Notes: The 2013 Ford Escape has been in the news quite a bit and for all the wrong reasons. Within a few months of its release the SUV was recalled three times, twice because of engine fires.

In July 2012, due to a fuel line that could split and leak, Ford told owners to park their cars because even driving to the dealership for repairs was deemed too dangerous. Instead, in a somewhat unprecedented move, Ford sent tow trucks to pick up the affected vehicles and handed out rental cars while the owners waited for repairs.

A few months later the Escape was recalled again because antifreeze could leak out onto the engine due to a freeze plug becoming dislodged. As the coolant hit the hot engine there was, once again, a threat for fire.

The 2013 is the first model year of the Escape's 3rd generation and proves once again that you want to avoid the first model year when at all possible.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,603 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.

2013 Ford Escape drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Aug 242015


  • 48,000 miles


When shifting from sport mode (s) to drive (D), the shifter mechanism does not lock out neutral (which should require pressing the release button.) I pushed the shifter from sport directly to neutral, causing me to temporarily lose power while merging.

- Plymouth, MN, USA

problem #39

Feb 282015


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving at 40 mph, the vehicle began to vibrate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the shaft and joint assembly, bushing, seals, right front axle, and shaft joint forward needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Five months later while driving at 65 mph, the contact noticed strong fuel fumes emitting in and around the vehicle. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, who diagnosed that the fuel lines needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 13V584000 (fuel system, gasoline) however, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #38

Aug 032015

Escape 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
While driving down the highway I pushed on the accelerator to pass another car safely. The accelerator did not react for 4 seconds, this is a serious safety issue and if our government is not looking out for us, who is. I noticed other postings like this and I have complained to Ford that I have a lemon and they have chosen not to do anything about it. Do I need to start writing my senator or congress person for something to happen, what does it take for someone to notice these complaints, a death from these defects? Ford has chosen to ignore it and apparently the NHTSA as well. I have had several issues with my Escape and have complained to Ford, I am a veteran and cannot afford a lawyer as I am putting three people through college. Help!!!!!!!.....updated 10-27-15

- Seal Beach, CA, USA

problem #37

Apr 042015


  • 12,850 miles


When driving at highway speed SUV jerks - sputters not all the time but the last time it was like a machine gun at 60mph. It stores no codes. Been to Ford 3 times the 2nd time a code of miss firing they change all plugs and coils. Was on the highway a week later something.

- Revere, MA, USA

problem #36

Mar 152015


  • 9,800 miles
While traveling down the highway in plover Wisconsin, smoke began to pour into the vehicle via the front vents. I looked forward and saw massive flames coming from under my hood. I quickly pulled over, shut the vehicle off and ran. I call 911, where it took 15 firemen and 500 gal of water to put out the 10ft flames (see fire report). The entire front end of my car has been destroyed along with all the contents. The fire broke through the firewall and melted underneath the dashboard. Front tires exploded

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #35

Feb 262015


  • 14,200 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving at 30 mph, the vehicle decelerated, the transmission failed to shift into gear, and the check engine warning light illuminated. The engine was shut off and restarted, and the vehicle resumed normal operation. The failure recurred multiple times intermittently. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 14,200.

- Marcelluf, NY, USA

problem #34

Apr 252015


  • 39,900 miles


The vehicle was driving fine while utilizing cruise control going 70 mph. All of a sudden chime sounded and engine stalled. Cluster had message "shift into park" my turn signals didn't work as well. Instrument cluster died completely as I went to pull over. Turned on hazards and shifted into park and restarted vehicle. Was able to control the situation.

- St.Paul, MN, USA

problem #33

Feb 192015

Escape 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
Recall repair done in August 2014 for well publicized localized overheating of cylinder head issue. Have had two instances of overheating since... the last incident occurred on 2/19. The vehicle went to low power mode and instructed my wife to pull over immediately and stop engine... she did.... after sitting for approx 10 minutes she restarted the engine and temperatures returned to normal however the engine light is now on and I will be taking the vehicle for repairs again on Monday. I am very concerned about the reliability of this vehicle and specifically this engine option. I have no idea what damage was caused by this latest incident... I'm sure there will be some residual longevity impacts if I keep the vehicle. I predict that this engine will continue to have issues.. both incidents did occur during extreme cold (below zero) so it seems to be cooling system related... which was the basis of the original recall.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #32

