Ford Escape Hybrid Owners: Problems & Solutions

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
edited March 2014 in Ford
Post any problems you may be experiencing and share solutions with othe members!


  • bobv1bobv1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2005 Ford Hybrid and on several occasions the ABS and brake lights come on after starting the car. If the ignition is recycled the lights go away but if you ignore them the car is very difficult to stop. Now I am also getting a "service emissions" message. The dealer verified the codes but does not know what to do to fix the problem.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    Hmm, maybe you should open up a "Ford Escape Hybrid Software Problems" forum. This sounds like a programming error.
  • bobv1bobv1 Member Posts: 4
    Well they replaced the ABS module and it did not fix the problem. I agree that considering there was also a "check emissions" message that something more generic was the problem. Two more days in the shop.
  • memphismikememphismike Member Posts: 4
    I have had my Escape Hybird since March 19th and have one problem. When the vehicle starts I get a face full of seeds, leaves or pollen. The dealer looked at the vehicle and said Ford failed to install the cabin air filter when they built the truck. The dealer did not have a filter so they ordered one on April 3rd. Now they are telling me the hybird does not have a cabin air filter ! I found the part on the MotorCraft web site and told the dealer about it and they said they will have to talk to Ford again. If these things don't have cabin air filters, everyone that has one must be driving around in a vacuum cleaner bag too!! Is anyone else having this problem ?
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    All Escapes (including hybrid) have a place to put a cabin air filter. None of them come with one installed.

    You can buy the filter from your dealer or use an aftermarket one. I bought the Wix equivalent at the local parts store for about $15. The install is a little involved but quick to do. Cycle the wipers and shut off the ignition with them in the upright position, then you have to remove the 4 screws (they're covered with round plastic covers that pop off with a small screwdriver...don't let them fly off or you'll never find to remove these with the hood down!) along the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side, pop out the plastic "rivets" along the front edge of the same side's cowling cover then lift the section of cowling up and out of the way. Under that is another cover (keeps the filter in place and dry) which comes off revealing the filter box. Put the filter in there, put everything back together and you're good to go.

    The dealer will charge a fortune to do this for you, if you are at all mechanically inclined I'd reccomend doing it yourself.
  • memphismikememphismike Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the info - if the dealer balks at making a customer happy , I will do it myself as you suggest...
  • baggs32baggs32 Member Posts: 3,229
    I and many other Escape owners used the Fram version from WalMart. It costs about $5.
  • gheimurgheimur Member Posts: 88
    The 04 expedition has a place for it also but came without. Ditto for my wifes
    2001 escape. My 1996 Taurus came with it from the factory. Ford is saving $$$$
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    To create a location for a cabin air filter and then not provide one shows a lack of interest in customer satisfaction by FMC.
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    Note the Fram filter is an engine air filter, not a specific cabin air fits okay but it's not absolutely perfect fitment.

    As to Ford's not including the filter, it's clearly a money-making opportunity for the dealer. They fetch about $20 for the part plus a half-hour labor, I'm sure.
  • bobv1bobv1 Member Posts: 4
    Reference ABS problem:
    Got the car back after three days. They changed the "jumper harness" and the battery. So far so good. I did get a "service emissions" message on the display but I read that this is normal if you turn the key to run but do not start the car.
  • jimlanejimlane Member Posts: 2
    I have had my Escape Hybrid about 3 weeks now. The first tank I averaged 29 mpg. I sure hope it gets better.

    Any experience or suggestions?
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    29 MPG combined is pretty decent for that vehicle. It will most likely get better as you learn more about conserving fuel and how to drive for max mpg, if that's what you want to do.

    As the car breaks in it will have less engine friction and will operated more efficiently.

    But 29 MPG combined is not bad for the first 3 weeks of ownership.....
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    That's probably about right. Unlike the Prius and other pure hybrid sedans, the Escape has a large frontal profile that impacts MPG (the effect worsens as the speed increases). Plus the Escape is quite a bit heavier than the smaller Prius.

