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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,772 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

problem #11

Oct 172016


  • 116,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving over a bump in the road at any speed, a thumping noise emitted from the vehicle. The contact pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and noticed that the rear passenger side wheel well was rusted and the shock absorber had loosened. The contact notified the manufacturer. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 116,000.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #10

Feb 292016


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 25 mph, the steering wheel seized without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the subframe needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 84,000.

- Owls Head, ME, USA

problem #9

Jan 012013


  • 80,000 miles
Excessive corrosion in rear wheel wells, straps holding gas tank and underside of running boards. Both running boards completely fell off, the straps holding the tank had to be replaced because the tank was in danger of falling off. This car is in a covered garage 90% of the time.

- Easton, CT, USA

problem #8

Sep 042014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,850 miles


The rightside of my wheelwell was rotted out along with the floor around it that held the wheel well the shock needed to be replaced as well. When I went to the dealership to get the wheel well they told me this was a well known part to be replaced. So I asked why was it not a recall on it no answer could he give me. I was getting a burning smell from my exhaust (muffler fumes) as I drove home many times I felt myself getting sleepy as I drove on to get to my destination I prayed toget safely there little did I know I was getting fumes in my car that caused this. I have driven with my young grandchildren in this dangerous condition in this car my question is if the Ford dealership knew of this to be a well known problem why did they not recall it I only thank the lord that it did not kill me or my grandchildren. Also it past inspection a year ago how could they have not seen what was happening in this area. I do have pictures of it and it was even worst then the pictures I have seen online proof one more time that god is always on yourside if you believe everyone else please check your wheel well god bless!

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 012004

Escape 6-cyl

  • 67,180 miles
Vehicle brought into repair shop and found that the engine cradle and was rotted considerably. A recall notice on this problem was sent to the customer and customer took into bright Ford, Inc for the recall. Repair was done several months later and returned to customer May 16, 2004. Three months later we again have this vehicle in the shop and upon inspection the lower control arm bracket rotted off of the cradle and caused the lower control arm to be only mounted by the rear bolt. This car is considered a hazard to drive due to the right front tire movement not being controlled by steering. Brighton Ford on their invoice #19744, found the front sub frmae rusting through on right hand side. Sent quote for new sub-frame and were denied and they were told to put this cross brace on the vehicle. This repair is not in line with the repairs that were needed. The vehicle cannot be driven at this time and brighton Ford says it is your responsibility to determine repair. This was not a safe repair and knowingly told customer that it was repaired.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 022014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 205,000 miles
The right rear shock tower mount completely broke away from the vehicle subframe due to corrosion/rust. This caused the shock to lean outward toward the tire. This could not be seen by the undercoating as a problem previous and apparently allowed it to corrode to the point that it broke free. This exact same issue occurred in my insurance lady's Ford Escape, which I believe was only one model year different. Also only on the right rear shock tower. In speaking with the body shop on the repair, they have also heard of this issue and state that Ford has not recognized it as a recall issue. This is a costly repair, and time consuming repair as the vehicle is gone for almost a week. This is also a very dangerous issue due to how it falls apart. We are lucky we were within the city limits and only traveling about 30 mph when it occurred.

- Elkhorn, WI, USA

problem #5

Jun 022014

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


2004 Ford Escape. Consumer writes in regards to lower control arm rust recall notice. The consumer stated while driving on the interstate, he heard a loud noise from the rear wheel well on the passenger side. He pulled over, and discovered the shock was hanging down. He was unable to pull it of. So he drove back home, and upon further examination, he discovered there was no fender left on the shock. Also, the trunk lid was rusting. The consumer he was able to remove the key from the ignition while the gear was in drive. The consumer stated he pulled into the driveway, shut the engine off and placed the keys in the console. He exited the vehicle to remove items from the back seat. Soon after, the vehicle started to roll backwards. Updated 06/01/16.

- Deerfield, OH, USA

problem #4

Apr 212014


  • 57,460 miles
We just purchased this vehicle. W E knew about a paint issue beneath the hatch window. Took the vehicle to a very reputable glass and body shop. The shop owner immediately went to the right rear wheel well and told us to look at it. The area behind the tire is very eaten with rust. A good sized hole exists extending to the shock and strut. The shop owner said that he has seen many of them. Always the same wheel well and nowhere else. Assuredly the strut and shock are compromised. He said that he almost always sees this on the Escapes. The previous owner was extremely meticulous about servicing and upkeep with the vehicle.

- Chassell, MI, USA

problem #3

Apr 082014


  • 120,000 miles
Right front wheel separated from metal attachment, presumably a rust-through failure.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 302013

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
The right front wheel began pulling to the right. Upon inspection we found the sub-frame under the right front was rusted and was sagging. I was advised not to drive the vehicle because the frame could collapse and control of the vehicle would be lost. Upon further inspection it was noticed that only frame rusted out where the air conditioner was dripping condensation. The dealer said it was the road salt used in winter. If that was the case why wasn't the whole sub-frame rotted and not just the section where the air conditioner was dripping? I don't think a 10 year old vehicle should have the frame disintegrate like this.

- Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #1

May 232011


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact was driving 70 mph when he heard a loud noise in the rear of the vehicle as it started swaying abnormally. The passenger side rear fender well was corroded around the strut mount and the strut had come through. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who confirmed the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 125,000.

- South Lyon , MI, USA

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