Ford Escape stalls while driving leaving me without power steering or brakes. I contacted Ford at 800-392-3673 to ask about a recall. I found out that Ford has recalled 363,440 Ford Escapes for this exact problem. I was told that my VIN number did not correspond with the 363,440 Ford Escapes they recalled but to keep intouch with my service manager at the Ford dealership for more updates. At this time they cannot do anything about it.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #5

May 262006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
I had a 2003 Ford Escape that started having problems starting. It was usually when I had left the vehicle for 8 or more hours. I would try to start it and it would hesitate and take a while to start it. After a few tries it would jerk back at me and start. This was a problem for about 2-months. On May 26, 2006 I left my vehicle in the parking lot at work. It was the first really hot day (90+ degrees) of the year. When I got back to my car it hesitated when I cranked it. I cranked it again and it popped back and me and then there was an explosion. There was smoke coming out of the hood. I opened the hood (burning my finger in the process) and found parts and pieces everywhere. I took it to the Ford dealership and the upper intake manifold blew apart. The dealer never gave us a reason why (we pushed but we were told that it shouldn't have happened and that the engineer was on vacation). We had the upper intake manifold fixed and it cost us a lot of money out-of-pocket. I asked them for the old upper intake manifold back, but they wouldn't give it back. I was always intending to file a complaint. The Ford was 3-years old with 54,000 miles on it, so it was out of warranty, although the dealer stated that it was a faulty part that caused the problem? it is possible that it was N a horrible misfire, but we aren't sure. I do know that it scared me and could have hurt someone. Luckily the vehicle did not catch on fire. The problem was fixed for 2-months when the vehicle started hesitating again when I started it. I was terrified to drive it and the dealer told me it was unrelated but I could pay (again) to have it looked at. I started having panic attacks when driving the vehicle, so we traded it in. I would like a refund and to stop this from happening to other people.

- Imperial, MO, USA

problem #4

Jan 102005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
NHTSA campaign 04V165000; Ford issued an engine stalling recall. This vehicle is not included in the recall, but the engine stalls unexpectedly. The VIN is outside the remedy scope.

- Wentzville, MO, USA

problem #3

Aug 102004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,121 miles
While driving consumer made a turn and vehicle lost power. Ford stated that recall04V165000 was issued.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #2

Sep 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,600 miles
My 2003 Ford Escape which I purchased in April of 2003 caught fire in the engine due to a defect in the fuel injectors. Within 20 minutes the entire front end of the car was engulfed in flames and destroyed. The flames also penetrated through the fire wall within little time. I am currently working with my insurance company as the car is a total loss. At this time I have had no response to my calls to Ford regarding this extreme malfunction.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #1

May 262003


  • miles
While driving at any speed and without warning the vehicle stalled and it would be hard to start up the vehicle again.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

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