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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Jun 102011


  • miles


My car is a part of a recall for rust and the lower control arm, but I think that scope is too narrow. My Escape has rusted wheel wells and a rusted gas tank cover that I can see. I have also ready had to replace anti-lock brakes for rust, along with the exhaust system and all of its parts, the front lower control arms, sway bar links and all parts of the oil pan. All of this is due to rust. This was at the mileage of 58,465. I still have less than 80,000 miles but I am afraid to drive my car the 90 miles from my home to the jersey shore.

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #15

May 302014


  • 230,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that there was a loud abnormal noise heard as the vehicle stalled. The contact mentioned that the lower control arm became detached from the sub frame, which had extensive corrosion. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the lower control arm, the sub frame and the cv joint needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number: 14V165000 (suspension). The approximate failure mileage was 230,000.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #14

Mar 052014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 14V165000 (suspension) and stated that the parts were not available. The dealer did not give a specific date when the parts would become available. The manufacturer could not provide an estimated date for when the contact's vehicle would receive the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Belle Vernon, PA, USA

problem #13

Nov 142012


  • 145,920 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated while driving approximately 70 mph, a loud noise emitted from the rear exterior on the driver's side. The vehicle was taken independent mechanic where an unknown repair was performed. After the vehicle was repaired there was a slight reduction in noise. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 145,920.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #12

Feb 222014


  • 149,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving downhill at approximately 5 mph, a loud noise emitted as the vehicle suddenly came to a stop. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed that the front passenger's side tire was collapsed inwardly which caused the control arm to fracture. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 149,000.

- Glenmont, OH, USA

problem #11

Jul 152013


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the front end exhibited a loud noise as the front passenger's side front wheel separated. The vehicle was taken to the mechanic for inspection. The failure was located at the front sub frame and lower control arm, which were both determined to be corroded. As a result, the front passenger's side wheel separated from the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 68,000.

- Pittsburg , PA, USA

problem #10

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 #9

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 #8

Apr 092013

Escape 6-cyl

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

- Syracuse , NY, USA

problem #7

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 #6

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 #5

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 #4

Dec 142011


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle started to shake abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the passenger side axle was fractured and the frame was corroded, and cracked. In addition, the wheel bearings and the brakes were defective. As a result, the frame and axle needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 102,000.

- Clayville, NY, USA

problem #3

Mar 082012


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape XLT. The contacted stated that the vehicle was inspected by a private mechanic who informed the contact that there was corrosion of the sub frame ball joints and control arms. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 124,000.

- Brewester, NY, USA

problem #2

Feb 152012


  • miles
When I recently had my routine maintenance check on my vehicle I was horrified when my mechanic informed me that the front sub frame was rusted from the inside out! can you imagine my utter shock when my mechanic advised me that this vehicle is prohibited to be driven since catastrophic outcomes would be likely? how very fortunate nothing fatal took place while being in this vehicle; because based on the condition of the sub frame it could have been my reality to suffer detrimental consequences. My young children are in this SUV every single day and to think their lives were at risk just by being a passenger has sickened me beyond words. I had no other choice but to get it repaired asap, so I informed the customer relationship center of Ford Motor Company as instructed by their website and all they could do was apologize for any inconvenience. This frightening situation goes far beyond from being an inconvenience it could have been a major life threatening issue. I was not asking Ford for a new vehicle, I simply was asking for assistance towards a major expense that was not caused by my lack of protecting my major investment with routine maintenance checks but by Ford having defective sub-frames installed in their vehicles. My mechanic has never seen such a structural defect as this ever before! Ford has already manufactured vehicles that involved major recalls for the exact same problem, so quite naturally other Ford models could suffer the same dangerous consequences with regards to the front sub frame. I believe an investigation on this horrific issue is deemed a necessity due to the history of Ford's sub frames. This has been very devastating to me and I can't imagine allowing another consumer to endure this major fear. Your attention to this is appreciated.

- Mckees Rocks, PA, USA

problem #1

Jun 272003


  • miles
While driving 55 mph the knuckle separation off the suspension caused accident.

- Chase City, VA, USA

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