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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,886 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Jan 082013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator constantly illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated the seat belt pre-tensioner connectors needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 74,000. Updated 3/14/13

- Washington , IL, USA

problem #16

Oct 012011

Escape 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Air bag light flashing red, code 47, connectors replaced light still illuminated. Dealer cost estimate $400+ dollars and no warranty. Unable to fix due to cost with no warranty. Real safety concern air bag will not deploy in crash.

- Palmetto Bay, FL, USA

problem #15

Mar 152008


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that at engine start up, air bag warning light illuminated. On a seperate occassion, the accelerator pedal detached from the vehicle while attempting a turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and a private mechanic to diagnose both failures. The dealer confirmed that a computer chip failed and the private mechanic replaced the throttle cable for the detached accelerator pedal. The manufacturer was contacted. The failure mileage was 52,000 and the current mileage was 78,116.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #14

Apr 012008

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles


Airbag light flashes and then stays on. Warning code is 46. Took vehicle into Ford dealership to fix this approximately 4 years ago. Not sure what service was performed, but the issue was never fixed. Light went on again a year later and has gone on and off for years. Due to time and cost, could not bring vehicle in for repair a second time. Was recently told by Ford service rep that I would probably pay $400 to fix. May be seatbelt pretensioner. Was informed that airbags would not deploy if this was not fixed.this is a known issue and there was a tsb (technical service bulletin)regarding this issue. In my research I found that there are many Ford Escape owners having the same problem. Due to the high cost to repair, and with so many people out of work, many consumers may not have this work done, which is a safety hazard. To date, I am not able to pay for this repair. Due to safety issue this poses there should be a recall for this.

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #13

Mar 152012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 76,900 miles
The air bag warning light stays on. Took it in to see what the problem was. They said we need to replace the pretensioner and connecters. Very expensive estimate. I did a little research and someone suggested checking under the seat (driver side) for a loose connection. We have been adjusting the seat back and forth because we have a teenager learning to drive. We did check under the seat to make sure there was not a loose connection. Now the air bag light does not stay lit. Not sure if by jiggling some wires to make sure there wasn't a loose connection that we may have solved the problem. Not sure this vehicle is safe to drive.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #12

Dec 302010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
2004 Ford Escape XLT with 72,000 miles. Air bag light came on after vehicle was started. Turned the vehicle off and air bag light went away. 4 days later air bag light came on again and now it stays on. The light flashes a code of 4-6 three times and then stays lit. I was informed that there is a service bulletin concerning this issue and the fix is to replace the wiring harness going to the seatbelts for a cost of around $400, which is not covered by the Ford Motor Company. Since the air bag light is on, the air bag will not deploy creating a safety hazard. Since this is a safety related item it should be covered by a recall.

- Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

problem #11

Dec 082010


  • 42,800 miles


After driving about 10 miles my airbag warning light came on. On the way back, it again came on after about 10 miles - it flashed a few times and then stayed on. The Ford dealer tested the car and said the warning light was caused by both front pretensioner connectors costing $397.99. I looked up pretensioner on the internet and saw many complaints specific to 2004 Ford Escapes. There were also solutions such as disconnecting the light, ignoring the light, and rigging the wires under the seat. My concern is that this is a wide spread defect that may lead to lack of safety and highway death. It is an expensive repair that consumers may ignore.

- Novi, MI, USA

problem #10

Dec 012008

Escape 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact noticed that the air bag warning indicator would constantly illuminate on the instrument panel. The auto shop replaced the seat belt pre-tensioner connectors at the cost of $480.48. There had been no other failures since the repair. The failure mileage was 90,000 and current mileage was 91,731. Updated 02/24/09. Updated 02/26/09.

- Kaukauna, WI, USA

problem #9

Jul 212008


  • 95,500 miles
Starting approximately one week ago, the airbag light is on constantly in my 2004 Ford Escape, indicating that the airbag will not deploy in case of an accident when it is needed. I called ramsey Ford, where I bought the car, described the problem and made an appointment with them. They could not fit it into their schedule until yesterday. They performed a diagnostic test that indicated that both seat belt connectors should be replaced at a cost of $332.27. They did not have the parts in stock, but told me that the airbag would not work during a crash. I paid $42.50 for the diagnostic. Being forced to wait until parts arrived, but worried that the airbag would not work if needed, I researched and found out that this is a very common problem with the Ford Escape and many people are driving on the roads with no airbag protection. If this safety hazard is so prevalent in these vehicles, there should be a recall by Ford to fix this problem.

