definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,053 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #19

Aug 102009


  • 52,713 miles


My 2003 Ford Escape 6 cyl 2 wheel drive was stopped at a stoplight when the engine suddenly revved to over 4000 RPM for approximately 7 seconds. Fortunately, I had my foot on the brake at the time. Changing from drive to neutral had no effect on the rpms and the engine went back to about 1500 rpms through no action on my part. Afterwards, the vehicle drove normally. I recall that similar occurrences have happened in the past so I wanted to get this information to you asap. I do not recall what vehicles were involved at that time. What worries me is if that happens while I am in a parking lot backing out or some other situation where my reaction would be too slow to stop an accident or damage to my vehicle. The vehicle has about 32,000 miles on it and I am the original owner.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #18

Jan 122008

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While attempting to make a left turn at 5 mph, the vehicle shut off. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current mileage was 78,942 and failure mileage was 75,000.

- Tampa , FL, USA

problem #17

Nov 052007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,900 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving 20 mph, the brake pedal was applied. The engine began to rev and the RPM raced to its maximum potential. The contact turned off the engine in order to stop the vehicle. There were no warning indicators present. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer. The current and failure mileages were 62,900. Updated 01/09/08. The consumer stated noise in front end when hitting a bump and performed inspection per recall. Updated 12/12/07

- Defiance , OH, USA

problem #16

May 292007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving under 40 mph, the engine failed. The failure has occurred on four different occasions. Safety recall # 04V165000 (power train:automatic transmission control module (tcm, PCM)) does not apply to the VIN. The purchase date and engine size were unknown. The current and failure mileages were 66,000. Updated 02/01/08. Updated 02/01/08

- Cheektowaga, NY, USA

problem #15

Dec 062006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,068 miles
- the contact stated that the car stalls when the car is put into gear or when he comes to a stop. The contact has taken the car to superior Ford six times and they have replaced: The throttle position sensor, vapor management vale, mass air flow sensor, valve-air bypass, purge regulation valve, body assist air charge, and ecc processor was recalibrated. The contact said that the car still continues to stall after all theses parts have been changed. The contact said that he has also sent certified letters to Ford about the problem. Contact can provide all of the repair orders.

- Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #14

Aug 312006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,552 miles
I was driving my vehicle from Minnesota to Idaho when, I've been told, a connector belt broke and broke through the engine. As a result, the entire engine must be replaced. I was pulling a 5 X 8 trailer with a class 3 hitch and I've been advised by the service technician that the trailer did not contribute to the breakdown. As the vehicle cleared a hill on an interstate, there was a loud noise from the bottom of the truck and spraying liquid and smoke. When we inspected the vehicle, the oil had completely drained from the oil reservoir (I've been advised that the oil cap was firmly in place and did not contribute to the incident). The vehicle was towed to a local dealership and is currently in process of receiving a new engine. There is a hole in the bottom of the truck and "metal parts in the engine." I've asked about why the failure occurred and the service technician stated that they didn't know. When I called Ford customer service about this they told me that the engine will be sent to Ford for analysis but the findings will not be shared with me. My concern about this breakdown is that this is the second new Ford vehicle I've purchased where the engine had to be replaced shortly following the expiration of the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. This current vehicle has 35,552 miles and the warranty expired on 6/14/06.

- Pocatello, ID, USA

problem #13

Oct 162005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,875 miles


I was exiting off the interstate and around 35 mph my engine completely died and I lost power steering. I was able to make it to the shoulder and restart the vehicle, but the rpms kept bouncing around. I took the vehicle into my local Ford dealer, but they said nothing was wrong with it. I researched online myself and found that Ford had a recall that matched my exact situation/problem. The NHTSA id is 04V165000. Ford said my VIN number was not included in the recall. However, I find it hard to believe that mine should be excluded considering that my vehicle is the same make/model/year/engine type of the recalled ones and my problem matched exactly with what was referenced in the recall. Also my warranty runs out in 2 weeks and I don't want the same problem to happen again and then let the dealer find the problem. It also concerns me because my wife drives my car and I'm concerned about my family.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #12

