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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Mar 272014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 15,500 miles


When I tried again to start up my car today, the powertrain was producing smoke. Ford agreed to buyback my car in mid December 2013 but they have still not been following through on their written contract. I have contacted Ford's rav dept along with emailing Ford's tier1 customer support everytime my car has caught on fire. I have also let the dealer know of my issues. I have tweeted to @Ford, @fordservice, @fordescape about my car. They are aware my car's overheating and transmission issues. No one from Ford has offered to put me in a loaner car while they try to reissue my 'lost' buyback check. They'd rather me drive around a car that catches on fire. I suspect they are trying to hit a quarterly goal and are stalling to Q2. I paid cash for my car so I'm sure my buyback is impacting their budgeting. The smoke from the powertrain triggered my asthma.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #19

Mar 202014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
When I tried to start up my car today, the powertrain was producing smoke. Ford agreed to buyback my car in mid December 2013 but they have not been following through on their written contract. I have contacted Ford's rav dept, I have tweeted to @Ford, @fordservice, @fordescape about my car's issues yet they have not contacted me back about where my repurchase check is at or try to get me a replacement vehicle while this process is occurring. They are aware my car's overheating and transmission issues.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #18

Mar 152014

Escape 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
My automatic transmission is not shifting when I drive uphill and it's causing the engine to rev at redline. When I was driving back from la over the weekend, the car struggled the entire drive. Something was burning under the hood. The engine was also overheating while driving uphill. Ford agreed to buyback this death trap in mid Dec 2013 but they have been stalling the entire process. Apparently my check is missing. I don't want to be in this car when either it burst into flames, the transmission or engine seizes.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #17

Dec 142013


  • 16,000 miles


The traction control system on the vehicle is a hazard. With no more than 3-4 inches of snow the vehicle would not accelerate to get me and occupants out of oncoming traffic. A close call when my only option was to back up and the people behind me to offer me room. The vehicle sits with the accelerator floor or modulated but will not move. After reading the owners manual it tells me " in some instances of deep snow" (not!) turn off the traction control via these 4-5 steps. How the hell are you going to do that when your going to get hit. In my estimation this is a hazard! their traction control is a danger it does not work period. My wife and I were scared needless to say. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #16

Nov 252013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
Now that it is colder out, my car has gone from overheating to misfiring from the defective cac/torque converter in this car. I've noticed that the misfiring does not show up on the check engine light or was able to be read by my obd reader. Misfiring can ruin the catalytic converter and cause emission issues. It is illegal in California (where I'm a resident) to not follow the obd II protocol for reporting emission problems since we have this inspected for registration. When my car has overheated, only Ford was able to pull the code & I also didn't get a check engine light. It's apparent now that Ford has rigged the obd in this car so that only they can retrieve codes. Misfiring is easy for you to replicate to verify my statement. Unplug one cylinder, start the car, see if you get a flashing check engine light and a P030X code.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 162013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
Loses and regains power. Transmission reached 9000rpms. Car jerked car behind me almost hit me. Hard shifting constantly.

- Frisco, CO, USA

problem #14

Aug 282013


  • 5,000 miles


Vehicle stalls, cuts off for no apparent reason. Most recently on an exit ramp, almost got hit from behind. Will usually start right back up and run normally. Has happened 4 times in the last 6 weeks. Dealer could find no codes, left at dealership over weekend, but it didn't happen for them. My sister has the same year, make, model, and problem.

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #13

Sep 172013


  • 20,500 miles
Within just 3 weeks of purchasing our certified pre-owned 2013 Escape titanium (16K miles), the vehicle stalled twice while stopping at an intersection. Dash lights come on, put it in park, turn it off and restart and I am back on the road. Now 2 months since purchase, it has stalled like this 7 times. A few times, we have gotten the "engine fault take vehicle for service" message when starting the vehicle, but this does not coincide with the days of the stalls. I have taken it to the local Ford dealership twice to no avail. The vehicles computer is not storing any codes to identify the failure. Technicians have driven the vehicle extensively with a laptop constantly diagnosing searching for issues. Nothing. This is truly unbelievable to me that this problem is possible in a new vehicle, let alone that it cannot be diagnosed! I am very worried after reading other complaints on this site that it may just be a matter of time before it stalls in busy traffic.

- Mason, MI, USA

problem #12

Mar 252013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 5,817 miles
2013 Ford Escape sel 2.0L. Recurrent issues with "engine fault service now" displaying when car is started (first instance at 5817 miles, now at 11K and still happening). Results in rough idle, poor shifting, harsh acceleration. Can be reset with restart so the error must be visible and the car driven (in terrible and unsafe condition) so the dealer can validate the condition. Condition validated at dealer twice (has occurred five times total) computer has been reset twice, map sensor has been replaced. Issue still occurring with no proposed repair to resolve.

- Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #11

Jun 242013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 2,200 miles
While driving, in humid weather conditions the vehicle lost power and began lurching, shuddering and jerking. Center, driver side screen (behind steering wheel) displayed "engine fault - service now". was able to drive about a mile back home in "limp mode". I shut off the engine, waited and then restarted and all seemed ok. Next day I went to the Ford dealer's service and explained the problem. They could not pull any codes and said it was probably just a "fluke".... it's happened again twice more this week since then. It's not a "fluke". Ford engineers need to get involved here to determine the cause of the problem, and communicate with the dealer service centers, and issue a tsb fix or recall. It's become a serious performance and reliability concern, and a very serious safety issue as well. I can find similar complaints to mine all over the internet, yet Ford claims ignorance of any problems."??"

- Batavia, IL, USA

problem #10

Jun 222013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles


My car has overheated twice after the recall fix. My coolant was violently boiling over. My transmission is also grossly shifting incorrectly. I almost got hit by another car when I was trying to merge onto the freeway since it wasn't going to the next gear. The transmission redlined and then shifted. I checked my obt and I'm not getting any codes for these problems. I'm not sure what to do anymore since anytime I've brought my car in they haven't found any issues. I've brought my car in several times about the engine and transmission and no issues have been found. I drive through the santa cruz mountains every week and I'm afraid one day my engine will catch on fire (hilly roads and low speeds cause the engine to run hot). It would be disastrous for the state of California if a wildfire was started due to this car.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #9

Apr 232013


  • 11,500 miles
Had regular oil change on 4/15/13 and about a week after. While coming to a stopped the vehicle just stalled without warning. Had to come to come to complete stop to put car in park and restart. Ran vehicle health report--nl. Went to dealer who did oil change and said they never heard of this car doing it. If happened again call roadside. 05/29/13 at 545pm car stalled again no warning. Called crown Ford set up appt for mon. 06/10. 6/7/13 558am car again stalled at about 35 mph no warning had to put in neutral apply brake to restart since I was on road with no shoulder and mid curve. Keep appt for mon. At about 423pm that day started car and engine fault noted on start tried to drive out of parking garage. Car was missing and barely moving. Transmission made loud clunk noise. Coasted car down parking garage so tow truck would be able to access it. Towed to crown Ford. Offered vehicle health report I ran stating it was powertrain issue. They declined needed it. Checked and replace map sensor. Picked up on 6/11/13 and 06/12/13 stalled again early in the morning about 600am and then I was advised to bring back to dealer. Stalled again on way to dealer approximately 1130 am. Advised service dealer they ran diagnostic for the next week which all came back normal. Service manager drove on 06/17 and stated problem reproduced and would replace throttle body.this was done and I picked up on 06/21. 06/23 at approximately 204 pm car stalled again...restarted after putting in neutral unable to come to a stop vehicles behind us...restarted when restarted engine missing again when pushed gas the transmission seemed to make a clunk noise and stalled again.the vehicle without notice stalls and is a great safety issue and after last stall the RPM seems to rev up some.this is a major defect and life threatening defect. Vehicle randomly stalls & now revs rpms.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #8

Sep 092012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
Repeated service on the car with health report stating powertrain fault-service immediately. With the help of the BBB Ford sent a field service representative to dealer and replaced several items. Picked up the car April 28 and it seemed improved. On May 25th car experienced the same problem. Ran health report and it states "urgent-powertrain fault/reduced power. We have had the car into Ford many times for this problem and they act as if no one every has had this issue before. I have read your report regarding the problems with ecoboost and feel that our problems with the car are the same.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #7

Jul 242012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
I currently have a law suit pending with Ford Motor Company for numerous issues with this vehicle. One of my major complaints is that this vehicle has a transmission that lunges and is not smooth. It frequently feels like you will not make it through an intersection when you accelerate due to hesitation. The vehicle tachs 3 or 4 number when transitioning between gears. Ford has had my vehicle at the dealer several times. They replaced some parts on the transmission and had an engineer examine the vehicle and run tests for one week. The conclusion was that there is nothing wrong with the transmission. It is supposedly just how an ecoboost engine works. It is still an onging issue for me 6 months later.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #6

Mar 242013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 8,150 miles
While depressing the brake pedal in order to bring the vehicle to a full stop at a stop sign in a residential neighborhood, the engine raced and the vehicle lurched forward beyond the stop sign. I, the driver, was required to quickly place the vehicle into neutral gear as the acceleration of the engine and the fully depressed brake pedal seemed to be fighting against each other.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #5

