2013 Ford Escape transmission problems: transmission slips, jerks

Transmission Slips, Jerks

2013 Ford Escape

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
66,700 miles
Total Complaints:
13 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. repair transmission (7 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
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2013 Ford Escape transmission problems

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2013 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 092018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


This is the second time I had a transmission problem with the car. At 58,000 miles the transmission would not go into first gear when accelerating after stopping for a stop sign. The vehicle would not move until I continued to accelerate and revved up the rpms and the car shifted into second gear. I was able to drive the vehicle home that way by slowing down enough blocks before traffic lights so I wouldn't have to stop the vehicle for traffic lights.

The dealership tore the transmission apart and rebuilt it. They stated the clutches were worn out or something came loose in the transmission and took them out. Now my car is at 83,000 miles and the transmission went out again doing the same thing.

Although I like my Escape, if I wouldn't have gotten the extended warranty I would have been stuck with the cost of another transmission. Once I get my car back, I am seriously considering getting rid of it. I'm very disappointed and find this unacceptable.

Update from Jan 9, 2019: This time a piston was leaking and caused damage to a planetary gear. It took a week to get the gear. I got the car back two weeks ago and she drove like a tank. She would slip at 15 to 20 miles per hour and slip at 25 to 30 miles per hour. She wouldn't shift up, drove like the transmission fluid was sludge or thick due to cold weather (like subzero cold weather) but the temperature was between 32 degrees and 46 degrees. So the car is back at the dealership getting checked again. There may be more information to come.

- Donna W., Racine, WI, US

problem #12

May 072018

Escape SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Transmission should not go bad for no reason after such a low mileage.

- Stephane J., Roseville, CA, US

problem #11

Jan 012017

Escape SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Just recently noticed vehicle feeling like power is cutting out very briefly multiple times upon modest accelerations from around 25 to 60 mph resulting in multiple quick jerks. I try watching the tach and the front/rear wheel drive indicator display but see thus far no detectable change in rpm or power delivery to wheels (at least as shown on rather imprecise display). Seems like problem is getting worse and I will be contacting dealer to inquire about repair/replace tranny/computer/vacuum line (who knows?) under presumed warrantee. Reading other comments in this forum I suspect transmission.

- Joel M., Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #10

Jan 042017

Escape SEL 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


Transmission rebuilds are unfortunately common in many years of the Escape. Mine is a 2013 AWD model w 2.0 Ecoboost engine. It starts with the slipping going into first gear, no prior problems with shifting up to this point. I am the original owner and have kept up w all regular scheduled maintenence. This is immediate and do not drive your vehicle. Have it towed to a transmission shop or dealer! These 6 speed automatic transmissions should be recalled. They fail right around the 5yr or 50k miles reg warranty or maybe later, no telling.. mine being out at over the 5/50. The fix is a complete trans overhaul.

Now the master overhaul kits are made with bonded pistons, the OEM ones from the factory fail usually in the first cam… shredding metal into the rest of the transmission. Besides the overhaul kit you will most likely need a new friction plate, new or remanufactured torque converter, filter, and 12 quarts of ATM fluid. Keep in mind you can not change a filter and flush these transmissions…you have to pull the trans to change the filter. So much for shared technology!

Ford Motor Company should recall and reimburse all the owners of this trans!! These problems are ongoing even up to the 2016 model year with maybe not this issue but others that slip, change gears unexpectedly, roll backwards in park, etc. FORD PLEASE TAKE NOTICE AND DON'T LOSE MORE CUSTOMERS!

- Patrick P., Canton, MI, US

problem #9

Sep 102016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I bought this 2013 ford escape from Jack Links motors in Chippewa Falls, WI.I bought this car in July of 2015 & in August of 2016 the drive went out. I had to have it towed & about 3 weeks later, they put in a new transmission!!! I called the ford company & they said that was too bad, it was out of warranty. The warranty was 60,000 miles or 5 years, which ever came first!!! My car had 80,000 miles on it. Ikept calling the ford company and again I was told that there was nothing they could do to help me.