    You are still doing about 7 MPG City and 5 MPG highway better than my I4 ICE-only CR-V... not too shabby.
  • sstootssstoots Member Posts: 3
    I went to change my oil yesterday, crawled under the truck and couldn't find
    the oil filter anywhere!

    Anyone know where this sucker is? There is some plastic cowling underneath
    that could conceal the filter. I pulled it back a bit, but didn't see anything.
  • earear Member Posts: 6
    If you want to totally eliminate the wind noise in the cabin of your Escape, try threading some vinyl tubing into the weatherstrip around the door frames. I know this sounds hokey, but this worked extremely well on my Hybrid, was super easy and caused no damage, plus the final product is totally invisible. Now the loudest thing is the tire/road noise. This took me well under an hour.

    You’ll need a can of silicone spray lubricant and about 20 ft. of ¼ in. OD (outside diameter) clear vinyl tubing (smooth, pliable and compressible, like the stuff in science lab class). It is sold by the foot at home centers for .10 - .20 /ft. Use your fingers to gently pry off the black rubber door seal weatherstrip that is attached to the body of the car located on the door frames (where the perimeter of the door touches the body of the car). Start at the front of each door opening and work your way around. This will not damage the weatherstrip- it is not glued on, just hooked over a metal seam running the length of the door opening. Lay the weatherstrip straight out on the ground and thread the vinyl tubing through the hollow part of the weatherstrip. Spray the silicone on the tubing while feeding it through the weatherstrip to lubricate its path. If it gets stuck, spray silicone through the small holes in the weatherstrip in the path of the tubing. Leave an inch or so protruding from each end of the weatherstrip. Reinstall it by simply pressing it snugly into place. Make sure you tuck the leading edge of the weatherstrip well below the body panels on the front. Once it is reattached, press the tubing that is inside the weatherstrip to the outside edge of the weatherstrip so the door closes with an airtight fit. Use ¼ in. OD clear vinyl tubing because you won't be able to fully close the doors around anything more rigid or larger than that. The tailgate door and glass can be done the same way.
  • earear Member Posts: 6
    I'm late to the forum, but thank you stevewa- I installed the cabin air/pollen filter as you described. My dealer's service mgr. (No. Calif.) said the filter is an "option" that can be ordered when purchasing a car, therefore I would have to pay for it. Dealer wanted ~$30, I ended up buying it at Napa Auto Parts for abt. $20 and it fit well.
  • memphismikememphismike Member Posts: 4
    Just thought I would pass along my spitting seeds resolution. The dealer said Ford told them Hybrids don't have cabin air filters. They said they would call Ford back after I provided them with the facts. I never heard back from the dealer about the filter , but did get a recorded message from the "customer service manager" wanting me to call them if I wanted to sell my new truck! I bought the filter myself and put it in and don't have to wear a dust mask anymore. (Thanks stevewa) I am approaching 2000 miles with no other issues. With about 80% of those being highway miles , I have an average fuel econ. of 31.8 mpg and it is still climbing ( slowly).
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    Glad to be of assistance. Apparently none of the Escapes come with the filter installed, but they all have the box where it goes. It seems Ford thinks it's a good opportunity for the Dealer to score a few quick bucks.
  • richburkrichburk Member Posts: 2
    Anybody encounter this? For the past few weeks, the hybrid would shut off completely when turning off the car. Dead. Nothing. Each time it seems to take a little bit longer before it might think about starting. Last night we stopped at the store before going to the movies and turned it off. Got out. Went to lock the doors with the FOB and nothing. It would not lock. I got in. It was dead. No radio in the ACC position or any position. Just dead. It remained that way until, I pressed on the brake for the umpteenth time and then the engine made a clunking sound like a old fashioned hard drive from the 80's would unpark when you turn on the computer after having moved it. I doubt that is the issue, but that is what it reminded me of. My wife took it to the dealership this week for its second oil change and described the problems to them. They also screwed up and had to keep it for two days longer because they broke the O ring when putting on the oil filter/cartridge. They did not have any on hand. Fortunately they provided a rental car at no cost. However they did diagnostics and found no issues. The onboard computer apparently doesnt log this particular problem. Last night after the movies we got home and the problem occurred again. Only it has been 12 hours plus at this point, and it wont start. No radio, no windows, no alarm. Nothing. I called the dealership. They said to call roadside assistance. So I have and am now waiting. They told me it would be 60 minutes or less. Then they called back and said it would be 2-2.5 hours now. Living 30 minutes from the nearest city, I guess, would do that.

