really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,314 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Escape:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #44

Jul 072011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 94,700 miles
On rt. 59, just South of northwest hwy (rt. 14) in barrington, my 2002 Ford Escape XLT was involved in a bizarre incident or accident. While sitting static on level road in a line of traffic with a train-crossing barrier arm keeping traffic safely waiting for the train to pass, my vehicle lurched forward in an unintended acceleration while my foot was firmly pressing on the brake pedal. The engine raced at >= 4000 RPM. With continued braking action on my part with no vehicle response, the passenger-side front end of my vehicle hit the 1988 Ford F150 truck immediately in front of me. As a side note, I had the 2005 Ford recall work performed on the defective accelerator cable, with the cable replacement at packey webb Ford dealership service center in wheaton, Illinois. There is a safety-hazard risk associated with the vehicle, and I refuse to drive this vehicle even if the approximately $4000 damages are repaired, which I have not authorized. I am an experience computer it software/hardware professional, as well as an engineering design controls expert in the health care industry, working for a major product manufacturer (software and hardware). There is a definite safety risk associated with this vehicle make/model, and I want to report this incident to the proper Agency. The insurance company, Ford dealership, and the authorized service center have done nothing to identify the root cause for the vehicle malfunction on design defect; they only treat this as a loss and did not perform initial computer diagnostics prior to compromising the vehicle in their actions to appraise damages to the vehicle. I need this incident properly investigated and reported to the public if a safety risk is confirmed.

- Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #43

Mar 092011


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who stated that the transmission was defective. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 150,000.

- Federal Way, WA, USA

problem #42

Jun 112010


  • 130,000 miles
This complaint is to regarding Ford Motor Company and the cd4E automatic transmission. This is by far the worst transmission ever built. I have a Ford Escape and a Mazda 626 and both have needed the transmission rebuilt this year. The Ford 4 times before it would work right. I wish that the government would not let auto manufacturers built defective vehicles and parts and make them own up to it if they do. I wonder how many thousands of dollars consumers have had to lay out to fix these horrible transmissions.

- Crossville, TN, USA

problem #41

Sep 272010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 157,000 miles
Purchased vehicle was used around town for 4 days on the forth day drove on hwy way at 65 mph the overdrive light came on flashing car failed to shift out of gear. Pulled off road turned off. Found car leaking automatic transmission fluid and would no longer go into gear once it had been shut off. Is currently at transmission shop the are attempting to find what the issue is. Vehicle is a 2002 Ford Escape.

- Umatilla, FL, USA

problem #40

Sep 112008


  • 104,000 miles
Transmission failure at 104,000 miles.

- Nottingham, MD, USA

problem #39

May 162010


  • 74,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Escape had to have a transmission replaced. At 74,000 miles it was blown. I had it towed to a repair shop and asked for his opinion. It was blown. He called about a replacement and was told the dealer kept many replacements for 2002 Escapes because of failures. I bought Ford because I always loved and bought Ford. But $3,3300 later, Ford has a problem. The car runs better now and even gets 5 miles per gallon better on gas. Ford has a problem as countless people have expressed.

- Jamestown, NC, USA

problem #38

May 142009


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. The contact sated that the transmission failed. The contact stated that the transmission did not show signs of slipping before it failed. The vehicle was inspected by a certified technician who stated that the core of the transmission had failed. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were 130,000.

- Fitchburt, MA, USA

problem #37

Apr 302010


  • miles
2002 Ford Escape was recalled for several reasons. Something with the power train, the cruise control, the ABS system..... finally it caught on fire. The engine was melted. Fire and police department got there. Contacted Ford and they just said we will record your call on your profile. Don't understand how lives and property have been lost and Ford doesn't do anything about it.

- Sam Antonio, TX, USA

problem #36

Oct 252009


  • 55,000 miles
2002 Ford Escape 4X4 55,000 miles while driving 70 mph on rt 95 the car suddenly appeared to have gone into neutral, although it was still in drive. Luckily we were able to make it to the side of the road 100 miles from home. The car would not move in any gear and now requires a new transmission. There were no previous transmission problems and no warnings that anything might be wrong.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #35

Aug 102002


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. Immediately after purchasing the vehicle in August of 2002, it began stalling and lost all power. The contact received a recall notice in April of 2004 for NHTSA campaign id number 04V165000 (power train:automatic transmission:control module). She took the vehicle to a local dealer and received her free repair. In August of 2008, the failure recurred. While driving approximately 10-20 mph, the vehicle stalled and lost all power; however, it was able to be restarted. On August 11, 2008, while backing out of the driveway at an unknown speed, the vehicle lost power. The contact lost control of the vehicle. The failure recurred two additional times the same day. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer and a complete diagnostic test was performed; however, no failures could be found. The manufacturer stated that since they already repaired her vehicle, they were not liable for another repair. The current mileage was 51,007 and failure mileage was 200.

