pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
103,935 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. paid for expensive transmission replacement (14 reports)
  2. not sure (5 reports)
  3. replace transmission (5 reports)
  4. transmission rebuilt (4 reports)
  5. no resolution, traded car. never buying another Ford (3 reports)
2003 Ford Escape transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Nov 122008

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,950 miles


After fully maintaining my 2003 Escape XLT, and having driven it only in 2WD without ever adding extra stress to the transmission (such as towing and/or bad shifting habits), and only putting its mileage on it via S. CA freeways, my transmission completely failed without any warning signs. Without much hope I will be contacting Ford Corporate to pursue re-compensation for costs... in excess of $3700. To add salt to the matter, my warranty expired only two months earlier. I had opted to NOT renew it because I had fully maintained the vehicle and had not experienced any other problems worth mentioning beforehand. My dealer simply states that there is nothing else to do about it, besides a complete transmission replacement. He then quickly stated that the new Escapes have a "much better" transmission installed. I am presently disgusted with Ford's Neanderthal approach to customer service and plan to publicly take them to the mat for such egregious and calculated disservice to their previously repeat customers. Just read the other complaints on this page... very similar indeed! It's no wonder they are in the hideous financial mess they are in now! I recommend a full corporate leadership replacement to Ford.

- , Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #10

Sep 132008

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

I can not believe that my Ford Escape would have transmission failure. I, like so many others who have posted complaints, maintained my car per guidelines and always took it to my local Ford dealership for maintenance work. Car made a popping noise and things got progressively worse while my husband and I were returning from dinner with friends across town. Every time I had to stop at a red light, it was touch and go to get the car to engage and move forward. Finally it refused. This was at 11 pm. Had to have car towed 40 miles to my local Ford dealership. Have talked with service manager and he indicated that we are looking at a rebuilt transmission to the tune of $3000. That, plus the car rental and towing, is just horrible. I believe that Ford needs to investigate the cause and offer to repair the transmission for free. I keep my cars a long time and have never experienced any transmission problems with cars I have owned that had 250K miles and more. In reading the other posts I was astounded to see this problem occuring in Escapes with less than 100K miles. Unbelievable!

- , Conyers, GA, USA

problem #9

Jul 262008

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

I was driving with my fianc´┐Ż to get our picture taken for our wedding when I was changing lanes and all of a sudden we felt/heard a sort of pop. I tried to accelerate and it would just rev the engine. So, now we were coasting on the highway at about 70. We had to coast across 3 lanes of moving traffic to the breakdown lane. I then tried to put the car in drive and reverse and nothing happened, we just sat there not moving. So, needless to say we had to cancel the picture and our dinner plans that night. Got it towed to the dealership who said that they had to tow it to another dealership because their "transmission guy" wasn't there this week. How does this happen? I have kept up on all scheduled maintenances and have had no problems with the car. I just don't understand how this happened with only 77k miles on the car.

I was given 2 options on how to fix the car. 1) Transmission rebuild with a warranty for 1yr/12k miles on only the parts they would fix. 2) A whole new transmission with a 3yr/75k mile warranty. The price difference between the two options was only like $600 and since I don't plan on getting rid of this car anytime soon I opted for the new transmission b/c of the warranty. After the cost of the transmission and the cost of the rental car for the week it is going to cost me $3,500+. This is the 3rd Ford my family has purchased within the last 15 years and Ford has offered no help what so ever in dealing with this matter.

- , North Providence, RI, USA

problem #8

Jul 252008

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


I've raved to everyone I know about my Escape until last week. That's when the transmission failed. Vehicle has been properly maintained and there was no warning that the transmission was about to go out. Then, all of a sudden, it wouldn't upshift in the mountains, started leaking fluid and then no 1st or reverse gears. $3100 later...That's it, no more Fords ever. It's no wonder they're losing business. Japanese vehicles from here on out.

