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 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,109 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Nov 012016

Escape 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


ABS light and engine light came on while driving and vehicle shut down completely. Towed to shop to have replaced the alternator and battery bad. Since then 3- alternators, 2- batteries, 3- O2 sensors, and an airbag light that blinks on and off and illuminates when you honk the horn on the steering wheel. Also when turning on headlights, all dash lights and stereo console lights dim to almost invisible. Took to 4 different Ford dealerships and no one can figure out the problem!!!! this company should realize this car is a lemon, and back their workmanship. And blow this car up !!!

- Jackson, CA, USA

problem #21

Jun 162016


  • 190,000 miles
Drove my 2004 Ford Escape 20 minutes to get pizza and come back home parked it at 8pm by 12:30am neighbors banging on door your cars on fire!!!! I'm in believe the ABS module caught fire recall is out Ford says my vehicle doesn't apply

- Brownsburg, IN, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Aug 292015


  • 61,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving at approximately 65 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 61,000.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #18

Apr 182013

Escape 6-cyl

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

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #17

Jan 022012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Original owner, for almost 3 years now the airbag light would come on periodically, sometimes for 1 drive, sometimes for days at a time then go away. The light coming on and going off would happen for no apparent reason. It doesnt matter if someone is sitting in the passenger seat or not, ive checked the connector under the seat and it is firmly seated. In the past year I have also had the battery, brake and now ABS light come on. In January of 2014 my alternator died and I had it replaced, in January of 2015 I had to replace my battery. Battery light has since gone away, but other lights come on randomly. Based on the type of work I do, im convinced there is a short or bad ground somewhere but I have no idea where to begin. Ford wants $160/ hr to diagnose this. My vehicle is not abused and has about 110K miles. Since the whole car is based on the electrical system, I feel this is something Ford should look at, diagnose and fix.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #16

Sep 142014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles


Loud rattle then grinding noise. When I pulled over I had to remove the shock mount which was jammed between the car and my tire. The shock has now popped through the plastic. This is my only form of transportation and the dealer said there was no recall. The other side is rusted out as well. In addition, when damp out, the #5 plug is missing causing damage to the converter. Total estimated tune up repair close to $400. During the past year tyrod, brakes & rotors, wheel bearing, brake hoses, power steering, radio stays on when car is shut off unless fuse is pulled. Fuel pump was replaced at 70000 in 2011. Have to take the loss. Ford should refund for this defect. The mound is not rusted, just the wheel wells it is attached to.

- Palos Heights, IL, USA

problem #15

Aug 122014


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving 45 mph, the vehicle accelerated abruptly and the rpms increased. There were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact examined underneath the hood and noticed there was an electrical component that was burned on the driver side of the engine compartment. When the contact depressed the accelerator pedal while the vehicle was in the park position, it shut off. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure only occurred once. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #14

Jan 152014

Escape 6-cyl

  • 125,680 miles
While driving at about 45 miles per hour my car starts to spit, sputter and run rough, there is a noticeable loss of power and my gauges first top out then they bottom out then they go back to normal. Ford can't find the problem because it doesn't code for them.

- Huntingdon, PA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Sep 192009


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving around a turn about circle, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The contact stated that the failure recurred multiple times intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times and they were not able to replicate nor diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure several times to no avail. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Gardner, MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 072014


  • 155,000 miles
Driving down road and the rpms on my 2004 Escape jump up. So I try to slow down and car keeps accelerating. Throw car into park because brakes wouldn't slow it down. Ever site I read says it is the accelerator cable. Supposedly this was replaced by dealer while in for air bag indicator light repair in December 2012. Under recall. Now when I start vehicle rpms jump, and get burning smell from motor. Cars rpms jump while driving down road also. Battery and alternator were replaced in May 2013 but since they were replaced battery indicator light is dimly lite upon accelerating. I have spent a fortune on this vehicle and every time I turn around it needs more work. I also after getting battery and alternator replaced had to put a new throttle body component in because motor was racing to 3000 rpms while in park or while foot was on break. Please help. I am scared to death to drive this vehicle like it is. Can not afford to put anymore money into it either.

