really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,379 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2002 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Nov 142016


  • miles


Ford dealership is refusing to fix uncarriage and control arm. They are saying there is no recall for it. However I found the recall 14S02. Describing the issue the dealership stated is wrong with my truck. But they want me to pay cash instead of them fixing the issue

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #26

Sep 122016


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While driving 40 mph, the lower control arm separated from the engine cradle and caused the alignment of the steering wheel to malfunction. This made the vehicle extremely difficult to steer and almost caused a crash. In addition, the steering wheel became stuck in the left alignment position. The vehicle was taken to be repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Baraboo, WI, USA

problem #25

Jul 112016


  • 160,000 miles
Had recall 14S02 performed on 12/30/15. Installed front subframe crossbrace.this does not fix the problem. Passenger side subframe rusted out and failed. The crossbrace kept it from completely coming apart but car is now not safe to drive. Ford will not do anything about this saying they already performed the recall. This recall should be expanded to include subframe replacement.

- Sussex, WI, USA

problem #24

Aug 152015


  • 228,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact heard an abnormal noise upon making a turn. The steering wheel turned, but the wheels remained straight when the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure), but the failure recurred. The contact stated that the technician installed two brackets but not the engine mount brackets. The contact felt that the recall remedy was not performed accurately. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 228,000.

- Stockbridge, MI, USA

problem #23

Oct 122015


  • miles
I was making a ride an maple road when all of a sudden I hear a sort of popping noise almost like a flat tire. Thats what I thought it was so I kept drive to where I live.on the way home all I heard was a screeching. When I got home home I check and the suspension had snapped because of rusting

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #22

Jul 182015


  • 127,000 miles
On July 18, 2015 at approximately 1:30 pm I was driving up bear creek mountain and heard a loud pop then the vehicle started sliding before I finally got it to stop. I slide about 50 feet and if I'd slide about 3 more feet I would have been over the side of the mountain. The sub frame had snapped in two and it pulled the right front axle out. This made the vehicle inoperable. The vehicle had to be put on a roll back and taken away.also damaged was the right front tire and, molding around the fender. If I had been on the interstate with this vehicle my family would not have survived the wreck. It is lucky that we didn't go over the mountain. I did nothing to cause the sub frame to break and I think Ford should be held liable. I spoke with the Ford customer relations center and they told me that because there was no extended warranty and it was not under the 2002 Escape recall and that the fact that there was no fire or large crash that they could do nothing about the sub frame breaking. My insurance carrier has also contacted Ford customer relations and was told the same thing. I asked the lady at Ford if someone had died in the wreck would I still be told the same thing and she replied yes. According to Ford they can't give out telephone numbers to legal department or addresses or email addresses. I was also told that I could not speak to a supervisor because they could not transfer calls. I was transferred to the lady I was speaking to by another lady. Go figure. I think that Ford is liable for this structural failure and needs to make things right.

- Ceres, VA, USA

problem #21

Jun 232015


  • 190 miles


Driving about 25mph hear a loud clunck lost controll of vehicle break pedle to the floor truck still moving had to use er brake to stop. Got out passanger front tire was turned completly diff way, the ball bearer was detached, this could have killed me if I was on freeway! called Ford they continued to tell me this wasnt part of recall called mehcanic said the subframe so rusted it has completly detached from ball bearers causing tire to basically fall off. Ford will not fix it, gave me every other alternitive on what it could be. I had it towed to my house, Ford wont have it towed to the lot to look at it and on top of that wont see it for a week if I do get it towed up there! what a mess. Ill never shop with them again. They wont care until this kills someone.

- West Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Dec 192014


  • 105,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Escape has been to multiple dealer service centers and mechanics to try to pinpoint a banging noise that comes from the front right side when driving over bumps or potholes at lower speeds. To date I have had tie rods, sway bars, sway bar links, ball joints replaced and all body mounts, engine mounts, control arms, shocks and struts all checked and all nuts and bolts tightened. I have not been able to have a mechanic tell me what the issue is. I have searched the internet and see several complaints all for the same problem. I know my truck is not the only one, however I cannot afford to continue replacing parts in hopes that we might finally find the cause of the sound. I feel Ford needs to take responsibility for whatever it is that is failing before someone ends up seriously injured.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #18

Sep 042014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Driving down a busy highway, our Escape had the control arm detach from the sub frame. We took the car to the dealer and they told us this would not be covered under any recall by Ford because it had completely separated. Despite that the damaged area of the car being what is recalled in 14V165000. Ford has done nothing to help this issue. Lucky enough there was no accident, but this is a huge safety issue and someone is going to get killed. Ford needs to fix the damaged sub frames, not just fix those that haven't already broke and consumers have had to pay thousands to get fixed.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #17

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 #16

Aug 102014


  • 110,500 miles
Vehicle sub-frame failed due to corrosion causing separation of the lower control arm resulting in diminished steering control. This issue appears to be covered by Ford safety recall 14S02 and NHTSA recall 14V-166 that provided a reinforcement of the sub-frame. Unfortunately the reinforcing parts necessary for the recall action were not immediately available before the frame failed.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #15

Aug 042014


  • 76,812 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While driving 20 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was previously repaired according to NHTSA campaign number 14V165000 (steering), but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to a dealer but was not diagnosed for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 76,812.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #14

Jul 072014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
Corrosion-related separation lower control arm from subframe. Car start pulling instantly to the right. Have to call towing to get to dealer for repair, Ford company refuse to repair under safety recall notice 14S02. Dealer quote me around $2000 for repair.

