2011 Ford Escape transmission problems: jerks & hesitation when shifting/accelerating

Jerks & Hesitation When Shifting/Accelerating

2011 Ford Escape (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
21,579 miles
Total Complaints:
34 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (27 reports)
  2. transmission replaced (3 reports)
  3. changed the valve body (1 reports)
  4. fixed better than new (1 reports)
  5. replaced pcm (1 reports)
  6. transmission rebuilt (1 reports)
2011 Ford Escape transmission problems

transmission problem

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2011 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #34

Jul 072016

Escape V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,254 miles


I own a 2011 Ford Escape, I have enjoyed the ride up till this month when I began having issues with the ABS light for powertrain came on while driving to work, when I got back in vehicle to return home, it was off and the ABS check engine light came on. It did this for 2 days, then went off for a week, now back to coming on and going off, sometimes both ABS lights are on at same time. Today it started to jerk and hesitate when accelerating. If this is a recall, why have we not received a notice to get it fixed!!! I have read some of these reviews and they sound scary!!!! Please Ford, make this issue right, why ruin such a good ride??

- , Haines City, FL, USA

problem #33

Feb 242017

Escape LXT 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,761 miles

When I am at a stop it just takes off and jerks , hesistates . And when driving on highway it takes off al the sudden and sometimes it does not go

- , Buffalo, US

problem #32

Nov 152013

Escape XRT 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

DITO!!!!!!! my transmission does'nt shift for extended moments and the engine races. then it engages and shakes the whole vehicle. That has to be a lot of stress on the drive train. My reccomendation don't make a habit of this or you will be replacing your traanny much sooner. I probably have put a million miles in my driving history. even built my first CAR from just a body, and no engine and transmission.This is the annoying thing about Ford. they produce faulty products and they won't stand behind it. They have this attitude in the manufacturing environment also. Disappointing to see, and yet they do much for good public relations on the other hand. You would think by now they can have transmissions perfected with each new model. They have a history of transmission failures. and many through the nineties and after were caused by a bearing failure on the oil pump shaft. for pennies it could have been averted. Taking off slowly can alleviate the problem of jerking if you are able.

- , Lasalle, MI, USA

problem #31

Aug 012015

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles


Got my car back in April, since about August it started to jerk a lot when changing gears, especially first to second. It also hesitates when I'm trying to accelerate. It takes a good couple seconds now for the car to know I'm trying to accelerate quickly. Really miss my quick response, it's a V6 for God's sake. Had the air filter replaced, the MAF sensor cleaned, and throttle body cleaned. It helped a bit but it seems the jerking and hesistation keeps getting worse. Seems like it's a problem with this car. Not sure what to do.

- , Cherry Hill, NJ, US

problem #30

Aug 032015

Escape XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Bought the vehicle in early July 2015. Test drove took to 2 mechanics ran codes after visually inspecting. Ran fine for a few weeks then noticed I would start the vehicle and drive it and at random times shifting from 1st to 2nd gear it over shifted leaving a very noticeable jolt or sometimes 2nd to 3rd and even into overdrive. Never the same gears. Basically have to roll the dice and wonder which gear will kick.

Took it to dealership and they could not reproduce it until I had a mechanic drive the vehicle with me along. Said it could just be it getting used to me. Bs then why not say that to begin with. Won't run any diagnostics unless I want to pay due to warranty up And my extended warranty only covers mechanical failures. Guess I get to run it till the tranny blows. Why pay for tests when your already paying on a lien on a vehicle that should run great.

- , ste. Genevieve, MO, USA

problem #29

Aug 152015

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

This is my wife's car and she now does not trust it to get her around town. Transmission was jerking when in 1st gear. The following morning I backed out and it gave such a bang I thought I hit something. The following Monday we took it to the dealer and at one stop sign just before getting to the dealer, it would not move. Finally I got it going and left it at the dealer for a week. Since their computer didn't show any lights there was nothing wrong.

Now, since it bucks & jumps in reverse it is back at the dealer for at least another week before they can even look at it. At least it is still under an FMC extended warranty. Will update next week with results.

Update from Oct 2, 2015: Vehicle has been at the dealer for two weeks. They installed a new transmission yesterday, but technician says it has a very harsh shift from 1st to 2nd. Dealer is checking with Ford to determine the next step.

Update from Oct 6, 2015: Received the vehicle back from the dealer today all fixed just like new.