- , Centennial, CO, USA

problem #7

Jul 122008

Escape V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I'm not one to take the time to complain about anything...but when you get no warning and you do everything the owner manual tells you to do on a regular basis...Well I'm complaining. Out of nowhere my automatic transmission gets stuck in neutral with NO WARNING!!!!! Now I just can't wait to see how in debt I will be due to this Ford Mistake ..not escape!

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #6

Jun 062008

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

my transmission just went out at 68,000 miles. its had all its servicing and tune ups up to date. never had any problems till i went on my way to work. i took it to aamco and they went on there diagnostic test drive it overheated and I had to pay to get it towed back there. im still waiting for a call on the final price to finish me off. i got this car thinking i wouldn't have to do major repairs, empty my bank account and miss days at work. now im at home and im going into debt. there was no warning, no lights came on till it happened. once its fixed the piece of junk is gone.

- , El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 162007

(reported on)

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


My 2003 Escape only has 40,000 miles and all of a sudden it seemed to be slipping when first starting out in 1st gear. Within just a week or so (and it was hardly driven) it just went bad. I was driving and all of a sudden I couldn't get into any gear. The engine just reved and the OD light started to flash on and off.

I don't know why I keep buying Fords because I have had some major problem with each and every one. NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

- , Lansing, IL, US

problem #4

Oct 152007

(reported on)

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

HELP! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have owned a Ford Escape Limited since Dec 2002. I bought it new. It ONLY has 31,000 miles on it! Today was a disaster day. In the rain, I made a uturn and my car got stuck against a curb since my car would NOT go into reverse! I had to get 5 guys to push my car into the street so I could go forward. I brought it to Ford (Where I purchased the vehicle) and they said it is no longer under warranty and that the "reverse clutch" went out and they want to charge me $4,021.00!!! I told them that I am the only owner and the car only has 31,000 miles on it and I couldn't understand why it would have the problem with such low miles and I never even had an accident with it. I even called AAMCO in my area of San Diego and they said that this seems like it could be a defect from Ford. Can anyone suggest what I should do? Thanks for all your help. Rick

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 192007

(reported on)

Escape Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles

Purchased this vehicle new in December of 2002. Not a single problem until this happened. Vehicle has never been off road and even the dealership stated that it had not been abused. With on 27,000 miles, wife driving Escape (it is her car) and it stopped "moving". Towed to local dealership and after several days, catastrophic failure of the transmission and $3,500 estimate. They said that with this much of a failure that only a "new" transmission can be used. To date, no help from Ford on this repair! Transmissions should last at least 1000,000 miles! Transmission fluid was not burnt and no advance warning of this problem! If Ford does nothing, this will be my LAST FORD! And, I will tell everyone I know no to purchase a FORD if this is the way they treat customers! From my research, this is a known problem with the Escape transmission. Now, Ford covers the transmission in the Escapes for 5 years or 60,000 miles! According to the Maintenance Manual, the first service due on this transmission would be at 30,000 miles and I have not reached that mileage! FORD - WHAT GIVES??? Why not fix this under warranty???

- , Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #2

Feb 242007

(reported on)

Escape LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,550 miles

My 2003 Ford Escapes Sucks!! Transmission problems is totally unacceptable with a truck with 97,000 miles on it and still paying for it. I will never, never buy another Ford Vehicle as long as I live. Repair cost is totally off the roof around 3740.00-are you crazy. I'm so upset about this inconvenience and unnecessary stress that I will once again NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy another vehicle from Ford again. Neither will my children or grandchildren. Ford Motor Company if you keep on putting out defective cars and trucks you will be completely out of BUSINESS.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 172006

(reported on)


  • 26,324 miles

The transmission welded in drive gear just 27 days out of warranty with only 26,324 miles on the car! Ford dealership/service dept offered no help. Ford customer service no help, Ford executive board said I would have to pay entire cost of repair. This is after buying 5 new Ford/Mercury autos over the past 25 years! I traded the car "As Is" at a $2000 loss. I'LL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD AGAIN! My children will never own a Ford if they want me to help them pay for their cars! GREAT JOB FORD!! YOU LOST A LOYAL CUSTOMER FOR LIFE!!

- , Port Reading, NJ, USA

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