- Oxford, PA, USA

problem #8

Jul 082008


  • 89,500 miles
Air bag warning light lit. Ford dealer had a service bulletin to change wiring harness for $415 wiring for safety equipment should not fail in 4 years.

- Lewisberry, PA, USA

problem #7

May 232007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,490 miles


On 5/21/2007 while on my way to work the airbag warning light on the intrument cluster began to flash. After a few sequences of flashing the light came on steady. When I arrived at work I called and arranged a time to take the vehicle to a dealership to be repaired. On 5/23/2007 I received a call from the dealershi, P and they informed me it was a bad airbag wiring harness that needed to be replaced, and the cost of parts and labor would be approximately $390. Also, this was the second time I have had a problem with the airbag warning light on this vehicle. The first time approximately 1 year ago, I can get details when I get the vehicle back. I got the same indications, and a dealer made the repair and the explanation was a shorted out twire in the passenger seat sensor. That repair cost was approximately $300. I as wondering if this was a common problem, and if this was a safety related failure am I responsibe to pay for the repair.

- West Friendship, MD, USA

problem #6

Mar 272007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,766 miles
For the 5th time while driving under normal conditions, the airbag light flashed and remained on constantly. Took vehicle back to same dealer that has worked on vehicle repeatedly for same airbag problem. Per dealer, perform self test on rcm module koeo B1994. Pinpoint test found and replaced both side air bag connector on harness side. Cleared code and retest ok after repair.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 292006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
The airbag light on the dash board flashes as it's supposed to and then remains illuminated. After having the car into the shop they informed me that it's a problem with the circuit and would cost an additional $100 just to move forward and may cost more. After researching the issue it appears that several people have this problem with their Escapes and it fails after being fixed repeatedly.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jan 232006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,705 miles
(1) normal driving to work & school. (2) while driving on freeway to work approx 70 mph, airbag warning light came on for 3rd time. (3) returned vehicle back to dealer with following results: Perform self test on rcm module koeo B1881. Pinpoint test found high resistance on passenger side pretensioner. Remove both from seat & replaced pretensioner connectors per tsb 05-17-11. Cleared code & retest ok after repair.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 062005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,640 miles
(1) I drive approximately 60 miles per day. Vehicle is used primarily for driving to work and transporting children to school & activities. (2) on 12/6/05, I returned vehicle to dealership for 2nd time due to air bag warning light illuminating. (3) per dealer description: Performed self test on rcm module koeo B1998. Pinpoint test found high resistance in side air bag harness. Replaced connector under passenger seat per tsb 04-26-12. Cleared code & retest okay.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 012004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 Escape will not start. Vehicle was purchased in September of 2003. It has been to the dealer 6 times for it not starting and they say that they cannot find anything wrong with it and to let the problem get a "little worse" and maybe they can find out what is wrong. This has happened in warm weather and cold weather. I contacted Ford's consumer telephone number and was told that the dealer cannot find any codes so they can't fix it. Just because a computer can't tell the mechanic how to do their job does not mean that there is nothing wrong with my car. Ford offered to reimburse me a car rental so II could leave my car at the dealer again for an extended period of time so they can try and figure out what is wrong. I do not have extra money laying around for a rental so they can have my car again for service and then have to wait for a reimbursement. This vehicle starts when it wants to and hesitates. This is a constant issue and I believe I have a defective vehicle.

- Covington, KY, USA

problem #1

Sep 282004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,381 miles
I purchased used 2004 Ford Escape with 5650 miles in 8/04. In sept04, front passenger door unlatched while I was driving in parking lot. My 13-yr-old son was in the passenger seat. After I stopped the vehicle, he attempted to open the door using the door handle, and the door would not open. He then tried unlocking the door using the pwr door control to no avail. I then used the driver side pwr door control to lock/unlock the door, and door still would not open. Suddenly the door look control on passenger side began locking/unlocking by itself. In order to open the door, I had to get out of the car and open the passenger door from the outside. I took car into dealership, and they did not find a problem. Five days later on 10/5/04, the airbag light came on. Returned vehicle to the same dealership. Dealership advised blinking code 37. They ran self test on rcm module. Fault code is B1998 (passenger side air bag high resistance). Code was cleared & self test re-ran. They also flexed wires at connectors & fault did not return. On 11/24/04, I returned vehicle to dealership again because airbag light came on again. The found same fault code. Dealer found oasis message 18280. Ford is working on a fix that is supposed to be available 4th quarter 2004. Dealer cleaned terminals per Ford instructions & re-tested. I asked service advisor if my airbags will work, and he advised he didn't know. I feel this is a safety hazard.

- Folsom, CA, USA

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