really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,806 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Oct 092015


  • 132,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While the vehicle was stopped and waiting for a train to cross the tracks, the contact attempted to place the vehicle back in gear but the vehicle would not shift out of the park position. An independent mechanic was contacted and arrived at the scene. The independent mechanic diagnosed that the shift lever had disengaged from the transmission and would need to be bolted back into place. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V606000 (power train). The contact also stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would experience unexpected acceleration and was difficult to slow down. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 132,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #23

Apr 062015

Escape 6-cyl

  • 230,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While shifting gears from drive to park, the vehicle rolled backwards without warning. The contact was able to stop the vehicle by engaging the hand brake. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the shift gear stick disengaged from the transmission and the shift lever assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V606000 (power train). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 230,000. Updated 04/13/16 the repair shop replaced the shift cable. Updated 04/20/16.

- Hartland, WI, USA

problem #22

Sep 302015


  • 118,000 miles
My car jerks when driving very badly hed many repairs done to no avail 118,000 miles have a disabled husband car is unrieabledriving on highway and local streets to get home.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #21

Mar 192015

Escape 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While driving at 30 mph, the vehicle jerked and the contact heard a noise coming from the steering wheel and front of the vehicle. The check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer multiple times. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure and repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000. Updated 7/16/15

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #20

Jul 112014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated there was a fuel odor coming from the ignition. In addition, the contact stated that when driving there would be a sudden deceleration in speed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacture was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Vilaland, NJ, USA

problem #19

Mar 232014


  • 184,000 miles
I put the vehicle in reverse to back up and when I put vehicle back in drive it died/stalled. This has repeatedly happened along with dying at stop signs, red lights and multiple times at slow speeds. Also the vehicle has repeatedly "stumbled" at various speeds up to 65 mph.

- Winona, TX, USA

problem #18

Mar 062014


  • 96 miles


This incident happened back in February of 2014, while I was leaving my house to take my car for an oil change, when I stepped on the gas, it suddenly just stalled at 10mph, so I released the gas and then pressed on it again, the second time was fine, but when I came to a full stop and pressed on the gas, it stalled again, after it passes 10 mph, the vehicle was just cruising continuously. So one time my car stalled again and I almost hit the car in front of me, luckily I did not. For me this is a safety issue as well as a engine/transmission issue. This was not the only time this incident had happened. And just recently I took it Ford for a diagnose and they had told me that it needs a new transmission and they quoted me $4500 to get it fixed.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #17

Mar 082014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated while driving from a complete stop the transmission failed to respond without any warning. The vehicle was towed to the residence. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated there was no recall related to the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #16

Sep 282013


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while stopped at a stop light, the accelerator was depressed and the vehicle stalled suddenly. The contact was able to restart the vehicle but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic, where the contact was informed that the transmission failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure and current mileage was 200,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #15

May 292012


  • 86,036 miles
Lower control arm ripped off under cradle & ripped passenger side drive shaft off the transmission - the wheel fell off the car. It appears under cradle rusted from inside. I shudder at the thought of that happening when my wife was on the freeway, instead of coming to a stop. This vehicle was always kept in the garage.

- Chardon, OH, USA

problem #14

Apr 202013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the link for the gear shifter failed and the vehicle could not be driven. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic, who stated that the link for the gear shifter was rusted and became fractured. The failure caused the transmission to become unresponsive. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 100,000.

- Bayonne, NJ, USA

problem #13

Nov 092012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 172,000 miles
The vehicle, after being turned off, would not turn back on, and the gear indicator square that surrounds the engaged gear was multiplying, flashing and "dancing" from gear to gear. This happened a second time exactly one week later, and this time the interior lights were flashing and could not be stopped. After quite some time once the key was removed and the door was closed, the flashing interior lights ceased and would only continue again once the key was in the ignition. Though removing the key caused the lights to stop flashing, even once the key was removed, the indicator square continued the behavior. Periodically during operation the lights strengthen in and out when idling.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #12

Nov 192012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 172,000 miles
Going between 34-37 mph today, my vehicle completely stalled upon slight deceleration as I was attempting to switch into another lane.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #11