Tech said there err seven(7) transmission error codes and metal in the fluid in the old transmission.

During the two weeks it was in the shop, I was patient and the service writer kept me informed almost daily as to the status of the repair.

- , Waco, TX, USA

problem #28

Dec 022014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


The transmission of my 2011 Ford Escape with only 72,000 miles, is GONE!!! Had the jerking, transmission fluid leaks, etc, etc and now needs replacing. I was asked for $6100 (new) or $4100 (used)!!!

Called Ford customer service and Ford dealers. Both acted surprised like I am the first one complaining. However, this one dealer can only take my car a month from now because they are busy fixing similar problems. GOTCH YOU!

Previously owned a Mercury Sable and a Ford Windstar and had to get rid of them due to transmission failures.

Ford issue a recall and fix these transmissions NOW!

- , Grosse Pointe, MI, USA

problem #27

Dec 012011

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles

2011 Ford Escape. Into the Service Department numerous times for lurching, and skipping and banging. The Service Department never reproduced the problem, yet I read of numerous same issue complaints. Got all the excuses. "It had to get used to me ". etc. I told them there would come a day when my Transmission would be laying on the road. I'm glad I documented this over and over. Just seems to be a problem they know of but do not want to address. Seriously poor service on this particular issue. The issue is easy to find so I'm quite sure they are aware. It is in the shop today. I'll update more later.. Stay away from this vehicle. 36.5 K miles.

Update from May 22, 2014: Well at least they are giving me a loaner car as they replace my Transmission. I hate the fact that this is what they have been forced to do, rather than make a transmission that doesn't have the traits listed in all the complaints here. It seems they put a re-manufactured Transmission in. So where is the fix?

- , Daytona Beach, FL, US

problem #26

Feb 012012

Escape 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

I am very disappointed with my Ford Escape. Although it gets me around well in the winter, the constant jerking/ downshifting whenever it wants to is completely ridiculous. I took it to the dealership after I purchased the vehicle in 2012, and they told me there was nothing wrong with it and there's nothing they can do to fix it, except to reprogram the computer. Well, 2 reprograms still didn't fix it and so I have lived with it. NOW, 2 years late, lo and behold there is a leak from the all wheel drive system on the car. Coincidence??? I think not. I am a road warrior and have put 70,000 miles on this car in 2 1/2 years without any major issue. But it is very disheartening to know that the problem I complained about and was assured that nothing was wrong by the staff at the Ford dealership, seems to now be a real and costly problem to the tune of about a $1000 repair... I'm not a mechanic, I don't know if they are related problems, but it seems when a car is not working properly there is something wrong with it!!!!! It should've never been jerking and downshifting like someone was pulling us with a tow rope from behind! And now, a coincidence that I have a transmission issue to fix??? I don't think so.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #25

Jan 012014

Escape XL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Just when I take off it hesitate and the last month my air condition went out. Cost $168 but that didn't fix it, and I only have 40000 miles, something like that, I know it's not more the 45000.

- , Weirton, WV, USA

problem #24

Mar 122014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


I have had the same issue with the car jerking. It's a real safety issue. Looks like there may be a possible class action investigation:


- , Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #23

Jul 152013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

All the dealership has ever done to it was reprogram the PCM and drive it around for a little while. They said that the jerking is normal if you change speeds too quickly.

In Dec 2013 I was backing out of my driveway and it felt like I hit a brick wall. I took it immediately to the Ford dealership where I bought the vehicle, but they could find nothing wrong. I though that possibly there was a burr on a gear and it finally broke off. As the transmission seemed to be ok for the last couple of months.

However, I took a trip to southern Indiana this pass week. After driving 500 miles and going up and down hills, it was back to jerking and it even gave a couple of good bangs.

The warranty on the vehicle ended Dec 31, 2013, now I'm stuck with it. Anybody want to buy a lemon?

Update from Dec 15, 2015: In the Spring of last year we were in the process of moving to Southern Indiana where it is very hilly. The transmission on my 2011 Ford Escape started acting up again. It seams it would get over heated quickly while we were driving the hills, therefore we traded it off for a 2013 Dodge Avenger. Now it is someone else problem.

