hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,762 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.

2003 Ford Escape body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #12

Mar 042015


  • 88,000 miles


Vehicle went in for control arm brace recall in 2014 due to poor metzl used on the subframe, March of 2015 it failed leaving limited control of steering, Ford was contacted and stated that they are only responsible for the control arm recall and to contact the dealer. They said they did what they were told to do and the rotted subframe was not a part of the recall. Ford needs to recall the subframe part before someone gets seriously injured or killed.

- Machias, ME, USA

problem #11

Dec 072014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact heard a constant noise coming from the front of the vehicle near the wheels. The dealer stated that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure). The dealer provided the recall remedy of a newly designed cross brace as an interim repair, but the noise failure recurred. Within three months, the power steering failed. The front passenger side wheel was leaning due to the fact that the lower control arm fractured. The subframe was rusted to the point of corrosion. The dealer was notified of the failures. The vehicle was towed to an independent repair shop for diagnostic testing. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Chagrin Falls, OH, USA

problem #10

Nov 282014


  • 153,000 miles
Seems we own a Ford Escape 2003 which needs a cross brace for the sub frame. The reason for the recall is that the sub frame corrodes and the brace will keep the two sides from breaking apart and splitting them into two halves. That is because it can rust and break. The top of the sub frame of the Ford Escape is rusted and looks very unsafe. Ford would not replace the whole sub frame because it does not effect where they can attach the brace. Problem solved Ford will not cover the top of the sub frame only the bottom where the brace is installed. Question 1: would you or the owner of the Ford Corp have his daughter and/or his grand daughter drive down rte. 495 doing 65 mph with a rusted-out top sub frame" question 2: I have a brand new Ford Escape 2014. How long are the iron frame parts of the car good? should I sell it at 5 years or 6" I know that 10 years is too long.

- Bellingham, MA, USA

problem #9

Aug 212014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


At a slow speed, steering all of the sudden became erratic. It could not be driven, so my local dealer took a look at it. He is a certified Ford mechanic. He said the subframe was damaged and it was directly related to the recall #14S02 which is for a crossbar to the subframe due to a potential loss of steering. We had to have it towed to the only Ford dealership in our area, oneonta Ford. The put the crossbar in and performed only the specific recall work. They are telling me now that it still cannot be driven as the subframe is damaged. This is directly related to the issue and the recall. I don't feel I should have to pay for this. Oneonta Ford is not doing the right thing.

- Delhi, NY, USA

problem #8

Jun 212014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
I am writing about a recall for my Ford Escape. This recall included the front control arms and the subframe. They were being recalled for corrosion on the control arms and if separated from the subframe it could cause significant steering loss and loss of control of the car and increasing chance of an accident. I took my car in for the recall fix, they installed a reinforcement part and sent me on my way. After this, slowly, my steering wheel started becoming cock-eyed. After driving it like that for a few days, I noticed that after I take a left turn the car would jerk as the steering wheel straightened. I immediately called the Ford dealer that fixed the recall, since the recall clearly stated that it could lose steering control and asked them to look at it again, thinking that he recall was not fixed properly or something else to do with the recall is failing. They looked at it and said that the subframe is corroded and it has nothing to do with the recall. And that it would cost 1800 dollars to fix. I asked why it wasn't included in the recall since the steering is effected, they said that the subframe wasn't included. I have read several documents about this recall and several of them state that the subframe is included. So I called Ford customer care, they stated that the recall only included the subframe if the control arm separated from it before the recall was fixed not after. I think this is so unfair, since clearly the subframe was corroded when they did the recall fix. They had to have seen that, just because it wasn't separated at the time doesn't mean it shouldn't be included. Anyway, I ended up taking it to my own mechanic who can fix it for alot less, but it is still costing me 1400 dollars!! I can't afford it, can something be done about this, I think it should be fixed for free, and that the sub frame should be included. Please help, thanks. Recall 14S02.

- Oneida, NY, USA

problem #7

Jun 102011


  • miles
My car is a part of a recall for rust and the lower control arm, but I think that scope is too narrow. My Escape has rusted wheel wells and a rusted gas tank cover that I can see. I have also ready had to replace anti-lock brakes for rust, along with the exhaust system and all of its parts, the front lower control arms, sway bar links and all parts of the oil pan. All of this is due to rust. This was at the mileage of 58,465. I still have less than 80,000 miles but I am afraid to drive my car the 90 miles from my home to the jersey shore.

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #6

May 162013


  • 97,325 miles


While that vehicle was being operated; decelerating from about 35 mph, a very loud pop noise was heard and the front passenger side became unstable and steering became unreliable. Vehicle was stopped immediately. Upon initial inspection is appears that the wheel became partially detached from vehicle. After a thorough inspection is appears that the rear mounting bolt of the front passenger side control arm had detached from the sub-frame. This part of the sub-frame show excessive corrosion which led to the failure of the control arm mounting point. As a result of the failure the vehicle lost all ability to maintain effective stability. Luckily the vehicle was already decelerating and being operated on a roadway that had sufficient room to make corrective measure otherwise the outcome of this failure easily could have been catastrophic and fatal. The vehicle has less than 100,000 miles. The body and other parts of the frame do not have significant amounts of rust.

- Northport, NY, USA

problem #5

Apr 092013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
2003 Ford Escape. Subframe rotted and control arm came off. Left passenger.

- Syracuse , NY, USA

problem #4

Feb 182013


  • 70,000 miles
Left work and driving on a back road at 15 mph and was approaching a stop sign, applied the brakes and heard a loud snap/pop. The right side of the vehicle instantly slammed down/dropped to the road; steering locked; I had no control over the vehicle; slid a few feet and stopped. The passenger tire was pinned between the ground and the vehicle. The axle was hanging and the sub frame was visible. It was clear that the subframe had literally snapped at a weld joint without warning. Weld joint snapped on subframe. This vehicle is only 9yrs w/70K miles and mostly garaged; a major safety concern. This would have worse at high rate of speed, if not fatal. Vehicle then towed to a Ford dealership. I requested to have a Ford rep review the case. The dealership told me I had to call Ford. After calling, they then told me I had to request this through the dealership, but gave me a case number. The dealership then informed me that Ford were not interested in reviewing the vehicle and wouldn't do anything and that I had call Ford. I called Ford back who escalated my case and an acct mgr called me back who explained there was nothing they could do at this time. Over 1100 in repairs are required due to a faulty frame. I asked repeatedly that this particular subframe failure be investigated as a quality/mfg problem and I requested an investigation and informed the company of several other cases that log the same "?exact?" description and failure of the subframe. The company told me "keep my receipt". I stressed my dissatisfaction with how this was handled, but nothing could be done at this time. Ford should at a min. Issue a service bulletin to have the sub frame inspected to all of the Escape owners, so failures can be avoided before they happen. This is from a very dissatisfied customer and will choose no longer to purchase any Ford products, based on this experience.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #3

Dec 122012


  • 94,160 miles
The vehicle was being operated on city streets. As the vehicle approached a stop sign the brakes were applied, a loud crash and screech was heard as the vehicle fell to the ground and tire was dragged along. The front passenger side control arm has come detached from the vehicle because the front sub-frame had failed. The vehicle had to be towed to the shop. The failure was reported to be caused by corrosion. The vehicle only has 94,160 miles on it.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #2

Dec 122012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 120,662 miles
My wife's has a 2003 Ford Escape. We were driving luckily at a low speed when we heard a pop in the passenger front end and lost control of steering. The subframe on passenger side control arm popped and subframe is rotted. This should not happen to a vehicle that is only 10 years old. I saw that NHTSA did an investigation that deemed 2003 Windstar unsafe do to the same exact problem safety recall notice 11S16. My wife is pregnant and if she was driving any faster and this had happened Ford company could have put my wife and our baby in danger. I do not feel that I should have to pay for repairs on this vehicle when the same year vehicles have issues with them. My next contact is my lawyers office because if this would have happened to my wife the day before when we were on the freeway Ford would be responsible for knowing other vehicles in the same year had the exact same issue. I do not want to see other people in danger and Ford needs to step up and take responsibility for there vehicle defects.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 152012


  • miles
When I recently had my routine maintenance check on my vehicle I was horrified when my mechanic informed me that the front sub frame was rusted from the inside out! can you imagine my utter shock when my mechanic advised me that this vehicle is prohibited to be driven since catastrophic outcomes would be likely? how very fortunate nothing fatal took place while being in this vehicle; because based on the condition of the sub frame it could have been my reality to suffer detrimental consequences. My young children are in this SUV every single day and to think their lives were at risk just by being a passenger has sickened me beyond words. I had no other choice but to get it repaired asap, so I informed the customer relationship center of Ford Motor Company as instructed by their website and all they could do was apologize for any inconvenience. This frightening situation goes far beyond from being an inconvenience it could have been a major life threatening issue. I was not asking Ford for a new vehicle, I simply was asking for assistance towards a major expense that was not caused by my lack of protecting my major investment with routine maintenance checks but by Ford having defective sub-frames installed in their vehicles. My mechanic has never seen such a structural defect as this ever before! Ford has already manufactured vehicles that involved major recalls for the exact same problem, so quite naturally other Ford models could suffer the same dangerous consequences with regards to the front sub frame. I believe an investigation on this horrific issue is deemed a necessity due to the history of Ford's sub frames. This has been very devastating to me and I can't imagine allowing another consumer to endure this major fear. Your attention to this is appreciated.

- Mckees Rocks, PA, USA

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