Oct 192012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Upon pressing the brake, at any speed, the vehicle completely shuts off. This has caused me to be nearly rear-ended on several occasions. It happens without notice, and is becoming more consistent. I took it to the dealership, as there were recalls on my vehicle, but they said while that is a problem for my make and model, it was in fact not one of the recalls to be performed. I had two recalls performed, neither of which helped this problem at all. It leaves me halted in intersections, and makes for abrupt stops, as I have to completely brake to a full and complete stop, throw the truck into park, turn the key off, wait a moment, turn the key back on, and back into drive.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #10

Oct 042012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
A couple of friends and I where on our way to la when we stopped for gas. Filled up the tank and then started the car, which started perfectly fine, I then put the car into drive and when I pushed the accelerator the car simply revved the engine and did not move. The drive gear was not engaging but second worked fine. First gear did engage also but it felt it was slammed into place not smoothly engaging. Had a near by mechanic look at it and he said that the transmission was giving out and that it would need to be replaced. I had the car towed to a dealership where I was told the clutch had blown out and taken the rest of the transmission with it and it all had to be replaced. It was a $3500 repair that I now wish I had done more research on because this seems to be a common issue. The car only had 54000 miles but it was 10 years old and there were no signs that the transmission was going out. The new transmission does come with a 3 year, unlimited mile warranty which is why I went with that instead of a rebuild which would have been a bit cheaper. After learning about all the problems this transmission has, I will be looking for a new car in the coming years. I like Ford but this really making think about getting a new car from some one else.

- Pheonix, AZ, USA

problem #9

Sep 032012


  • 80,000 miles
1 - rear latch is not working properly. When it is cool outside, the latch will not open the back door. 2 - window latch has rusted causing the rear window to detach from the hinge. Not that I am bidder, but at 37K miles, the transmission blew.... I discussed this issue with both Ford and my dealership ([xxx]). both companies stated they could not help me and that it was on me to pay to correct. I explained that this was due to a lack of using proper supplies. They could not have cared less. I am hoping you can have them look into this because I would really hate to be involved in a car accident cannot use the rear as an exit.... information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #8

Mar 012010


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving 55 mph. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed but the dealer was unable to locate a failure code. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and denied assistance with the repair because the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V165000 (power train: Automatic transmission: Control module -tcm, PCM). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 139,161.

- Cadiz , OH, USA

problem #7

Sep 162009

Escape 6-cyl

  • 25 miles
In March 2004 while driving at a low rate of speed, I clipped the corner of a parked vehicle which caused my Ford Escape to overturn. No airbags deployed. In September 2009 while entering a freeway during a heavy rainstorm, driving at a low rate of speed, the Escape hydro planed, slammed into the cement barrier rendering the vehicle useless. Despite the vehicle having spun multiple times and being slammed into the barrier at such an impact the transmission dropped several inches, no airbags deployed. This vehicle was purchased new from butterfield Ford in salt lake, at a cost of $22, 200. In the 5+ years of owning this vehicle, I spent more than $10,000 in repairs - for a brand new vehicle. Despite my pleas to the dealer ship, I was never provided any remedy. Despite a dpf sensor going out 3 times and only being covered once by warranty, calipers going out and then brakes shortly after the vehicles warranty expires which Ford will not cover despite the calipers having just been replaced. The exhaust manifold, the latch to the tail gate did not work. This vehicle was a lemon and Ford never even tried to provide a remedy. My primary concern, the air bags did not deploy despite the vehicle turning over during the first accident nor when I hit a cement barrier with such force the transmission dropped several inches.

- Ruverton, UT, USA

problem #6

Feb 242010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I am very unhappy. I got in my 2002 Ford Escape this morning and went to put it in reverse and the shifter broke or something it was rolling I had to put on brakes I have never even hear of something like this happening and I look on the internet and its all over the internet how defective it is. I am a 50 year old single women so I am sure it was nothing I have done. What is going to be done about this problem it could be a dangerous situation if they were in the parking lot of a public place!!!!!!!

- Mt. Pleasant, NC, USA

problem #5

Feb 162009


  • 29,998 miles
While driving, usually first thing in morning, the RPM's will rev up to approx. 2000. The vehicle becomes harder to stop...

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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