Learn & Fix :Ford Escape Transmission Problems In 2023 [Know Easy Method]

As soon as you start experiencing Ford Escape transmission problems, you’ll have to fix them before it’s too late.

Otherwise, your car will probably fail at some point, at any time, and that could end up in a dangerous situation.

Luckily, fixing a transmission problem can be as simple as changing the transmission fluid.

So, there’s a good chance you won’t have to get the transmission rebuilt or buy an expensive one before the problem escalates.

In this article, we’ll cover seven common problems associated with the transmission and help you diagnose the underlying cause and fix it as needed. So check it out!

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Top 7 Most Common Ford Escape Transmission Problems

The problems listed down below are well known in the automotive industry.

In addition to that, you’ll find how to fix the problem yourself. That said, let’s take a look:

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1. Transmission Acting Up

Is your transmission acting up when you go into reverse? Well, you might have a damaged valve body.

When it goes bad, it can cause the transmission to work weirdly. But there’s more to it.

Other common symptoms might also suggest the valve body failed. To ensure this part is indeed the problem, consider the following issues:

  • If you hear a clunking noise when going into reverse even after a warmed up, you might have to replace the valve body.
  • If there’s a slight delay when shifting from park to drive or the other way around, it means the valve body has failed, and it must be replaced as soon as possible.
  • If the transmission is starting to shift radically, it could be related to the valve body. But it could also be related to the transmission fluid. Nonetheless, consider both problems.
  • When the valve body goes bad, the check engine light might come on. When this happens, consider scanning your vehicle. This way, you’ll know for sure if it is the valve body.

It’s easy to ignore all of these problems as they might not be so bad when they begin to manifest.

But as time goes by, all of these issues will worsen, damaging your vehicle. In the end, you might spend more money fixing them.

2. Hard Shifting

Your vehicle learns as you drive. However, this can be a double-edged sword as the car could pick up somebody’s else driving habits.

As a result, you’ll have many transmission shift quality issues when driving.

So, it’s not uncommon to have a hard time shifting the vehicle. To get around that, clear the adaptive learning tables.

The whole idea behind this process is that your vehicle can start out fresh and learn your driving habits once again.

In fact, Ford engineers suggest doing this if the vehicle in question is having a hard time shifting.

If you choose this method, merely disconnecting the battery will not reset the adaptive learning table. Instead, go into the scan tool and clear it manually.

Once you’ve cleared the console, follow these steps so the vehicle can begin to learn your driving habits:

  • After the adaptive tables have been cleared, turn the key off. After that, put the key back in and then turn it to the run position.
  • Next up, wait for five seconds before starting up the vehicle. Now put the car into gear and let it learn.
  • After that, go for a ride so that vehicle can learn the initial adjustment. So, do light throttle until the transmission begins to heat up. From there, use light to medium throttle. This way, the vehicle can complete the learning process.

For more information on this, watch the video down below. This guy goes through all the steps to reset the adaptive table:

3. Low Fluid

One of the most common Ford Escape manual transmission problems is running low on transmission fluid.

When this happens, the vehicle has a hard time shifting into gears.

You should always change the transmission fluid after 50,000 miles.

If you haven’t changed it ever since, and you have that many miles, it might be time to do so.

To make sure you’re low on transmission fluid, consider the following symptoms:

  • If you’re driving your vehicle, and then the car throws you forward back and forth as you shift gears, it’s safe to assume you’re running low on transmission fluid
  • Drivers might also be able to tell they’re running low on fluid if there’s a delay in the time the vehicle switches gears. This should never occur, and it’s a clear sign of being low on transmission fluid.
  • If you start up the car and it is not moving any faster, that’s a clear sign of a transmission slipping. Generally speaking, this only occurs when you need to change the transmission fluid.
  • If you have an overheating transmission, consider changing the transmission fluid as soon as possible. The transmission should never be overheating. That might be an early warning there is something wrong with it.

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, change the transmission fluid. Sometimes, you might also experience all of these symptoms together.

Simply drain the fluid out and put the new fluid in. However, do not flush the fluid. Flushing the fluid might cause all the gunk to move around and possibly damage your car. So, be careful.

4. Vibration

Ever noticed how your vehicle vibrates when accelerating anywhere from 30-35 MPH?

This is one of the most common transmission problems with Ford Escape.

When this happens, it could be an early sign that your torque converter went bad.

But that’s not the only issue you might run into if this part of your vehicle is no longer working.

That said, before getting it replaced, please consider all these factors:

  • If the engine shuts off every time you put it into gear, it’s safe to assume there’s something wrong with the torque converter. Even if the power to the vehicle is fine, consider checking the torque converter.
  • A damaged torque converter can be pretty noisy. Most of the time, this is an obvious sign that it needs to be replaced.
  • A torque converter that went bad will make your car feel like you’re driving on a rough surface, which can make your ride pretty bumpy.