- , La Porte, IN, US

problem #22

Nov 302010

Escape LS 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,300 miles

I have 2011 Ford Escape. We purchased it in Nov 2010. It ran good at first. Although I thought it didn’t seem to shift right, it was jerky and rough, especially like in a parking lot slowing down and then quickly speeding up. Sometimes when I stepped on the accelerator it didn’t seem to want to go. But the service center at the dealer kept telling me that it had to get use to me and to try to not drive in stop and go traffic (nice, I live in the Dallas area!) . Well here we are almost 3 years later at 40000 miles or more and it still hasn’t gotten totally used to me. The jerking is A LOT less significant, but at times, out of the blue....JERK.

- , Decatur, TX, USA

problem #21

Jun 122012

Escape XLT 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,300 miles

The saga continues... Received the call last night that our 2011 Escape was ready. We were reminded that the Adaptive Learn-err-uhh Dyslexia would need to be done again - I asked that they do this at the dealership.

After three 30 plus mile sessions (each with a warm-up and cool-down time) the Service adviser calls me up this morning and states that the problem is still there... and another call to the For Tech Hotline will occur - resulting in Ford will install a brand new transmission.

I asked this question - "At 13k miles the transmission burns out including the drive and overdrive clutches. All had been replaced along with the valve body assembly... then 251 miles later we did it again... Now I never even got it back from the dealer and within 90 miles - they are ready to install a new transmission.

My question to them this time is - Has this valve body issue (reported in numerous forums online) in which Ford outsourced the manufacture of this part in Asia been resolved? Am I getting a re-designed transmission? the Service Adviser responded back - "I wouldn't call it a re-design - I'd call it a completely new part!

Stay tuned - How am I supposed to take that??

- , Albuquerque, NM, US

problem #20

Aug 062013

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,703 miles

As reported by another owner of a 2011 Escape, I had an issue with the transmission. All of a sudden when going in reverse or park the transmission would jerk with some grinding noise then stopped. There was also very little power when starting from a stop. It took a while to get up to speed. The engine maintenance light was on all the time.

I was lucky because it happened near the dealer and I was able to get there without a major problem. I was told the same day that it was a PCM problem and they would order a new part. Picked up the car the next day and everything was fine.

The repairs were covered by the standard warranty. I read that owners of 2005 Escape have had similar PCM problems. You would think that Ford would have fixed that problem by now.

I may not keep that car after the warranty is over.

- , Ottawa, ON, canada

problem #19

Aug 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My car has been real jittery when shifting gears. Today it did not want to go to the next gear and started slowing down rapidly. I turned my car off and then back on and the car would start and even drive until it needs to go into the next gear and it does the same thing again.

- , Apo, AE, USA

problem #18

Jun 032013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

I have 2011 Ford Escape. We purchased it in Sept 2010. It ran good at first. Although I thought it didn’t seem to shift right, it was jerky and rough. Sometimes when I stepped on the accelerator it didn’t seem to want to go. But they kept telling me that it had to get use to me . A year ago, it started racing when I started it. But again they said nothing to worry about. Well here we are almost 3 years later at 40000 miles or more and it still hasn’t gotten use to me. To make matters worse, yesterday while on the highway doing 70 mph, it stopped accelerating and started to disaccelerating rapidly. I pulled to the side and the little wrench light was on. It sounded horrible like it was going to stall. I shut it off and restarted it was fine. Then it started again this morning on the way to work as I was driving down the road. Again, I pulled over and restarted it then it is fine. Taking it to the garage tonight. But after almost getting creamed twice, I feel VERY UNEASY and I am not a happy car owner right now after seeing all the similar complaints.

- , Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #17

Jun 012011

Escape LXT 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles

I have had my 2011 4-cyl Ford Escape in service three times for this transmission issue. At lower speeds the transmission gives a feeling of hesitation, and the car shudders as it drops into gear. It feels as if its not sure what gear to shift to.

The first two times I brought the car in, the service tech installed a software update and reset the predictive shift aspect of the software. The third time I brought it in, the tech said there were no new software updates from Ford, so he just reset the software again. All three times, the car was fine for about a week or so, then the problem occurred again.

The service people at my local Ford shop tell me that there have been numerous complaints from customers on this issue and that they have been on the phone with Ford for a year or two on this issue, but it has not been solved yet. I've been told from the service techs that the issue is the predictive shift algorithm in the transmission. Basically, the transmission tries to be "smart" and fuel-efficient by shifting into appropriate gears based on your driving habits. So after the technician resets the algorithm, it spends about two weeks (or perhaps a certain number of miles) learning your driving habits, then starts applying that algorithm when it things its got you figured out.

