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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,155 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #10

Aug 012012

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact was driving up a steep incline approximately 25 mph when the engine rpms increased abnormally and the transmission failed to respond. The vehicle was driven to a nearby authorized dealer for diagnosis where they informed the contact that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 81,000. Updated 01/15/13 updated 12/23/2013

- Mckenzie, TN, USA

problem #9

Jul 252011

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
Ford Escape limited 2004 problem with automatic transmission, don't work VIN:[xxx]. I bought in March 2011. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Coyhaique, 00, USA

problem #8

Jun 222009


  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford Escape XLT w/ 60000 miles. It required a torque converter replacement as part of the transmission shifting problem. Why isn't this listed as a recall item/ online it appears there have been several transmission failures for this vehicle. All vehicles, including mine have been well maintained. This vehicle and those in online reports indicate very similar failures. This seems to be a manufacturing deficit/ fault. This transmission problem should be a recall/replacement item!

- Midland, MI, USA

problem #7

May 102009


  • 90,000 miles


The transmission on my 2004 Ford Escape stopped working while driving on the highway. The car went from drive to neutral at 60 mph. It happened while I was accelerating to change lanes and almost caused a major accident as the car behind me had to slam on it's brakes and swerve to avoid other vehicles.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 132007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
Consumer noticed the vehicle was using excessive fuel and was not shifting into gear properly. At one time, the vehicle would not go into reverse. The dealer examined vehicle and determined that transmission was defective, even with up to date service records, and noted that problem first started at 49,000 miles, manufacturer refused to assist in repair.

- Laporte, CO, USA

problem #5

Oct 172005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,346 miles
Came out of park while I was pumping gas and rolled into the store. ( about 35 feet ).

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #4

Mar 272004


  • miles


My 2001 Ford Escape had its automatic transmission break at 40,00 miles. It had to be repaired 3 more times within the year, the third time after having the recall for the stalling problem. There was a seam weld broken in clutch drum in 2nd repair.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #3

Mar 212004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,104 miles
Complete transmission failure at freeway speed. No accident, injuries, or property damage was involved. The vehicle a '04, Ford, Escape, 2wd, auto, had 5,104 miles and was less than 90 days old. Vehicle was towed to dealership, which promptly replaced defective transmission with a new one. Total time required was (6) working days. Most of the required time was waiting for the delivery of a new transmission. Dealership reported the transmission failure was due to the "planetary bearing". the "needle bearings" in the "planetary bearing" had failed. They disintegrated. Small metal fragments worked through out the transmission, resulting in excessive internal damage. Transmission was repaired under warranty. All costs for towing, repair, and loaner were paid by Ford Motor Co. Repair work was performed by dick masheter - Ford and they did a good job. I did request a 3yr, 36,000 mile warranty for the new transmission. This was denied. I still have the original factory warranty of 3 yr, 36,00 miles; but I wanted the clock reset for the new transmission. This would have extended the warranty for the new transmission to 41,104 miles. A single failure may happen, since we don't live in a perfect world. I'm filing a complaint for informational purposes, so the NHTSA may track this type of failure and perhaps determine if it requires further investigation and/or a recall.

- Gahanna, OH, USA

problem #2

Feb 162004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2004 Ford Escape rolls backward when in drive on an incline (moderate to steep). The dealer says this is normal. I think this is a safety problem.

- East Troy, WI, USA

problem #1

Jan 242004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,100 miles
Consumer noticed the vehicle was using excessive fuel and was not shifting into gear properly. At one time, the vehicle would not go into reverse. The dealer examined vehicle and determined that transmission was defective. The manufacturer replaced the transmission.

- Mckean, PA, USA

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