Notes: The 2004 Ford Escape looks pretty good compared to other Ford Escape model years, but still has a trend of transmission problems, and engine problems from the NHTSA complaint data — so it's not a model year we can recommend.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
116,613 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.

2004 Ford Escape body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Apr 182014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 117,586 miles


I have a hole and rust forming in the passenger side rear wheel. This is beginning to expose the shock area. I live in a high salt area.

- Glenshaw, PA, USA

problem #31

Jun 032014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Rear passenger shock mount rusting out.

- Arden Hills, MN, USA

problem #30

May 312014


  • 123,000 miles
Opened rear window when bolt connecting window to hinge broke. Window shifted downwards and had it not been caught could've shattered and inflicted lacerations to hands, arms, face, and chest. Inspection of blot show corrosion due to being improperly sealed from water and other elements.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #29

Apr 152014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 108,496 miles


I have a 2004 Ford Escape (6 cyl., front wheel drive) that now has over 110,000 miles. At 108,465 miles, the #2 catalytic converter blew and was replaced (along with all 6 ignition coils). A second mechanic found debris in the #3 catalytic converter, cleaned it and the exhaust system. (the engine was not getting enough air passing through the exhaust system and would barely make it up a hill.) then he discovered the right rear wheel well was rusting out posing a severe threat that the shock absorber will punch through into the body of the car making the Escape totally inoperable. A recall is already out for Ford minivans for the same issue but apparently not for the Escapes. Why not? this can be repaired at a cost of nearly $2,000. With the catalytic converter and ignition coils, I've already spent over $2500 and don't have the $2,000 for this necessary repair due to poor materials used to make this vehicle.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #28

May 062014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
I was driving down the road and hit a pothole, after hitting the pothole there was a loud clunking noise coming from the rear. After inspection the entire shock mount had rusted away from the body and became separated. It was free to jolt around and cause further damage. Not safe to be driving this vehicle now.

- Hopkins, MN, USA

problem #27

Apr 282014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 210,000 miles
A rattling from rear passenger wheel area. Upon investigation to see what it was I found that the upper connection point of the shock tower was completely rusted through and was barely connected to the rest of the body. Within a day or two afterwards the upper part had completely separated and the shock was bouncing around freely. I removed the shock yesterday (5/1/2014) as it had pushed up (since it has no resistance or means to hold it compressed) and punched a hole through the plastic interior side wall liner in the tailgate area. There is now an approximately 10" square hole in the side of my vehicle where I can see the tire and road. I will need to seal the opening to keep road water from entering. Photos can be provided.

- Ecorse, MI, USA

problem #26

Apr 252014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 12,000 miles


The rear passenger fender well has rusted out. We can see into our truck. The rust is so bad the top shock mount is no longer connect and the frame is cracked. I went to two different body shops because Ford is unwilling to do anything. Both body shops said a 10 year old vehicle should not rust like this and it would cost more than what the vehicle is worth to fix. We can not longer drive our vehicle and will have to consider it as total unless Ford stands behind their vehicles and creates a recall. Ford created a recall for the front of their Ford Escapes rusting out but have not done the same for the rears. I have read online several hundred other people having the same issue with their Ford Escape.

- Graysake, IL, USA

problem #25

Apr 212014


  • 120,000 miles
I am writing to inform you of my problem with my 2004 Ford Escape. I have recently noticed a loud clunking noise in the rear of the car. Upon further inspection I saw that around the right rear strut it's completely rusted out and the strut in nearly free. I did research and noticed that I am definitely not the only one with this problem. I would like it fixed or pointed in the direction as to where I can get it taken care of.

- Parma Heights, OH, USA

problem #24

Mar 292014


  • 106,000 miles
I was driving home on the highway and all of a sudden my car pulled really hard to the right side and started making a loud horrible noise. Everytime I would hit a bump, it pulled the car. I made it home and had it looked at. My rear passenger wheel well was rusted so bad that my shock went right through it. All of the other wheel wells are just fine and appear to still be coated.

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #23

Apr 072014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 126,643 miles
I was driving down the road when I hit a pot hole. The body/frame part of the passenger side rear wheel well broke loose around the rear passenger shock. So there is nothing holding the shock in place. It is causing further damage to the area. The body/frame has deteriorated in that area. I cannot drive my vehicle. Ford has issued a recall for the front end rusting prematurely and causing damage. But, I think this is the same reason.

