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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2004 Ford Escape looks pretty good compared to other Ford Escape model years, but still has a trend of transmission problems, so it's not a model year we can really recommend.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
103,462 miles
Total Complaints:
15 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to pay to replace transmission (12 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. replace transmission (1 reports)
2004 Ford Escape transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #15

Jun 132014

Escape Limited 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles


Transmission has failed yet again! WE ARE NEVER BUYING A FORD AGAIN! A BIG PAIN IN THE REAR!

- , wilson, Oklahoma, USA

problem #14

Oct 012013

Escape Limited 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

After having transmission replaced a year earlier, the new transmission goes out.

OK, so now we are thinking it must be a bad transmission, and get it replaced. It takes over a month for the new transmission to get in to the shop and put into vehicle. In the meantime we are without a car and live in a rural area. My oldest son has school, and my youngest is Autistic, and has to miss much needed multiple therapy sessions. We borrow a car so my husband can go to work. Not to mention we are spending more money to get the tranny replaced. A BIG PAIN IN THE REAR!

- , wilson, Oklahoma, USA

problem #13

Sep 232012

Escape Limited 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Purchased vehicle with 89,000 miles on it in June 2011. September of 2012, we were on our way from Oklahoma, to Colorado, our transmission completely gave out on a remote stretch of Highway, in New Mexico, on a Sunday.

We had our 2 children and our dog with us, needless to say it was a horrible experience. $5000.00 to have our vehicle towed and tranny replaced.

- , wilson, Oklahoma, USA

problem #12

Apr 302013

Escape ELX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,899 miles


I purchased this vehicle as a used vehicle in Aug of 2013. Approx 6 months later without any warning the transmission went out and had to be replaced. I had to take a loan out on my 401 k in order to pay for it to be replaced. Now 9 months later it has gone out again, but that will be in a second report.

Thank you,

Synthia Cable

- , Diamond Springs, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 122014

Escape ELX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 195,359 miles

Transmission was replaced approximately 9 months ago and now it has gone out again. It needs to be replaced. I do not have money for this and I feel Ford should stand behind there vehicles and replace the transmission because obviously this is not normal wear and tear.

Thank you,

Synthia Cable

- , Diamond Springs, CA, USA

problem #10

Sep 142011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

at 90k miles my 2004 Ford Escape's transmission went out and with all my calls to Ford telling them this needs to be a recall they offered me 10% off. I had a Transmission put in (took me 6 months to get the money) well at 110k miles it went out again. This time a rebuilt was put in for another 2500.00.

I have had cars all my life and never had a transmission go out. My husband had a honda with 300k miles and no problems. FORD WILL NEVER SEE ME AS A CUSTOMER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Mokena, IL, USA

problem #9

Jan 252012

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


I should of learned my lesson. Had 99 Ford Explorer - 5 years old - and the transmission blew. Major expense. So what do I do? Buy '04 Ford Escape last year with 148000. Didn't even own it for 7 months and the transmission blew. No one else in my entire family has had this much bad luck with their vehicles. Theirs have high mileage but no problems. And do you know why? Not a one of them is a fan of Fords - only me.They drive everything else but Fords. Well from now on the majority wins - no more Fords ever! Two Fords in less than 10 years with the same problem? That's more than just a case of bad luck - that's bad workmanship. Shame on you Ford. I relied on these vehicles to go to work. Can't afford more that one at a time. I am having to take loans out on top of car loans to repair. Have no other option. Except in future to buy anything but a Ford!

- , Howes Cave, New York, USA

problem #8

Dec 012010

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

3rd & 4th gears went out w/out warrning when Escape was in 6th yr/95k of service and not under warranty. Bought used @ 1-yr old. Research shows many owners with same experience. In 30+ years of new and used vehicles, I've never had a transmission failure; never expected this to happen these days except in the case of neglect, abuse of freak occurance. Obviously this isn't the case for many others like me. I've no doubt Ford is ducking and covering on this - not honorig their customers. Only 4 things I can do. Complain, fix out of my pocket, vow to never buy a Forrd again, and disuade family, friends and others as much as I can from buying one, ever. FORD, YOU'VE FAILED YOUR CUSTOMERS, YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS MANY TIMES OVER!!!!!!!!

- , Caribou, Maine, USA

problem #7

Jan 052009

Escape XL ?, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Wow, where do I start? What an unexpected repair. I hopped in my car to go home and couldn't get out of the parking lot at work. I tried to put the car in reverse and it wouldn't move. I called Aamco, thinking because Aamco specializes in transmissions that I would get a good deal. They held on to my car for almost a week before calling me to say it would cost between $3500 to $4000 to repair. I kindly grabbed my vehicle and took it to the Ford dealership, which had it for a day to say it would cost around $2800. Since having the transmission repaired, I have had no other serious problems.

