really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,006 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 (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Jan 012003


  • 0 miles


I have a 2003 Ford Escape, the gas pedal sticks. I have taken numerous times to have it fixed at the Ford dealership. They say I need to use different gas which I did. They told me to change my fuel filter, which I have done numerous times. And it still sticks. My wife will not drive the vehicle, she is afraid to drive it. When I say it sticks, when you put your foot on the gas pedal you have to push it down hard then let up or you go to fast. I am getting no where. I will never buy another Ford product ever. I really need help in this matter. I see all this on Toyota, and I can't get any were with Ford. Help!

- Huber Heights, OH, USA

problem #16

Aug 012009


  • 88,000 miles
I was traveling at approx 40 mph in my 2003 Ford Escape, when my vehicle began to increase in speed. I took my foot off the gas & it went faster. I pressed hard on the brakes, but the acceleration continued. I panicked & put the vehicle into park, where we slammed to a stop but the engine continued to rev and the car was hopping forward. I was 9 months pregnant and I had 4 yr old & 9 yr old child with me. I turned the car off & removed the keys & called a tow truck. At the Ford dealership, the service manager was able to duplicate the trouble originally, but then it stopped. They charged me nearly $100 for 2 days of testing, but couldn't figure out what was causing it. At that time I hadn't heard about the Toyota acceleration problem, so I thought it was a fluke.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #15

Feb 262009


  • 93,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Escape which had accelerator cable replaced under a recall from Ford in approximately 2005. I am having the same problems that caused the recall, which is not coming back to idle speed and actually sticking wide open on one occasion. Ford Motor Company refuses to replace this at their cost, so am doing this at my own expense, obviously sooner than later.

- Dent, MN, USA

problem #14

Feb 202009


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving 45 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated on its own to 65 mph. The contact depressed the brake pedal, but the brakes failed and became locked. She placed the gear into neutral and drove in the emergency lane. She shut off the vehicle and restarted it after some time. Once it was restarted, the brakes softened up and the rpms decreased to the original start position. The dealer stated that there were no recalls on the vehicle. She then took the vehicle to a repair shop and was informed that there were a few recalls on the vehicle; however, NHTSA campaign id number 04V574000 (vehicle speed control:cables) was related to the failures with her vehicle. Once she found the recall, the contact notified the dealer and they refused to acknowledge the recall information. She later called the manufacturer and they stated that the recall was repaired four years ago on her vehicle. The vehicle has not yet been repaired, but the failure has not recurred since the original incident. She is worried that the issue could cause future failures and that the vehicle should be repaired again since it was not done properly the first time. The current and failure mileages were 115,000.

- Wakefield, RI, USA

problem #13

Sep 302008


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. When the vehicle was started, it idled at 3,000 RPM's and would not decrease. As a result, when placed into drive, the vehicle will speed off. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V574000 (vehicle speed control:cables). The failure mileage was 67,000.

- Imperal, MO, USA

problem #12

Apr 102007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Several times in the past while turning the corner the car killed. Hit brakes hard to avoid rear-end collision. The car accelerated, causing me to once again hit the brakes.

- Sioux City, IA, USA

problem #11

Jun 162006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles


Intermittent problem: When brakes are applied the engine speeds up requiring excess pressure to engage brakes.

- Delanco, NJ, USA

problem #10

May 172006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,500 miles
: the contact stated while driving 40mph, the engine revved at an elevated rate and the vehicle lurched forward without warning. The vehicle was inspected by the dealer. A NHTSA recall, #04V574000 was performed on the vehicle concerning, the vehicle speed control however, the recall did not remedy the problem. The dealership performed a second repair with charge under the recall, additionally the throttle and throttle body assembly was replaced. Afterwards, the engine revving and lurching persisted.

- Medina, NY, USA

problem #9

Oct 282005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact stated at 55 mph vehicle stalled. The vehicle would turn on immediately after at first. Then, the accelerator would have to be pressed for the vehicle to start. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic and multiple components were replaced, but the problem was not fixed until the throttle was replaced. There have been no more problems since then.

- Brookeville, PA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving the vehicle inadvertently accelerated. This resulted in a head on collision with a tree. The cause of this is undetermined.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 052004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles


When stopping at a stop sign, the vehicle raced and surged into the intersection. Dealer stated they could not duplicate the problem.