If you’ve experienced any of these issues, check up on the torque converter.

What’s more, if you recently had a new one installed, it could be related to the installation process.

For example, the converter could fit too tightly against the flex plate.

Furthermore, the torque converters disintegrating is a massive problem on Ford Escape vehicles. If you have one of these models, check up on it.

To learn more about common torque converter issues and how you can prevent them after installing one, check this video out:

5. Slight Delay In Shifting

As we covered early, if there’s a slight delay when shifting gears, it could be a sign of running low on transmission fluid.

That’s almost always the case. However, you might be able to fix this issue by updating the PCM.

Ford engineers are continually releasing new updates for their vehicles.

So, there’s a chance your software is not up to date, which could cause a delay in shifting.

Once the system has been updated, go for a drive and see if the problem is gone.

This is the first thing you should try before replacing anything. We’ve seen how many Ford drivers get the transmission rebuilt only to find out they had to update the software.

6. Transmission Goes Into Different Gear

Among the most notorious Ford Escape transmission problems is the vehicle going into a different gear.

When this happens, it’s very likely the manual lever position sensor causing the car to malfunction.

There are also quite a few issues suggesting that the manual lever position sensor went bad.

For example, your vehicle could go into limp mode. If the sensor fails, you can still shift into gear, but the PCM will not know which gear it is.

As a result, your vehicle will go into limp mode. This is a severe problem and should not be overlooked.

If you let it go by, you could get into a terrible car accident. As such, replace the manual lever position sensor.

7. Transmission Fault Service Now

Another, more serious problem regarding the transmission is the car not moving.

Say, for instance, you got on your vehicle, and as soon as you tried to accelerate the vehicle, it wouldn’t go any faster despite countless attempts.

What’s more, it might sound like you ran something over.

In some cases, you might get a message saying, “transmission fault service now.”

This suggests that you might have to take the vehicle to the dealer as soon as possible as you might need to get a new transmission.

Another clear sign that the transmission is done for good is that it won’t shift until 4,000 RPMs or higher. Some drivers might experience all of these symptoms together.

Either way, take your vehicle to the local mechanic for more information as there’s a high chance the transmission got damaged.

Ford Escape Transmission Replacement Cost

Ford Escape transmission shifting problems can be the beginning of a long road.

If you’ve determined that the transmission needs to be rebuilt, you may need to spend a few thousand bucks.

Getting a new transmission is one of the most expensive things you’ll ever spend money on.

Sometimes, you might even spend more money on the new transmission than you spent on the vehicle itself.

The average cost for a transmission rebuilt is $3,000 all the way up to $4,500, while the labor is priced at $1,500-$2,000.

Consider taking the vehicle to a professional. Avoid cheap transmission rebuilds.

Those are not worth the money and are well-known for failing after a while. Even though the price tag might seem like an excellent investment, you’ll regret it later on.

You’ll only waste your money, and you’ll inevitably spend more in the long run. Instead, get a remanufactured transmission. That’s the way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Keeping a strict routine service is key to keeping your vehicle healthy.

That said, if you want to know more about transmission problems, here’s some useful information about Ford Escapes:

Do Ford Escapes have transmission problems?

Yes, Ford Escapes do have transmission problems. It’s hard to tell when you might experience transmission issues.

However, most consumers have reported that the problems started to kick in after nearly 80,000 miles.

How long do Ford Escape transmissions last?

New Ford Escape vehicles are pretty solid. A Ford Escape transmission should last anywhere from 100,000-180,000 miles.

In the past, they had a bad reputation as they were infested with transmission problems. But this has since gotten a lot better.

What year is the most reliable Ford Escape?

The 2014 Ford Escape seems to be one of Ford’s most reliable vehicles. We’ve seen many happy drivers with this model, and they’ve had little to no issues with it.

How much does it cost to replace a Ford Escape transmission?

Expect to pay about $3,000 for a Ford Escape transmission replacement. Plus, another $1,500 for the labor.


Ford Escape transmission problems can sometimes be easily be fixed. You don’t need to be a professional to diagnose some of these common issues.

Worst case scenario, you will have to get the transmission rebuilt. That’s where things can get pretty expensive as it requires a professional to rebuild it.

But again, diagnose the vehicle yourself first before taking it to the dealer.

You might find out that changing the transmission fluid is more than enough to get your vehicle to work again.

Or you might have to clear the adaptive table to fix the hard shifting.

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1 thought on “Learn & Fix :Ford Escape Transmission Problems In 2023 [Know Easy Method]”

  1. Thanks for that info,…. our 2011 Ford Escape does a significant ‘clunk’ with a jerky motion from 1st to 2nd if it is cold weather and you accelerate a bit – – – – but if we run engine 5 minutes and ease up on accelerator till engine fully warm it does not do that,….


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