Since its introduction 20 years ago, the Ford Escape has been a top contender in the increasingly competitive compact SUV space. Shoppers looking for a budget friendly vehicle that is practical, fuel efficient, and fun to drive have found much to love with the Escape. Ford has sold millions of these vehicles over the years, but even best selling vehicles like the Escape are not free of mechanical issues.
Among the most common (and costly) issues with the Escape are automatic transmission troubles that range from minor sensor errors, to complete transmission failures that can leave a driver stranded on the side of the road.
Here’s what you need to know about Ford Escape transmission problems – which years are prone to having issues with the transmission, average Ford Escape transmission repair costs, and how to avoid driving a Ford Escape with an unreliable transmission off the lot.
Quick Answer: Avoid 2005, 2008, and 2013 Ford Escapes
Ford Escapes model years 2005, 2008, and 2013 have high numbers of owner-reported transmission problems. Other year models are much more reliable.
If you were considering buying one of these year models, the CoPilot app is the easiest way to search for SUVs similar to Ford Escapes in your area. See all listings in your area and get alerted when a saved vehicle’s price drops or your leverage with the dealership increases.
Which Years of Ford Escapes Have The Most Transmission Problems?
According to Ford Escape owner complaints on forums such as carcomplaints.com and Reddit, model years 2014 and 2008 are the most common years for transmission problems in the Ford Escape, although year models 2006-2009 were also more prone to transmission problems than other model years.
Ford Escape Year Models With The Least Reliable Transmissions
2014 is especially notable due to the severity of the issues, with several reports of Ford Escapes ceasing to function while on the road. Ford Escape owners like u/regularfellar on Reddit report that the vehicle suddenly displays a “Transmission Fault: Service Now” which renders the vehicle unable to drive. Other users have reported that the vehicle comes to a complete and total stop on the road without warning.
The 2008 Escape is prone to a wide variety of transmission issues, with users on forums such as carcomplaints.com and Reddit reporting a bevy of issues ranging from complete failure to lurching into gear and hunting for gears on the road. We recommend avoiding any vehicle prone to “in motion” errors such as this that could put the operator in danger.
Additionally, owners of 2006-2009 models report higher rates of transmission problems than other years, so it might be a good idea to steer towards 2010 models and later.
KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Wondering what to look out for when buying a used car? With such a large purchase, it pays to be a cautious shopper. Check out this list of red flags to look out for when buying a used car.
Do Ford Escapes Have More Transmission Problems Than Similar Models?
Overall, Ford Escapes are slightly more prone to problems (most notably, transmission problems) than similar models of similar years.
The Ford Escape has a total of 4,167 reported issues on CarComplaints.com, with transmission issues accounting for many of those. In terms of reliability by model year, the 2006-2009 Ford Escapes have the highest numbers of transmission issues, with many customers reporting needing a new transmission after approximately 80,000 miles.
When comparing the Escape’s transmission to other full-size SUVs like the Pathfinder and Enclave, the Escape tends to be less reliable than other models.
The Pathfinder has 2,044 total complaints, with the most common transmission-related problems being coolant leaking into the transmission with 424 complaints. This typically requires a transmission replacement at around 80,000 miles. While the severity of the problem is equal to the Escape, the Pathfinder has fewer numbers of reported transmission failures.
The Enclave, on the other hand, tends to be much more reliable than the Ford Escape, with one notable exception. The 2008 Buick Enclave was plagued by transmission problems, with owners reporting the need for a new transmission at roughly 90,000 miles. If you’re looking for a large SUV with a reliable transmission, the Buick Enclave is a better bet than a Ford Explorer – just avoid unreliable 2008 Enclaves.
If you’re in the market for a used SUV similar to Ford Explorers, download the CoPilot app to get a curated list of the best deals on used SUVs in your area.
What Is The Average Cost To Repair The Most Common Ford Escape Transmission Problems?
Repair costs for the Ford Escape range greatly depending on the diagnosis and type of repair needed. However, average transmission repair costs across all Ford Escape models tend to average around $4,000 (since a new transmission is commonly needed), and these repairs tend to be needed in the 80-120K mile range.
According to OpenBay.com, the average repair cost to replace a transmission on a 2008 Ford Escape is $2950. This is an average cost that is inclusive of complete replacement work and minor repairs as well.
For the 2014 Escape, a user on Fordescape.org reported that her daughter paid $5400 to have the transmission replaced. Several other reputable sites also indicate a replacement cost of north of $5000 is common, with some users reporting costs north of $6000.
THE FASTEST-DEPRECIATING CARS
Depreciation is only a bad thing if it’s your car that’s losing value. If you’re a buyer, it makes a lot of sense to buy a car that’s already past it’s new-car depreciation phase. Here are the fastest-depreciating cars in the U.S.
