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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2004 Ford Escape looks pretty good compared to other Ford Escape model years, but still has a trend of transmission problems, and engine problems from the NHTSA complaint data — so it's not a model year we can recommend.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
116,466 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.

2004 Ford Escape body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Mar 102015


  • 118,400 miles


While driving on a rough road I noticed a rattling in the rear compartment that I had never heard before. When I investigated I found the right rear wheel well had disintegrated from rust damage and the shock is now floating basically freely which is causing the noise. I am concerned for the safety and handling of the vehicle at this point. This seems to be a very common issue with Escapes and always the right rear wheel well. Why has Ford not issued a recall? this is clearly a systematic failure.

- Massillon, OH, USA

problem #50

Mar 132015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 118,222 miles
The car started to ride rough over small bumps and a thumping sound could be heard from the right rear wheel well. Thinking I needed new shocks I inspected the wheel well and was horrified to see that the wheel well holding the shock was completely rusted away. There is a hole where the steel used to be. This is only on the right rear wheel well as far as I can see. A local auto body shop will not fix it because of the safety liability and warned me not to drive the car. The car is unsafe and I am at a loss as to what to do with it. After doing some searching I have found many Ford Escapes with the same exact problem. Apparently this is a design defect that Ford knows about and should be responsible for. Had I driven the car a little longer I could have been in a catastrophic crash! Ford needs to fix this or replace my car.

- Matawan, NJ, USA

problem #49

Feb 072015


  • 110,000 miles
I purchased a 2004 Escape a little over a year ago. My cousin had the same car. We both had to take a few thousand loss and sell these vehicles due to severe, unsafe wheel well rust.not to mention catalytic converters on both cars were bad. Two on each Escape. I was ready to do repairs, until a friend with the same Escape had just repaired the body in his for the same issue. So we all took loss. Who is responsible for this?? I had family that worked, and retired from Ford. I had several Ford's over the years. This has put me in a hole..bought it for 6,000. Just gave it away for 1,000. Help.

- Richfield, OH, USA

problem #48

Feb 092015


  • 103,000 miles


2nd Escape I've owned that has had the rear right wheel well rust out, shock breaks loose. Ford saying it has never heard of it, and yet every dealer and body shop I've talked to knows all about it. This should be a recall, faulty part.

- Highland, MI, USA

problem #47

Dec 172014


  • 160,000 miles
While driving to my home went over a small dip in road and SUV made a very load clunking noise in right rear section of vehicle and started handling poorly got it to my parents home which is only few minutes from incident, father looked at and found right rear strut mount and wheel tub rusted out under a thick layer of sound deadening material applied at factory making it nearly impossible to see until it breaks free, father has been a mechanic all his life and tried to get pieces at local salvage yards to repair but found all in a 50 mile radius at salvage yards from years 2001-2007 to be in as bad or worse condition and is currently looking for parts on line out of the rustbelt, I believe if it had happened on a twisty road it could have been a bigger problem fortunately it was a fairly level straight road I can only assume there isn't an investigation on these is that most people don't now where to go to file a complaint I only new to go here because my father told me too, as he believes it to be a major design flaw that may or could lead to injuries

- Frewsburg, NY, USA

problem #46

Dec 302013

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
When driving home on 12/30/14, I heard a loud rattle coming from the right rear of the vehicle. I looked in the rear passenger wheel well and noticed that there was a lot of rust. I did not drive it again until I took it to my mechanic to have it inspected on 1/6/15. He informed me that the wheel well was rusted and the strut could break loose. He also informed me that he had never seen a vehicle do this. I was also informed that it is a safety issue and I should not drive the vehicle until it is fixed. He also checked to see if anyone in the area would be able to fix it since he is not equipped to do so. No luck with that. After seeing how many people are having this same issue with their Ford Escape, I would expect that the Ford company would do the right thing, take responsibility for the defect and make it right. I am prepared to follow through to have this matter taken care of, even if I have to take it to lansing and Washington.

- Jones, MI, USA

problem #45

Dec 302014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles


Another case of a 2004 Ford Escape with extensive right rear wheel well rust putting the strut in danger of coming through the body. I'm currently trying to figure out how and where to get it repaired. This seems to be a flaw in the design of the product. While one would hope Ford would step up I'm not seeing anything on their part so far.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #44

Oct 262014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I was driving the vehicle when I started hearing a loud thumping noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. Upon inspection I discovered there was rust inside the rear passenger wheel well and that the shock mount was unattached from the vehicle.

