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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,028 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

problem #10

Jun 062016


  • 100,000 miles


The SRS airbag light was blinking-the code said that the seatbelt connector had failed-they had to remove and replace the seatbelt connectors costing us $493.13, and this is a safety issue that Ford should cover under a warranty or safety recall. I am out $493.13 plus the $100 diagnostic fee and need to be compensated for this. I have attached the services performed by the repair shop. Ford said it was not covered by warranty or any recall. That is ridiculous. Please advise. Thanks

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #9

Mar 012006


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving at 30 mph, the contact heard a noise coming from the rear passenger side of the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the air bag and seat belts warning lights illuminated and the front driver side seat belt failed to retract. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the rear passenger inner fender well corroded and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was also taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the seat belt pretensioner connectors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Massillon, OH, USA

problem #8

Mar 092015


  • 148,000 miles
Was driving 25 miles an hour down small hill, the car in front of me stopped. I hit the brakes and the car didn't stop it felt as if I was pushing the accelerator like when pushing button! to speed up cruise control and it slowly increases speed. I slammed both feet to the brake and went to reach for emergency brake but never made it. I hit the other car. Last thing I remember is hearing metal crunch, the next thing I remember is smoke, top of my head on left side hairline ached looked in mirror and saw blood. Started looking for my phone on the dash but it was broken.could hear someone talking, then people were walking up to car. When the officer got there he asked what I hit my head on I didn't know, he asked if I had my seatbelt on I said yes. I told him my car wouldn't stop. Realized when E.M.T asked same question I knee I had it on but couldn't remember taking it off, and I told him that. He looked at chest didn't see marks or bruising, he asked again if I was sure, I was sure I put it on. After crash, when got to tow yard next day saw my seat belt broke, I cracked the windshield with my head and broke all under steering wheel with my knees...but the airbags deployed must have been after I hit everything because it hit me in the arm only based on that stinging red raised rash that later bruised on my forearm, no airbag to face injuries, just hit top of head on windshield and knees on lower dash under steering wheel, bruising on stomach lower abdomen near pelvic bone may have been steering wheel. My car kept going faster brakes didn't slow me at all witness said and my seatbelt latch is in pieces, my airbag went of late. My bumper is folded like a flat piece of metal about one inch wide hit it pushing it into my radiator. My SUV was going 25 miles an hour, my SUV bumper hit a small car bumper, that car was stopped. What went wrong?

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #7

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 #6

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 #5

Jul 262011


  • 137,009 miles
I own a 2004 Ford Escape and have had the seatbelt harnesses fixed 3 times. One was just fixed 18 days ago and needs to be replaced yet again. There is a wiring problem with the seatbelt harness. It has been the passenger front seat each time.

- Genoa, WI, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Feb 252010


  • 64,474 miles
1. the rear passenger seat belt was not retracting the way it should when my son would unbuckle from his booster seat. I would have to feed the belt through to have it retract. 2. it happened every time we unbuckled his seat. 3. we switched his seat with my daughter's, as she is still in a car seat and is latched to the car itself, and was not using her seat belt. We called Ford and it was no longer under warranty and they recommended that we get the part fixed through them because if it fails again, it will be under warranty. It cost us $223 to have his seat belt replaced. I asked Ford to check the other seat belt, on the driver's side (back seat) and they agreed that one has to be replaced too, because it too retracts slowly and catches when trying to buckle it. We didn't know that it wasn't right, until we moved our son to that side. Again, we don't use the seat belt because of the latch system on our daughter's car seat. It will cost us another $223 to have that one fixed too. We are going to wait until we have to move our daughter to a booster before having it fixed. But we find it interesting that both rear seat belts need to be replaced and when for the majority of the time we've owned the car, the 2 car seats were latched in and we didn't use the seat belts.

- Niantic, CT, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Jul 072008

(reported on)

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
2004 Ford Escape with gear selector and airbag warning light issues. Consumer states that mechanic determined that there was a faulty wiring harness for the front seat belts. He gave the ok to replace the wiring harness. The gear selection at the base of the steering column did not light up at night.

- Maryville, IL, USA

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