Feb 252013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 1,298 miles
I started my vehicle in the morning using the remote start feature. After about 10 minutes, I entered my vehicle, backed out of my driveway and put it in drive. Upon depressing the accelerator, the car hesitated, then surged, hesitated again and then stalled in the middle of the road. I put my hazard warning on and attempted to restart the vehicle. It would not restart. I finally was able to restart the vehicle after about 5 minutes and limped it back into my driveway. I called for tow service and had it towed to the dealership where I purchased it. The service manager informed me several times that there were no logged faults in the ECM even though I had a check engine light immediately after this occurred. Later however, I learned from the actual mechanic, that there were several codes logged and there was a technical bulletin out to update the body control module with new software. The tech stated he could not do that however as his tooling would not show the BCM module or allow him to program it even though the directions stated his version of tooling software should allow it. They called Ford tech support and received no answers. They sent me on my way with my vehicle and did not do anything with it. I'm fearful the issue has not been resolved and poses a safety risk due to lack of acceleration and stalling.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #4

Dec 212012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 540 miles
Stopped at a busy intersection highway at traffic light, traffic light turned green for me to proceed my car would not move as if the vehicle was in neutral, shift selector was in drive position depressing the accelerator pedal raised engine RPM with no vehicle movement. I put the vehicle in the park position than back into drive still no forward movement. I put the vehicle back in park turned ignition off, restarted car moved selector back into drive and drove off ?? went to my Ford dealer explained the problem, they ran checks scanned codes came up no code faults. I was told to continue to drive the vehicle to see if the problem comes back. 786 miles on odometer no re occurrence. Very concerning to me when will this happen again! going thru the above procedure lucky I wasn't hit from behind by a car or truck.

- Dunkirk, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 282012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
2013 Ford Escape situation is that when I transfer my foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal, besides lightly braking the vehicle experiences a surge in acceleration... causing unexpected acceleration when the driver would expect the vehicle to be braking. There are 1 or 2 problems: 1) the brake pedal is too close to the accelerator pedal [more so for a male driver with a wider foot than a female driver]. 2) the brake pedal has too much movement while the driver is trying to brake, in that pressure on the brake pedal pushes the pedal to and past the accelerator petal; in that if the foot is not exactly on the brake pedal, the accelerator pushes down and causes a power surge, when the driver is expecting the vehicle to be braking. The problem is the design and function of the brake pedal. The brake petal has such a long travel, that when a person's foot is not 100% on the brake that the foot also presses on the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to surge forward unexpectedly, instead of stopping. This is most likely to happen with a man's foot, being wider than a female's foot. I have experienced this on various occasions; all of which caused an extremely traumatic situation(s): 1) traveling on the freeway, when traffic backs up or another vehicle changes into my driving lane - in either condition, where forced to brake 'unexpectedly', the vehicle surges forward. 2) when braking at an intersection, taking the foot from the accelerator to the brake, initially the car slows down, but when the brake is pressed to stop the car, the car accelerates unexpectedly, I.e, a pedestrian is crossing the street in an intersection and the vehicle accelerates unexpectedly and possibly injuring the pedestrian. The Ford dealer said that they cannot fix a "design flaw".

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #2

Nov 202012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My wife was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident. The car was at a stop when it accelerated suddenly for a short burst. The brakes did not hold the vehicle in one spot and she tapped the vehicle in front of her cause two minor scratches on the other vehicle's bumper. Our insurance company has been contacted and is in the process of getting the other vehicle repaired. The Escape did not sustain any noticeable damage. The Escape is heading back to the dealership to be looked at. This has only occurred once that we know of but I have noticed once that the vehicle did jump a bit in rpms and speed while driving it at a steady speed on a fairly flat road.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #1

Sep 102012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
There is an acceleration lag on partial throttle. This mainly occurs when starting the vehicle or when accelerating after a turn. When no acceleration is felt, the throttle pedal is depressed further and, after a delay, the vehicle takes off like a rocket. When driving the vehicle using the manual shift mode, it operates without an acceleration delay. The vehicle was brought to the dealership for this problem. They looked at the vehicle and stated it drives like all of the other 1.6 liter Escape vehicles on their lot. The delay in acceleration has the potential to cause an accident. A side issue is with sync. The clock loses time, it's very slow to respond, it isn't always able to sync phones, understand voice commands, and it's locked up...requiring a master reset. There's also too much road noise transmitted to those on the other end...consequently, it's difficult for them to hear the conversation.

- Westminster, CO, USA

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