I've asked them to completely disable this feature. Saving a few bucks on gas isn't worth having a vehicle that feels like its going to shake to pieces, or cause an accident if I'm trying to move out of the way in the event of an emergency. I'm also concerned about the wear and tear on the transmission that this may be causing, although the service tech says this shouldn't be a concern (which I don't completely buy). However, the techs tell me it is not possible to disable. They have asked Ford the same question, and Ford does not allow for it to be disabled.

The bottom line is that I've paid $30,000 for a vehicle that has issues that have not been resolved in going on two years. I've also wasted time with my vehicle in and out of the shop.

Also, the guy at the service desk was a little unhappy with that fact that I didn't answer "Completely Satisfied" on my recent Ford survey, which triggered Ford to call them and investigate the issue. I told him I'm always satisfied with the customer service that I receive at their service department, but not happy with Ford in general. He said the survey is only for "how did we treat you during your last service visit?" and not for general vehicle complaints. How am I supposed to express my dissatisfaction with my expensive vehicle? He also agreed that the survey can be misleading. Ford requested my local service shop to call me and have me bring my Escape in for an extended test drive of 100-200 miles for them to rule out any other issues. The service tech agreed with me that this is a waste of time since we both knew the outcome was going to be the same.

At this point I'm just dealing with the issue. I'm sick of taking it to the shop. As someone else suggested, I could dump the car before my warranty is up and try and trade it in for a different make altogether - disappointing, because I love my Escape otherwise. I'm underwater with the vehicle though, as I rolled in some debt from my trade-in for it. I'm considering contacting a lemon law attorney to help me get out of this car. With the number of complaints on this issue, we should consider a class action lawsuit.

- , Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #16

Aug 082012

Escape Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles

Issue: steering column made creaking noise when moved, transmission slips, rear suspension was making a creaking noise at slow speeds

Picked up my car from the dealership and only the rear suspension was fixed. The transmission was making a horrible noise when you accelerated and the steering column was still making a creaking noise. The bill stated that the transmission was rebuilt. The bill also said that the customer said that I heard a noise from the belt so they replaced the tensioner under warrantee. I never stated that. It was done by the service department because when they fixed the transmission they heard this noise and could not diagnose it correctly and replaced the tensioner. The noise was still present but they gave me the car back. Steering noise and the transmission issues/noise remained so I called a day later to get the car back into the shop.

Car has been back 2 more times for the transmission. Rebuilt a second time. I picked up the car and I don’t make it out of the parking lot before I hear the same noises from the tranny. Steering has been replaced and fixed. I returned to the service department and told the service advisor that I wanted to speak to the service manager. The service manager comes out of his office and service advisor stops him and asks that he look at the car. Manager curses at the advisor in front of me and walks away. I walk out.

Now the wrench drivetrain light goes on and off but it does not kick a code. Great diagnostic light to put in the car if it doesn't help anyone. The manual says call your service department right away. Service says it goes away after you shut the car off. The transmission bucks while you drive it on the highway while you try and make a pass. I bring the car to a different dealership and since they cannot replicate the issue the will not look at the transmission. Really disappointed in Ford...they should know they cannot afford to treat customers poorly during this tough time with competiton.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #15

Mar 012011

Escape ELT 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6 miles

Like other 2011 Ford Escape owners I am dissapointed in this vehicle. I brought it back to the dealership the day after I took delivery for transmission problems. I have been hurt starting it, it jerked forward so hard that my knee hit the dashboard, my head hit the windshield, and I jammed my index finger. Another time while starting the car it bucked backwards, and still another time it jerked forward and then stalled. It also revs but does not accelerate. I have experienced hesitation, bucking, and it sounds and feels like the transmission is going to drop out of the vehicle. So far, I have brought this vehicle back to the dealership for service five times and have not yet been satisfied with the results. The last time I was there the Service Manager said that "the transmission was reset and the computer will begin a relearn process which may reseult in firmer shifts for several days'. The service department also tried to blame these problems on my small floor mat, or that is was too cold, too hot...the moon was not aligned correctly...Like many other Escape owners, I paid too much for a vehicle that is clearly a lemon. I plan to do whatever I can to get rid of this vehicle.

- , Coats, NC, USA

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