    I feel very slighted by all of this, as this is the FEH that was on of the centerpieces at the Washington DC Area Auto Show in December 2004.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Welcome to the forum. Be sure and get back to us with what they find is wrong. That will make this a good database for troubles that are encountered.
  • richburkrichburk Member Posts: 2
    Roadside assistance shows up. Pops the hood and checks the battery terminals first. Something that I should think that the Ford mechanics could have checked. He found one of the terminals loose. He tightened it and it started right up. He said that the car battery controls the internal electronics while the hybrid battery controls the electric engine.

    So I am happy again.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,241
    rich... reading you problem a few posts up, i went through the same thing years ago with one of my wife's cars. glad to see it is resolved. maybe the tech was so afraid of being electrocuted, they disconnected the battery.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    " maybe the tech was so afraid of being electrocuted, they disconnected the battery."

    Pretty stupid tech then, the two electrical systems are independent...
  • hybridgirlhybridgirl Member Posts: 2
    ...29 mpg is about my experience. I got my Escape Hybrid in Nov of '04 I think the best I've ever seen the readout say is 31.

    Have you had any problems with your rear brakes making noise? I've had my in the shop now twice for problems they haven't been able to fix.

  • talariatalaria Member Posts: 16
    I did not want this issue to get mixed in with the noise coming from the right rear wheel posted above.

    I am curious if I am the only one that thinks the gas engine kicks in too quickly upon acceleration.

    Unless I press the accelerator VERY,VERY, VERY gently and creep away the gas engine turns on. I am not one of those persons that stomp on the gas and race to the next light. But it is ridiculous to creep away slower than I can walk for a substantial distance in order to stay in electric mode until 25 MPH, somtimes plus, is reached. I do my best to ignore the other drivers honking and sometime yelling while I try to stay in electric mode.

    Perhaps this is a programing error. But it can't be right. My neighbor has a Toyota Prius and can accelerate at a reasonable, not fast, but reasonable rate and stay on electric.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "Perhaps this is a programing error. But it can't be right. My neighbor has a Toyota Prius and can accelerate at a reasonable, not fast, but reasonable rate and stay on electric."

    The Toyota Prius is a much lighter car. You are driving a 700 extra pound SUV. It takes HP to get that much metal going.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I do my best to ignore the other drivers honking and sometime yelling

    That kind of driving will have more of a negative impact on the hybrids than you may think. I was stuck for several miles behind a hybrid Escape going up Interstate 8 a few months ago. Traffic was flowing 75-80 MPH and this person was going 45 in the right lane. I thought it was all the faster the car was capable of going until I found out it was some kook trying to save a few ounces of gas. I can appreciate your trying to get the best mileage from your car. Just not where it impedes the normal flow of traffic.
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    "Staying on electric" is not always the most efficient mode to drive. If you spend a lot of time in electric you will end up having to pay that back by running the engine to recharge. If the engine is idling to recharge it's much less efficient than it is when at a slightly higher RPM to move the vehicle and recharge at the same time.

    My advice, don't worry about it unless your vehicle is not shutting down the engine at all.
  • snowmansnowman Member Posts: 540
    I guess you are impressed by Escape hybrid so you, CRV owner, comes here and participate. :)

    What are you planning, sell your CRV and buy one of these puppies. ;)
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "What are you planning, sell your CRV and buy one of these puppies."