- Romulus, MI, USA

problem #22

Jun 122013


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that upon inspection, she was advised that the sub frame was completely covered with rust and had become detached from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the entire rear sub frame needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate current and failure mileage was 180,000.

- Lapeer, MI, USA

problem #21

Dec 202013


  • 85,000 miles
The right rear wheel housing was totally corroded away. After researching online found many with the same problem. The other three wheel housings were in good condition without rust. I took SUV to woltz & wind Ford in heidelburg, pa where they told me that their supply of this part was used up and Ford was not making any at that time. The rear housings support the rear shocks and "could have" caused a severe accident. It took 3 1/2 months before part was replaced. Of course Ford down plays the severity of the problem and I was given a total run-A-round by the dealership and with Ford customer service. I am 78 years old widow who dreads to think what "could have" happened. Please do not wait until someone gets kills to make this a priority. You may speak to myself or my son-in-law [xxx] who has been helping with this mess. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mcmurray, PA, USA

problem #20

Feb 222014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My husband was driving home with our son and started to hear a loud noise. Took it to our repair guy who stated the frame was completely rusted through and was no longer safe to drive. We then took it for a 2nd look and was told the same thing and that its not fixableso we'll have to buy a new car. We've only had this car for 6 years and I bought it from our local Ford dealership who when contacted said they couldn't do anything to help because there are no recalls on the vehicle for this problem. We have 2 small children and I'm very lucky that something didn't happen to them. What is a recall going to take" someone getting hurt or worse?" this is a major safety issue and Ford needs to be responsible clearly its a manufacturing problem when there's 1000's of customers with the same problem!!!!

- Whitney Point, NY, USA

problem #19

Mar 052014


  • 138,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that upon inspection, it was found that the frame was rusted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 138,000.

- Uniontown, OH, USA

problem #18

Feb 072014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 108,001 miles
Well, my Ford Escape 2004 ltd edition had issues slowing down. I had used the cruise control intermittently and noticed that the vehicle continued as if cruise control was on even after I braked hard and cancelled the cruise control. I shut the vehicle off and tried turning it back on. When it started back up, the vehicle revved to 5,000 RPM in under 5 seconds. I did this twice with the same effect. I brought it in to my Ford dealership. They said there was no recall (although now I see them all over the internet). I got a call back after this whole ordeal that the right rear wheel well had completely rusted through and that the shock was not attached to anything. This seems to be a common trend with these vehicles, but there are no recalls. My dealership is bringing it to an auto body shop today. I am expecting a $3,000 repair now.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #17

Feb 052014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 164,000 miles
The right rear fender well has rusted out around the shock mount causing the shock mount to separate from the body of the vehicle.

- Intervale, NH, USA

problem #16

Nov 012013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 93,750 miles
Rattling noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. Daughter took me for a ride and I sat in the rear of the vehicle to try and find the source of the rattling. Checked the storage compartment for the spare, all other parts and could not determine the source. The next day the noise was much more pronounced. Took it to a body shop and they immediately found the source of the problem, that being a totally rusted out shock/strut tower. The body shop manager said he has seen this on multiple Escapes. He refused to quote the job as he did not want to be liable in case it did not work out.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #15

Oct 072013


  • 112,000 miles
The contacts owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the rear end of the vehicle without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was advised that there was a hole above the passenger's side rear body panel and as a result, the rear passenger's side structure of the unibody needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 112,000.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #14

Sep 232013


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, she heard an abnormal noise and upon further investigation, she found that the rear wheel well suffered from severe corrosion. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 150,000.

- Dunkirk, NY, USA

problem #13

Sep 272013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 149,000 miles
I hit a bump and the back of my vehicle started making a banging noise afterward any time I went over the slightest bump. I took it to the garage and the mechanic wouldn't even touch it. The rear shock mount plate is rusted out and he said the wheel well is breaking right off the frame. There is nothing left around it - the metal was only held together by undercoating in some places. He said it was pushing down on the brake line, too. I have seen several incidents with this make/model/year and the 2005 as well. This needs to be addressed before someone gets killed. My children were in that vehicle!

- Watertown, NY, USA

Read the next 12 complaints »

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