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The most common problems with used 2018 Ford Escapes

in Reliability

What to know before buying used

Photo of 2018 Ford Escape

When you’re looking for a compact SUV, there are literally dozens of choices in this competitive field. The 2018 Ford Escape, in it’s 18th model year, represents Ford’s attempt to provide a vehicle that is at once fuel efficient and utilitarian.

For 2018, Ford upped the ante on their technology offerings and even began to offer such high end features as automatic parallel parking, active safety tech and Android Auto/Apple Carplay.

If you’re looking for a vehicle to commute to work, run errands and shuttle around your family; then the 2018 Ford Escape may be the right choice for you.

If you’re wondering about most common problems with used 2018 Ford Escapes, we’ll break everything down - frequency, cost to fix, and how to avoid them when buying used.


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The most common problems with 2018 Ford Escapes

Here are the most common owner-reported reliability issues with 2018 Ford Escapes, segmented by category:

Major problems with 2018 Ford Escape

  • Engine Failure/Leaking Coolant. Cost to Fix: $2100 to $6000+
  • Failed Transmission. Cost To Fix: $3150
  • Seat Belt Latch Break. Cost To Fix: $360 to $580

Most common problem with 2018 Ford Escape: Engine Failure/Leaking Coolant

Photo of engine draining motor oil

Cost to fix: $2100 to $6000

This problem is specific to the 1.5L engine that Ford started placing into many models of the 2018 Ford Escape.

The issue appears to stem from a design flaw in which the block of the diminutive 4 cylinder develops from a poor seal between the head and block itself. A technical service bulletin issued via the NHTSA details this issue fully. Unfortunately, the issue is sudden and causes cooling issues that tend to further destroy other components of the engine.

The indicated range of cost is due to this fluctuation in issues with some engines being repairable and some engines needing complete and total replacement. Remember, some of these motors may be under factory powertrain warranty!

How to avoid:

Since this issue comes on suddenly and doesn’t often give owners of the vehicle much of a warning; your best guard against this pervasive issue will be to have a mechanic check out the vehicle in full. You can also insist that the vehicle you are purchasing has the TSB fixed prior to purchase.

This is especially true if the vehicle happens to still have it’s extended warranty in place. Having a proactive attitude will be a huge help here.

Also common on the 2018 Ford Escape: Transmission Failure

Photo of 2018 ford escape engine

Cost to fix: $3150

The 2018 Ford Escape has similar transmission issues to previous years of this venerable SUV but the issues seem to be much less frequent than previous years. Still, there are reports of vehicles not going into park, stuttering while driving and even some that need a complete transmission replacement after as few as 2300 miles.

The issue should be covered under factory warranty for a period of 60,000 miles. If this issue pops up outside of that time, then you will be on the hook for around $3150.

How to avoid:

Transmission issues generally become apparent during driving but they can be sudden and come on without warning. To avoid this issue, be sure to look, listen and feel for any hard shifts, lurching or odd vibrations while driving. It’ll be of utmost importance to get your transmission looked at by an expert prior to purchase.

A trusted mechanic can take a look at your transmission fluid to ensure there are no metal flakes (indicating damage) and run a full diagnostic on their equipment as well.


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Other 2018 Ford Escape Issues: Seat Belt Latch Break

Photo of 2018 Ford Escape interior & seat belt

Cost to fix: $225

There appears to be a design flaw in the design on the 2018 Ford Escape’s rear bench seat that puts the center belt clasp housing in danger of being destroyed when the bench seat is folded for cargo space.

This is a relatively cheap fix but you’ll have to take care to make sure that it does not happen again.

How to avoid:

It’s best to check out all three rear seat belts for any sign of issue prior to purchase. You’ll also want to make sure that during operation you ensure that the belt is indeed put into its designated spot prior to folding the bench.

How to avoid buying a used 2018 Ford Escape with these problems

In order to avoid a potentially sticky situation, you’ll want to make sure you do everything you can prior to committing to the purchase. Lucky for you, there are several things in your arsenal that can keep you out of harm’s way. First, the test drive is going to be imperative.

This is your chance to make sure that the vehicle drives and performs like it’s supposed to. The first piece of advice is to take your time! There is no point in rushing through such an important step and your diligence could pay off big time. Use the time you have well by running the vehicle through all possible driving scenarios, including using all technology on the Escape.

Your last line of defense against buying something that will cause you massive heartache down the road is to let the experts have a look prior to purchase. As noted above, a mechanic has tools and knowledge at their disposal to do a deep dive on your potential new purchase.

For a few hundred dollars, the peace of mind alone makes this investment worth it. Any reputable dealer or seller should let you do this. If they don’t, move on.

Search all used 2018 Ford Escapes in your area

If this all seems overwhelming, that’s because it is! There can be differences from year to year, model to model and even engine to engine. Download CoPilot on your phone and let us help you find your way through this stressful process. CoPilot provides you a list of recommended used cars based on their reliability and the quality of the deal.

You can even get cars sent to you based on your search parameters and track vehicles when they lower in price.


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