- Milford, DE, USA

problem #10

Nov 162012


  • 75,000 miles
The problem started when the car was driving and all of sudden the car starts struggling and then shuts off. It would take a several attempts for the car to restart but eventually it would. Now the cars just idles and runs really rough and shuts off while driving. Took it to Ford and they said all it needed was a new cat-converter manifold, not stating why. We replaced it ($1500) but the problem still repeated. Took it to a repair shop and they said it needed to replace 6 ignition coils and plugs and possibly the PCM. They also said the ignition coils caused the cat-convertor manifold to malfunction in the first place. So we replaced all coils and plugs for $1600 but they said the PCM was fine for now but it was a matter of time for the PCM to fail. I'm not sure if Ford deliberately neglected this ignition coil issue but it is suspicious. My commute is mainly interstate hwy and I'm afraid this problem is might cause a major accident while on a major interstate hwy.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #9

Feb 102013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Car's engine vibrated violently and completely stalled going 45 mph down a highway, accident avoided as car behind me slammed on the brakes. Car would not start, check engine light on. Towed vehicle to Ford dealership who fond two engine coils defective and all spark plugs replaced. This vehicle has repeated issues with defective coils and dangerous to travel on a highway when engine abruptly stops. This is poor engineering on Ford's part and demand the us government force a recall!

- Oswego, IL, USA

problem #8

Oct 242011


  • 159,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving 65, the contact stated the vehicle lost electrical power, causing the radio, speedometer and RPM gauge to decrease to zero for approximately two seconds and then the vehicle began to perform normally. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer were notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 159,000 and the current mileage was 160,600. The VIN unavailable.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #7

Dec 082010


  • 42,800 miles
After driving about 10 miles my airbag warning light came on. On the way back, it again came on after about 10 miles - it flashed a few times and then stayed on. The Ford dealer tested the car and said the warning light was caused by both front pretensioner connectors costing $397.99. I looked up pretensioner on the internet and saw many complaints specific to 2004 Ford Escapes. There were also solutions such as disconnecting the light, ignoring the light, and rigging the wires under the seat. My concern is that this is a wide spread defect that may lead to lack of safety and highway death. It is an expensive repair that consumers may ignore.

- Novi, MI, USA

problem #6

Aug 222009


  • 83,000 miles
My 2004 Ford Escape I bought used from a dealer after less then 4 months an ignition coil popped I took it in for repair changed coil and spark plugs got it back and less then 2 days later another ignition coil popped.

- Greenwood Lake, NY, USA

problem #5

Mar 072009

Escape 4WD

  • 111,925 miles
I have had to replace my alternator in my vehicle three times now since 2006. I would like to know why. The dealer I bought it from can't find anything and is not willing to help since the last time it was repaired was over two years ago. When it was in for repairs they stated the Ford dealer it was taken too could not find anything wrong with it. I even filed a complaint with the attorney general's office but they got a letter of such in accurate info from the dealer the claim was dropped. I know two other people with the same year Ford I have with the same issue. I would like your company to buy my car and get me into a new one or at the very least repair this issue and any issues that may be found if and when this is looked into. I feel I should not need to be making payments on a car that breaks down every two years. Sometime more. Please help. My car is a 2004 Ford Escape XLT 4WD. Mileage: 111925vehicle location: Inpossessionif contacted dealer: Yesdealer name: Diehl motor.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #4

Jul 272007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Escape. While driving 10 mph, the vehicle surges forward unexpectedly. The contact stated that the cruise control is leaking fluid into the electrical system. The dealer stated that the vehicle is not under recall and informed the contact that he would have to pay for the repairs. The current and failure mileages were 39,000.

- South Ozone Park, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 092006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
- the contact stated that his Ford Escapes just stalls while driving, there are no warnings signs. The vehicle will just stop in the middle of the road. This happens at any speed. The vehicle will start back up right away. This started happening during the week second week of November 2006. The vehicle was taken to the dealership for repairs on 12/9/06 and the dealer could not find anything wrong with. The next day the vehicle stalled again. The consumer took the vehicle back in and the dealer changed the air control valve, and the crank shaft timing sensor. The dealer also told contact that they had contaminated fuel and replaced the fuel pump and filter. The stalling occurs two or three times a day. The vehicle is currently at the dealer again for repairs for the same issue. The contact has the repair order, no injuries have occurred due to this failure.

- Stratford, CT, USA

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