Nov 052014


  • 21,302 miles
Check engine light has been on since the beginning of 2014, always for the same code P0741. Car does not drive properly at highway speeds as the torque converter does not lock up as intended. This in turn causes much lower fuel economy than the vehicle is capable and advertised to get. (23.5 hwy actual, should get 29-30 mpg) car has been in to Ford 5 times and the problem has not been resolved. Sent Ford a last chance letter prior to the ast repair attempt. This attempt was scheduled by Ford so one of the engineer experts could evaluate it. After they fed us a complete line of hogwash about an air bubble in the cooling system, they told us it was fixed. 70 miles after this visit, light is back on (same code) and mpg is still terrible. To top it off the coolant is leaking on the floor in garage and car runs rougher and has nearly stalled at intersections multiple times (with my 2 yr old daughter in the car) clearly they are incapable of repairing but informed us they will do nothing else.

- Fruit Cove, FL, USA

problem #31

Apr 302014


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle independently decelerated. In addition, the contact stated that the service immediately warning light illuminated and the rpms would increase and decrease. The failure occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V495000 (engine) and experienced failures after the repair. The specifics on the failures after the recall was performed were not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 11,000.

- Independence, WV, USA

problem #30

Oct 112014


  • 25,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the transmission was shifting abnormally in and out of gears and there was a sudden increase in engine rpms. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. During a second appointment, the technician determined that the computer needed to be reset. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who repaired the throttle body, the motor, the assembly control, the assembly transmission, and the gasket. The remedy failed to repair the failure. In addition, while traveling 45 mph downhill, the vehicle stalled and caused another vehicle to crash into the contact's vehicle. The contact sustained minor injuries and did not seek medical attention. A police report was filed. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign number: 14V495000 (engine). The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000.

- Beaver Creek, OH, USA

problem #29

Jul 232014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 5,904 miles
In order to park in the single bay of our three car side entry attached garage, you have to pull up to the post between the double and single bays, back up and pull forward. After pulling to about one foot from the garage support post and bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, I attempted to shift from drive to reverse. The Escape suddenly accelerated into the post and our Expedition parked in the right hand side of the double bay. It felt like I had been slammed into from behind. With the engine racing I was able to use the start/stop button to stop the engine. The post was driven over three feet into the garage and the Expedition was hit with so much force that it jumped about an inch onto the cement curb in front of the garage. Hitting the Expedition prevented the garage post (wood and brick) from totally collapsing. The Escape has the 1.6L eco-boost engine and was purchased in Oct. 2012. It has been driven only 5,904 miles. At 5,672 miles the dealership had the vehicle for three days for three recalls 13S12, 14S04 and 14S03.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #28

Aug 012014


  • 24,400 miles
The engine had been idleing a little rough and stalled at a stop light. It restarted and then it would idle rough and like it was going to stall again. It has stalled a total of 3 times in the last 3 days and is idleing rough. Ford dealer service dept. Not open to get looked at. This is out of the blue and when I ran an engine diagnostic it came back normal. I dont trust this car now and am in the process of trying to trade it for a new Toyota, but I am not sure I will be able to get rid of this vehicle. I see Ford has had several issues with this and so far they cant find anything wrong.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #27

May 312014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 21,805 miles
On 5/31/14, upon starting vehicle (2.0 L, sel), vehicle running rough, sputtering, lurching when accelerator was depressed, etc. Message on dash screen stated "engine fault - service now". drove car approximately 8 miles to a Ford dealer I was not familiar with. Turned car off but then decided to move car. Started car, all issues disappeared, so I left and drove car 35 miles to my home with no issues. Drove car until 6/20/14 when exact symptoms happened again. Drove car with symptoms occurring to local Ford dealer. Mechanic suspected cooing system problem, turned off engine without hooking up to computer for diagnosis. Minutes later, mechanic decided problem was not cooling system related since Escape was a 2.0 L (cooling system problems apparently occur with 1.6 L models), but was instead the map sensor which was replaced on 6/26/14. Next day (6/27/14) after map sensor replacement, same exact issues. No time to take to a dealer, so I shut it off and restarted it and all symptoms disappeared. Drove regularly until 7/16/14, when exact symptoms occurred again. Drove directly to local Ford dealer, left it running. They hooked up the diagnostic computer while running which showed error code related to map sensor again. Explained to mechanic that my research has indicated that tsb 13-12-12 might address the problem which is related to wiring in the "signal return splices." He agreed. Made appointment for next day, 7/17/14. Upon starting on 7/17/14, same symptoms. Turned off, restarted, symptoms cleared and I drove it with no issues to my local Ford dealer. Local dealer called and said they looked at the wire splices, made some "adjustments" (no new parts) and that vehicle is ready for pick up. If this occurs again, which I believe it will, I will ask for wire harness replacement to the signal return(s). Dangerous, well-documented problem.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #26

