really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,609 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Escape:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #19

Aug 262016


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V165000 (power train). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Callhoun, GA, USA

problem #18

Apr 082016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that within months of owning the vehicle, that there was a progressing failure with a loss of the battery power, and the anti-theft alarm and horn randomly sounded without warning. The contact attempted to recharge the battery, but the failure continued with the anti-theft alarm sounding whether the door was opened or closed. After a while, the horn and anti-theft alarms stopped, but the failure progressed to the point that the vehicle was unsafe to be driven. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was to be notified to determine a repair solution for the vehicle. The VIN and failure mileage were not available.

- Browns Summit, NC, USA

problem #17

Jun 272015


  • 166,836 miles
While I was driving back from the shooting range the engine did a hesitation and then when I pushed down on the gas to see if it would clear up the instrument panel gauges went haywire. The fuel, speed, RPM and heating cluster level arms all went to the max point and when I let off the acceleration to pull over the cluster panel gauges died like there was no power and when the engine idle leveled off the gauges went back to normal. The instrument panel did it 4 more times before I actually got home. I am afraid to drive it to work and this is my only transportation. What is causing the issue with this? I need to know as soon as possible. Thanks.

- Heath, OH, USA

problem #16

May 132015


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owned a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 5 mph, there was smoke coming from the front driver side of the vehicle without warning. The contact discovered flames underneath the vehicle. A police officer extinguished the fire. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 180,000.

- Belelville, IL, USA

problem #15

Oct 282013


  • 103,500 miles
Vehicle stalls or will not start as described in Ford recall number 04S13. I have replaced multiple parts including fuel pump, gas cap, fuel filter, etc. And now I found that there was a problem with the PCM programming on this vehicle. I purchased this truck used and do not know if this was serviced. This is a dangerous problem as stalling can cause an accident.

- Alvin, TX, USA

problem #14

Apr 252014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 171,000 miles
My 2003 for Escape refuses to start after being driven until several hours if not days later. I have replaced the starter twice the first time it worked for 2 months and it did it again on 9-2-14 replaced the starter again and it will not start still there is no power going to any of the electrical parts in the engine compartment and there is a strong smell of fuel. I have replaced all relays and fuses and still nothing. I was stranded with my 5 month old and 16 month old in 100 degree weather.

- Pueblo, CO, USA

problem #13

Mar 312014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles


I cant remember I just remember my head lights going out and I tried to control my car and couldn't.

- Dunn, NC, USA

problem #12

May 082013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
On May 8,2013, the anti-theft alarm sounded while my car sat in the driveway. It had not been driven for 3 + hours. Upon investigation of the alarm, there was smoke coming from the engine compartment. The wiring harness attached to the ABS had a small flame and smoke from its wiring insulation. After extinguishing the flame and disconnecting the battery, I called for a tow. The safety features worked well and locked out the entire auto system. The service technician said there was a recall ( recall 07S51 suppl #2 dtd 9 Oct 2009 ) and that Ford should probably provide a fix or credit toward said fix. The car was then towed to a Ford dealership. The current status is: 1.) the wiring harness is no longer manufactured by Ford and the dealership has no approved provisions to secure a harness. 2.) recall 07S51 was implemented per their records so there is no provision for the dealership to fix this issue even if they could get a wiring harness and then troubleshoot the extent of the damage.3.) my private insurance's comprehensive plan does not cover a vehicle sitting static for a wiring fire. 4.) I am awaiting forms from Ford quality group to plea for consideration. Once the forms are completed and received by Ford corporate offices, their lawyers will require approx 15 days to make a determination if my claim has merit.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #11

Oct 082011


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated the air bags light illuminates and there was a constant beeping sound in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who ran a diagnostic test and there was a code#B1869 stating the wiring harness for the driver and passenger seats and body harnesses needed to be replaced. This would be an expense of $686 to the contact. The manufacturer was notified who offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #10

Mar 122012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 110,056 miles
When I am driving my car will try to die and all gauges will go to the highest RPM, speed, and full gas, then it will go back to zero and then proceed to the speed I was going, the battery light will keep flashing but no check engine light comes on. When I researched it, it seems that on more than ten occasions if not more are having the same electrical problem and no garage can figure out, they try replacing alternators, batteries, and wires and grounds and nothing is working, it can't be read on codes because nothing is showing up. If you ask me this should be a recall because if you search it in bing over two hundred matches comes up with the same complaint!!!

