really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,016 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Jul 172014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 104,407 miles


The enclosed form with the things fixed should help. I was turning and the wheel almost fell off. I was in the parking lot so nothing was hit or hurt.

- Cato, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 282014


  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the subframe became separated from the passenger side wheel area and also became bent. The power steering assist also failed, which caused the vehicle to veer to the right and slide. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, but there was no diagnostic testing performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 123,000.

- Hudson, OH, USA

problem #12

Jun 022014

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
I have taken my car to a Ford dealer three weeks ago and they had to order the part. I'm still waiting for them to call me for my repairs. Mike castrucci St. Rt.28 milford, Ohio 45150.

- Milford, OH, USA

problem #11

May 152014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that she received NHTSA recall campaign notice 14V165000 (steering) in May 2014 and attempted to have the vehicle repaired but the parts were unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the delay. There were no failures at this time.

- Elkhorn, WI, USA

problem #10

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 #9

May 162013


  • 97,325 miles
While that vehicle was being operated; decelerating from about 35 mph, a very loud pop noise was heard and the front passenger side became unstable and steering became unreliable. Vehicle was stopped immediately. Upon initial inspection is appears that the wheel became partially detached from vehicle. After a thorough inspection is appears that the rear mounting bolt of the front passenger side control arm had detached from the sub-frame. This part of the sub-frame show excessive corrosion which led to the failure of the control arm mounting point. As a result of the failure the vehicle lost all ability to maintain effective stability. Luckily the vehicle was already decelerating and being operated on a roadway that had sufficient room to make corrective measure otherwise the outcome of this failure easily could have been catastrophic and fatal. The vehicle has less than 100,000 miles. The body and other parts of the frame do not have significant amounts of rust.

- Northport, NY, USA

problem #8

May 022013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 92,425 miles


On May 2 2013, my daughter lost the ability to steer the vehicle while driving at 35 mph on a busy city street. The vehicle made a left turn in front of oncoming traffic and eventually came to a stop in the entrance driveway of a fast food restaurant. It was towed to the local Ford dealership, where it was determined that the subframe had failed due to corrossion which caused the right front passenger tire to become partially detached from the vehicle. It appears the failure may be related to the vehicle air conditioning discharging condensate on the affected part. The Ford dealer advised they had seen 1 other vehicle recently with the same issue. I have asked for a factory representative to investigate the failure but so far my request has not been honored.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #7

Apr 092013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
2003 Ford Escape. Subframe rotted and control arm came off. Left passenger.

- Syracuse , NY, USA

problem #6

Feb 182013


  • 70,000 miles
Left work and driving on a back road at 15 mph and was approaching a stop sign, applied the brakes and heard a loud snap/pop. The right side of the vehicle instantly slammed down/dropped to the road; steering locked; I had no control over the vehicle; slid a few feet and stopped. The passenger tire was pinned between the ground and the vehicle. The axle was hanging and the sub frame was visible. It was clear that the subframe had literally snapped at a weld joint without warning. Weld joint snapped on subframe. This vehicle is only 9yrs w/70K miles and mostly garaged; a major safety concern. This would have worse at high rate of speed, if not fatal. Vehicle then towed to a Ford dealership. I requested to have a Ford rep review the case. The dealership told me I had to call Ford. After calling, they then told me I had to request this through the dealership, but gave me a case number. The dealership then informed me that Ford were not interested in reviewing the vehicle and wouldn't do anything and that I had call Ford. I called Ford back who escalated my case and an acct mgr called me back who explained there was nothing they could do at this time. Over 1100 in repairs are required due to a faulty frame. I asked repeatedly that this particular subframe failure be investigated as a quality/mfg problem and I requested an investigation and informed the company of several other cases that log the same "?exact?" description and failure of the subframe. The company told me "keep my receipt". I stressed my dissatisfaction with how this was handled, but nothing could be done at this time. Ford should at a min. Issue a service bulletin to have the sub frame inspected to all of the Escape owners, so failures can be avoided before they happen. This is from a very dissatisfied customer and will choose no longer to purchase any Ford products, based on this experience.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #5

Dec 122012


  • 94,160 miles
The vehicle was being operated on city streets. As the vehicle approached a stop sign the brakes were applied, a loud crash and screech was heard as the vehicle fell to the ground and tire was dragged along. The front passenger side control arm has come detached from the vehicle because the front sub-frame had failed. The vehicle had to be towed to the shop. The failure was reported to be caused by corrosion. The vehicle only has 94,160 miles on it.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 122012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 120,662 miles


My wife's has a 2003 Ford Escape. We were driving luckily at a low speed when we heard a pop in the passenger front end and lost control of steering. The subframe on passenger side control arm popped and subframe is rotted. This should not happen to a vehicle that is only 10 years old. I saw that NHTSA did an investigation that deemed 2003 Windstar unsafe do to the same exact problem safety recall notice 11S16. My wife is pregnant and if she was driving any faster and this had happened Ford company could have put my wife and our baby in danger. I do not feel that I should have to pay for repairs on this vehicle when the same year vehicles have issues with them. My next contact is my lawyers office because if this would have happened to my wife the day before when we were on the freeway Ford would be responsible for knowing other vehicles in the same year had the exact same issue. I do not want to see other people in danger and Ford needs to step up and take responsibility for there vehicle defects.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #3

Sep 282012


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 25 mph, the contact noticed a loud snap and a knocking sound coming from the front end of the vehicle. A few days later the contact noticed that the steering wheel became uncontrollable and continued to pull to one side. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated that the a frame was corroded and detached from the vehicle, causing damage to the ABS and the tie rod. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and a complaint was filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #2

Jun 012007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 30 mph and making a left turn, the vehicle failed to cooperate as the contact attempted to steer forward. The failure caused her to drive off the road and down an embankment, where she crashed into a tree. The vehicle was towed to a body shop. The manufacturer advised the contact to leave the vehicle at the body shop and stated that they would investigate the failure. The contact was badly bruised from the crash. A police report was filed. The contact has pictures of the vehicle. The current and failure mileages were 99,700.

- Loganville, WI, USA

problem #1

Dec 162003


  • miles
While driving 55 mph, the steering wheel vibrated. The driver was able to maintain control of the vehicle and drove to the dealer for analysis. The mechanic was unable to duplicate the problem.

- Chelsea, MI, USA

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