Print this page 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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
64,950 miles
Total Complaints:
26 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (13 reports)
  2. replace steering rack (7 reports)
  3. restart car (3 reports)
  4. replace power steering rack and pinion (2 reports)
  5. replace "sealed" power steering unit (1 reports)
2013 Ford Escape steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Aug 232023

Escape SEL 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,337 miles


Have a Ford 2013 Escape SEL with 79,337 miles. The vehicle has been a lemon from the time I purchased it in 2014. Have replaced the water pump, a sensor, the turbocharger, the engine shield and now the rack and pinion steering.

Stopped at a gas station and when started the car again to back out, received the 'Steering assist fault Service Required' alert and lost all powering steering. Had to struggle to drive the car home. Mechanic charging $1860 + tax and a Ford dealership quoted $2593 + tax. Sent emails to the Executive Team at Ford and did receive a call back. Was told that unfortunately there are no recalls for my VIN/year. How is Ford allowed to get away with manufacturing faulty vehicles which can cause accidents, injuries or worse!!


Report incidents to NHTSA

- dili, Clearwater, US

problem #25

Mar 202023

Escape Titanium 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

After being a loyal Ford Escape owner, less than a year ago I bought another. Last week, an audible screeching/groaning could heard from the steering column. The next day, the steering became extremely stiff and continues to worsen every day. I am a small business owner and rely on my vehicle. I am bringing it in to be diagnosed "officially" in two days. I wish I had researched the 2013 Ford Escape before I purchased it less than a year ago. After this issue (and several others) I will NEVER buy another Ford Escape (or Ford). Since buying this vehicle from a large dealership less than a year ago, I've already put $3000 worth of work/parts into it. NOW, I am going to have to drop another grand. I am having this pricey fixed (somehow) and selling it ASAP! I know I won't be buying another Ford!

Update from Mar 29, 2023: Unfortunately, the power steering completely seized today. I am extremely lucky that I didn't injure or kill someone else when it happened. Had to have it towed 20 miles to my repair shop...where it remains until Friday when I find out how much the Ford fug up is going to cost me. I'm devastated as I am a small business owner and rely on my vehicle for an income.

- Melissa F., Calumet, MI, US

problem #24

Oct 132022


  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Power steering failure then comes back after turning engine of and on. Other complaints report this has happened on the highway at fast speeds. Looks like I may need new steering rack. This intermittent and unpredictable problem makes the car unusable due to risk of myself and others sharing the road. I reported the issue to NHTSA and encourage all others with this problem to do the same. This is a must if we are to ever get a recall on this. Do not want other 2013 Escape owners to find out about this problem by having a wreck.

- montclairstudiopl, Johnson City, US

problem #23

Oct 152020

Escape SE 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


Power steering failed upon turning on car and backing out. No previous issues until total failure that cost $2,200 to fix.

- Derek B., Dublin, OH, US

problem #22

Jul 132020

Escape Titanium 2.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,126 miles

First offense. Wife started vehicle got error. Restarted went away. Happened in parking lot. From reading other complaints glad it did not happen on winding road home to Ramona Ca. Sounds like it’s a $2000 ish fix. We shall see. All for know will report back.

- Camilo S., Ramona, US

problem #21

Mar 022020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Steering wheel stopped working from cold start. Unable to steer due to stiff steering. Worried this might happen while car is moving. Fixed is turning car aon and off several times before regaining normal steering.

- Jeffrey B., Manor, US

problem #20

Nov 062019

Escape 1.6L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,099 miles


We were lucky not to be traveling at a high rate of speed. Was able to return home and have the problem checked out. I can see that it is a common problem, that Ford Motor Co. wants to ignore. 2008 to 2011 vehicles were recalled, for this exact problem. Did they not fix the issue, it sure is a safety issue.

- Keith D., Huntington, WV, US

problem #19

Jul 172019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,679 miles

Driving from South Carolina to New Jersey for a family event, was delayed because of this problem. Fortunately I stopped for gas when the steering failed, otherwise I would have been on the highway driving with 100s of other people who could have been hurt or worse, including myself. Because it was left at the dealer to be fixed, I had to rent a car and pay for a hotel room. The trip home was also delayed waiting for the dealer in Maryland to complete the work. The dealer was very nice, informative and corrected the problem quickly and verified work by test driving. The complaint is with ford for not warning people or issuing a recall to have the problem checked before got hurt.

- Donna C., Summerville, US

problem #18

Oct 252018

Escape ES 2.2L Ecoboost

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

The steering failed suddenly when I was ont he highway. I nearly crashed.

- Paul G., Tampa, FL, US

problem #17

Dec 272018

Escape SE 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

There was spot every day on my driveway. Brought to local Firestone. The rack and pinion assembly shows sign of a severe leak. Fluid leaking over rack. The dealer must assess because there is no dipstick for the power steering or transmission. I have made an appointment with the Ford dealer but there is a 2 week wait. Transmission was also leaking; Firestone said the bolts were loose. They tightened but do not know if situation is resolved and leak is from both rack and transmission.