    I would consider that, except for a couple of issues:

    1. New Ford Model year. I will wait a couple of years before I consider it. Having read some of the problems being encountered with the transmission, I think it is a wise choice.
    2. My CR-V is not paid for.
    3. Escape Hybrid is too expensive for what you get.
    4. My CR-V will get 26-27 MPG at 80 MPH, which isn't too far off of the EH at 32 MPG.
    5. I prefer the design of the CR-V (as I think you already know)
  • diobolikdiobolik Member Posts: 2
    hey memphismike i hade a problem with my escape took it to the dealer they said that there was nothing wrong with it so i took it to a shop locally they diag. the car and found the problem. so i went back to the dealer to get the part myself because it was simple enough i could have done it and then they wanted an outrageous price for it. cheched it out online and found that link title the part was exceptionally cheaper. I purchased part had it shipped to me and it was still cheaper then walking into the dealership. you should check it out if you know where the part was if not they even had an area where you could aska technician a question and they will respond back to you maybe that would be an avenue for you. i think you should seriously check them out. :shades:
  • yspinneryspinner Member Posts: 1
    I have a Ford 2001 Escape and it shut down after a minute of driving. The horn blows, the lights work, the radio works, the air condition works, the wipers work, but the engine would not roll over. I replaced the battery, checked the starter, and the clutch switch and they are all okay. The lights on the dash board comes on but the engine does not roll over. I am on a remote Island in The Bahamas and need some help in resolving this problem?
  • fumefreefumefree Member Posts: 3
    Has anybody figured out if you can hardwire satellite radio into the nav/audio unit on the 05's.
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    Not and have the track/station info on the display.

    It's possible to use an adapter like PIE's X3 and be able to inject a line-level audio signal on the CD-changer input, but you have to keep a CD in the changer at all times as the head unit doesn't know what you're up to.
  • fumefreefumefree Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info. I am going to try a DEI FM modulator relay I found info on via google. It plugs in via the car's FM radio input. When the Sat. radio powers on it shuts down the FM ant. reception and gives a clean input into the car radio via the FM input port. Of course I'll still have to control the Sat radio via it's controls.

    The PIE wire is a good idea though and does work on the Hybrid (i checked with them). I do not want to have the CD spining all the time while I listen to Sat radio, which would be most of the time.

    I am hoping to run an ipod through the same FM modulator.
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    I have PIE's new adapter for the iPod. It takes the place of the CD changer completely (you unplug the cable at the CD changer and plug it into the iPod.

    The sound quality is excellent and it does charge the iPod battery. Since the adapter has to fake the head unit into thinking your iPod is a 6-disc CD changer, the controls are a little convoluted...still no track data and the iPod display is not active when plugged in. However, it does work.
  • oldjoeoldjoe Member Posts: 132
    No Escapes have ever been built with cabin air filters...they have to be installed post-purchase by the owner, either from the dealer or by yourself--a five minute job by the way.
  • oldjoeoldjoe Member Posts: 132
    That is very close to the normal I4 Escape, especially for the highway mileage. But then you are making history in an experimental vehicle. Over time, they will probably make the next generation of hybrids better on gas mileage, Toyota has. My neighbor's CRV gets around 30MPG on highway mileage. Myself, I have a 2005 Accord I4 that gets 25-28 MPG around town and as high as 35 on a trip. with the gas prices going through the cealing I would expect mileage will improve a;ll around in the next few years as manufacturers respond to the high price of gasoline.
  • richwhorichwho Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2005 Ford Escape XL, 2.3 engine and auto trans. When I accelerate the AC cuts out and fan blows hot air. I turned it in to the dealer for warranty repair thinking it would be an easy repair. The symptoms indicated that there was a vacuum leak. The dealer had the vehicle for four days and said that this is normal operation for the PCM (Powertrain Control Module). I asked the service dept to provide me with a service bulletin that stated that the PCM module was designed to shut off the compressor during acceleration. It has been two months and I am still waiting for the serivce bulletin. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • brutus5brutus5 Member Posts: 3
    That is a great idea !!! My Escape has a lot of wind noise, but not from door and window gaskets. The Escape is shaped like a brick and thus so generates a lot of wind turbulence. I took the roof rack off but that didn't do anything but I suspect the mirrors make a lot of wind noise. I also don't think the Escape has a lot of insulation in it.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "The dealer had the vehicle for four days and said that this is normal operation for the PCM (Powertrain Control Module)"

    Almost all cars with smaller engines are set to turn off the compressor under hard acceleration. Have you tried accelerating easier?
  • f102flyerf102flyer Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid and am having trouble with the GPS Navigation system. For the first 6 to 8 months of ownership, the GPS worked perfectly and the car icon was always exactly where it should be. Since late May, the icon that places the car on the map is consistantly behind where the car is actually on the road. When the car makes a sharp turn, the icon goes off the line for the road and moves forward on the map parallel to the road. It eventually "jumps" over in steps and gets back on the road but still behind where it should be.