Oct 262004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,600 miles
1. vehicle had recall 04S13 performed for posible loss of power when decelerating. Vehicle is a 2003 Ford Escape. Vehicle was 19 months old with 3600 miles and had not had any prior problems. 2. 2 weeks after recall was performed the vehicle was in an accident due to the exact conditions that the recall was to prevent. The vehicle was returned to service dept. And they supposedly repaired problem. Vehicle now unexpectedly accelerates usually when braking. This has happened 5 times and continues to get worse every time. The last incident the vehicle was idling and about half way into a parking space and it accelerated own its own, the front wheels jumped a 6 inch verticle curb, and left 5 foot skid marks in the grass while trying to stop. 3. the dealer has driven the vehicle but the problem did not occur. Dealer installed flight recorder for two weeks. The problem did not occur. They removed flight recorder and a technician rode in vehicle the problem occured and technician had vehicle taken back to shop. They could not find anything and returned vehicle. Acceleration occured again they reinstalled flight recorder and said they needed three recording to diagnois problem. This has not occured yet and dealer is calkling to get flight recorder back.

- Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #11

Jul 102004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
New car, owned 10 months. 16,000 miles on it. Sudden engine failure, no warning what so ever, ie; no overheating, alarm etc. Engine replaced, 10 days later drove only 12 miles on new engine. Blew head gasket, and engine began to burn. Again no warning.

- Frazier Park, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 072004


  • 35,000 miles
While driving at low speeds the vehicle stalled without warning. Please provide additional information.

- Baylis, IL, USA

problem #9

Apr 012004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,520 miles


While driving down rt 10 w at 50 mph my 2003 Ford Escape stalled. I had to sit with my hazards on, in the left lane of this busy highway, until the police could come and move me to a safe place. I could have been killed. This is the second time this has happened and the dealership has had it in repair for15 days prior to this.

- Mountain Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #8

Nov 152002


  • miles
Problems with vehicle's engine, and windows. Prior to date, vehicle was serviced six times for: Difficulty in cranking, clinking noises in the engine and difficulty with the idle. Despite the latest service, cranking and idling continued. Dealer was unable to repair the recurring problems which continued to exist. Consumer later discovered the rear window leaked. Consumer stated vehicle is a defective and inferior product.

- Newberry, FL, USA

problem #7

Aug 132003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,460 miles
I have complained twice before about my 2003 Ford Escape stalling without warning. It has now done it a total of 6 times. The vehicle stalls without warning in various situations. The most unnerving was when I was traveling at about 15 mph. It has also hesitated and bucked into an intersection on 2 different occasions. I contacted the executive offices at Ford Motor Company and expressed my safety concerns, and I was informed that because the problem is not reproducable they do not feel that they are in a position to repurchase the vehicle at this time. My dealership has attempted to reproduce the stall and are unable, as am I. they have performed a tsb, installed a new throttle body and a new crankshaft sensor. The problem continues to persist. I now have a vdr in the vehicle for the third time. This vehicle is a major danger to myself, my passengers and anyone who is around the vehicle when it may stall due to the fact that when it does happen I lose all power steering and brakes. I do not trust the vehicle and I no longer feel safe in it.

- Goffstown, NH, USA

problem #6

Jul 312003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,578 miles
Escape stalled for the fourth time. I did have a vdr in the vehicle for 5 weeks but it did not stall during that time. The dealer said it was safe to take it out because it did not seem like it was going to do it again. Well it did and I lost all braking and steering ability.

- Goffstown, NH, USA

problem #5

Jul 102003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,500 miles
While driving at 50/55 mph vehicle died out without warning. This resulted in loss of power steering and brakes.the cost for repairs were $114.21.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #4

Jun 132003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
Engine stalling.

- Northfield, OH, USA

problem #3

Jun 252003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,465 miles
My Escape stalled 2 times last month. I took it into be serviced where I was assured they did everything necessary on the tsb. It stalled again today and I took it back. I was told they don't know why it is stalling and they have equipped the car with a button that I am to push when it happens again and then return. This does not sound safe to me considering I drive almost 50 miles a day, plus it is a major inconvenience.

- Goffstown, NH, USA

problem #2

Dec 182002

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
While driving at highway speeds engine shut down and caused loss of power steering.

- Brookfield, CT, USA

problem #1

Mar 272003

Escape 6-cyl

  • 268 miles
I've had my new SUV for 4 days (270 miles) - it stalled while sitting in traffic. Lost all power. Managed to get it over in a empty turning lane, turned everything off, put it back in park and it started right up. Luckily I was only 2 miles from the dealership. Before purchasing, salesman assured me that the "stalling" problem that occurred on earlier models was corrected with the 2003 model. Apparently not. I drive in heavy traffic to and from work - this happened going to work, been in vehicle about 30 minutes.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

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