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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Sep 132013


  • 97,000 miles


Noticed a loud noise coming from the rear passenger side of the vehicle. After arriving home I checked the muffler area thinking it was loose which it was not. I then checked inside of the passenger side rear wheel well and found that the shock that was attached to the frame of the vehicle had totally rusted out leaving a huge hole in the frame. The hole now leaves the vehicle unstable and exposed to all elements of the weather.

- Avon Lake, OH, USA

problem #11

Sep 022013


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that upon inspection, it was found that the sub frame was completely rusted and had become detached from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the failure was confirmed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 143,000.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #10

Aug 092013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 82,400 miles
The right rear inner wheel housing has almost completely rusted away causing the right rear shock absorber to break away from its top mounting and cause severe vehicle bouncing and swaying while driving making it almost impossible to drive the vehicle.many other Escape owners I have spoken to are having the same problem and an internet search of this problem confirms my findings.

- Maple Heights, OH, USA

problem #9

Aug 222013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 210,000 miles


The right rear wheel well that supports the shock tower has completely rust out, this is common in the 2004-2006 Escapes.

- Canton , MI, USA

problem #8

Jul 012013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
The shock mount on the rear passenger wheel is loose because the metal supporting it is rusting away. Whenever a bump is hit there is a loud noise and sharp jolt.

- Berea, OH, USA

problem #7

Jun 012013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Son came home from college. Banging noise noticed when sister riding with him coming from right rear of vehicle. Upon inspection at oil change garage it was noticed that right rear shock mount had completely corroded and broken off from the wheel well sheet metal. Vehicle not drivable in that condition as wheel could possibly break off or at the least poor handling of vehicle. Online search came up with similar complaints for 2003/2004/2005 Escapes. Called Ford but no recall has been issued so owners out of luck for very expensive fix.

- Evansville, WI, USA

problem #6

Feb 082013


  • 98,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that there was an abnormal knocking noise coming from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the frame was rusted and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and advised that they could not provide any assistance to the contact. The failure mileage was 98,000.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #5

Mar 152011

Escape 6-cyl

  • 166,000 miles
For over a year I have been hearing a rattling sound but thought nothing of it, figured a screw was loose in the panelling causing a vibration. I have taken it to a Ford service center numerous times complaining of noise, they said they would balance the tires and check the brakes, but never said anything about wheel well rusting through. The rear passenger side wheel well is rusted completely through and the strut is loose due to the rust damage that is continuing to grow. I have recently been investigating the entire vehicle trying to locate the source of the sound, I finally figured it out and decided to take it to auto body shop on 5/22/2012 at 11:33 am and they were stunned to see the inside of the wheel well on the passenger side. The appraiser came out and took pictures and looked at it. After looking it over he turned to me and asked me how old the vehicle is, I said it is a 2004. He said, "I have never seen this happen before." He came to the conclusion that it must be a factory defect. He said when Ford was putting the coating on the inside of the wheel well, they must not have coated it enough and moisture got inside causing it to rust. He went back inside and one of the guys from the shop happened to be inside, so he came and looked at it and said he has never seen that happen before either and he has been doing body work for 25 years! he also said it is possibly becoming a safety issue, because the strut is coming loose, due to the rusting out from around the strut. This movement of the strut could potentially cause problems with handling, especially when turning around corners. He grabbed the strut and it shook easily by hand. I have noticed the car pulls to the left whenever I hit a bump in the road, at first I thought it was wind pulling me, but it is happening more often. I called Ford, but they said waranty ran out, cant help you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Poneto, IN, USA

problem #4

Jun 012011


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the rear passenger side wheel well accumulated water abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer located corrosion in the passenger side rear wheel well that caused the suspension and bolts to corrode. The driver side wheel well was also showing signs of corrosion. The manufacturer denied assistance with the repair, stating that the warranty was expired. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 115,000 and the current mileage was 140,000.

- Parma , OH, USA

problem #3

Mar 082012


  • 150,000 miles
When taking my Escape in for an oil change, the mechanics pointed out to me that the rear passenger shock mount was almost completely rusted out. I took it for an estimate that day and could not immediately afford the repairs. Within a few days the shock had completely broken through the mount and into the passenger compartment with only normal roadway driving. Only the rear passenger wheel well has this problem. Online research with other Escape owners shows this is a common problem that Ford knows about and even acknowledges as a manufacturing defect but will not cover.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #2

Jul 252011


  • 143,000 miles
Lift gate glass hinge bolt corroded and fell apart leaving rear glass hanging.

- New Salem, PA, USA

problem #1

Apr 172005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles
While driving home from having a few drinks with my friends, a deer ran out in front of me and although I slammed on the brakes, I couldn't stop quick enough to avoid hitting the deer and smashing in the grill of my new car. When the state patrol arrived, they gave me a ticket for speeding and after I told them that I was not speeding when I hit the deer, (I had gotton the speed down to about 60mph at impact) they then wanted me to take a alcohol impaired test which I naturally declined because I wasn't impaired. I only had just a few drinks and maybe some beer & wine at dinner and maybe 2 drinks before I left to go home. They then proceeded to arrest me like a common crook and took me to jail, where I had to spend the night. Anyways, my insurance company refuses to fix my new car and now the car company refuses to fix it also. This car is a piece of junk. If it had been made good, it wouldn't have sustained all that damage from hitting a lousy deer. While trying to fix the damage myself, my friend joey put some gas on the grill and lit it to soften up the plastic junk they made the grill out of, so we could bend it back together and J.B. weld it. Well, joey got some of the hot melted plastic on him and it burned like hell and he jumped up and knocked over the jar with gas in it and the whole place went up in flames. My car not only burned, but my garage went up in smoke too. Now the insurance company is telling me that they won't pay the claim for the garage or the car cause it looks like arson for profit. How in the hell can I profit from losing my car and garage. Joeys pissed, and has threatened to sue me cause he got burned and thinks he should get some of the insurance money I thought I was going to get since he's the one that started the fire. Shouldn't I be sueing him" anyway, if the damn car had been made good, I wouldn't be in this fix. Now I haven't got anything to drive and no place to park it if I did. This really sucks. Is there anyone I can sue"

- Hamilton, , NJ, USA

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