really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
118,520 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Sep 182015


  • 123,000 miles


I was pulling out of my driveway and started to hear a loud clunking noise. I pulled the car back in and it has sat the past few days. I took it to my mechanic and was told that the whole front end and frame are rusted and needs to be replaced. I researched online and am now aware of all the issues that involve rust on these models. I am scared to even drive the car in the shape that it is in. I will call the recall hotline but according to what I have read I don't expect much help from Ford. I will never purchase another Ford and am sorry to say that as consumers we should expect these companies to stand behind their cheaply made products

- Whitestone, NY, USA

problem #35

Apr 062015


  • 99,000 miles
A recall on our Ford Escape was performed last August.the recall was for rusted frame/cradle area that holds front suspension together.at the time of the recall I informed the dealer that the cradle was weak and very rusty over and above any other rust on car.the dealer installed a brace between the two rails of the frame and told me that was the extent of the recall.the other day while driving the cradle gave out and the engine, the steering gear dropped down a few inches rendering the car undriveable.I was able to maintain control and get it to the dealership. I was told they are only responsible for the brace not the weak cradle. I guess my question is how can this recall stop anyone from a wreck or damage when the entire cradle is affected by this problem. This recall had to be approved by someone im sure. This brace will not stop a car from being out of control at any givin time as the cradle rot will affect a lot more than just the lower control arm area.I understand its an old car but Ford knows there is a serious rust issue with this part.if Ford and the NHTSA feel this bandaid repair is good enough for safety of my family then I have my doubt on whether there is anyone in either organization that knows anything about a car or safety at all.

- Fairview, PA, USA

problem #34

Apr 062015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to a dealer to be serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure) and the dealer installed reinforcement cross bar to the under carriage of the vehicle. The vehicle was then taken to an independent mechanic, who determined that the cross bar was not a permanent repair. As a result, the front sub frame needed to be replaced and the front passenger side lower control arm was rusted through. The contact felt that the recall remedy was not an adequate repair. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- East Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #33

Mar 042015


  • 88,000 miles


Vehicle went in for control arm brace recall in 2014 due to poor metzl used on the subframe, March of 2015 it failed leaving limited control of steering, Ford was contacted and stated that they are only responsible for the control arm recall and to contact the dealer. They said they did what they were told to do and the rotted subframe was not a part of the recall. Ford needs to recall the subframe part before someone gets seriously injured or killed.

- Machias, ME, USA

problem #32

Mar 072015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 91,500 miles
Had my 2003 Escape in to the dealer for a wheel bearing problem, while it was in the shop they did the open recall 14S02 sub frame brace installation. Drove the car 2 times. The wife decided to drive to the store on a 3rd time and called me to say car was pulling hard to the passenger side. After getting the car home I remove the passenger front tire thinking that we had a sticking brake caliper and could see right away that the sub frame had ripped apart right where the lower control arm bolts up. After more investigation and many photos it appears to me that the bolt that was used to install the brace per the recall has cause the upper part of the frame to rip apart from the lower part (split it open) there is significant rust on the frame but this really looks like the bandaid caused a bigger problem. I called the dealer, they said to call Ford, I called Ford they said take it back to the dealer and they would evaluate it. But after reading comments here I decided against that and will probably just haul it to scrap yard. What a waste.

- Austinburg, OH, USA

problem #31

Jan 272015

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 133,000 miles
Daughter driving her vehicle home from work noticed severe vibration in front of vehicle and gradual loss of control of steering. Following day, vehicle brought to repair shop for inspection. Discovered that right lower control arm broken. Discovered that there was a massive recall for exact issue. Remedy said to be support brace/cross member. Vehicle brought to Ford dealership for repair. Recall device installed, however, dealership failed to advise vehicle owner of rotting sub frame in right front of vehicle. Inspected by independent auto shop after install and severe rotting and structural defects found in right front sub frame. Support brace supplied by recall essentially useless as it bolts in to rotting sub frame. Independent shop advises that vehicle is unsafe to drive for both occupants and other drivers due to serious likelihood of loss of control. Note that there are multiple complaints on same issue. Also note that a significant number, (over 50%), of these complaints reveal severe rotting and structural failure to right front sub frame. Contacted Ford about sub frame issues and concerns and was referred back to Ford dealership. Advised to express concerns over workmanship! Ford dealership installed the replacement cross member just fine. But they bolted it to a rusted defected sub frame!! come on people. Do we have to wait until some young unsuspecting mother with a car load of kids loses control of her vehicle and hits a tree, or a pole, or oncoming traffic before the real issue is addressed? I can only imagine the lawsuits!! certainly have enough people for a class action.

