Notes: The 2012 Ford Escape has an acceptable complaint history so far, with leaking rear window problems showing up as the main concern so far. NHTSA complaint data shows an early pattern of problems with stalling while driving.

Another concern is the 2012 Escape rolled onto its roof during an NHTSA side impact test so it only received a marginal side impact rating ... not good.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
55,900 miles
Total Complaints:
37 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (13 reports)
  2. remove rust (13 reports)
  3. replace rear quarter panels (8 reports)
  4. replace wheel wells and lift gate (3 reports)
2012 Ford Escape body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2012 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Sep 152018

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I purchased my new 2012 Ford Escape 3/2013. This is my 2nd Ford Escape. I noticed while hand washing my drivers side quarter panel wheel well lip rusting 9/2018 (6 months after my 6 yr payments finished. I filed complaint with Ford Motor Credit which was an oversea's call center??? Was told to take vehicle to my Ford dealership for photos which I did. Received call back from foreigner states located in Florida that my corrosion warranty expired after 5 years...Really??? I also have a 2003 Ford F150 rust free...Since my claim was rejected, I have noticed just about all the Ford Escapes 2012 and older quarter panels are visually doing the same thing. Ford needs be held accountable for the poor and cheap manufacturing process to cut costs. I am now rethinking if my family will ever purchase a Ford product again....

- kjanice, Pasadena, US

problem #36

Oct 222018

Escape XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I'm having the same problem as everyone else here with my 2012 Ford Escape. Bubbling rust on the rear wheel wells and on the bottom edge of the rear hatch. From the repair quotes I've heard about and the lack of interest from Ford, I decided to take care of it myself. Sanded, primed, repainted with touch up paint and touch up spray paint last fall, and now I'm at it again. The rust hasn't made its way around to any visible spots yet, so I'm hoping if I just keep at it every year or so I'll stay ahead of it. Pretty disappointing to have to do this with a car that is otherwise in perfect condition.

- Emily T., Victor, ID, US

problem #35

Apr 022015

Escape Limited 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

click to see larger images

excessive rusting excessive rusting excessive rusting

2012 Ford Escape limited 3.0. I bought this car from a Ford dealer when it was 2 years old with 20,000 miles. This was my third Escape. I thought it was a little odd to see the "ripple" in the metal lip under both rear wheel wells. The rust started after the first year and I was thinking you got to be kidding. I'm a busy guy and don't have a lot of time to be bringing my car in to complain. I wasn't sure about a rust issue and if it would be covered. I had the super duper extended warranty and I had to bring car to Ford for another issue 2 years ago. While there, I said to the service writer that I was not happy about the rust coming through my wheel wells as well as identify the window hatch hinges that disintegrated. (reason brought in).

The guy gave me no guidance on the rust issue at all. Last year when brought in to the same dealer for my inspection sticker the guy said I may have to fix the rust I fully explained the car had 65000 miles and was rusting out. Again, no help. PLUS, I was working at this Ford dealer in Stoneham, building a new service building, and parked my car on the lot every day. My rusty Escape, and not one service guy offered an opinion? This was the 15th Ford I bought for my family. Just recently the service manager from Bonell Ford, where I bought it, got involved and told me how Ford fixed her Escape and may fix mine. I'm still waiting to hear back after several un-returned phone calls.

- John R., Stoneham, MA, US

problem #34

May 072017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


My 2012 Ford Escape started rusting at approximately 52,000 miles in 2017. I contacted both the dealership and Ford Customer Service headquarters in Michigan to be told they would pay half the cost of the repairs which were in the thousands of dollars which I didn't have.

I would like to start a class action suit and if anyone with the same problem is interested they can email me at and I will find us an attorney.

Hope to hear from owners of not only 2012 but 2010, and 2011 as I was told by the dealership this was a design problem since the 2010 model....

- Donna G., Clinton Township, MI, US

problem #33

Oct 012015

Escape Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Our 2012 Red Ford Escape is rusting around the rear wheels also! It's definitely a sign of poor quality of Ford products. We have a 2004 Acura MDX that has NO rust anywhere as well as a 2006 Volvo without rust. This is the LAST Ford product we will own. Wish we could buy American but I won't spend anymore money on cheap quality when I can buy foreign and have it built to last.

Every 2012 Ford Escape I see on the roads has rust in the same place. Ford needs to own up to the problem and fix it for us. As is, we are driving advertisements of the poor quality of Ford products!

- Jeanne S., Chaska, US

problem #32

Jun 012015

Escape XLT 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I see I am yet another upset 2012 Ford Escape owner. I first noticed the rust bubbles about 6 months after buying my car, (second owner, bought when it was 2.5 years old out of 3/36,000 mile warranty) I too went to Ford to ask about them repairing the issue and was told by a nice service writer at my dealership that Ford won't fix under warranty because it's not a safety concern.