- Pine Grove, PA, USA

problem #9

Feb 012012


  • miles


This vehicle has a bad misfire problem, rough idle as well as bad hitching on highway. Looked it up on yahoo answers and a lot of people are having the same problem. Is there going to be a recall on these vehicles. I'm hearing faulty computers.

- Lubec, ME, USA

problem #8

Jan 162011

Escape 6-cyl

  • 43,625 miles
I have a Ford 2003 Escape 6 cyl. Bought in may of 2004 new - 76 miles on it test driven from a dealer in schulenburg, tx - the check engine light came on - the PCM computer went out and blew a spark plug on 1/16/2011 - I had to replace the PCM (which I was told should have been a recall on the 2003 Ford Escape) since this should never go out on the car. The mileage was only 43,625 on 1/16/2011 when this happened. I have the car for 7-8 yrs. Now. I had to replace the PCM with a remanufactured (since it would cost way more for a new one) PCM - electronic ignition costing me just over $2,100. Again, this part was intended to never go out for the life of the car, period. This should have been a recall on Ford Motor Companies part - and I was told to complain and record this to NHTSA as others have, and if enough do, they would have to recall. I am not sure if I am in the right place to place this complaint.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #7

Feb 252009


  • 100,321 miles
I have a 03 Ford Escape, and the trouble is endless. The car will not start at times and it is a strong smell of gas when this happens. I have had it in and out of the shop about 6 times and has had the car for only 2 years. The failure to start is scary because you don't know if the car is going to explode or what. The dealership tells me that it is a sensor that goes out and tells the car it doesn't have to start. Been replaced 6 times and the other day it did it again. I hate to go out of town because of the fear of getting stranded on the highway. And another thing the smell of the engine is crazy my daughter has asthma and talking about a problem for her it is. I can go to work and go back 30 minutes later to my car and you can tell that it is still smelling of course where I got it from they told me that it was no concern it was due to the fact of them dropping oil when they did a change, come on people 2 months later. I fear that one day it will explode I just pray to god that my family is not in there. The airbag light will not go off and from reading in here I am scared to death. Something really needs to be done about this problem before some family loses a member.

- Big Spring, TX, USA

problem #6

Mar 112007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle stalls suddenly without notice and the steering and brakes will not function. Very dangerous situation that has occurred several times. Dealership says they have never heard of this issue. 2003 Ford Escape. Vehicle is the year included in the recall and came from the same Kansas plant but it shows no recall. Contacted Ford directly and was told they have also not heard of this issue.

- Galivants Ferry, SC, USA

problem #5

Jun 132004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
The engine of my 2003 Ford Escape (V6, automatic) dies when going into reverse occasionally. Since mid of June, 2004, it has happened 5 times (today is July 25, 2004). We have sent the car to Ford dealer three times already. They could not duplicate the problem and hence could not fix it.

- Munster, IN, USA

problem #4

Nov 032003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
Upon turning the ignition to the "on" position in my 2003 Ford Escape, the sunroof will automatically open. This occurs when the vehicle has been turned off between 10-15 minutes, and then restarted. This has occurred 6 times within a 4 week period.

- Charleroi, PA, USA

problem #3

Sep 022003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Escape intermittently stalls when going into reverse. After the 2nd trip to the dealership they replaced the computer, it is still happening. Now it is happening in drive as well. I've had the car since December 2002 and it has stalled out a total of 11 times. The vehicle has 8000 miles on it.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #2

Jul 232003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles
2003 Ford Escape V-6 automatic vehicle stalled on freeway for no reason.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #1

Jul 182003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,725 miles
Previous complaint: Stalling of 2003 Escape. I returned vehicle back to the dealer and they installed a new eec and trouble shot the system. The work performed did not fix the problem and now it is seven days later and the stalling has returned. The onboard computer does not revel any problems so this more than likely will be an ongoing issue.

- Reston, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?