- Jeanna T., Black River Falls, WI, US

problem #8

May 012016

Escape SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

When I accelerate, particularly over 60 mph, my car jerks backwards repeatedly. This is an ongoing problem. I took my car to the Ford dealer and although they confirmed there was definitely a problem, they said they needed an "advanced technician" to look at it, so I would need to bring it back so that someone more capable could assess the problem. I am supposed to take it in tomorrow morning. If anyone has any ideas, I'd like to go in with something to suggest because my past experiences with the service department haven't been great - even though my past experiences were all for Ford's many recalls and not due to problems that were my fault.

- saraok, Oklahoma City, OK, US

problem #7

Dec 012015

Escape 2.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles


2013 Ford Escape AWD 2.0L V4.. My car has 77,000miles, almost all freeway miles. Took it to a AAA recommended/approved transmission shop in Redwood City, California.

When you accelerate from a stop, the engine revs and does not move, eventually the car lurches forward and sometimes it engages into second gear. It did this once or twice like 15,000 miles ago but then it stopped. Now it does every time and the transmission is leaking so much fluid that it leaves a trail behind the car. The shop told me the seal is bad and the differential is worn out and that the only option is to replace the entire transmission at a cost of $4,500. The $4,500 being a break on the price he's giving me because I've had work done with him before on different cars. The cause is a mechanical defect in the transmission and that he's seen this in almost every Escape he's worked on. Now, let me say this.. I've owned several fords and I bought this car new in 2013.. This year, I've spent $2,500 in repairs not under warranty including a faulty BCM (body control module) and a faulty injector. Ford tells me that they will not help me at all because the vehicle has 77,000 miles and is out of warranty. So the car is two years old and I've spent $7,000 in repairs. I am so disgusted with the quality of the Ford Escape. THE 2.0L ECOBOOST AWD FORD ESCAPE IS THE WORST VEHICLE I'VE EVER OWNED AND I AM CONSIDERING PAINTING THE WORD LEMON ON THE SIDE AND PARKING ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE DEALERSHIP WHERE I BOUGHT IT ON EVERY SALE WEEKEND.

- Bruce R., South San Francisco, CA, US

problem #6

Sep 162015

Escape SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

I purchased this 2013 Ford Escape brand new, about 85% of the the 57,000 miles are highway. I drive about 90 miles round trip to work 5 days a week. Absolutely no ABUSE here, 87 miles of my daily commute my vehicle is set on cruise control at 70MPH. No off-road week end crazy stuff either, and this isn't stop and start high congestion highway driving either, I just set it and forget it! I hope that is a clear enough picture for the pessimists! LOL!

Anyhow over the past 6 months or so on a very rare occasion I would notice a "rough shift" since i drive mostly highway miles this would be a downshift on a slight upgrade maybe to maintain speed. Never made a big deal because it was subtle and then it wouldn't happen again for weeks so I would dismiss it.

Now keep in mind a lot of people probably would not have even noticed this, for example (and this includes my wife!) "it it starts everything must be OK".... I am not trying to pick on anyone I am simply saying a ton of people do not pay that close of attention to this kind of stuff and until it literally stopped running would not notice a thing. This leads me to believe the amount of problems that are being reported is way lower because most people do not pay attention enough to notice subtle changes in vehicle behavior.

- Mike P., Kent, OH, US

problem #5

May 252015

Escape SE 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Well we just bought this car a 6 months ago and had to replace turbo waste gate valve, a sensor and now the transmission issue front r/l half shafts and trans seal. Because its over the mileage the factory warranty doesn't cover anything!

I did get an extended warranty, but it doesn't cover much!! They picked up the trans seal gasket.. really?

So we have already sunk about $2000 total to this piece of crap!

Think Ford Last!! should be the slogan..

- Dave P., Sterling Heights, US

problem #4

Apr 232015

Escape SEL 2L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,690 miles

It happened very quickly. Going up a hill and the transmission started slipping fairly bad. I drove directly to the dealership Which was about 8 km away. The vehicle was in the shop for 18 days. The dealership did provide me with a vehicle. Apparently a slip ring?? wasn't installed properly at the factory And let go causing the case to cracked and then too much pressure causing the replacement of 50 some parts of the transmission.

