definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,317 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #18

Jun 152010


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The failure occurred approximately seven different times intermittently. The mechanic stated also that there was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number 04V165000 (power train:automatic transmission:control module (tcm, PCM)). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Clifton Park, NY, USA

problem #17

Jul 112011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Escape has all the symptoms of the recall NHTSA campaign id number 04V165000 (power train:automatic transmission:control module (tcm, PCM)) but dose not have one of the vins that fall into the list.

- Clinton, MA, USA

problem #16

Sep 072010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
While driving on an expressway, my car suddenly would not engage and I had to coast off the exit ramp, getting stuck at the top of the ramp. The car would not go into gear, and I had to be pushed off the ramp and into a parking lot. This was at 5pm on a weekday, and had someone not come to help me push the car out of the way, it could have been a major accident.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #15

Mar 162010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles


The transmission on my 2003 Ford Escape has failed twice. Talking with my transmission guy I am convinced that the transmission is not heavy duty enough to handle this usage.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #14

Aug 152008


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. Sporadically, during deceleration, the engine stalls. The dealer stated that her VIN was excluded from NHTSA campaign id number 04V165000 (power train:automatic transmission:control module (tcm, PCM)); therefore, they would not assume responsibility for the repair. The contact is in the process of having the vehicle repaired by her local mechanic. The failure mileage was 118,000 and current mileage was 125,000.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #13

Nov 012008


  • 30,000 miles
2003 Ford Escape with 30,000 miles needed automatic transmission replaced. Out of warranty because of age. I paid over $4K to have it replaced. Ford refused to compensate for obvious manufacturing / design defect.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 042009


  • 80,000 miles


Ford Escape 2003 80 000 miles and transmission will not go in reverse and now slips and makes noise in all gears. Only Ford I've ever owned....might be the last unless this is resolved to my satisfaction. No specific event to determine why tranny is going..seems like thousands of other Escape owners have the same problem.

- Ottawa, 00, USA

problem #11

Jan 152008

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,576 miles
Transmission failure in a 2003 Ford Escape XLT. This vehicle has 53,576 miles on it and showed no warnings of failure. While operating vehicle in traffic the overdrive light started flashing and the transmission started slipping and no movement from vehicle. This is a safety hazard as there is no way to safely exit drive lanes, and may cause rear end collisions. The cd4E transmission has major design flaws known by Ford hence the conversion of transmission manufacturers from batavia, Ohio to livonia, Michigan in 2006. I have yet to have the problem repaired as I may be using the vehicle for explanatory proof of poor quality and engineering.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 022007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,299 miles
- the contact owns a 2003 Ford Escape. While driving 40 mph, thought there was a tire failure. Inspection revealed the tires to be fine. The contact got back in the car and tried to shift into reverse gear with no results. The vehicle was towed to the Ford dealership, and the dealership informed the contact that the vehicle needed a new transmission. The contact was concerned about the diagnosis since the vehicle had 43,000 miles on it. Updated 2/9/2007 - the failure occurred suddenly and without warning.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #9

Feb 212006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,324 miles
Winding noise from under the car. At 40 mph transmission lost power. Transmission blew drive gear needs to be completely rebuilt. Only 27 days out of warranty, only 26,324 miles on the car.

- Port Reading, NJ, USA

problem #8

Mar 092005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,297 miles


Incident: Transmission failure. On 9 March my transmission in my 2003 Ford Escape (XLT) failed. There was no prior warning except as I drove that morning the car seemed not to want to go forward. After pulling over to the side of the road, the car transmission locked up and would not go forward or in reverse. I called a tow truck to bring the car to the nearest Ford dealer. To date, the reason or cause of the failure is unknown.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #7

Oct 182004


  • 40,000 miles
While accelerating at a stop vehicle stalled. Vehicle was towed to the dealership, but dealership did not resolve the problem.

- Brainerd, MN, USA

problem #6

Sep 212004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2001-2003 Ford Escape recall for engine stall does not extend far enough. Dealer says my vehicle was made after the problem vehicles - but I periodically experience this problem, and Ford won't do a thing about it. I just happened to learn of the recall through your website.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #5

May 182004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving the vehicle stalled. The driver tried to restart the vehicle but was unsuccessful. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic informed the driver that the transmission needed to be replaced due to worn parts.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Mar 032004

(reported on)

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission slipped into neutral and 2nd gear on its own. The gear indicator stated the vehicle was still in drive, when the incident occurred. On a separate occasion, the consumer stated when he parked the vehicle and then returned, he noticed the vehicle was not in the same place where he had left it.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #3

Sep 222003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,562 miles
When car was started, it moved only in reverse, regardless of the gear selection. This was only remedied after the car was restarted.

- Harleysville, PA, USA

problem #2

Sep 022003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Escape intermittently stalls when going into reverse. After the 2nd trip to the dealership they replaced the computer, it is still happening. Now it is happening in drive as well. I've had the car since December 2002 and it has stalled out a total of 11 times. The vehicle has 8000 miles on it.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #1

Mar 122003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 650 miles
I purchased a 2003 Ford Escape a couple of weeks ago. I drove it 8 days and 650 miles when the transmission went out. It was towed to the dealer and has been there for 6 days. I am requesting from Ford an extended warranty on the vehicle which they are unwilling to provide. They are fixing the direct clutch which failed. I do not think an extended warranty is unreasonable. I know GM would provide one should the situation be the same.

- Hackensack, MN, USA

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