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 272004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,603 miles
On my way to work yesterday, I was exiting the highway onto an off-ramp. I did not have the gas pedal pressed, yet the truck was accelerating to speeds over 70 mph. I tried pressing on the brakes, but that did not stop the truck. I finally put the truck in neutral in order to avoid an accident. While sitting at the intersection waiting for the light to change, still in neutral, the truck's engine was revving higher & higher. The truck was literally rocking back & forth. When the light turned green, I put the truck in drive & it raced on. I was very careful to allow ample space in-between my truck & other drivers. I had 2 other intersections to go through before arriving at my work location. I would continue to put the truck in neutral while sitting at an intersection. This was a very scary experience. If I hadn't of reacted so quickly, I would have crashed into other vehicles and would have caused an accident. I was lucky that this did not occur while I was in the stop & go traffic closer to my home. This experience shook me up for quite some time. I contacted the nearest Ford dealer & was told to contact Ford's roadside assistance to have the truck towed to the dearlership. Within minutes the tow truck arrived & took my truck to the dealership. The dealership replaced the throttle cable under warranty & within a few hours, I was driving my truck again. After the replacement, there seemed to be no resistance while pushing the gas pedal. Therefore, I did not notice this problem that was about to explode. After my experience, I now see there have been other cases such as mine. I was lucky. How many others won't be?

- Brookfield, IL, USA

problem #5

Nov 092003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
When driving our 2003 Ford Escape, the car's engine speed would suddenly jump from 1,500 rpms to as high as 4,000+ rpms while braking. Same deal while trying to coast to a stop - the pedal seemed to be stuck in position and engine rpms would not decrease. The car was nursed to the closest town and taken to a Ford dealership first thing in the morning. The shop foreman did an on-the-spot diagnosis without taking a real look under the hood stating that the problem was most likely due to the accelerator cable binding. There was additional damage to the car's brakes. We asked for an appraisal of the brakes, and four individual Ford personnel (one shop foreman, one dealer service department manager, and two separate Ford customer service personnel) stated the damage sustained was unnecessary wear directly caused by a defective accelerator cable. However, none of the people associated with Ford were willing to replace the damaged brakes under warranty. The final person we spoke with went so far as to put the responsibility on the shoulders of the dealership that sold us the car. The analogy given was that all Ford dealerships are completely independent, and that any problems with a Ford vehicle is the direct responsibility of the selling dealership. Unfortunately this incident happened when we were relocating from the East coast to Alaska. It has been our experience that Ford cares not at all about the people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their products - people who rightly expect a safe and dependable vehicle. Ford's chief concern is lining their pockets with money, and not with the safety of the customer, their family, and the other people on the road.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #4

Sep 242003

(reported on)


  • 14,000 miles
While at a stop with foot on brake vehicle began to accelerate on its own. Consumer lost control and hit a building.

- Ronoke, AL, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Mar 012003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
In March 2003 vehicle began to hesitate and accelerate, maintain speeds while foot off the gas (once at 65 mph), & shake like it wanted to stall. A couple times it even sped up while I was braking at red lights. On 4-10-03 service department could not duplicate symptoms since they are particularly exaggerated after parked for an hour or so. Stated that I could leave it overnight (no alternative transportation offered) or wait until engine light came on. Since the car did not feel safe, I brought it to another dealership which offered alternative transportation. The problems seemed to improve for a week or 2 before returning, following each of the following repairs: 5/16/03 replaced throttle body/idle air control/PCM reprograming; 6/6/03 repair vacuum tube/hose; 6/25/03 replace PCM with new updated PCM. Two weeks later 7/12/03 operation of power locks/windows, and rear wipers/defrost were going in and out with dash ABS, brake, and battery lights coming on concurrently. Service department could not duplicate concern until 9 days later when they asked me to come get the vehicle. The symptoms returned immediately after I started the car up to leave. 7/21/03 alternator was replaced. Hesitation, acceleration, shaking, and maintaining speeds, although not as frequent, continue and could not be reproduced by Ford representative on 8/4/03. I am now continuing to pursue lemon law procedures.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #1

Apr 152003


  • miles
When the consumer applied the brakes, the vehicle accelerated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for this problem in March 2003. The throttle sensor was replaced.

- Dallas, GA, USA

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