Let me state here, I worked for Toyota for 5 years as the Warranty Administrator at a dealership and Toyota bent over backwards to ensure their customers were happy, even if it meant repairing a non-safety issue under warranty. I bought this Escape because I also did not like the crossover 2013 and newer body style.

I don't believe we as Ford Escape owners are asking for anything out of this world. All we ask is Ford fix the problem UNDER WARRANTY as they have identified it. I am almost done paying this car off and want to keep it for at least another 3-5 years. Even if I wanted to sell it now I am going to get low balled based on the appearance as I maintain my car mechanically and physically.

- kdrafferty, Cleveland, US

problem #31

Apr 022018

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


Rust is ONLY on passenger rear quarter panel and nowhere else. Dealer thought that was unusual. But it is a costly repair!

- Cynthia F., Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #30

Jul 092018

Escape XLT 2.5L I4

  • Manual transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Noticed body cancer rusting starting at passenger rear wheel well. Took to an auto body shop. He explained that it is a common problem due to use of foam sealants between body panels to deaden noise. The foams holds the water and causes rust cancer like vehicles of the 1970s. It would cost about $4000.00 to repair just one wheel well. The car is only worth about $8k.

While I was on vacation 2000 miles away from New Jersey, I noticed the same problem on 3 other 2012 Ford Escapes that I saw. So this is just a single or local issue. It is bad design and engineering.

- Dwayne G., Millville, NJ, US

problem #29

Aug 032015

Escape XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2012 Escape started to rust in 2015. 3 years old and rusting! I owe an astronomical amount on this vehicle yet and it has rust already. This is absolutely ridiculous that that this has not been fixed by Ford yet. I had an estimate done on my vehicle, which is an odd color - lime squeeze (bright green) and ironically enough the owner said "this is the second one in the last few weeks with rust in the same areas - it was the same color as yours." He suspected that the gas tank side is more rusted because a (?)foam cushion needs to be replaced to prevent gas from leaking. Not sure however, the cost to repair all 3 areas (rear wheel wells and back hatch) is $750.

- Renee T., Belleville, US

problem #28

May 012018

Escape XLT 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought this car used in 2013. It is a 2012. Excessive rusting around wheel wells around rear back tires. I noticed this washing car, excessive brown rusting on bottom of trim and behind it. Its like the inside lip near the tire. You really can't notice it unless you are looking up at tire kinda bent down washing wheels (if that makes sense). I think it is from bad design. I think for a car this age it shouldn't do this. Also, it is on opposite side too, exactly the same location, same problem. I just paid this off.

- Jessie H., Gloucester, VA, US

problem #27

Feb 012017

Escape XLT 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


Contacted Ford in March of 2017. They denied the claim. Took back to Ford in May of 2018. Rust is real bad now. I talked to customer service before I took it back to dealer. He gave me a line of bull. He told me it is dealer discretion to fix the rust and that is not true Ford denied the claim again.

I have been waiting for a supervisor from customer service to call me back for a month. They never called me. I have been waiting for a service rep to call me for 3 weeks now, they never called. The estimate to fix is $5,100. Car has 51500 miles on it and has been garage kept since new.

I have bought 12 new Ford cars & trucks since 1999 and I will never buy another Ford again. They do not care about the consumer, they won't call you back. They must use cheap steel. They had this problem on 1rst generation Escapes, but they did not fix the problem.

- Mark S., Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #26

May 282018

Escape LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Ford should be ashamed of this reoccurring issue. I was shocked to learn on this website that all of the 2012 Ford Escapes are having the same issue. My vehicle is finally paid off and it now it's going to rust through. IF Ford was a descent company they should fix their rust issue at no cost to the consumer.

The only reason why I purchased this one was since it was the last of their awesome design. It will be the last Ford that I purchase since I hate the cross-over, mini-van look. Haven't decided which SUV make that I will consider yet but I'm actively looking.

Extremely upset over this!!! I've purchased three brand new Ford Escapes and this one is the most disappointing one (2002, 2005 and 2012).

- Rochelle T., Greendale, WI, US

problem #25

Jan 022017

Escape Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I had just finished paying off my Escape (5yrs) when I started to see RUST on the driver's side rear wheel well just below gas cap cover! Furious! Initially, I thought it was an issue of possible leaking of gas when filling up? However, I started to pay attention to other Escapes in parking lots/on the roads and noticed they had the same RUST. Why doesn't Ford take care of this obvious problem? I was looking forward to having this vehicle for years to come but at this rate, doubtful. Our family have always been Ford owners.