- Silver Creek, NY, USA

problem #30

Dec 172014


  • 135,000 miles


While backing out of drive felt an unusual tug of steering wheel, and steering wheel was rotated approx. 30 degrees. Drove it to repair shop where they discovered the lower control arm had rusted away from the subframe mount and the subframe was significantly rusted. Also was notified of safety recall 14S02. Made appointment and slowly drove vehicle to Ford dealership to have recall addressed. Dealership replaced only sub frame crossbrace as directed by Ford Motor Co. Subframe is still rusted in other areas surrounding newly installed crossbrace and unsafe to drive. Dealership wanted over $2000 to replace subframe.

- Jonesville, MI, USA

problem #29

Nov 282014


  • 153,000 miles
Seems we own a Ford Escape 2003 which needs a cross brace for the sub frame. The reason for the recall is that the sub frame corrodes and the brace will keep the two sides from breaking apart and splitting them into two halves. That is because it can rust and break. The top of the sub frame of the Ford Escape is rusted and looks very unsafe. Ford would not replace the whole sub frame because it does not effect where they can attach the brace. Problem solved Ford will not cover the top of the sub frame only the bottom where the brace is installed. Question 1: would you or the owner of the Ford Corp have his daughter and/or his grand daughter drive down rte. 495 doing 65 mph with a rusted-out top sub frame" question 2: I have a brand new Ford Escape 2014. How long are the iron frame parts of the car good? should I sell it at 5 years or 6" I know that 10 years is too long.

- Bellingham, MA, USA

problem #28

Jun 122014


  • 154,000 miles
I took my 2003 Ford Escape to dealer to have cross brace put on due to recall. I know more than left their parking lot and notice car driving funny. Ever since being put on I have to replace control arm on passenger front, new tires and 2 alignments. Now I have to have cv joints replaced because of excessive vibration. I called the dealer and complained about car driving funny they basically told me its not there fault. I have soaked almost $1000 in repairs due to crossbar being put on my car. This needs to be fixed there are flaws in the cross brace being installed on cars. I have had vehicle for almost 3 years with no problems and since dealer messed with my car I have had nothing but problems.

- Quincy, MI, USA

problem #27

Sep 122014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Separation of the lower control arm from the sub-frame causing hard steering and loss of proper control.

- Bemus Point, NY, USA

problem #26

Sep 052014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,693 miles


On June 9 2014, I took my Escape to the Ford dealer to have recall 14S02 performed. We had recently purchased the car and had gotten the recall notice. The service writer called me to say that "the car wasn't safe to drive" because of the rust spots that had eaten through the engine cradle. He warned me that if this went unrepaired, the frame could collapse under the weight of the engine. He reassured me that he was working with Ford to replace the engine cradle as part of the recall. He took pictures (twice) of the car and submitted them and a request to Ford for the repair. On July 13 2014, more than a month later, the service writer let me know that Ford had rejected the repair claim, saying that "they didn't think the rust was significant, it was surface rust, and the car was actually safe to drive." The dealer installed a bracket across the bottom of the rusty cradle. I understand that the bracket is part of the recall. I picked the car up on July 14 2014 and was told that it was safe and not to worry about the rust. We subsequently spent over $1,500 making other repairs to the car, believing it was a good investment. Less than 2 months later, on September 5 2014, my daughter experienced a catastrophic failure of the engine cradle, bending the drive axle on the passenger side and rendering the car unable to drive. The service writer had been correct, it was unsafe to drive and it did fail. We had the car towed to the nearest dealer. On September 9 2014, I was told that Ford had again rejected the claim to repair the (broken) engine cradle. This time, the reason given was "they had already done the recall" that was meant to address the cradle damage from rust. I have appealed the rejection through Ford customer care and through the special services group and they continue to reject the repair. I would like Ford to repair the vehicle at their expense.

