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 1 of 5)

problem #92

Dec 282016


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle swerved independently into a ditch. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The contact noticed that the subframe was rusted and detached. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Arcade, NY, USA

problem #91

May 102016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving at 70 mph, the front passenger side tire and frame fractured and caused sparks to emit from the vehicle. The vehicle was coasted to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to the dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact had received notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was not available.

- Lima, OH, USA

problem #90

Aug 262016


  • 111,140 miles
Passenger rear wheel well has completely rusted out and shock and mount have rusted and broken off of frame. While driving the vehicle on a village street, hit a rough patch of road by a manhole and heard a terrifying noise, then it sounded like the back of the car was going to fall off. Upon parking and inspecting the vehicle, the broken piece was pressed against the rear tire, and had rubbed some of the rubber off in the short time it was driven afterward. Research shows that frame corrosion seems to be a common problem with the vehicle, and there was a recall for corrosion on the front end. It seems that it should be for the entire frame, and rectified before accidents and injuries occur. My vehicle falls under those date and state parameters, yet the VIN # is not included for some unknown reason. Front recall: Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain model year 2001-2004 Escape vehicles manufactured October 22, 1999, through January 23, 2004, originally sold, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. Consequence: A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash. Remedy: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a newly designed reinforcement cross-brace, free of charge. The recall began on May 30, 2014. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14S02.

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #89

Aug 182016


  • 188,000 miles


Rear structural body, joints, massive rust and corrosion.

- Mound, MN, USA

problem #88

Aug 172016


  • 180,000 miles
Structural excessive rust and corrosion rear wheels

- Crescent City, CA, USA

problem #87

Jun 112016


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving 30 mph, the contact lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the subframe for the steering was deteriorating. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired per NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure); however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 101,000.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #86

Jun 102016


  • 144,500 miles


Airbag light blinks or continuously stays on...also rear passenger shock has broken away from wheel well causing unsafe driving conditions. I just had this vehicle financed back in February 2016.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #85

Apr 272016


  • 7 miles
I heard rattling from the back of my car like a tin thermos rolling around. I looked at the back and was inspecting my vehichle. Once I took out the spare tire cover I discovered a huge hole in the right rear wheel well. I called my dealer about the issue and brought the car in as soon as possible to be serviced. I have looked this up online to see if there is a recall for an issue like this and I am finding that many Ford Escape owners from 2005-2006 are having the same issue. This issue is a safety hazard. I am currently unable to drive my car as my dealer is not comfortable letting use drive it, and their body shop was unable to repair it saying that it was to compromised and would be liability

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #84

Apr 292016


  • miles
Vehicle steering has become unstable and wobbly. Took it to the shop to check on the alignment, and was told the entire subframe has corroded. I found a recall for this issue, but apparently my VIN was not included in the recall, even though it has the same issue.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #83

Apr 072016


  • 154,000 miles
Passenger side rear inner wheel well and strut mount rusted out. Hole the size of a grapefruit. Apparently this is a known issue with this make, model, and year of vehicle. Complaints regarding this exact issue all over the internet yet no safety recall regarding the problem. My strut has not yet protruded and broken through the mount but will shortly if not addressed.

- Vicksburg, MI, USA

problem #82

Mar 272016


  • 111,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. When the vehicle was moved from a parking spot, there was evidence of fragments of corroded metal underneath the vehicle. The contact stated that the passenger and driver side rear wheel wells were corroded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be inspected. The contact was informed that there was extreme corrosion to the fuel tank, the fuel tank straps, and the entire rear subframe of the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 111,000.

- Hattiesburg, MS, USA

problem #81

Mar 152016


  • miles
Passenger side rear wheel well rusted. Shock mount is now completely disconnected.

