really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 1
Average Mileage:
122,166 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.

2002 Ford Escape brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Mar 122012


  • 169,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic); however, the repair did not remedy the condition. The contact had not experienced any failures prior to the recall repair. The contact noticed excessive smoke under the hood and the cap leaked brake fluid, which impacted the power steering pump and caused a short within the wires and the ABS. The manufacturer was notified of the failures and stated that the vehicle would need to be towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing and repair. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 169,000.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #34

Oct 102015


  • 151,703 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While parked, the vehicle caught fire. The details of the fire were not available. The contact mentioned that the ABS warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V165000 (structure), 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control), and 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic). The contact stated that there was an abnormal noise coming from the front of the vehicle and the suspension was unstable in the front. While parked, the vehicle caught fire on a second occasion. The fire department had to cut the hood open and inspected that the master cylinder was on fire. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was awaiting diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 151,703.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #33

Jul 012014


  • 190,000 miles
For the past year and a half the ABS warning light has been illuminated. I took it to the Ford dealership to have the latest recall fixed regarding the reservoir cap. Ford couldn't get the ABS warning light to turn off...so, hence the light still intermidantly comes on and off. Also, the oil pressure light keeps coming on when I start my car and when I am slowing down. I just had my mechanic change the oil a week ago and and still having the problem. One last thing, the air bag illumination light has been on for the past two years. I took it to my dealer and they couldn't get it to turn off. Am I safe in thinking that my air bag won't deploy just for the heck of it" not sure what to do" but it scares me.

- Post Falls, ID, USA

problem #32

Feb 202015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 209,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic). While the vehicle was stopped at a red light, the brake pedal was depressed to the floor and the contact had to use the emergency brake to stop the vehicle. The ABS and brake warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the rear wheel sensor short circuited and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 209,000. Updated 04/06/15

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #31

Feb 072015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Driving the vehicle down a residential street. Applied the brakes, pedal went to the floor. Car rolled to a stop with limited braking. Placed into park and had passenger pump brakes. Front passenger side brake hose adjacent to the caliper had ruptured. Saw online that this is a common problem with 1st generation Ford Escapes. Could have been serious in heavy traffic!

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #30

Jan 192015


  • 196,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while attempting to start the vehicle, the brake pedal depressed to the floor and there was smoke emitting from the vehicle. The vehicle caught on fire which was extinguished by the contact. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the ABS electrical system had failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic). However, the contact did not receive the recall notice. The dealer informed the contact that the vehicle had surpassed the statue of limitations for the recall. The approximate failure mileage was 196,000.

- Clarksville, AR, USA

problem #29

Sep 202011


  • miles


My complaint is about the master cylinder and the rear door latch. I called the Ford dealer and complained about my master cylinder leaking, they told me that recall was already performed on my vehicle in 2012. I wanted to know why would my master cylinder be leaking again two years later? I wonder if this job was ever done. I don't feel that the customer should have to pay for a job that wasn't performed. My other complaint is my rear door latch. I went to the dealer and told them that I was having a problem with my rear door locking and opening. The service department told me I had to pay for this service. Now I see there was a recall on the rear door latch but I was not informed about this recall nor did I receive a recall letter. I want to know how I go about having these services completed.

- Roselle, NJ, USA

problem #28

Nov 212014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 172,000 miles
Neighbor woke me saying my car was on fire. Car wasn't on, the key was not in, and it had sat overnight. Called fire department and fire put out. Car is totaled because the firemen had to break into the engine compartment. Engine area burned with nothing but metal visible and a melted battery. I have pictures.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #27