- Fridley, MN, USA

problem #13

May 142014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 202,286 miles
Car was making creaking sounds. Going around a corner the car basically had no steering or control. Got car to Ford dealership and based on taking photo of the car I was told that Ford decided to put a cross brace on as opposed to replacing sub frame. I told dealership I did not agree with decision that subframe should be replaced car was returned to me with cross brace installed.aprox 4 weeks later car was undriveable. Contacted Ford told me to tow car back to dealership. After inspection of vehicle was told now that sub- frame was broken dealership contacted Ford and was told that their request to replace sub frame was denied. The sub frame holds engine, trans, all steering and brake components. This is a very dangerous. My family could have been killed. I was told by fordsupv that because they put on brace instead of making the correct repair that was actually part of sub frame recall they would not replace sub frame. This is how Ford treats their customers and puts them in harms way. If you look at the history of Ford vehicles Ford Windstar Ford Escape etc. You will see they are using defective steel on under body components causing excessive rust resulting in critical component failures. In my 48 years of driving I have never had a vehicle with a broken frame when I asked Ford for phone number or address to [xxx]. fields I was told that is not given out and that the Ford supervisors denial was final decision. I feel Ford is 100% wrong in this issue and is not making safe cars, and when there is a recall will not even fix the recalled parts. Once again this is an extremely dangerous situation that could have resulted in death to my family if I was driving on the X-way shame shame on you Ford motor. I will be looking into filing law suit or class action law suit against you. Please do the right thing for the unlucky individuals who own these cars. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #12

Mar 042014

Escape 6-cyl Diesel

  • 90,971 miles
While driving on a rural city street at 30 mph I decelerated to prepare to turn right. When I began to make my right hand turn I heard a loud pop and the car began to rattle the car came to a stop within 10 feet of the pop. I applied a small amount of power to the engine to try and get completely out of the road, but the car would not move. Upon inspection of the front passenger tire it was facing 90 degrees in the opposite direction of the car, and pushed to the back of the wheel well. The cv shaft had come completely detached from the drive shaft. The vehicle had to be towed to a local shop that did sub-frame work. Upon inspection at the auto body shop it was revealed that the engine cradle had also become detached due to the proximity to the exhaust from the engine heating it up constantly. Along with the following parts needing replacement: Right front cv shaft, front engine cradle, front control arm bolts, control arm bushing, cv drive axle, heavy duty exhaust clamps. The shop had to remove and replace the engine cradle and the right front sub-frame. If I had been on a high speed interstate, and this happened I would have probable flipped, because the front right tire was unable to move, and was pulling towards the inside of the car. The total cost to get this repaired to a safe driving condition was $1352.69.

- Corning, NY, USA

problem #11

Apr 242014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
While driving her 2002 Ford Escape to work my daughter noticed the steering was not right. In order for her to keep driving straight she had to turn the steering wheel. She went over a pair of rough railroad tracks & lost control of the vehicle. Her front passenger tire control bar had completely separated from the frame. It was rusted through. Luckily she was driving in a 30mph zone & there were no other cars around. Thankfully she was not hurt but quite shaken up. We were unaware of a vehicle recall on this model until a friend of hers recalled seeing an article in the news about control bars rusting through causing steering problems. Her front tire was completely bald after this incident. (tread was good before). I called Ford as soon as I was able & reported the incident. The rep told me that in order for a repair the vehicle had to be towed to a Ford dealer & to keep the tow bill as they would cover it. Right now the SUV is at the dealer. It has been 2 days since they've had it & I've heard nothing. I am getting very impatient. Because it's a recall I have a hunch they put it on the back burner. This vehicle is her only way to school & work. I asked about a loaner & they explained that because of the huge volume of recalls, a loaner would be difficult to come by. What has happened to customer service? I am expecting not only the vehicle to be fixed but I feel we should be compensated for the 1 tire - maybe 2 depending on the condition of the other side. I don't need a set of new ones - just something to pass inspection. If anyone has experienced the same issues please post something back. Thank you ! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Leroy, NY, USA

problem #10

Oct 222013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles
Clicking noise while making a right hand turn. Steering wheel no longer in the straight up position when vehicle is traveling in a straight line. Approximately turned 20-25 degrees clockwise. Inspection of the front end revealed that the front suspension crossmember has rusted through at the passenger side lower control arm front mount area.

- Carmel, NY, USA

problem #9

Oct 012013


  • 119,000 miles
My vehicle began to make unknown noises when driving, and steering control became very loose. I promptly took the car to my mechanic. I was told the subframe was so badly rotted that the passenger wheel control arm had separated from the subframe and can not be reattached without replacing the subframe. The vehicle is now no longer safe to drive.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #8

Jul 302012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 154,131 miles
I was driving my 2002 Ford Escape and coming to a stop at an intersection when I heard a loud popping sound. After I stopped, I released the brake and rolled forward a few feet before re-applying the brakes and the sound repeated. I was able to drive it across the highway to a Ford dealership for repairs. Upon inspection the following morning it was determined that the subframe assembly had rusted out completely on the passenger side and had caused the lower control arm to become loose thus bending it and making it unusable. I am thankful that this happened at a very slow speed and fear that if other folks have this happen at highway speed it could be a very bad outcome ! this allowed my passenger side tire to pull outward hence pulling the control arm loose. It was a very expensive fix and the warranty I had purchased at the time of buying the vehicle was no avail. I contacted Ford and was told that if there is no recall then there is no problem !! sorry but it was a very expensive fix and I believe Ford should make good on this. How many injuries are required before someone takes notice "? the repair bill was $ $1160.96. I had only owned the vehicle for 7 months at that time. It still has many payments to be made before it is paid off. It would appear that the air conditioning drain runs down this area causing it perhaps " just an observation from a running vehicle identical to mine. Any help would be appreciated on this matter and hopefully it gets resolved before any fatalities happen if they haven't already !! thank you !

- New Holland, OH, USA

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