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Ford Escape Reliability: How Long Will It Last?


Previous versions of the Ford Escape have attracted a devoted fan base as a versatile and durable compact SUV with a longevity of 200,000 miles or more. But that changed with a redesign in 2013 that introduced a poorly designed engine that reduced its expected life to 130,000 miles or less.


Key points

  • The Ford Escape gained an enduring reputation in the early 2000s, with owners driving their trips 200,000 miles or more.
  • Problems with coolant and oil leaks in Eco Boost engines that emerged in 2013 reduced their projected life to 130,000 miles or less.
  • However, the overall durable design has earned the compact SUV a consistent spot in owners’ and experts’ reliability rankings when the bad engine isn’t on the cards.
  • Regular visits to the service center for 7,500-mile oil changes and other maintenance contribute to the longevity of the Ford Escape.
  • Are you looking for a used Ford Escape built to last? Look for a model built before 2013 or later that does not have the 1.5L, 2.0L, or 1.6L EcoBoost engine.

Ford Escape 2013

The early years of the Ford Escape can last up to 300,000 miles over its lifespan, but a redesign in 2013 led to a drastic reduction in reliability.

Previous versions of the Ford Escape built before 2012 are known to get between 200,000 and 300,000 miles with routine maintenance. If you average 15,000 miles per year, that’s an expected lifespan of 13 to 20 years.

Owners share their stories from the long-lasting SUV to vehicle history. One Escape owner reported that his 2002 managed to travel up to 727,000 miles before finally heading to the junkyard.

However, the introduction of the EcoBoost engine and an all-new powertrain in 2013 significantly damaged the compact SUV’s durability. Vehicles that are part of the 2013–2019 generation can only travel 130,000 miles. In some cases, owners replace their engines at 27,000 miles.

Ford Escape 2013

Ford Escape EcoBoost engine owners report early failures due to coolant leaks, faulty wiring, and throttle body problems

While the 2013 Ford Escape is the poster child for the worst year for SUVs, widespread engine problems are associated with all vehicles equipped with the 1.5L, 2.0L, and 1.6L EcoBoost engines between the 2013 and 2019 model years.

There were more than 1,000 flooded engine complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this first year, and it continues to grow over time. Engine coolant manages to leak into the combustion chamber. The stock monitor did not report low coolant until the engine began to overheat.

Fires, cracked blocks, and blown pistons required a complete engine replacement. Technical Service Bulletins issued in 2017 and later also refer to oil leaks around the intermediate shaft seal. Another recommendation is to use dyes to locate the source of mysterious leaks. Ultimately, there are several ways these engines are failing at an alarming rate.

The original powertrain warranty covered five years, or 60,000 miles. Any engine failures experienced by owners beyond this mark come out of their own pockets.

Unfortunately, an overheating engine isn’t all you need to worry about. A defective wiring harness may prevent the check engine light from coming on. Glow up. Owners continue driving until the engine stalls or locks up. The throttle body accumulates dirt and debris, causing unpredictable acceleration and loss of power.

Ford Escape 2013

Look beyond the engine and the Ford Escape consistently ranks in the top five as a reliable compact SUV

However, if you can find a Ford Escape that doesn’t have a faulty engine, a questionable throttle body, or faulty wiring for the onboard computer, the frame and transmission should last between 12 and 15 years.

The third-generation compact SUV still earns excellent JD Power owner reliability ratings. Ranked in the Top 5 compact cars in US News and World Report from 2015 to 2019.

Connoisseurs love the way it drives and appreciate its luxurious interior. If you don’t make regular, expensive trips to the store, you’ll probably love your car until you’re ready to retire.

2013 Ford Escape - Picture of Ford

Oil changes every 7,500 miles and routine coolant level checks help your Ford last past the 100,000-mile mark

Fortunately, if you manage to get a Ford Escape without the problematic engine, it should last you for many years. The key ingredient in any long-lasting vehicle is strict adherence to its recommended maintenance schedule.

Ford suggests changing the oil and filter every 7,500 miles. For trips that open wide to the road most of the time, they can go up to 10,000 miles between services. You will need to closely monitor the engine coolant level. Check it monthly or more frequently if you need to top off coolant between oil changes.

Other wear items you should expect to replace over time include brakes, belts, and spark plugs. Suspension components that may need repairs when you go above 75,000 include ball joints and shock absorbers. The Ford Escape will need an average of about $8,700 in repairs and maintenance over 10 years according to Car Rim.

2012 Ford Escape - Picture of Ford

Your best bet for a durable Ford Escape is a 2012 or earlier model or a model with a different replacement engine

Although the Ford Escape’s durable chassis and transmission make it a good candidate for a durable SUV, you’ll want to avoid that EcoBoost engine. If you are looking for one with a replacement engine, ask if it is a rebuilt engine or a completely different engine.

There’s no indication that the design issues have been fixed, so a replacement Ford engine may end up with the same coolant leaks. If you’re lucky and drive before 2013 or 2020 and beyond, expect to enjoy your SUV for up to 200,000 miles or more.

Photos: Ford

Frequent questions

By Stephanie Stephan | March 8, 2022

How reliable is the 2021 Ford Escape?

The 2021 Ford Escape is considered the least reliable compact SUV on the market by Consumer Reports, with an expected reliability rating of one in five. Eight NHTSA complaints of brake failure and warped rotors resulted in a recall for brake lining failures.

How reliable is the 2014 Ford Escape?

The 2014 Ford Escape has an average reliability rating of three out of five and is the subject of 1,283 complaints and 14 NHTSA recalls for leaking engine cylinder heads, a defective fuel pump plate and a faulty fuel pump module. Cracked fuel causes stagnation.

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