really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,505 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 #11

Oct 312007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 55 mph, the accelerator pedal became stuck to the floor when it was depressed. The contact applied the brakes and shifted into neutral, but the vehicle would not decelerate. She had to continuously exert pressure to the accelerator to release the pedal. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the strut throttle and accelerator cable failed. The dealer replaced the cable and throttle assemblies for a $500 service charge because the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V574000 (vehicle speed control:cables). The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The current and failure mileages were 82,000. The consumer stated Ford did not consider the defect a safety issue because the vehicle was out or warranty. Updated 11/15/07 updated 05/09/12 updated 05/30/12

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #10

Jul 132007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle improperly accelerated while driving 20 mph. A crash occurred. The vehicle also failed to accelerate when driving uphill. The contact had this failure repaired last year, but it has since recurred. A police report was filed. The current and failure mileages were 40,000. The consumer stated the recall was performed and 18 months later the accident occured. The vehicle accelerated and hit the vehicle just in front at a stop light. The consumer stated Ford will not perform recall work a 2nd time. Officer field report provided. Updated 09/05/07

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Feb 142006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,472 miles


The cruise control cable became disconnected from the throttle linkage and jammed in the throttle. This caused the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollable. Was luckily able to get out of traffic and into a parking lot without causing any damage.

- Lebam, WA, USA

problem #7

Mar 212005

Escape 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 43,000 miles
1.) car was revving up during idling and shifting of the manual transmission. 2.) per dealership, the accelerator cable had to be replaced due to a malfunction. See NHTSA # 04V574000 and Ford recall #04S25 3.) dealership has to replace the accelerator cable but refuses to acknowledge mechanical malfunction and recall. Recall was only for V6 SUVS while we have a V4 manual transmission even though the part is the same one that is malfunctioning in the V6 models.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 272005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,982 miles
The consumer received a recall notice and he brought it into the dealer to have the repair work done around January 27, 2005. The accelerator cable was replaced. On January 30, 2005, he stopped at a restaurant with his foot on the brake and the car just took off going 20-25 mph. He aimed for a snow bank and the car finally stopped. The next morning he was going to take it to the dealer. As he was slowing down for the red light the car took off through the red light. He had two people look at it, and they couldn't find anything wrong with vehicle. The head of the service department drove the car, and said he fixed it. On February 26th, 2005, the consumer was driving from Georgia to Virginia going 55-60 mph. While merging the consumer took his foot off of the gas pedal and the car lunged, hit some gravel and spun into the ravine. Recall campaign # 04V574000.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #5

Feb 012005

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


Consumer wants to be sure that he receiving the recall notice for 2003 Ford Escape. The recall is in reference to the accelerator cable which may prevent the throttle from returning to the idle position.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #4

Dec 072004

Escape 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
I was driving to work on a 4 lane urban street (on a rainy day) and approached as "S" curve. I lifted my foot from the gas pedal to slow down and the car just kept going forward and slid into the next lane to the left. Not realizing what was going on, I gently applied the brakes and the car continued to move forward and slid two lanes to the right. The car wouldn't slow down, made a 90 degree turn and crossed all 4 lanes and hit a concrete abutment, going up the abutment until I thought the car would go over it. The airbags deployed and then the car came down from the abutment, slid backwards so the rear end then hit the abutment and then the car flew all the way across the four lanes where it stopped, facing traffic. Only because of good luck and it being early in the morning did the car hit no other vehicles. The damage exceeded ten thousand dollars. Just last week I received the recall about the accelerator cable. The car is still in the shop (over 7 weeks later) and will then go to a dealer to have the cable replaced. However, my car's value has significantly plummeted. I will pursue this with Ford.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #3

Dec 092004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,324 miles
While driving from I66 to VA28 N after regaining 60 mph the car kept speeding up, applied brakes but brakes overheated and car kept gaining speed. Then realized gas pedal was stuck open and would not release. Shut engine down, restarted and quickly moved to right side of road (had to, cross 2 lanes of traffic) rather dangerous situation. Had car towed to Ford dealer who said they would replace throttle cable. They said cable became jammed. I can find no recall for this problem in the online database. I think this could be a very dangerous situation to a less experienced driver and perhaps need to be investigated.

- Front Royal, VA, USA

problem #2

Oct 152004

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,275 miles
On 10/15/04 I had just entered a 6 lane interstate (high speed urban traffic) and had to quickly move over 3 lanes as the right 2 lanes were exit only about one half mile from my entrance point. After accelerating to merge into a gap to the left I found that the car was continuing to accelerate even though I was not depressing the accelerator, and was about to rear end a flatbed truck. The brakes had little effect on slowing the car. After some violent maneuvering and several near collisions I was able to get to the shoulder and switch the ignition off. The car was towed to a local Ford dealership, where they found the problem was a defective accelerator cable. The plastic covering had frayed/disintegrated, jamming the cable such that the throttle return spring(s) were unable to close the throttle. The service writer said he had not seen this problem before. However, I did a cursory search on the NHTSA website and found a significant number of similar and identical incidents (only searched 2003 model year and only "vehicle speed control: Accelerator pedal" component). There were 8 incidents that were clearly the result of defective accelerator cables (10068000, 10015965, 10047388, 10023519, 10051175, 10024424, 10026817 and 10082787) and 6 that were probably/possibly the result of defective accelerator cables (10018602, 10043060, 10062971, 10015506, 10092028 and 10040552). The seriousness and number of incidents would seem to warrant investigation/recall. I requested the defective cable from the service writer, but he indicated that as it was a warranty item it had to be returned to Ford. However, I did take 2 pictures if they would be of any help.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jul 272004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The accelarator cable on my 2003 Ford Escape stuck at 65 mph. The engine continued to rev until I was able to stop. I was only able to stop by very hard braking and then turned the engine off. The vehicle was towed to mike castrucci Ford in milford, Ohio. It was like trying to brak while I have to gas floored. Very dangerous.

- Maineville, OH, USA

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