- Mount Prospect, IL, USA

problem #43

Nov 152014


  • miles
Driving and sounds like a square bowling ball is rolling around in back. Look to find a rusty mess from shock mount going through wheel well. Asked around and seems to be common problem. Thank goodness I wasn't far from home. Very dangerous, why is this not recalled yet!

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #42

Sep 302014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 45 mph, the contact heard a clunking sound near the rear passenger side of the vehicle. The dealer stated that the wheel well was corroded. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- South Montrose, PA, USA

problem #41

Sep 262014


  • miles


Running board rusted and fell off.

- Novi, MI, USA

problem #40

Aug 302013


  • 98,954 miles
I was driving home from the store and started hearing a loud banging noise coming from the rear of the truck. Upon investigation I discovered what I believe to be a major safety concern in my 2004 Ford Escape. The rear passenger side wheel well over the shock tower completely rusted out and separated over the shock. I have been told and seen that this seems to be a common problem with my vehicle and other years of Escapes. After speaking with an independent body shop in my area they informed me this was a common problem they have seen several times before. But when I contacted 3 local Ford dealers they all claimed to have never seen it before. And wanted to charge me a hundred dollars just to look at it. I am told the vehicle is undriveable in this condition. And that in most cases can not be repaired. After doing much research online I found hundreds of other people with the same exact problem. I have also contacted Ford and am awaiting a response. I would like to see a recall made on this as I can see this being a major problem that could have caused an accident. And is going to be a very expensive repair job if it is even repairable. I have photos but am not sure how to attach them.

- Hilbert, WI, USA

problem #39

Aug 102014


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving at an unknown speed, the contact heard a loud abnormal noise near the rear of the vehicle. The contact discovered that the rear passenger side wheel shock and tower were severely corroded and penetrated the subframe and floor interior. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 103,000.

- Chaseburg, WI, USA

problem #38

Jul 012014


  • 220,000 miles
Driving down the road wirht my 2 young kids and all sudden go over the train tracks and the rear strut broke from the shock mount and came right up thru the vehicle I have found thousands of complaints on this issue, Ford needs to step up luck I gained control of vehicle with a 1 mont old baby and a 3 year old this is searious matter! someone is going to die because of this it needs to be fixed!

- Monteagle, NH, USA

problem #37

Jul 052014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
The shock tower in the passenger side rear wheel has broken, due to rust and corrosion, and punctured through the interior of the trunk and the back seat. The interior of the car body has separated from the exterior body so that the wheel and road can be seen from inside the back seat through a large (inch or more wide) gap. There is no corrosion or damage in any other wheel well. There is a corrosion related recall on this car which the dealership says is unrelated to this particular area of the car (safety recall 14S02). Ford's customer "care" center acknowledged multiple complaints yet has no investigation or activity aimed at a remedy for this common problem. Due to Ford's apparent negligence which has caused hundreds of Ford owners identical damage, my car is unsafe and Ford is unwilling to act.

- Forest, OH, USA

problem #36

Jul 022014


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the rear passenger side started to rattle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnose that the rear passenger side wheel well was corroded. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #35

Jun 272014


  • 140,000 miles
My daughter complained about a loud clanging noise from the right rear of her car. I bought it used from a dealer and it has been kept in a garage and used sparingly. Upon inspection I noted that the right rear strut had completely broken free due to extensive rust of the wheel well. I cannot allow her to drive it in this condition. Not sure if it can be repaired yet or whether it will cost more than the car is worth. I now recognize that there are many other owners with the exact same problem. With so many owners having the same experience something should be done.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #34

Jun 302014


  • 109,000 miles
I bought my 04 Escape brand new, and am the original owner car garage kept, this is a severe safety issue!! rusted out wheel well and shock mount went right through the frame while driving at only 15 mph out of a parking lot.

- Hawthorn Woods, IL, USA

problem #33

Jun 152014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 100,740 miles
Rusted out right wheel well with structural collapse. We bought this car used from a local Ford dealer in April of 2013. This car was being driven on a freeway on June 15, 2014 when a loud thumping started in the right rear wheel on. On inspection the right rear wheel well is rusted out. The support that the shock absorber is attached to was completely eroded and a part of it punched through the wall into the interior of the trunk area. We felt it was not safe to drive. We had it towed to another Ford dealer who diagnosed the problem. The estimated cost of repair is $2259. Review of the NHTSA complaint web site reveals many other owners with exactly the same problem.

- Petoskey, MI, USA

problem #32

Apr 182014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 117,586 miles
I have a hole and rust forming in the passenger side rear wheel. This is beginning to expose the shock area. I live in a high salt area.

- Glenshaw, PA, USA

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