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Ford Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 50 Ford models based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Bulletin 13N02 - This program extends the coverage of the brake booster to ten years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start of the vehicle, whichever occurs first. This is a one time repair program.

In some of the affected vehicles, it is possible for the brake booster to develop a small tear in the diaphragm under certain driving and environmental conditions. If this occurs, the driver may hear a hissing noise while depressing the pedal and may also experience a "spongy" pedal feel without a noticeable effect on braking performance. If the vehicle is not serviced, the tear will eventually expand and the pedal effort required to stop the vehicle will gradually increase. However, in all cases, the fundamental vehicle braking system remains functional.

The automatic transmission may develop shifting concerns. On lower mileage vehicles, upgrading the software in the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (TCM) may correct the problem. As the mileage increases, internal transmission damage can occur. Repairs could involve replacement of the valve body or a complete transmission rebuild. Whenever major transmission repairs are made, it is important to be sure the PCM and the TCM have the latest software updates to help prevent these issues from reoccurring.

The automatic transmission may develop shifting concerns. On lower mileage vehicles, upgrading the software in the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (TCM) may correct the problem. As the mileage increases, internal transmission damage can occur. Repairs could involve replacement of the valve body or a complete transmission rebuild. Whenever major transmission repairs are made, it is important to be sure the PCM and the TCM have the latest software updates to help prevent these issues from reoccurring.

A defective electronic throttle body (ETB) can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate and could have limited to no throttle response. Our technicians tall us that replacing the electronic throttle body will commonly correct this concern.

Various problems with the 5-speed automatic transmission were common. These problems can be more common on the 2002 models with build dates before March, 2002. There are many service bulletins describing the diagnoses and repairs, which include fluid leak repairs, transmission software updates, or internal failures requiring a costly repair.

An illuminated Check Engine Light and a rough running engine could indicate that one or more of the ignition coils has failed. Often times this is due to excessive spark plug gap. To fix this problem, the defective ignition coilsspark plugs, and all coil boots should be replaced.

Ford Escape four wheel drive models may develop an abnormal noise from the transfer case. This may sound like a bearing howling first, but will turn into a clicking noise at higher speeds.

The transfer case on these models is notoriously troublesome, and can become damage from normal use, and the sound of the failure is notably close to the noise heard from mud tires on pavement. 

To eliminate the noise, the vehicle should be inspected, and, if the transfer case has suffered internal damage, it must be replaced, not rebuilt. 

Changing the transfer case fluid on schedule may help, but many failures are before the first fluid change interval. 

The engine may overheat at idle when the AC is on. A new, upgraded fan motor and resistor assembly should be installed.

One or more oxygen sensors may fail resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light.

Heat may stop working either from one or all the dash vents. Several issues have been reported but most often the issue revolves around the failure of one of the blend air door actuators. Anytime the heater stops working it's best to check the basics too, like the coolant level, thermostat, and coolant flow through the heater core. 

The Ford F-150 has known issues with the V8 engine ejecting spark plugs. This will make a tapping or knocking noise, plus the engine will begin to misfire at all speeds. The check engine light will also illuminate.

The threads on the cylinder head are too short and soft, allowing pressure from combustion to overwhelm and destroy the threads. 

When the spark plug ejects, the cylinder head becomes damaged, necessitating repair of the spark plug port threads, or replacement of the cylinder head and cylinder head gasket. 

Ford has recommended a method of repair for the cylinder head that prevents the spark plug from ejecting under future use. Replacement of all spark plugs is not necessary, but an updated spark plug design can help prevent this from happening in the future. 

There is a technical service bulletin for the V8 engine.

Oil leaks from the right-side cylinder head gasket are common.  Oil from this type of leak will commonly drip onto the starter. The solution to addressing this issue is to install updated head gaskets. When replacing a head gasket on a V6 or V8 engine you should always replace both the right and left-side gaskets. 

The 2008-2012 Ford Escape with manual temperature and fan controls may have problems with the the blower motor only blowing air on certain settings. Most commonly the fan will only run on the highest setting. This is a well documented problem, and is caused by a failing blower motor resistor.

Correcting the problem is straight forward, and requires replacement of the small resistor. The resistor is normally found behind the glove box, next to the blower motor.

Transmission problems are common in this model, often as a result of a failed front pump. The pump loses its ability to create hydraulic pressure, which an automatic transmission needs to function. A sign of front pump failure can be a whine type noise.