Aug 262014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 98,328 miles
On August 26, 2014, I went to fair oaks Ford Lincoln dealership service in naperville, Illinois for safety recall notice 14S02 / NHTSA recall 14V-165 repairs, and I asked them to check an issue where when brakes are applied, there is a scraping/grinding noise, followed by a knocking noise, which can affect reliable stopping and the vehicle steering stability. Safety recall repairs were completed, then it was reported that the mechanic "pushed back" the vacuum plate cover for the rotor on the driver's side to resolve the scraping/grinding/knocking issue when applying the brakes. The issue with the braking action and subsequent noises and response of vehicle exhibited itself again by the second stoplight away from the fair oaks Ford dealer location. Two days later, on August 28, 2014, I took my 2002 Ford Escape to gearhead auto sales & repair in glen ellyn, Illinois for an inspection and repair cost estimate. On the lift, the issue was apparent to the mechanic at gearhead to be the right front axle being faulty, and he replaced the right front axle, with boots, clamps and grease. My issue is that the Ford dealer mechanic inspected and repaired my vehicle for the Ford safety recall notice 14S02 / NHTSA recall 14V-165 in the same proximity on the passenger side of the vehicle when it was on the lift, but he failed to find and report the easily seen faulty right front axle problem the gearhead mechanic promptly reported to me. Instead, the Ford representative falsely pointed to the driver's side front brake rotor vacuum plate being out of place as being the issue causing the scraping/grinding/knocking noise when applying the brakes. Is there any tie to the "corrosion-related separation" safety recall issue that led to the faulty right front axle condition? since my unemployment over the past 3 years, my Ford Escape has rarely been driven, and only in my local area.

- Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #26

Aug 092014


  • 86,000 miles
Lost brakes suddenly while driving; managed to control stop with parking brake. Mechanic says right front brake hose broke. He mentioned that hose lines are too short in this model and tend to crack and break, especially when wheel fully turned, stretching hose. All other brake lines are cracked and must be replaced to avoid same issue. Mechanic reports that this is a common problem in Ford Escapes and an internet search returned multiple consumer complaints about same issues, but no recall or warnings issued. I don't know what the threshold for recalls is, but my brakes went out just when I was leaving a crowded grocery store parking lot. Had my reaction time not been as quick it is quite possible someone could have been injured or killed. Thank you.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #25

May 012014


  • 150,000 miles


Brake lines crack prematurely and cause a blow out of the line. Loose control of braking system for the vehicle. I have replaced front brake lines twice since owning and now for a 3rd time for 3 of the 4 wheels. It was recommended by my mechanic to file a report with the NHTSA for this as they see this on nearly every Ford Escape that comes in for brake related issues.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #24

Jul 012014


  • 106,037 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that all four brake lines hose had to be replaced due to rust. The contact also stated that the alternator failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 106,037.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #23

Jun 222014


  • 150,000 miles
The car was sitting in the driveway. A couple hours before I had run the car idle in the drive to add coolant. At around 3 pm my neighbor called the fire department and notified us of smoke under our carport. Fire department said it looked like the brakes caught fire. After the incident the research and talking to the dealer brought to my attention safely recall notice 11 S24 that would have prevented the fire. I never got recall info as I bought the car second hand. Called Ford and they said there is nothing they could do.

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #22

May 272014


  • 122,600 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while traveling 55 in the rain, the contact attempted to decelerate but the vehicle skid and crashed into a median. There were no injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 122,600.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #21

Apr 012014


  • 174,390 miles
I was approaching a traffic light to turn. As I applied the brake instead of stopping the truck accelerated. Hitting the back of a vehicle.