Jun 042013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
After owning this vehicle for one month, the transmission had to be completely replaced. About a month after the new transmission was placed, I started having problems with the car not wanting to accelerate. I would be merging onto the freeway or pulling into traffic and the car would not accelerate. The RPM's would go way up, but the car would not move. I am fearful anytime I drive this car that it may not accelerate when I need it to and I'll end up in a vehicle accident. I have had my Escape into the dealership 5 times for this same issue. The last time I had it in, Ford put in a flight simulator. After Ford evaluated the simulator findings, Ford engineers said this was "normal"; they will no longer evaluate the issue. I am truly scared in this vehicle and I've only owned it for one year!!! help!

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #25

Jul 012014


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns 2013 Ford Escape. The contact stated while driving at approximately 50 mph, the vehicle started to decelerate as the check engine warning lamp illuminated. The dealer was notified of the failure however, the dealer stated that they were unable to service the vehicle and no repairs were made. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 11,000.

- Gray Summit, MO, USA

problem #24

May 142014


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle rolled backward after being stopped on an incline. The contact mentioned that both the accelerator and brake pedal needed to depress in order to ensure that the vehicle would not roll backwards. No warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure recurred on a regular basis. The manufacturer was not contacted. There was no diagnostic test completed on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 12,000 and the current mileage was 15,000.

- Elizabeth, PA, USA

problem #23

Apr 222014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 15,500 miles
Vehicle sputtered and shut off while in traffic at approx. 35 mph. This has happened 3 more times, it is now at the dealer for the 4th time in attempt to repair. Ford has so far been unable to provide the dealer with an adequate explanation or fix. The dealer has been more than cooperative but is at the mercy of Ford. A vehicle shutting off for no apparent reason and without warning could lead to serious injuries.

- Southampton, PA, USA

problem #22

Mar 302014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 19,500 miles
Vehicle bucked, lurched and went into "limp mode" and would not accelerate over 40 mph on a 70 mph interstate highway (just as I was trying to enter the highway) engine service light came on and I called Ford roadside to have it towed to the dealership. This was actually the second time. This had happened previously but I cannot find the date - that time, I was entering the same interstate and the car did the same thing and I "limped" the car to the dealership (only being able to drive 40 mph on a 60 mph four lane highway.) on 6/3/2014, the car did the same thing as I was attempting to enter interstate 35 (70 mph) - again - bucking, lurching and then going into the "limp mode". very scared to drive this car anywhere as I fear being hit or killed on the highways because of the cars inability to go anywhere near the speed limit. This is very much a safety issue especially for the area that I live in because all the roadways around me are at least 60 mph or higher and Ford has not been able to fix this problem. The car's engine is now idling very rough, too, so there are other issues with this engine.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #21

Sep 252013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
Vehicle started with warning 'engine fault service now'. restarted vehicle and message was gone. Later that day while driving we noticed severe jerking of the vehicle while changing speeds and noticed the engine fault warning was displayed. Pulled vehicle over. Restarted and the warning was gone. Brought to dealer for over 2 days and they were unable to reproduce error and therefore unable to fix anything. Months later the problem started recurring again while reducing speed on a highway exit resulting in extreme vehicle jerking as if transmission was failing, at this time we noticed the engine fault warning had reappeared. Contacted Ford service center and they will take another look, but without a recall there will be nothing that can do. With so many similar complaints it is astonishing that this is not a known resolvable issue for Ford.

- Fairport, NY, USA

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