- , Stafford, VA, USA

problem #6

Mar 022009

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Why would the transmission fail at 58,000 miles? I had the transmission flushed at 30,000 but it still failed. It has to be a design problem but.... no recall. Ford only offered 3yr 36,000 mile warranty on this year for the power train. Stand behind your products Ford!

- , Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #5

Oct 062008

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


OK, 70K and the transmission is dead ??. Car is in great shape, always maintained to the top level. However, great, I still have to pay for the repair - (or rebuilt transmission) Dealer is very nice to me and took the time to explain about the drum inside that"let loose" and caused the problems. Sounds like a product reliability issue not a worn or damaged part. OUCH $3200.00 to repair. In my industry if the same issue happens over and over again we, the MFG, stand behind the product, even after 15 year. This really sounds like it's a known issue at Ford. Now that I look back, the car needed a just little more gas coming from a dead stop and up to speed. I now realize it was jumping into 2nd a little earlier and expected, but most of the time I was only driving around town. All in 2 days and DEAD TRANSMISSION.

- , North Aurora, IL, USA

problem #4

Aug 242008

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,769 miles

As I am finding out, the Escape transmission is a weak point. I have owned mine since new and I guess I am pretty lucky having got this far (167,000 km) before I lost reverse and needed an overhaul. I am a journeyman auto technician so I have a better understanding than most of the reason these transmissions are failing. Turns out the bushings are not holding up which is effecting the hydraulic pressure. The first sign of the bushings failing is a leak at the front input shaft. The bushing wears causing the seal to leak. About 20,000 km later is when I lost reverse when warm, worked fine cold.

The transmission shop that is rebuilding mine said that there are aftermarket bushings which are wider and should hold up better than the smaller stock bushings. The funny thing is there is room in the case for a wider bushing... looks like Ford tried to save a few pennies on bushings and it is costing their customers thousands. The big punch will come to them is lost future sales.

I will most likely not keep mine long enough to know how long the rebuild lasts but at least it is a step in the right direction.

- , Saskatoon, SK, Canada

problem #3

May 172008

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I have a 2004 Ford Escape XLT that I brought w/ 20,000 miles. My Escape is only 4 yrs old and have 87,000 miles, w/ the transmission going out. What type of mess is this! The way the economy is going, do Ford expect us to just be able to by a new transmission or new car. I called the Ford company to see if there was a recall on all 2002 to 2005 escapes, but they stated that there was no other complaints. Unless there is a recall, I will never by another Ford aka- (Found On Road Died)!

- , Momence, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 152007

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

My wife and I bought our 2004 Excape No boundaries edition 4x4 new off the lot. We always had it serviced by the dealer including transmission flushed around 36K miles. We had noticed that sometimes after starting the car the transmission would be hard to get into gear and then thunk when it went into gear. No big thing. Late 2007 we took 2 friends to the mountains and stayed at another friend's cabin. The cabin was at the top of a very steep road with several stop signs. Each time we started off onto the hill from a stop, the transmission would slip and then thunk into 1st gear. This got progressively worse over the course of the two day stay at the cabin. We drove home and noticed that once we were on the highway there were no problems. About 2 miles from our house we exited the highway and had to stop. Taking off we got the same THUNK going into 1st. I told my wife to take the truck to the dealer the next day. The next day, on the way to her work, the service engine/OD light started up and the transmission went completely to crap. The car was noisy and barely moving. A cottmans transmission shop is near her work, so I told her to take it there. They said the transmission needed a complete rebuild. I took the Escape to the dealer and they said the same thing. We had the transmission rebuilt at the least expensive place and immediately traded the vehicle. I had searched the internet and found dozens of complaints about the transmission failing even after being rebuilt. I will say, Ford came back (after I had it fixed) and offered to cut me a good deal to install a rebuilt unit. Also, this was the only real problem the car ever had, but it was a biggie.

- , Harrisburg, NC, USA

problem #1

Jul 132007

(reported on)

Escape LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,900 miles

Transmission died 3 months after the 3-year warranty expired. The dealership said they would not cover anything because I had not had the transmission serviced at 25,000 km (15,000 miles). Ford Canada took the same stand. They phoned and bugged me about oil changes prematurely but never phoned me about something that basically voides any warranty claims. Whoever heard of servicing your transmission with only 15,000 miles on it. GM recommends servicing at 50,000 miles which makes more sense.

The Escape was driven in the city only and has no towing equipment. This transmission servicing requirement at such a low mileage means that either 1) the transmission is very weak to need such constant attention or 2) the servicing requirement is a gimmick by Ford to avoid fixing their faulty transmissions. This was my first Ford purchase in 30 years and I was recommending the Escape to my relatives until this happened. I'm sticking with GM products from now on.

- , Calgary, AB, Canada

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