really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,254 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #10

Oct 162007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,629 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The air bag light illuminated because the seat belt pretension code was faulty. The front air bags fail to deploy when in a crash. On October 16, 2007, the contact took her vehicle to the dealer because of a beeping sound and they replaced the instrument panel and ignition switch. When she retrieved her vehicle, the air bag light was still illuminated. The failure has occurred since February of 2007. The dealer informed her that the repair for the air bag sensor was her responsibility. The current and failure mileages were 82,629.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #9

Feb 052007

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
The airbag light was illuminated on the dashboard of our 2003 Ford Escape. I took it to the dealer and was informed that the sensor under the passenger seat was defective and must be replaced. The cost quoted was $450. I then did an internet search and found several hundred similar complaints. I also found two different Ford technical service bulletins, which clearly indicates that Ford knows this is a problem. On another site a technician from a Ford dealership stated that the problem could simply be fixed by spraying the contact points with an electrical contact cleaner such as WD40. I took the vehicle back to the dealer and told them to follow this procedure and the problem has not returned in the past 8 months.

- Oakville, 00, USA

problem #8

Aug 072007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
My airbag light had been coming on, and after several weeks it stayed on constantly. I took my vehicle to the dealership where it was purchased to have it checked. I was told that the connector under the passenger seat for the side mount air bag needed replacing. I was also informed that if this was not repaired, the airbag may not deploy if needed! I asked if there had been any other complaints made to Ford on this issue and was told that they were not aware of any. I feared for the safety of anyone that might be a passenger in my vehicle if it should be involved in an accident, so I went ahead with the repair. I voiced my dissatisfaction with the cost of the repair and was told that all I could do about it was call the manufacturer. This part cost $36.49 and $210 for the labor.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #7

Jul 232007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


The air bag light came on in our 2003 Ford Escape. We have taken it to a Ford dealership who informed us that the sensor has failed for no apparent reason and that if we are in an accident, the air bags will not deploy. The cost for this repair is quoted at approximately $500. At this point we are not in a financial position to make this repair and we are forced to drive the vehicle and hope that we will not have an accident. This is clearly a safety issue. There has been no prior warning nor any accident that would cause this failure.

- Trenton, OH, USA

problem #6

Jun 262007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,754 miles
Beginning in April 2007, my 2003 Ford Escape XLT (current mileage 118754) experienced an intermittent problem with the air bag warning light. If the power driver's seat had been moved, then the light would appear and flash on the instrument panel for a period of time, then disappear without any action taken. This series of event happened 2-3 times between April - June, 2007. The last time the problem surfaced was June 25, 2007. The light was flashing when I started my vehicle on June 26, 2007. Approximately 5 minutes after starting my vehicle on that date, I was stopped at an intersection when a truck approaching from my left lost its trailer. The trailer crashed into the front driver's side of my vehicle at approximately 60 miles per hour. None of the air bags within my vehicle deployed. My vehicle sustained severe damage to the front end. Although no injuries were sustained as a result of this accident, I believe that an impact of this force into my front bumper should have deployed my front air bags, and that the failure to deploy can be attributed to the faulty sensor on my instrument panel.

- Taft, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 102007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I've read online several others that have had problems with the air bag light in the 2003 Ford Escape. My air bag light goes on and stays on about 2ce a week.

- Wheaton, IL, USA

problem #4

Sep 202006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,156 miles


- the contact stated that while driving 35 mph in 2003 Ford Escape noticed on 09/20/06 that air bag light on the dash board turned on. The contact stated that she did have a passenger in the seat at that time. As per owners manual directions, the contact took vehicle to dealership who performed some type of repair and charged the consumer $100. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer on 10/28/06 for the same failure. The contact went back to the dealership and they told her that they did see that the light was turning on and off, and they told her that they were going to grease the cable. The contact was not sure which cable they were talking about. The vehicle was driven for 3 more weeks when the same failure occurred. She took vehicle in to dealership again and they found nothing wrong, but the light didn't come back on for another 3 weeks. The failure occurred again and the vehicle was taken to the dealership, and the dealership greased the same cable and told the contact that the cable is under vehicle code #1877. The contact stated that on 11/27/06 the vehicle's air bag light on the dash stayed on while driving. Updated 1/22/2007 - the consumer was told not to worry about the light and that and that the air bas was working properly. He went on to say that he believes the problem is with the light itself.

- Independence, MO, USA

problem #3

Aug 032006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
I purchased my vehicle with 38,000 miles on it. Within the first 2 months the airbag light started flashing and sometimes staying on sometimes going off. After about 2 to 3 months it went off and stayed off for another couple of months. Eventually it started coming on again and is now staying on the majority of the time. I am a little concerned about this because I don't know if my airbag is working when the light is on.

- West Plains, MO, USA

problem #2

Oct 182005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 31,000 miles
The contact states the air bag light came on intermittently. The light can came on at any time while the vehicle was being driven. Once the light was on it stayed on until the vehicle was no longer in use. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, and they could not duplicate the problem, therefore, the vehicle has not been repaired.

- Walnut Ridge, AR, USA

problem #1

Jul 052004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The air bag check light remained on, and had been repaired 6 times, but the problem recurred. Owner was informed that the air bag may not deploy if her vehicle was involved in an accident.

- Navarre, FL, USA

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