How to Avoid Buying a Used Ford Explorer With Transmission Problems
There are several ways to test for issues with a transmission prior to purchasing a used vehicle. Since most transmission issues can only be detected while the vehicle is moving and shifting through gears, it’s important to set up a test drive before buying any used vehicle that might be prone to transmission issues. During the test drive, pay close attention as the vehicle moves through gears during acceleration and slowing down. If you feel lurching, surging, or shuttering while driving, it’s best to have it checked by a mechanic.
Another common way to tell if the transmission is having issues is if it “slips” during acceleration. Simply put, if your engine is increasing its output but you are not moving forward or you are moving forward at a slower pace than expected; the transmission on that vehicle may need attention. During your test drive, make sure to hop on a freeway/highway where you can accelerate more aggressively than in town.
However, your best way to avoid issues with a transmission on a Ford Escape is always to get it inspected by an independent, local mechanic prior to purchasing. This smart option allows you to have the peace of mind necessary to confidently spend your hard earned money on a vehicle. These inspections are often comprehensive and can unearth other potential issues with the vehicle that you may not catch during a test drive.
Should you buy a used Ford Escape?
Overall, the Ford Escape is a well-loved and reliable SUV, although there are a few older model years that should be avoided due to reliability problems. With a very sharp decline in the number of problems reported by Ford Escape owners of year models 2017 and newer, we absolutely recommend buying a newer-model Ford Escape. They’re proving to be quite reliable, and many of them are still eligible for CPO offers.
Which year models of used Ford Escapes are safe to buy?
Based on complaints submitted by Ford Escape owners, the following models are safe to buy. These year models are less prone to complaints than other year models, and the complaints against them are less severe.
- 2001 Ford Escape
- 2002 Ford Escape
- 2003 Ford Escape
- 2004 Ford Escape
- 2007 Ford Escape
- 2009 Ford Escape
- 2010 Ford Escape
- 2011 Ford Escape
- 2012 Ford Escape
- 2014 Ford Escape
- 2015 Ford Escape
- 2016 Ford Escape
- 2017 Ford Escape
- 2018 Ford Escape
- 2019 Ford Escape
- 2020 Ford Escape
Ford Escape year models to avoid
We recommend avoiding purchasing the following year models of Ford Escape due to high numbers of user-reported reliability problems.
- 2005 Ford Escape
- 2006 Ford Escape
- 2008 Ford Escape
- 2013 Ford Escape
GET A CURATED LIST OF THE BEST USED CARS IN YOUR AREA
The CoPilot app is the smartest way to buy a car. Search all listings in your area, get notified about deals, new listings, and price drops, or chat with one of our copilots for some hands-on advice.
I asked for dealer they wanted to charge me few hundred dollars just to diagnose the problem then if it need to replace the transmission they said over $3,000.00.
So I made some researches online until I came across this random guy who had a transmission shop, sent him an e-mail, he then called for more questions, scheduled a pick up because he had free towing, took the car did not know him or anything two days later he called said it will cost $1,400.00 and two year warranty, I agreed four days later called to get the car, everything went smooth and had my car fixed and still running fine like before.
So take your time and do not let people take advantage of you.
Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 AT 4:21 PM (Merged)
Transmission Swap - Is it worth it?
What engine and transmission do you have in your 2004 ford escape. There were some Escapes that had alot of issues with transmissions but I don't recall if how many different transmission types they had in 2004 but I'll check. Usually standard stick shift models are reliable if you know how to use a clutch and I am sure they had front wheel drive. Mot sure if there was an AWD but I also have a 2004 Escape with a V6 Duratec Engine and an auto 4WD that runs in Front wheel rive until it senses it needs the rear wheels and it automatically engages the rear wheels when needed. And then I have a switch to go full time 4WD when I want too. I would think my transmission is the complicated version that could have problems but I've got over 190 thousand miles on the thing and it still runs like new. I'm hoping I don't jinx myself. Knock on wood? Based on how great my Escape drives, I would not hesitate to pay the money you are talking about to replace the transmission. I would rather pay $1100 to end up with a vehicle I am familiar with and know all about before spending more than triple that for another used car because anything under $5 grand is hit or miss. You really gotta know what you are buying and be prepared for anything. Unless you are going new, $1100 or so is very affordable and the end result is a working vehicle you have spent time with and know personally. If your engine was running great, there really is nothing else that could be a high cost repair after you do the transmission I wanted to give you some things to think about because it is really going to come down to what you want to do. Like I said, look at what it will take to fix the transmission and compare that to what you would have to spend to get another vehicle that will function reliably.
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Transmission replacement ford escape 2004
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