- Demotte, IN, USA

problem #80

Mar 112016


  • 200,000 miles
The wheel well on the right rear side of car completely rusted out causing my shock to be free in my car. Ford will not fix it and it is a serious issue. A quick search will reveal at least 96 other complaints of the exact same issue in the exact same area of the vehicle

- Kalispell, MT, USA

problem #79

Jan 012016


  • 165,000 miles
The frame around the rear suspension is rusted out (through) the rear shock is not connected to anything. Is there a recall on this ? I know the vehicle is old but I have never heard of this on even older vehicles.

- Evans City, PA, USA

problem #78

Feb 102016


  • 143,000 miles
Engine cradle, part of the frame is under recall, is broke. Dealer applied "band-aid" manufacturer declines to replace broken cross-member, even though it is under recall. Recall #14V165000

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #77

Jan 292016


  • 47,900 miles
I just purchased a used 2004 Ford Escape XLT with only 45,000 miles on it (12 years old, 45,000¿what I thought was a diamond in the rough). It had undercoating to protect from rust when it was new. Very well taken care of, like new inside! so imagine my surprise after driving it 2 months when the passenger side rear wheel well started falling apart (wasn't like that when I bought it). Within a 3 week span it was almost completely destroyed. Again it was protected with undercoating and still rusted out all those years in a garage being barely driven!!! I asked about getting both sides done while it's in the shop and mechanic said the driver side rear well was fine and in good shape, almost no rust at all. Ford stocks only the passenger wheel well, not the driver side. This is obviously a known manufacturing failure/substandard part that Ford doesn't want to own beyond selling you the replacement part. I'm losing appreciation for "american made" values. This one is especially upsetting because it's a brand I previously held in high regard. This easily could have been dangerous at high speeds on my trips.

- Brunswick, OH, USA

problem #76

Dec 022015


  • miles
Shock frame support on right rear side completely rusted out making vehicle unsafe to drive along with entire area rusting out prematurely. I can see the outside thru my speaker grill. How could this not be a safety recall when it is clearly a Ford defect? repair quotes in the $2000- $2500 range.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #75

Nov 012015


  • 112,500 miles
Our 2004 Ford Escape is making metallic creaking, squeaking and groaning sounds from the passenger side rear. The sound is triggered by just sitting in the stationary car and rocking back and forth. It becomes constant as soon as the vehicle starts moving. There are also occasional heavy metallic thumps or knocks on the passenger side or underside of the car, and the ride is rough. The passenger side rear inner metal wheelhouse is extremely rusty. A few holes are several inches square & go all the way through into the interior of the car. Part of the rust is very near where the top of the shock absorber bolts into the wheelhouse. The wheelhouse metal is so rusty that I can flex it with my hand and cause the creaking sounds. I believe the heavy metallic thumps are caused when the conical bumper inside the top of the spring bottoms out and hits the suspension mounted to the bottom of the spring. This likely happens because the shock absorber cannot stop it, since the rusty wheelhouse bends so much. This serious safety problem is heavily documented on the internet by a very large number of people. The top of the shock absorber could crash through the wheelhouse and protrude into the car interior, injuring occupants of the car. This would make loss of control more likely. It would be extremely dangerous if the shock absorber breaks free and becomes tangled up with the rear wheel or punctures the tire. This car is a unibody construction, so this wheelhouse is supposed to provide structural strength for that part of the car. In the event of a crash this rusty wheelhouse will disintegrate and not properly absorb the crash energy like it is supposed to. This makes it more likely that the occupants will get injured. Please force a vehicle recall asap which makes Ford Motor Co. Replace this dangerous wheelhouse with one that has a safer, non-rusting design.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #74

Nov 172015


  • 144,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving 45 mph, a loud banging noise was heard. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the rear passenger wheel well, and the shock absorber tower were severely corroded. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 144,000.

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #73

Oct 012014


  • 90,000 miles
2004 Ford Escape. Rear right wheel hub rust/corrosion around strut assembly. Safety issue with rear shock. Known problem with 2004 to 2006 Ford Escape despite rust proofing. Rusts around area for strut leading to structural compromise of this assembly. Unsafe to drive.

- Brunswick, OH, USA

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