- Goldsboro, NC, USA

problem #20

Nov 262013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 163,975 miles
On Nov 26 I was driving to my work at 45 miles per hour and the distance I kept from the car in front of me was sufficient to allow me stopping adequately. Suddenly, I noticed that traffic was approaching to a red light so I tap on the brakes to slow down and stop. However, the brakes were not reducing the speed so immediately I stamped on the brake pedal to let the car stop while simultaneously, I looked to realize that I could not change lanes. At this point I was left with no time to gear down the transmission or to pull the emergency brake. Consequently, my Ford Escape was forced to stop by crashing into the car in front of me and producing a domino effect involving a third vehicle in front of us. Fortunately, no personal injuries were reported from the other two drivers whose cars were involved.. I did suffered slight neck pain and after visiting the hospital I did not had major injuries or nothing to worry about so far. In regards to personal property damages, the two cars in front of mine, had minimal damages but, mine was severely damaged to the point is totally inoperable. All claims were reported and taken care by geico, my insurance company. Also a traffic crash car report was filed. I received a driving traffic citation from the police, which I plan to escalate to the courthouse, after knowing that the brake failure I experienced resulted from manufacturer's defects reported by Ford under recalls 11S24 and 12 S37. * please note that this writing is only for information purposes and to alert any other drivers to perform on-time maintenance check-ups to prevent similar or worst scenarios.

- Orlando , FL, USA

problem #19

Oct 212011


  • miles
First incident- I was coming off an exit and the car infront of me got cut off on the off ramp because there was an entrance right after the turn, he brake and I slammed on my brakes. My ABS did not kick in. I did rear ended the car infront of me, but my car had all the damage. I did not think anything of this and only blamed myself. My car got repaired. Now (10/28/13)- my cars ABS/brakes are not working. I do not feel safe behind the car. Last year 2012, I got the recalls completed but they were minor. But my ABS system/brakes are crucial. My brakes are sticking, pulsing, going all the way to the floor. It is more than just a tone ring! that is the response I received when I went to a Ford dealership. Something is incorrect with my ABS pump and something has to be done about it. When I think of the first incident I think something may have been wrong all along.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #18

Aug 282013


  • 127,243 miles
My Escape was parked in driveway when we went to go to town and it was smoking then on fire this was in the evening about 8 if we hadn't gone out we would have had a huge fire witch could have involved 3 other cars not to mention our house we live in ramona ca 92065 and its fire season we are in a rural area..

- Julian, CA, USA

problem #17

Apr 132013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 124,164 miles
Had powertrain control module re-calibrated, re-programmed PCM, ABS module connector repair and inspection, ABS relay installation and master cylinder cap replaced, all re-calls. Find out hcu hydraulic control unit is failing which is a safety hazard and can result in brakes failing and possible death from loss of control and accident. Thank god this hasn't happened but Ford needs to take responsibility fix this issue with so many others with same problem.

- Baytown , TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 052013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 84,555 miles
My 2002 Escape was serviced for a recall issued a few years back. The wiring harness on the ABS brake system. When we took it in to have the recall repaired the dealer said the ABS module was bad- $900 to fix it!! they say it is not related because it didn't catch fire or burn up/melt the wiring harness"? I have to wait for parts to melt or catch fire before they will fix the part it plugs into?" every vehicle we have purchased now in the last 20 years has been a Ford. We paid off both our Ford and were ready to purchase and hand down the Escape to my 16 Y/O daughter.it is not safe! more than 4 recalls all safety related on this vehicle. Our F150 goes in for a few recalls and spark plugs- a whopping $500 to change spark plugs because of the design of the engine and an extra hour of labor for each one that breaks off...lovely! at the mercy of Ford and once again, total dissatisfaction and disappointment. Now they could care less who gets hurt, Iâ¿¿M not going to risk my daughters life or anyone¿'s for that matter. Ford should take care of this. Also, it says ¿¿modified ABS system¿ in recall with master cylinder cap (not even repaired see below)now they want to charge is $900 to repair. Someone or many will end up injured or worse! my 2002 Escape was serviced for a recall issued a few years back. The wiring harness on the ABS brake system (not good) when we took it in to have the recall repaired the dealer said the ABS module was bad- $900 to fix it!! they say it is not related because it didn't catch fire or burn up/melt the wiring harness?? more than 4 recalls all safety related on this vehicle the newest brake system recall is the master cylinder fluid cap (didn't even know about this one and it was not fixed and my fluid is leaking all over the place.

- Dayton, TN, USA

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