    Took it into the dealer and they agreed there was a problem and said they would replace it. When I took it in for the replacement navigation system, they said they called the company and they hooked it up to their equipment while it was running and they said there was nothing wrong with it.

    Since I have had experience with other GPS navigation systems and they are always right on the money, I told my dealer this was not acceptable. They indicated that Ford said this was the best it could be- ie, it would never be that accurate. I feel there has been some kind of game playing here by Ford- they have downgraded the Satellite signal, or have some kind of a software problem. We did get the new CD's and changed them when they came.

    The dealer then replaced the GPS unit and it worked for 3 days and now is doing the same thing- driving off the road when it gets behind.

    Is anyone else having problems with this unit or have any articles on this I can use as amunition to get my money back or another replacement unit when they fix the problem?

    Thanks, F102flyer
  • spottydogspottydog Member Posts: 1
    I also have a 2005 Escape Hybrid and am now experiencing some problems with the nav system. It has worked perfectly up until now. Now N is S and E is W, when it is not locked up. I have also lost the clock. The problems started with loosing the time (would show --:--) whenever I would shut the vehicle off. Initially I could just reset the time and it would be correct until the next time I turned the vehicle off. Now when I reset it, an hour later it is still at the time I reset it to. Even when the clock quit working, the nav system still worked, but it finally went belly up yesterday. I was wondering if something was up when the response I got at the dealership today was not exactly friendly.

    I'm guessing the GPS unit itself is the problem, the clock is supposed to sync to the GPS time, it should always reset itself.
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    If the radio is otherwise OK the problem might be the GPS antenna which hides under the dashboard. Do you put anything on top of the dashboard on the flat space over the radio?
  • stevewastevewa Member Posts: 203
    I am able to easily get over 30MPG in the 4wd Escape Hybrid on the highway.

    I have a harder time getting the expected MPG around town, but the EPA city driving test is notoriously inaccurate.

    The longer the trip, the better the mileage. By a LOT.
  • sarahfromscsarahfromsc Member Posts: 10
    My month old hybrid does the same thing....drives me nuts. Do you also feel a slight the rear wheels are hesitating?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    GPS is getting a little long in the tooth on the life of the satellites. while the government has finally started launching again, some of the beacons are getting a little iffy. best I could get for resolution in the north woods this summer was 47 feet, when before it has been 10 to 15 feet with my handheld unit. I saw an article a week or two ago that indicated that the system could fail in some parts of the world within the next two years because they won't have at least 5 beacons visible everyplace, and overall accuracy for non-military sets will be compromised. they can't launch satellites fast enough now to correct the neglect of maintaining the system overhead.

    this may or may not be related, but at this point, I'd be comparing notes with your friends who have in-dash GPS/location, and see if they are getting some results wide of the mark as well.

    if everybody's going wacko, it's the feds. if not, it's your system.
  • aefaef Member Posts: 2
    Hello this is my first post to this group and have taken a cursory review of your messages, so if I may ask, would you buy the ford escape hybrid all over again. I strongly thinking of purchasing the 2006 model.
  • jschreiberjschreiber Member Posts: 50
    We bought a 4WD hybrid escape last month--has 4000 miles and it is a star--
    positives--drives tight, feels firm handles very well quality inside and out is strong
    mileage terrific (not sure why some people complain). We get 30-32 in stop and go and 29 on hiway. I will say that if you drive 75 you will only get 24 on hiway, but 65 gives great mileage. No problems and works seemlessly between electric or gas engine. These figures are much better than most SUVs and better than a subaru! I would also say that hi ethanol gas degrades the meilage by about 1-3 mpg. I've tried both.
    Negatives--was more costly but probably worth it.
    so definite yes would buy again.
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