List of Ford Escape Years to Avoid (3+ Best Options)

This blog will explain the problems of the Ford Escape and answer the following questions: which Ford Escape years should you avoid? What are the best Ford escape years? What are the specifications of the latest Ford Escape? 

Ford Escape- which years to avoid? 

Ford Escape manufactured in the following years must be avoided. There were too many problems in the cars leading to expensive repairs and fatal accidents.

Production yearProblems
1999-2004Subframe Rust
2008-2011Inoperative Power steering 
2006,2008,2009,2017Unreliable transmission

Let’s take a closer look at the reliability problems in the ford Escape:

Subframe Rust (1999-2004)

A subframe or a front axle carrier is a very crucial component as the front suspension geometry heavily relies on it. Suspension components like lower control arms, anti-roll bars, and thrust arms are all mounted in it.

The subframe is also subjected to constant stress as the internal combustion engine is mounted on the subframe. There is a subframe bush and engine mount to insulate the vehicle chassis against the vibrations of the engines but over time the bush gets weak or damaged.

Additionally, the subframes of the Ford Escape started rusting. If the affected vehicle is operating in an area near the seaside or areas near salt belts. The water vapor and salt in the air seep into the metal of the subframe and oxidize it, structural integrity is compromised. 

Many customers reported a loss of steering as the mount on the subframe holding the lower control just snaps. 

It is very difficult to control the vehicle because the steering knuckle and the suspension strut are connected to the lower control arm on one side. Ford also issued a recall of more than 350,000 Escape models to rectify the problem.

All the official Ford dealerships were given instructions to install additional support members on the subframe of the Ford Escape. Ford also made changes in the material and design of the subframe for the Ford Escape models produced between 2005-2007.

Inoperative power steering (2008-2011)

The electric power-assisted steering system was revolutionary when the model was launched but it was also the most unreliable system due to its inefficient design. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an official investigation into the Ford Escape models.

According to Ford, the affected models experienced a loss in electric power steering due to a problem in the electrical connection of the torque sensor located on the steering column.

The steering rack and the torque sensor are calibrated at the time of manufacturing. The percentage of power assist is determined based on the vehicle speed and data from the torque sensor.

All the customers who faced these issues reported that the steering wheel becomes hard to operate, especially at slow speeds. The repair instructions included updated software for the electrical power-assisted steering control unit and the torque sensor or entire steering column was replaced to maintain the reliability of the electric power steering.

Few Escape models manufactured before 2008 also reported the problem. Ford also issued a global recall of more than 1 million vehicles in North America which also included the Mercury mariner.

Unreliable transmission (2006,2008,2009,2017)

Ford used 4 different types of transmissions in the Escape model which also included a manual transmission. The manual transmission was 5 Speed and it did not have any reliability issues, the 4-speed and 6-speed automatic transmissions on the other hand are a completely different story.

The 4-speed and the 6-speed automatic transmission are called CD4E and 6F35 respectively. Before 2006, Ford recalled Escapes manufactured between 2001-2006 because they were fitted with a faulty refurbished CD4E transmission. 

A recall was issued for these vehicles and the fault was easily rectified after tightening the shift lever bolt or replacing it entirely. However, there are other problems in the transmission that are far more complicated and require expensive repairs.

The Ford Escape models between 2013-2016 had low hydraulic pressure in the valve body of the transmission due to an internal leak. The gear change from 2nd to 3rd was not smooth due to high filling times. 

Even the 6-speed automatic transmission 6F35 in the 2009 Escape models had a transmission oil leak from the left axle oil seal. The leak was due to excessive wear on the seal. The seal can be easily replaced but lack of transmission oil resulted in vehicle engine stalling and complete breakdown.

Most of the major issues were on the 4-speed automatic transmission. In the Ford Escape models, customers experienced a sudden loss of the 2nd and 4 th transmission. The problem was present in all the variants of the 2008 Ford Escape. 

The Fault was rectified after replacing the complete transmission or changing the intermediate and overdrive gears in the transmission. There was also the issue of engine stalling when the transmission was shifted into the drive or reverse.

This was due to the faulty torque converter. Premature wear inside the torque converter prevented it from functioning properly. A refurbished torque converter was installed under the standard warranty. 

Apart from the transmission issues, many Ford Escape petrol models experienced combustion misfires due to faulty ignition coils. The misfire also damaged the catalytic convertor by cogging the unburnt hydrocarbons in the honeycomb structure and increasing the back pressure.

What are the best Ford Escape years that you should buy?

The best front Escape models that are reliable and safe to buy are given below.

  • 2001,2002,2003,2004
  • 2007
  • 2009
  • 20018-2020

The first generation of the Ford Escape was produced between 2001-2008 it was assembled in the United States as well as Japan. Mazda jointly developed the Escape model with Ford and sold a rebadged version called Mazda tribute. 

Although it was a rebadged product, the only common components between the two models were the roof and the floorboards. Ford significantly improved the reliability of the Escape after 2017 and also launched models with hybrid technology.

What are the specifications of the latest ford escape?

The specifications of the Ford Escape model are given in the table below. Currently, the Escape model is in its 4th generation, it was launched in 2020.

Specifications Ford Escape
Production year2020- Present
EnginesInline 3 and inline 4 Ecoboost engines
Transmission CVT and 8-speed automatic transmission
HybridPlug-in 14.4 kWh battery pack
Wheelbase 2710 mm
Width 2174 mm
Height 1679 mm
Curb weight 1,496–1,611 kg


This blog listed the model years of Ford Escape which should be avoided due to many reliability issues. The reliability issues are due to problems in the transmission and mechanical components which can easily cost 3000-5000 USD to fix. Therefore, check the vehicle history before purchasing a used Ford Escape.