Ford SUVs and trucks in dealership parking lot.

Severe Powertrain Defects in Ford Escapes

By: Jim Martinez, Esq.

The Ford Escape is one of the top-selling vehicles in the country. This should come as no surprise, as Ford has offered the American public basic, affordable vehicles for over a century. However, the affordability of its vehicles often comes at a high, hidden cost – long-term reliability. Often, catastrophic issues with the Escape’s engine or transmission, particularly the 2014-2019 Ford Escapes, can occur both inside and outside of the vehicle’s warranty.

The Ford Escape has been the subject of frequent complaints from Escape owners/lessors, particularly with regard to the engine and transmission. For instance, drivers of Ford Escapes report all manner of transmission issues, from frequent fault warning lights and fluid leaks and abnormal noises, to severe driveability concerns, such as hesitation, hard shifts, violent transmission shudders and clunking while changing gears, and even the inability to change gears at all and outright failure.  Quoting one disappointed owner of a 2016 Escape, “When I took this in to address the issue, I was told that I must be hypersensitive. The car not only shudders but it clanks to when shifting between gears. While driving, it literally vibrates constantly. I can even feel it in the seat. The dealerships are useless at addressing these concerns.”  

Compounding the issues with the transmission are the common engine concerns voiced by Ford Escape owners/lessors. Among those are overfilled crank cases, overheating engines, oil leaks, engine knocking engine stalls and failures while the vehicle is in operation, vehicle shuddering and stalling at idle, unintended engine acceleration and surges.  For instance, one owner of a 2017 Escape 1.5-Liter EcoBoost described the issues as, “Engine loss of power on highway with [Check Engine Light] illuminated. Engine resumed after pulling over, but running rough. [Check Engine Light] was P0302, cylinder 2 misfire. Replaced plugs and swapped coils, cylinder 2 was bad, did not fix misfire. Took to dealer and was informed that [cylinder] 2 had complete loss of compression and head needed replaced. Was informed that this was a very common issue and they have had to do this dozens of times on 1.5L ecoboosts (Fusion and Escapes spanning 2014-2019).”  

Thousands of documented complaints regarding Ford Escape engines and transmissions can be found on online consumer forums and government websites. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has tracked consumer complaints and in some instances, has launched investigations into these issues.

To address these transmission and engine defects, Ford has issued dozens of technical service bulletins (“TSBs”) to their authorized repair facilities (mainly Ford dealerships). These TSBs instruct Ford authorized service personnel to conduct what amount to “Band-Aid” fixes. However, these fixes fall short of permanent resolution of these issues. 

Both the transmission and engine failures go beyond everyday inconvenience and repeated visits for service and repair; they pose risks to the drivers and passengers of Ford Escapes, along with posing a danger to those motorists with whom they share the road. Unexpected acceleration and stalls while in operation present unreasonable risk of collision, while engine oil leaks coupled without overheating vehicles create unreasonable fire hazards. In fact, there have been accidents caused by these issues. 

Moreover, transmission failures occur at relatively low mileage as compared with like engines/transmissions. The Ford Escape comes with a three year, 36,000 mile basic warranty, 5 year, 60,000 mile warranty. Ostensibly, this means that Ford will repair or replace faulty engines or transmissions within 5 years or 60,000 miles. But once that mileage or time period expires (whichever comes first), the owner/lessor of a Ford Escape with a failing or failed engine or transmission is out in the cold, left to pay thousands of dollars for engine/transmission repairs, or an entirely new engine/transmission. Of course, it goes without saying that engine or transmission replacement are among the most expensive repairs that can be performed on a motor vehicle.

If you have experienced any of these issues with your Ford Escape, do not despair! The attorneys at CCA can help. Our attorneys have decades of accumulated experience in fighting auto manufacturers and are ready to assist you. Call (833) LEMON FIRM for a short, free consultation.