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 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,364 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #13

Jul 292016


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 35 mph and depressing the brake pedal, the brakes malfunctioned and the vehicle would not stop. The contact also indicated that the check engine light illuminated during the incident. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Granby, MA, USA

problem #12

Dec 162014


  • miles
Takata recall

- Apollo Beach, FL, USA

problem #11

Jan 092015


  • 120,000 miles
Takata recall

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #10

Oct 152015


  • miles


We own a 2004 Escape. That two weeks ago caught fire due to the ABS control module. We also have had brake lines go bad due to part failure twice. And the total of three alternators. Now we have spoken to Ford regarding the 01-03 fire issue. But they will not do anyrhing to consider the 04 even though in researching the actual recall it was the same issue. I woulf like to see this happen. We are selling our vehicle to the sealer sue to lack of reliability. But wanted to vet the word out on this issue. Our engine also idle and tries to pull the vehicle forward even with the brakes applied. This is due to a faulty idle air controll valve.

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #9

Oct 122015


  • 125,715 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving at an unknown speed over a bump in the road, the vehicle emitted a clucking noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing, which indicated that the front suspension bar was fractured. The front suspension bar was replaced. The contact also stated that the brake lines also failed due to corrosion. The brake lines were replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 125,715...updated 02/01/16

- Sears, MI, USA

problem #8

Oct 142015


  • miles
The contact owned a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 20 mph, the speed accelerated independently, the brake pedal was depressed but failed to respond causing the vehicle to crash into a guard rail. The air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was destroyed. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V353000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Fulton, MO, USA

problem #7

Dec 122014


  • 130,000 miles


I was leaving my parking spot where the vehicle had been parked for approximately 45 minutes when the brake pedal went to the floor and my brakes were not working properly. I discovered that brake fluid was leaking out of the brake line in the front drivers side wheel well. The rubber hose had deteriorated and had to be replaced. Yesterday I was driving when my brake pedal went to the floor again. When I parked the car I found that brake fluid is leaking from the brake line in the front passengers side wheel well. The vehicle now had approximately 137000 miles. It appears that the rubber brake line hose had deteriorated on that side as well. This is a major safety issue as both times I was driving my kids and had to worry about injuring them and potentially anyone else on the road at the times this occurred.

- Taylor, MI, USA

problem #6

Apr 182013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
The car stalls after putting it in gear /

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 052012

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
I first noticed a surging and squeal type noise while coming to a stop. Spouse had repaired 3 times yet it continues. During this time I also heard a clanking noise from rear end as if hatch (window/door) was not securely closed but then assumed it may be related to the aforementioned issue. I mentioned noise increased, loud, frightening (steering difficulties). He contacted Ford by phone (X3) and emailed however their reply was no fatalities or incidents had been reported therefore we have 2 options. 1) take it to a Ford dealer for repair at our expense, 2) trade in for a new Ford vehicle. Both school/city/govt employed and cannot afford $2000 to repair. Yesterday my husband removed the entire right shock when I returned home from work after a 12 hr day & told him I felt as if the back end was going to fall off & clanking sound intensified. At 8pm he was laying under car on garage floor and found the shock hanging! he was forced to remove as I had to work the next day at 6am. I am driving without one shock, new tires, rusted rear frame and surge continues. I would appreciate any suggestions as to other avenues for reporting. I have 2 coworkers with similar issues, both Escapes. The removed shock is rusted, near crumbling of sort but saved along with several photos. Thank you in advance for reviewing my lengthy email and look forward to any input and recommendations. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). Updated 1/21/15

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #4

May 042014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 105,715 miles
Rubber brake hose on passenger side front ruptured causing all brake fluid to drain from system. Upon inspection it was found the driver side rear rubber brake hose was near failure. Ford service technician indicated that he had seen several failures on Ford Escapes. This failure causes the brakes to fail completely with no brake pedal response.

- New Hope, MN, USA

problem #3

May 152012


  • 203,258 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While parked, the contact noticed that the ABS warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated that the ABS module would have to be replaced. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 07V156000 (service brakes, hydraulic:antilock:control unit/module) but was advised by the manufacturer that the VIN was not included in the recall. After a period of time elapsed, the contact began to notice a loud squeaking noise coming from the rear of the vehicle and a grinding sound when depressing the brake pedal. The contact had the brakes replaced but the failure persisted. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 203,258.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #2

Sep 142012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 111,364 miles
I own three of these vehicles and again right front ABS ring snapped while driving. Ford will not do anything even though I've had the same problem on all three cars.

- Dighton, MA, USA

problem #1

Apr 192012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 114,675 miles
Driving on a state highway approaching a red light, I applied brakes and felt a pulsing sensation in the brake pedal, it became very hard to stop and I had to pull to the shoulder of the road. This has happened several more times since, at various speeds and with no warning. The ABS light on the dash does not come on and there are no obd codes. The vehicle becomes very hard to stop. I had the vehicle checked by my mechanic this week. He felt the problem once, but could not find any problems or obd codes, even after running diagnostic tests. At this point I am in a quandry; I need to use the vehicle, but feel it is unsafe to do so and will probably park it until someone can tell me what is happening and find a resolution. I have read of similar problems due to a defective 'tone ring' in the ABS system, but mine is not defective.

- Pine Beach, NJ, USA

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