- Allan M., Halifax, Canada

problem #3

Feb 252015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles


I purchased this vehicle on Monday Feb. 23, 2015. Drove home that evening...NO PROBLEMS. On Wednesday Feb 25th. while driving to my job that morning, the car began to display a delay while pressing down on the gas pedal. The car actually jerked forward a few times, feeling as though the transmission was slipping. I sensed that someone had mistakenly hit my vehicle from the back. That afternoon, after leaving from my job, stopped at a red light and proceeded to go forward, hit the gas pedal, the vehicle began to have a sudden delay while pressing the gas pedal. This actually happened 4 times while driving home.

I called the Service Dept of the car dealership, and they asked me to bring the car back in for service so that they could determine the degree of the problem. I drove the car to the dealership that morning..didn't notice any problems. I left the vehicle at the service center from 8:15am until 5:45pm. The service department called me and informed me that the transmission fluid was 2 quarts low, and to speak with them when I was to pick up the vehicle.

When I arrived the service rep. told me that the transmission fluid was too full and that that was the problem.." A LIE". He then informed me that it would take approximately a week for the car to ride in a prefect condition and to call him at the end of the next week to let him know how the car was driving.

Today(Feb 27th) the car has more troubles, not only is the car (while in the driving gear) is jerking while pressing the gas pedal, now the vehicle is jerking while in reverse. It happened 2 times while backing up into my assigned space in my garage. I have only had this car since Monday. I'm agitated and frustrated that I was not given the information that I found on a website that indicated that November 26, 2013 Ford recalled 150,000 Escapes that could go up in "FLAMES"

Update from Feb 27, 2015: Adding to my complaint the vehicle is pulling to the left when approaching a red light to stop, I informed the service department,and was told that the car was only pulling to the angle of the flat surface of the road. nothing has been done concerning this problem. I was told that they actually did a "TEST DRIVE" and found nothing wrong with the vehicle. I believe that I purchased a "LEMON", and was not given all of the details concerning the recall of the vehicle at time of purchase.

- laurettam, Owings Mills, M, US

problem #2

Jun 262014

Escape Platinum 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,203 miles

Every time I buy something that has the UAW involved in producing a vehicle it has enormous problems. The people that belong to unions all have the same mentality that; they are union so IT AIN'T MY JOB! and I'M UNION THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING TO ME!

I have now resolved to never buy anything that is UNION made/produced.

I now realize where all the problems stem from when I spend my money on union made Ford trucks, cars, Freight liners, Peterbuilts, etc.

Buy Japanese, and reduce your problems with your automobiles.

My 2013 Ford Escape has been in the shop for a multitude of problems the most recent is a major transmission failure. Union dealership say it will be 2 weeks before it's ready.

- uawsucks, Kansas City, MO, US

problem #1

May 202013

Escape SEL 2.0 EB

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles

We bought a used 2013 Ford Escape with 19,000 miles on it. After we had it a week, it started losing and regaining power while driving it and it jerked on takeoff. It was if every few seconds someone was getting off and on the gas in a standard shift car but this is an automatic. We took it home then got back in it to go to the Ford dealer to get it fixed but then it ran fine. The Service department had no idea what had caused the problem and could not find anything wrong. Ten days later we had the same problem and drove it to the Ford dealer. A mechanic drove it and it still had the problem. He said he thought it was the transmission. They kept it for ten days. They replaced the Turbo Charger Boost Pressure sensor and gave it back to us. Ten days later on Thursday June the 13th we have the same problem. We were out of town for a few days while the car had stayed at home. When we got back home and started the car, it ran and drove fine although it had not been worked on again. Tomorrow we are going to try to get it fixed, AGAIN.

Update from Jun 21, 2013: On June 17 we had the Escape towed to Ford Of West Memphis thinking if one Ford dealer couldn't fix it perhaps another could. They kept it until June 21 and called and said they drove it every day, putting 100 miles on it and could not duplicate the problem and therefore could not fix it. I reminded the service manager that I had told him that it doesn't start doing it while you are driving it but starts as soon as you crank it up and doesn't stop until you turn it off. We drove it back home knowing the problem will reoccur AGAIN and we must then immediately drive it to the Ford dealer so they can check it while it's doing it AGAIN.

- Ray F., Southaven, MS, US

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