- Michelle R., Omaha, NE, US

problem #24

Jun 012017

Escape Limited V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

When my car was still under warranty, it was not showing signs of rusting in the wheel wells until exactly after 60,000 miles. Now it looks terrible 1 year later. Ford would have covered the cost of the repair if that happened prior to the warranty expiring. I called the Body Shop at a Ford Dealer in Westlake, OH and they mentioned "it is a common problem with that car". Well if it's a common problem, then Ford should step-up and fix the problem! Overall its been a really good car except for this common problem of severe rusting in the wheel wells (rear mostly). My car looks terrible. It's parked in a garage all day/night, both at home and work and I wash/wax it regularly. I think Ford likes to focus all their attention on their trucks and their Mustang but if you look on the road, you do see a lot of the Escapes and they usually have rust!

- Kimberley S., Strongsville, OH, US

problem #23

Mar 022018

Escape ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

Car has rust above rear drivers side tire, rest of car in excellent condition. Contacted Ford, dealer and they are willing to pay $250 towards repair of $2500. In searching history of problem it seems this is a problem on several cars per this website. I have been purchasing cars from this dealer and Ford for over 50 years and just purchased a new 2017 Escape from same dealer Plaza Ford in Maryland. Car is 6 years old and I certainly am not going to invest an additional $2K for a cosmetic issue, even though I will have a rust hole in side of vehicle soon. This does make me believe I should have purchased a Hyundai instead of a Ford in 2017 and in the future.

- Dennis C., Pylesville, US

problem #22

Feb 012018

Escape Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My car is immaculate. It is always garaged and always washed. I never wanted the red paint to fade. It has approximately 40,000 miles. The other day I noticed the bubbles under the paint above the back driver's side wheel. I know its rust and the rust is going to cause the paint to peel/flake, etc.... This is a ford issue and should be covered by Ford. I purchased this vehicle directly off Tasca Ford's inside showroom.

I have had 2 Ford Escape's in the past and did not have any issues in the past. I purchased my 2005 also brand new and back then where I lived did not have a garage. I did not have this issue at all. This is definitely a defect and Ford should take care of their customers if they want them to return.

- laurie2644, Taunton, US

problem #21

Sep 012015

Escape Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

First Ford and last Ford, for a vehicle 2012 with less than 55,000 miles that has been maintained, cleaned, in a garage to have this much rust in the rear wheel wells is unacceptable. From what I have been reading, Ford could really care less and is not willing to work with customers on a fix. Well, when sales start to decline and people lose jobs because we are not willing to buy FORDS again, maybe THEN someone with all the big bucks in their pockets at FORD will say, "We should have done something to help our customers with this problem which is clearly a design or product defect" Thanks for nothing FORD. Nothing nice to say. I am old and have had MANY vehicles in my lifetime and not one of them has developed this much rust in the wheel wells. Oh wait, I think the Sante Fe Hyundai was having issues and I believe I have seen a design change on the newer SUV's. Are you hearing what I'm saying Ford? We don't need your defective products. Ok, now i will go take my blood pressure medicine or perhaps call FORD for fun?

- Kathleen S., Blaine, US

problem #20

Apr 222016

Escape XLT 2.5L, I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

This 2012 Ford Escape XLT is otherwise in great shape. But noticed top of rear wheel wells both rusting through. Bad design as it appears there is a 2nd sheet of sheet metal that runs behind the painted fender metal. Salt water can easily get in between and trapped. Unfortunately we also have a 2011 of the same vehicle with the same problem on both wheel wells. Just called Ford and they can replace the quarter panels at $2,500 a $5,000 for both. I definitely won't be spending that kind of money to fix this thing. These issues have finally gotten me to think about moving to another brand of vehicle as we now run all Fords.

- Brian L., Chaska, MN, US

problem #19

Sep 192017

Escape Limited 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Rust bucket Rusted through on tailgate and wheel wells. Took it to body shop 600.00 to fix no guarantees started to rust again in 90 days. Body shop says he has seen this before and Ford probably knows about it Dealer says nothing can be done about it, so does Ford. Guess what, I have been a Ford guy for my last 5 cars. Moving on! My next car will not be Ford. Funny thing dealer owner keeps sending me offers to buy another one, but he will not answer email to his personal email address. So much for their golden service awards. I have talked with a lot of other Ford owners who have the same problem. I hope a class action suite starts. This is outrageous.

Dan P

- Dan P., Walkerton, US

problem #18

Aug 232014

Escape LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

Usually keep my vehicles for 10-15 years. Diligent about upkeep. Found rust forming on bottom back hatch door, cleaned, problem continued. Finally took to Ford, for $500 it was stripped, repainted, said it would probably come back. It has, now I have bubbling and rust on Left wheel well, another trip to get it repaired. In my years of owning vehicles I have NEVER had rust develop on a relatively NEW VEHICLE, in places that it should not be. It seems to me that the rust proofing robot was on a break when my vehicle came down the line. Ford has said that this Ford Line DOES HAVE A RUST PROBLEM. I cannot believe that a company does not track common complaints indicating a system wide problem with either the design of the vehicle or a problem in the manufacture of this line. Does the Ford company care about the quality of their products?????

- Joan F., Medford, US

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