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #34

Aug 012008


  • 89,999 miles
My family and I were driving along the insterstate with cruise controll set at 75 mph. We were going up a small hill and about to go into the passing lane. The car sounded like the transmission slipped in over drive and the rpms went through the roof. We were able to coast to the side of the road. We turned the vehicle off for serveral minutes and then turned it back on. The oil pressure light flickered on and off and the engine made a horrible screeching noise. We checked the oil and it was full. The car had to be towed to the mechanic were he then informed us that the car needed a new engine. He stated the the catalytic convereted had gone out causing the engine to fail. The car also will need a new transmission. The total cost to fix this is around $8000. I contacted Ford today to tell them what had happened and they stated that there was nothing they could do since the car had not been serviced at a Ford service station consistantly since the car was first purchased and that they have had no other similiar complaints with this vechile. After researching online I have found many similar complaints where ever one has seemed to contact Ford and they say the same things to them. I also have had some smaller problems with this vehicle like the engine light going on and the emergency break light going on and brought them in to the shop and have had to replace the sensors. Right now I am not able to replace the vehicle due to finicial reasons.

- Spearfish, SD, USA

problem #33

Mar 132008

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles
Transmission failure, apparently a recurring problem with the Ford 2001-2004 Escape SUV. This one is a 2002 and did not leave me stranded, I managed to get it to the dealership. Others (hundreds++) on the web were stranded on major highways.

- Luray, VA, USA

problem #32

Feb 072008

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Escape. While driving 60 mph, the accelerator pedal went down to the floor and would not release. The contact was able to place the vehicle into second gear. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the cruise control cable failed and jammed the throttle cover. The transmission became damaged when the contact shifted into reverse gear. The manufacturer may not be able to assist. On November 25, 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer due to reverse. The dealer cleaned the throttle body, flushed the injectors, and cleaned the upper intake gasket and spark plugs. The fuel filters, coil boots, and ignitions wires were replaced. The current and failure mileages were 62,000. The consumer stated the battery light comes on while driving, replace fuel filter, and A/C is not blowing cold. Updated 03/31/08

- Idyllwild, CA, USA

problem #31

Dec 032007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
This will be the second time I have to replace the brake pads and rotors, not to mention that from day one my wheels have been covered in black dust from the brakes, and im told this is normal. The major problem has been the transmission. I can not tell you how many times I've taken it in to be looked at and called and complained to Ford with no help at all. Since day one (my car was brand new) the automatic transmission made noises as though it was stuck when it should be smoothly shifting gears. Each time I took it in noone heard anything...until my warrantee was up then things were heard. Lets see I've paid for engine flushes, spark plug changes, fluid checks, reset calibraitons, I've never missed an oil or filter change and it progressively is getting worse. I've read lots of other complaints from Ford owners regarding the same problem. So if we all are having the same issue, why isn't Ford held accountable to fix this"?????"

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #30

Oct 152006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
Transmission failure after 4 years and 10 months at 64,000 miles.

- Princeton, NJ, USA

problem #29

Jun 192006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Escape and was driving on the freeway when the overdrive off light started flashing. I pulled over, but was not able to reengage the overdrive. Continued the commute home and the transmission started shifting roughly, and then the check engine light came on. I was able to drive it to the dealer, where they told me I would needed a new transmission. I took it, ,,(by this point the vehicle wasn't driveable and had to have it towed to a transmission shop near my home. They stated that I would need a new transmission, and that this seemed to be a common occurrence for Ford Escapes. They said that a vehicle at 90000 mileage should not have the extensive kind of transmission damage that this vehicle did.

- Stacy, MN, USA

problem #28

Nov 222006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
O/D off light began flashing. Apparently, the torque converter failed and the entire transmission had to be replaced. Car was only 4 years old with 53000 miles. If I didn't have an extended warranty, the repairs would have cost over $3000. Apparently, this same problem exists on the 2002 Ford Explorer as well.

- Aston, PA, USA

problem #27

Nov 142006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I bought my 2002 Ford Escape in may of 2005, the dealership had to rebuild the transmission 3 days later at 80K because it was slipping between gears. Now a year and half later, I've been told by a specialist that I need a new transmission, which will cost me $2500 - $4000! the dealer will not warranty their work because it has been over a year since the service, but I've only put 20K miles on it! the transmission specialist explained that the 2002 Escape has the same transmission as a Mazda 626, which is notorious for failing. He said even if I pay to have it replaced, it will fail again.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #26

Aug 092006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
: the contact stated the transmission failed suddenly without warning while driving 72 mph. The vehicle was towed to a dealership who determined the transmission needed to be replaced. There were no problems with the vehicle prior to the incident. Updated 9/15/2006 -

- Tobyhanna, PA, USA

problem #25

Aug 102006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Ford 02 Escape. Value body transmission issues, metal shavings in transmission fluid, car only 4 years, 80K highway miles. Car maintenance kept up. Two Ford dealerships telling me it could cost 1 to $2000 to fix. Ford company would not help. Can provide control number. Dealership will not take responsibility. This has to be a manufacture issue. Dtc codes tested PO741 & P1744. Control# 14998722626. Please help.

- Claypool, IN, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »