definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,772 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jan 012015


  • miles


2003 Ford Escape. Consumer writes in regards to corrosion of the subframe lower control arm recall notice repairs and seeks reimbursement. The consumer stated six months after the recall was performed, his wife heard a terrible noise and the vehicle became impossible to steer. The consumer arrived to where his wife was and did an inspection, and discovered the frame on the passenger side was completely rusted through and broken in half. The next day, a mechanic inspected the vehicle and found the front cross member was rusted out and broken on the passenger side and the vehicle was unsafe to drive. The consumer was informed he was not entitled to reimbursement, because the lower control arm separated from the subframe after the recall was performed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #22

Jun 012015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Ford Escape. Consumer writes in regards to excessive rust on vehicle sub-frame recall notice. The consumer stated the arm cross bar was replaced. However, the subframe was not covered. The consumer has been unsuccessful at getting the sub frame replaced, because no was willing to sell the part. The part was being used for certain VIN's. the consumer referenced recall # 14V165000.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #21

Mar 312015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure); however, the recall repair was not effective. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the rear frame was completely rusted due to corrosion. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 114,000. MA 08/10/15 the dealer informed the consumer, the rear frame was in the process of rusting. However, the front frame was already rusted. Updated 08/18/15

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #20

Mar 092015

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,600 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while having a routine inspection performed, the vehicle failed to pass inspection due to rust on the right wheel well, the right fender, the cross member and the frame. The inspector determined that the components deteriorated and needed to be replaced. The contact was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 14V165000 (structure). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 57,600. Updated 5/4/15 updated 05/26/15

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #19

Sep 062014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
This vehicle is part of the Ford recall 14S02 (nhtsb #14V165000 ). I had the recall directed cross-brace installed in June 2014 (3 months ago). I was turning a corner at about 5-10 mph, heard a pop in the right front of the car and then heard a scraping sound and had difficulty steering. I had the vehicle towed to the dealership who found that the cross-brace had failed because the subframe gave way. I was told that the brace was only to provide an envelope of safety if the subframe failed but it was not meant to prevent frame failure or correct frame weakness. I was also told that the subframe repair was not covered as part of the recall and that the repair would cost about $2000. I don't think that a quality vehicle would have a frame failure after only 10 years. I think this is a design flaw and that similar to Toyota, Ford is trying to say they put in a fix but not really fix the real problem. I believe that my frame was severely weakened before the cross-brace was installed and that the subframe should have been replaced instead of the patch fix designed in the recall which Ford admitted to me was only to help prevent injuries, not to fix a known design problem. You would think the mechanics would want to protect customers from potentially lethal structural failures. Maybe they do but management is only concerned with profits. Failing to stand behind the quality of their product will cost Ford; they certainly have lost me.

- Auburn, ME, USA

problem #18

Aug 012013


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the rear driver side interior door was corroded and as a result, exhaust fumes were emitting into the vehicle. The vehicle had not been repaired or diagnosed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 82,000.

- Beckley, WV, USA

problem #17

May 012014


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, the front end of the vehicle began to shake violently which caused a loss of steering. The contact was able to regain control and maneuvered to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed first to an independent mechanic and then authorized dealer. The technician informed that the passenger's side engine cradle was completely rusted. There was a voluntary recall issued by the manufacturer related to a newly designed engine cradle cross member bracket. The vehicle was repaired under the recall and the problem persisted. The remedy failed to correct the problem. The vehicle had not been repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Vienna, OH, USA

problem #16

Aug 122010


  • miles
We have a 2003 Ford Escape limited. The paint has started peeling off around the hatch at the back. It's just bubbling up for no apparent reason. We have never abused the car and it still has less than 70,000 miles on it.

- Hillsboro, IL, USA

problem #15

Oct 162007


  • 80,000 miles
Paint defective on 2003 Ford Escape with gold ash paint.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #14

Dec 302009


  • miles
Paint peeling prematurely on 2003 Ford Escape.

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #13

Jul 152009


  • miles


2003 Ford Escape... paint peeling on roof around sun roof opening.

- Liberty, IN, USA

problem #12

Jun 072008


  • 74,000 miles
Paint is peeling off on the drivers side back under the hatch window and on top of the vehicle just behind the sun roof. This vehicle has 74K miles and is garaged. From Nov. 2002 - Feb. 2005 it was even in parking garage while I worked. I take great care of my vehicle and it has never been in an accident. I have read a lot of other people are having the exact same problem in the exact same place on the same make, model and year. I called Ford and they don't care!!! it is out of warranty and there is no recall.. what can I do?

- Hayden, ID, USA

problem #11

Mar 012009


  • 65,000 miles
The paint on my ash gold 2003 Ford Escape has started to bubble and peel away from the metal body parts. Doors, hood, rear hatch and a large spot on the roof just behind the moon roof window. This is not something you can touch up. The paint is literally peeling off of the primer which then quickly erodes to expose the metal which starts to rust. There are hundreds of complaints on this spanning several years and several Ford models. In this age where we have to keep cars longer, this is a terrible thing to discover - the company simply can't figure out how to paint a car!!! I am the second owner and bought from the original owner. He pointed out the peeling but we both thought it could be touched up as he had been doing for a couple years. The roof was not looked at until I was working on the roof rack. This is the worst case and is not going to get fixed by any touch up paint.

- Brookhaven, PA, USA

problem #10

Apr 202007


  • 45,000 miles
My problem is not mechanical but rather "physical". the paint has been peeling off the roof and hatch of my 2003 ash-colored Ford Escape limited since 2007. After reading others' blogs I am aware that I am not alone by any means. I purchased the SUV for it's nice appearance and color. I wish I'd known beforehand that this was going to happen, otherwise I would never have purchased a Ford. Apparently Ford is doing absolutely nothing about the problem. Is there anything you can do to help us" can't Ford be forced into a recall for this" these vehicles aren't cheap!! please help.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #9

Jun 012008


  • miles
Paint peeling in several spot on 2003 Ford Escape.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #8

Oct 012007


  • 95 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Escape XLT, white in color and currently have a problem with the paint blistering and peeling on the rear hatch below the window both sides. Additionally, the paint peeling has started under passenger side rear cargo window. I visited a local Ford dealership and they denied it as a defect. Out of warranty. I have had four autobody shops tell me $600 to a $1000 to repaint. "the problem is factory primer problem" and should expect to see more peeling if not repainted soon.

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #7

Jun 102007


  • miles
Paint blistering and peeling above the windshield on roof.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #6

Jan 162009


  • 81,000 miles
We own a 2003 Ford Escape SUV. The paint is peeling of the back tailgate. This car has been garage and only has 80,000 miles. This paint should not peel off like this. The dealer said I could pay $300 to have it repainted.

- Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #5

Aug 012008


  • miles
Paint peeling off the roof and rear tailgate of vehicle. Brought the vehicle into the dealer. Body shop inspected and reported that it needed to be repainted. Internet search shows that this is not an uncommon event and that it has to do with improper prep or parts used.

- Allendale, NJ, USA

problem #4

Sep 052008


  • miles
Paint peeling down to bare metal on roof of vehicle with paint blistering elsewhere. Exposed bare metal rusting due to exposure to elements. Attempting resolution via dealer but no help at this time.

- Richmond, TX, USA

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