- Gerald L., Newton Center, MA, US

problem #16

Jun 022018

Escape SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,366 miles


Power Steering Assist Fault light started coming on about 8 weeks ago. It caused a loss of power steering as it is all electrical now and not mechanical. The fix was to turn the car off and "reset" the computer or electrical components. It happened about three times a week usually in reverse at low speeds when the car was first started. It happened about three times a week for 8 weeks. It finally went out while driving about 15-20 miles an hour in a turn. Lost power steering and had to muscle it into a parking lot. It is very difficult to steer even with wide turns without the power steering assist functioning. I consider it a hazardous condition that Ford should recall as it is an unsafe part that will cause accident or death if it suddenly fails at highway speeds. Ford is aware of the problem as they have recalled earlier model years of the Ford Escape but did not include the 2013 model. Similarly, they have recalled or extended the warranty on the Ford Explorer. Electrical Power Steering sounds like a brilliant idea until it fails without warning. I have been quoted the fix by two separate Ford Service Dealers as needing to replace the whole Electronic Gear Assembly for about $1,200 dollars for the part and out the door with labor at $1,800 dollars. They say you cannot just replace the sensor. I'm not sure if that is correct but just what I have been told by two independent Ford consultants.

- Dough P., Acworth, GA, US

problem #15

Apr 062018

Escape I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Driving our 2013 Ford Escape last Friday and suddenly the power steering went out. I was able to make it to the side of the road. The light came on on the dash. Restarted it after a few minutes and it was fine. Still called the service dept. at our local Ford dealership. They could fit me in in 6 days! Got there and they forgot to put me on the service schedule. After 90 minutes, the only thing they told me was that the entire power steering rack and pinion had to be replaced. It is electric, so it doesn't have power steering fluid. Quoted me $2000 for parts and labor. Not sure if this is accurate or not. It's been a full week and the car has only acted up the one time. Frustrated because other mechanics don't want to touch it because it is a lot of work to take the whole steering column out. They also said that since it is an electric unit, they can't fix it. The dealership has the proper equipment to reset and program it. After the research I've done on this situation, it seams that this should be a recall.

- Jennifer J., Proctorville, OH, US

problem #14

Oct 262017

Escape SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,086 miles

I was making a right hand turn in my 2013 Ford Escape (2.0L EcoBoost) and as I was approaching the apex of the turn, the electric power steering gave out. Luckily I was able to overcome the lack of power steering and avoid crashing into another car in the same intersection. I pulled over immediately and noticed the "Power Steering Assist Failure" message appear on the dash. I assessed the situation and decided it was best to have the vehicle towed back to my residence. When I was parking the Escape in my garage, after being towed, I started it up and the "Power Steering Assist Failure" message had disappeared and I was able to easily turn the wheels. The car has sat in the garage the last couple of days because I am scared to take it out on the road only to have it happen again with a much worse result.

I was very disappointed to see that the Ford recall issued for this exact same covers to 2013 Ford Explorer but not the Escape, as they were built with the same parts. From the research I have read, it is not an easy fix that I can do myself so my only choice is to pay Ford to fix a problem they should be fixing themselves.

- Katy T., Kentfield, US

problem #13

Jul 222017

Escape SEL 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Seems like it should be a safety recall. Intermittent power steering failure occurred about three times. Twice at start up and once while driving at low speeds. Was able to pull over safely for now. restarting the car seems to clear the error out. Very worried seems to be a big deal....please get them to recall before someone get injured or killed.

- sdc83, Harvest, US

problem #12

Sep 062017

Escape SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The power steering failed. This failure caused a recall of Escapes from 2009 to 2011. I have exactly the same problem. When I called the dealership I was told (rudely) there is no recall... and they just blew me off, a common problem with this dealership.

- lumindanu, Dixon, US

problem #11

Aug 022017

Escape SEL 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Parked the car one evening. An hour later, started it, no power steering. There is a recall for this problem for 3008-2011 model years. I'm hoping it will be expanded to cover 2013.

- kd8fqm, Stem, US

problem #10

May 012017

Escape SEL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This is obviously a Ford issue and should be covered by Ford. the steering rack is $1,000 not including labor.

- schupner, Westtown, US

problem #9

Mar 252017

Escape 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,500 miles

2013 Ford Escape - "steering assist fault/service required". Happened when I was leaving for work. Couldn't turn the steering wheel (takes so much effort to just park it) so I went back in the garage and drove my pickup. It will have to be towed to Ford as it would be too dangerous to drive it. Could have been very nasty if it happened on the road...

- vbarz, Tamuning, Guam

problem #8

Jan 162017

Escape SE 2.0L Ecoboost

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,658 miles

Abrupt total failure of power steering. Likely electronics failure, but electrical components are in sealed unit with the power steering mechanics and I was told it was therefore unserviceable. (Sealed unit also means that there was nothing that I, as an owner, could do to maintain the component to try and ensure longevity). I was told that there were only 4 or 5 replacement units available in the whole country. (Maybe because so many power steering units are failing?).

Took a week for the dealer to get the part. Repair cost $1,700. FoMoCo refused to provide ANY assistance. (The best FoMoCo could offer was "save your receipts in case there is ever a recall." I was also reminded that there is yet another outstanding recall on the car- side door latch- for which there apparently are no parts available yet. So helpful . . . .)

This issue, especially combined with the many recalls this vehicle has had, has soured me on Ford forever. Total cost of ownership balloons when one factors in unanticipated $1,700 repairs.

Although one could say that such an expensive component failure could happen with any make car, bottom-line is that I have owned many cars over a lifetime and it has never happened before.

- Stephen R., Vero Beach, FL, US

problem #7

Feb 132017

Escape S 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,700 miles

Driving down road, power steering failure, no warning! Steering assist warning came on. Called Ford, they said no recall on this problem, only 2008 to 2011 for Ford Escape, but 2013 Ford Explorer has recall for this. I only have 28,700 miles on my vehicle! This should not have happened! Please, Ford, put out a recall on this! I also have a recall on this car for side door latch they tell me, but I received NO letter on it!

- Cynthia M., Rapid City, MI, US

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