- Montgomery, OH, USA

problem #25

Sep 062014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
This vehicle is part of the Ford recall 14S02 (nhtsb #14V165000 ). I had the recall directed cross-brace installed in June 2014 (3 months ago). I was turning a corner at about 5-10 mph, heard a pop in the right front of the car and then heard a scraping sound and had difficulty steering. I had the vehicle towed to the dealership who found that the cross-brace had failed because the subframe gave way. I was told that the brace was only to provide an envelope of safety if the subframe failed but it was not meant to prevent frame failure or correct frame weakness. I was also told that the subframe repair was not covered as part of the recall and that the repair would cost about $2000. I don't think that a quality vehicle would have a frame failure after only 10 years. I think this is a design flaw and that similar to Toyota, Ford is trying to say they put in a fix but not really fix the real problem. I believe that my frame was severely weakened before the cross-brace was installed and that the subframe should have been replaced instead of the patch fix designed in the recall which Ford admitted to me was only to help prevent injuries, not to fix a known design problem. You would think the mechanics would want to protect customers from potentially lethal structural failures. Maybe they do but management is only concerned with profits. Failing to stand behind the quality of their product will cost Ford; they certainly have lost me.

- Auburn, ME, USA

problem #24

Aug 252014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (suspension); however, the part needed for the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- St Croix Falls, WI, USA

problem #23

Aug 042014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Driving vehicle and heard a loud pop and sudden loss of steering. Limped the vehicle home and took to dealer who contacted Ford for further instructions. They installed a cross brace that does not fix the problem. Ford will not do anything to the subframe because it has not fully detached. There is no steering control at all over 15mph and in their eyes it is safe to drive. Service manager at the local dealership drove the vehicle and experienced for himself that there is no control over the vehicle. The recall has not fixed the problem at all.

- Greenville , PA, USA

problem #22

Jun 212014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
I am writing about a recall for my Ford Escape. This recall included the front control arms and the subframe. They were being recalled for corrosion on the control arms and if separated from the subframe it could cause significant steering loss and loss of control of the car and increasing chance of an accident. I took my car in for the recall fix, they installed a reinforcement part and sent me on my way. After this, slowly, my steering wheel started becoming cock-eyed. After driving it like that for a few days, I noticed that after I take a left turn the car would jerk as the steering wheel straightened. I immediately called the Ford dealer that fixed the recall, since the recall clearly stated that it could lose steering control and asked them to look at it again, thinking that he recall was not fixed properly or something else to do with the recall is failing. They looked at it and said that the subframe is corroded and it has nothing to do with the recall. And that it would cost 1800 dollars to fix. I asked why it wasn't included in the recall since the steering is effected, they said that the subframe wasn't included. I have read several documents about this recall and several of them state that the subframe is included. So I called Ford customer care, they stated that the recall only included the subframe if the control arm separated from it before the recall was fixed not after. I think this is so unfair, since clearly the subframe was corroded when they did the recall fix. They had to have seen that, just because it wasn't separated at the time doesn't mean it shouldn't be included. Anyway, I ended up taking it to my own mechanic who can fix it for alot less, but it is still costing me 1400 dollars!! I can't afford it, can something be done about this, I think it should be fixed for free, and that the sub frame should be included. Please help, thanks. Recall 14S02.

- Oneida, NY, USA

problem #21

Jun 112014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 168,500 miles
My Escape is part of the hhtsa 14V-165 recall. Ford dealer inspected suspension/sub frame area on 6/11/2014 and determined it was bad. Hole size was approx. 3inx6in. Service man said he was only authorized to put on cross brace but also said he would talk to rep about replacing sub frame. He and I both took pictures. I did not feel safe after seeing the flimsy cross brace installed due to the fact that where it bolts on was where a majority of rust is. He even said he wouldn't want to be driving vehicle. After 3 1/2 weeks still can not get an answer if they will replace the bad part. If subframe breaks the cross brace area will not be strong enough to support the weight of vehicle.

- Frostburg, MD, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Jun 122014


  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the lower control arm failed and caused a loss of steering control. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (suspension). The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it remained for two months however, once the vehicle was returned to the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 78,000.

- Lake View, NY, USA

problem #18

Jun 052014


  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that he received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign id number 14V165000 (lower control arm). The vehicle was taken to the dealer and a reinforcement cross-brace was installed. The contact stated that the cross-brace was not working for his vehicle due to the front lower control arms being completely rusted. The manufacturer was notified about the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 122,000.

- West Minster , MD, USA

problem #17

Jan 122014


  • 68,000 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, she heard a loud popping sound and lost control of the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the vehicle went across four lanes, rolled over twice, landed into incoming traffic and none of the air bags deployed. A police report was filed. The driver sustained three broken vertebrae, and lacerations to her head. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 68,000.

- Peterstown, WV, USA

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