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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,606 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Jan 162017


  • 49,000 miles


Upon vehicle startup discovered power steering assist had failed- unable to drive vehicle safely. Managed to wrestle the steering to backup car from street into driveway. Dealer says control module and steering gear in a sealed unit- must replace entire unit at cost of about $1800.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #36

Dec 042016


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled, the steering wheel locked, and the vehicle was unable to shift into neutral. The engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the vehicle had a gasket issue. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer again where it was diagnosed that it needed coolant. The failure recurred and the vehicle was towed to the dealer again. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Elkton, ME, USA

problem #35

Nov 032016


  • 105,000 miles
Power steering stops working 5 times in the last 2 months. Ford says no recall. Our concern is a safety issue that could cause an accident. So far this has happened in a stationary position. Worried it will happen when driving.

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #34

Oct 202016


  • 42,000 miles


Power steering failure, only 42000 miles

- Isabela, PR, USA

problem #33

Oct 172016


  • 30,000 miles
I started my car and as I put the 2013 Ford Escape in reverse with my foot on the brake to back out of my driveway, the steering wheel felt impossible to move. Knowing this vehicle has had so many dangerous issues associated with recalls in the past, I decided not to drive it any further. As it was still safely in my driveway, I placed it in park, shut it off, and opted to use another vehicle. The Escape sat there undisturbed for two days. Then, my husband tried to use it and upon starting he noticed a warning in the display that stated steering assist fault. He opted not to use the vehicle either as he also noticed that it seemed as if there was no power steering. I have a call into a local dealer to take it in for service, but see no logical reason for this vehicle to have a problem with steering. It is only three years old and has 30K miles. I only use the vehicle to run errands in town and have kept up with routine maintenance.

- Jekyll Island, GA, USA

problem #32

Sep 212016

Escape 4-cyl

  • 10 miles
On September 21, 2016 around 6:30pm, I started the car and noticed there was no power to the steering wheel. Normally the steering would comeback after about a minute but not at that time. I was running late and dropped my son to his activity class about 10 miles away my home in the city area. The power steering did not come back at any time during the trip there and back. I could only drive safely at about 10 miles per hour, and when I needed to turn, I had to slow to about 2 miles per hour in order to make the turn safely. This was a major safety issue so when I got home, I arranged an appointment for the next day to have the dealer look at the failed power steering. The dealer determined that there was bad circuit board in the electronic power steering. It seems this has been an issue with several other years with the Escape up to 2012. My Escape is a 2013 model and should also be a recall item. I have had the car for 3 years, and it was only 65,000 miles at the time. It's truly upsetting that it is giving me this type of unsafe issue and endangering the lives of my family and others who is driving on the road.

- Buford, GA, USA

problem #31

Oct 072016


  • 6,500 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving various speeds, the vehicle was extremely difficult to steer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 6,500.

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #30

Sep 232016


  • 71,656 miles
As I was exiting my garage, the power steering failed, making it virtually impossible to turn the steering wheel. Fortunately, this happened before I was on the road. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and diagnosed as an internal failure of the power steering control module. Dealer replaced steering gear. Not covered under new car warranty or any previous Ford recall.

- Sewell, NJ, USA

problem #29

Sep 052016


  • 52,000 miles
I was driving when my power steering went out. It keeps saying "power steering assist default / service engine now". my dashboard is dead but it's still drivable.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #28

Sep 202016


  • 106,500 miles
I just bought this car off the lot on Saturday 9/17/2016. On Tuesday evening of the 20th my family and I went to dinner car ran fine no warning signals. Parked the car went in to eat and came out started the car and went to drive and couldn't steer I then noticed the message behind the steering wheel that read steering assist fault service needed. I then shut the car off and tried turning it back on still same message. We literally drove home with no steering which is beyond dangerous. It is in the shop right now trying to figure out what is wrong with it. At this point I am scared to even drive it again.

- Bangor, MI, USA

problem #27

Sep 202016


  • 40,000 miles


Turned on vehicle and power steering fault message came on. Had no steering assistance and turning wheel extremely difficult. Turned car on/off and it went away. It did it again a few days later but while driving residential at 25 mph in a neighborhood. Stopped in the middle of the road and turned off/on vehicle, fault went away and steering returned. Took to Ford for diagnostics and repair. Was told no faults store in the power steering module therefore warranty will not pay for diagnostics and repair. Was told if it happens again, drive vehicle to dealer and do not turn off. I told the dealer this is a safety concern and they should never recommend to drive a vehicle with no power steering assistance. The dealer refused to do any further diagnostics and could not recommend safe future steps. Refusing to pay for warranty on a system with no faults that does not store fault codes is unreasonable. The car is unsafe for my wife to operate yet they took no steps to correct concern. The module programming was updated but advisor described the update and it does not address my issue.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #26

Sep 172016


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving 35 mph, the power steering failed without warning. It was diagnosed that the eps gear assembly had an internal failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The VIN was invalid. The failure mileage was 51,000.

