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:
11 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,442 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #14

Apr 242010


  • 97,000 miles


I owned a 2003 Escape and had a head on accident in which the air bags did not go off. Not sure why there has not been a recall one the air bags with so many people having the same problem. Air bag light never came on or gave me any problem.

- Poahontas, AR, USA

problem #13

Apr 252010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 91,366 miles
On 4/25/2010 I had a person run an intersection causing me to hit them. My air bags did not go off like they should have. My front bumper and grill were pushed all the way to the engine causing engine damage as well. I have heard of others doing the same thing. I drove a 2003 Ford Escape XLT. It was totaled in the crash. I was wearing my seat belt which was the only thing that keep me safe. I still got hurt with a hurt neck and back.

- Hot Springs, AR, USA

problem #12

Jan 012005


  • 50,500 miles
A wiring harness for the airbag/safety restraint system in my 2003 Ford Escape frequently has problems causing the airbag light to illuminate -- and according to Ford the airbag is disabled. I have had this problem off and on since approximately 2005. Ford is aware that this model year has problems with this wiring harness and issued a technical bulletin that owners must replace the harness. If wiring harness is faulty and causes airbags to disable, shouldn't this be a safety recall instead of a technical bulletin for consumers to repair at their own expense?

- Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #11

Oct 112008


  • miles


Problem with air bag light, take by to dealer on numbers time (5). Every two weeks for the time of purchase (10/11/2008) can't seem to get it right the dealer stated the bag won't work when need.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #10

Dec 282008


  • 73,698 miles
Problem: Vehicle is beeping warning beeps from cluster area, electrical system. Airbag light/beeper keeps going off, just paid Ford dealer $595.20 to replace wiring harnesses to both front seats and both body harnesses for code B1869, removed instrument cluster and replaced bad bulb for air bag system, clear all codes and road test 3 miles. I googled this problem with Ford Escapes, seems to be an overall problem with electrical airbag wiring.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #9

Jun 262007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,754 miles
Beginning in April 2007, my 2003 Ford Escape XLT (current mileage 118754) experienced an intermittent problem with the air bag warning light. If the power driver's seat had been moved, then the light would appear and flash on the instrument panel for a period of time, then disappear without any action taken. This series of event happened 2-3 times between April - June, 2007. The last time the problem surfaced was June 25, 2007. The light was flashing when I started my vehicle on June 26, 2007. Approximately 5 minutes after starting my vehicle on that date, I was stopped at an intersection when a truck approaching from my left lost its trailer. The trailer crashed into the front driver's side of my vehicle at approximately 60 miles per hour. None of the air bags within my vehicle deployed. My vehicle sustained severe damage to the front end. Although no injuries were sustained as a result of this accident, I believe that an impact of this force into my front bumper should have deployed my front air bags, and that the failure to deploy can be attributed to the faulty sensor on my instrument panel.

- Taft, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 042006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles


: the contact stated while driving 35 mph on normal road conditions, the vehicle had a collision with another vehicle. The airbags did not deploy. The seat belts were worn however the contact was injured with a sternum fracture. A police report was filed at the scene of the accident. The fire department evacuated the driver to the nearest hospital. The vehicle was taken to a body shop but they were not able to determine why the airbags and seat belts failure occurred.

- Pico Rivera, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 102005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles
2003 Ford Escape was involved in a collision, the front end received massive damage. My complaint is that the air bag did not deploy. My daughter was driving, hit her head. The police officer on the scene made the statement that the airbag should have deployed. The car is at the auto shop for estimate, as of 10-10-05 the estimate has hit $9300, with more expected.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #6

Jun 062005


  • miles
Potential safety defect in the 2003 Ford Escape. The consumer was involved in an accident and the airbag failed to deploy. The consumer did not state if he was injured.

- Munroe Falls, OH, USA

problem #5

Aug 242004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The consumer was involved in a rear end collision in his 2003 Ford Escape. Upon impact the air bags did not deploy. Prior to the accident, the vehicle was taken to the dealer on 6 six occasions because the air bag light illuminated.

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #4

Nov 102004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles


My wife, donna P. wright, was involved in an accident on 12/10/2004 at approx. 7:15 am on marriottsville road # 2 in eldersburg, md. The accident involved our 2003 Ford Escape and Ford F350 truck pulling a trailer with a bobcat heavy equipment. It was raining heavily at the time. The Ford truck was approaching a curve when its trailer jacknifed and hit my wife's Ford Escape head on. According to the body shop owner who towed our car, the frame was bent in two feet. There was extensive damage to the engine, bumper, hood, radiator and bumper. The car was totaled. However, the airbags did not deeply. Fortunately, my wife escaped with minor injuries (cuts and bruises). I immediately notified Ford Motor Company consumer relations. Their response was that if I wanted to determine what caused the airbags not to deploy, that I would have to take the vehicle to a Ford dealership and pay for the test of the sensor. I find that rather ridiculous.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #3

Aug 242004


  • 50,842 miles
The consumer was involved in an accident yet the vehicle's air bags did not deploy. The consumer sustained a sprained neck and hematoma caused by the seat belt. The consumer took the vehicle in for service due to the airbag light intermittently coming on and eventually staying on. Consumer suffered injuries to the neck as a result of the air bag not deploying. Police report was taken. Consumer was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 232004

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
While driving between 35 to 40 mph vehicle was involved in a frontal collision. Upon impact, air bags failed to deploy. Driver wore a seat belt.

- Wantagh, NY, USA

problem #1

Jun 272003


  • miles
While driving about 55 mph another vehicle jump in front of the consumers vehicle. The consumers vehicle veered off the road onto the shoulder, hit an embankment and flipped three times. The driver side air bag didn't deploy.

- Chase City, VA, USA

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