- Red Bluff, CA, USA

problem #25

Sep 122016


  • 38,000 miles
2013 Ford Escape lost power steering twice on 9/12/16 with the "steering assist fault" message in the middle of driving. 1st time happened 2 minutes after start while turning out of the driveway. 2nd one happened 10 minutes after start while driving. If this happens during driving it is extremely dangerous!! you lose control of the vehicle. My wife would have crashed for sure. They say it has a manual reversion to drive without power steering but it is not the same. I have driven cars without power steering and this is way harder. The rack and pinion had problems and was replaced on 8/5/15 at 23972 miles. It has gone out again on 9/12/16 at 38000 miles. Now Ford is saying it is not covered under warranty even though it was replaced under warranty once and has not gone out again in 1 year! this is clearly a faulty system to have gone out twice in less than 3 years and 38000 miles. This is a safety issue for sure and I have no doubt will lead to a recall or lawsuit.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #24

Aug 232016


  • 90,565 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving 20 mph, the steering wheel seized without warning. The contact loss control of the power steering. The contact could not regain control and the vehicle was towed. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 90,565.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #23

Aug 162016


  • 28,230 miles
On 8/16/2016, in a driveway on a busy street, I started the vehicle and saw "steering assist fault - service required" on display. The car had lost power steering. Turning off and restarting car did not help.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #22

Aug 152016


  • 45,200 miles
Power steering fails without warning and displays the fault message "steering assist fault: Service required". failure makes steering very difficult and can result in loss of control. Dealership identified the cause as a internal failure of the pscm (power steering control module) and replaced the pscm and rack and pinion assembly to repair. Please note that earlier model year Ford Escapes have a similar problem and have been recalled under NHTSA campaign number: 14V284000 and Ford recall number 14S05. As this issue is identical to the prior recall, I strongly suggest adding the 2013 model year Ford Escape vehicles to the recall. The most common time for the power steering to fail was right after startup and maneuvering out of a parking spot on a city street or garage. At this low speed manual steering is difficult and aggressive braking is required to avoid an accident once the inability to setter is apparent to the driver. Once the steering fails and the fault message appears, it could be occasionally reset by shutting down the engine and restarting the car. Turning off a car on a public road to regain steering control is undesirable and unsafe. I spoke with both Ford customer service and the Ford dealership and both claimed that there are no tsbs or recalls describing the loss of power steering for the 2013 Ford Escape. The repair invoice (attached) shows that the dealership verified the failure of the power steering control module (as in prior recalls of earlier model years) and the need to replace the pscm and entire pscm/rack and pinion assembly. The mileage at the time of repair was 45281. The fault occurred intermittently at earlier mileages and became more frequent with increasing mileage up until the time of repair to to safety concerns.

- Gainesville, GA, USA

problem #21

Jul 252016


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving 15 mph, the steering gear assembly malfunctioned and caused the vehicle to make loud noises within the steering column. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 94,000. Updated 10/07/16

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #20

Mar 162016


  • 34,100 miles
Loss of power steering occurs and "steering assist fault-service required" warning appears on instrument panel. Steering the vehicle without power assist is extremely difficult.

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #19

Jan 112016


  • 69,100 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Escape. While driving 30 mph, the steering assist fault service warning light illuminated and the power steering failed. The vehicle was taken to be diagnosed. The contact was not informed as to what caused the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 69,100.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #18

Nov 162015


  • 24,975 miles
On 10-10-2015, our 2013 Ford Escape 4WD started displaying an ABS error code, along with a traction control system error and a "hill start assist not available" error message, simultaneously. The ABS brakes would engage at low travel speed. We took it to the dealer, who determined that a rear wheel sensor had failed. They kept the car for two weeks and returned it on 10-21-2015. It had 24,273 miles on it. Now, 3 weeks later, on 10-16-2015, the very same problem has reoccurred, with the dash lights displaying for the ABS system failure, the traction control system failure and the "hill start assist not available". the ABS system engages at low speeds causing the brakes to grab, rendering the car unsafe to drive. This car is a 'lemon' in our opinion, as it has had 5 major breakdowns, including a major engine problem at 720 miles, a failure of the air bag controller, two problems with the ABS system, as documented herein, and two recalls related to the engine potentially catching on fire due to a fuel leak (a recall, followed by a recall to fix the recall). I sincerely believe that this vehicle is dangerous and have asked the Ford Motor Company to buy back this vehicle several times, but they have refused to do so. I fear that my wife and I are not safe while driving this car due to the high number of defects on this one particular vehicle. I am reporting this ABS/traction control problem since it has now happened twice, as I believe it likely impacts other Ford Escapes made at the same time, and likely indicates a bad batch of wheel sensors that are failing prematurely in the field. Since the failure of the wheel sensor disables the ABS and tcs systems, this is a dangerous defect, as it can happen completely at random. My wife was 100 miles from home last time and had to drive back with the ABS & tcs not functioning.) this car is "unsafe at any speed"!

- Gainesville, FL, USA

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