My 2009 Ford Escape:
What I Found Out About Flat Towing Problems
2017 Note: This is old news since it happened in 2011, but I’m updating old pages of the website into the new format. I still think this is important information since those cars are still out there and I still get asked about towing them. Plus, it taught me a lot about Ford as a company, how they handle their mistakes, and why I’d never trust them again.
I bought the 2009 Escape because Ford said I could flat tow it behind my motorhome. I learned a lot after actually starting to tow it in February 2011 and share that here in hopes it will save others the time and trouble I’ve had dealing with these issues.
When I was still dealing with Ford over the continuing transmission problems in May 2011, I detailed everything on my blog with all details, links, documents, etc., including comments and stories from other RVers.
I’ve seen a lot of misinformation out there, so I include what info I got officially from Ford and what I learned in the process.
My Blog Posts:
The Saga Continues – My first time towing it and the first hint of the problems to come.
2009 Ford Escape Dinghy – Flat Towing Problems – As a legal assistant, I know how important it is to outline the facts with an established timeline. I kept a record of all of my correspondence with Ford. That and other documentation is linked in this post.
Ford Escape Problems Even Worse Now! – When my front axle actually fell off!
Ford Finally Fixed? – So I really don’t know for sure what caused that axle to fall off. But I was pretty much over it all at this point!
Why, Ford, Why??? – Maybe I’m really mad at myself that I bought into Ford’s hype from the documentary I saw “Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon” and believed they really cared about their customers at least as much as their profits.
One Ford Complaint Resolution – Info from an RVer friend of mine with her experience and how she dealt with Ford.
My Letters to William Ford, Jr. – I never even received the courtesy of a response from anyone at his office.
Timeline of my Problems – The legal assistant in me couldn’t resist compiling this. Obviously Ford wasn’t impressed.
My Escape from the Ford Escape – For my birthday, I treated myself to a new toad! I absolutely love my Honda Fit and it does fit the bill perfectly for me. See Facebook page for pictures and more details (it’s public so you don’t need FB account to view). Since then, I’ve towed it all over the country with no problems at all – very quick and simple process. Plus I love how I can zip around much better while exploring and never a problem fitting into a parking space! I’m thankful my Ford dealer (Leif Johnson in Austin) worked it out so I could trade the Escape in. As I’ve said, I have no problem with them, but I will never, ever buy another Ford car due to the unscrupulous way Ford as a company has handled this matter. I’m so glad to have escaped the Escape!
Battery Issues – Misleading information in the Owner’s Guide will lead to dead batteries.
Transmission Fluid Issues – Ford’s attempt to explain the proper level of transmission fluid for RV flat tow operation.
Remco Pump – What I learned about this after-market part that helped the transmission overheating issue and Ford’s position on it.
Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) – Ford’s attempts to retro-fix the towing problem with various methods (none of which worked).
Forum Posts about Towing the Ford Escape – Here’s a pdf document I compiled with links to posts in RV forums with interesting reports from people about their experiences towing the Escape, getting conflicting information from Ford dealers, inserts sent by Ford to Manual of 2012 Escapes stating it is no longer flat towable despite what the manual says, canned responses from Ford Customer Relationship Center where they basically never address the real questions or even seem to be aware of the subsequent service bulletins. There used to be quite a few Ford Forums Online posts about the issue, but I noticed they have all been removed since then.
The thing that concerned me the most and clued me in that not even all Ford service people had full knowledge about flat towing was being told by a Ford service technician (after he put my car up on the rack for inspection and again found “early signs of transmission failure” that my car was not recommended by Ford to be flat towed – that I needed to use a dolly. He showed me two pages of a copied document about towing that way. When I told him that may be true about earlier year models and showed him the official owner’s guide and the May 2010 supplemental bulletin with Ford’s instructions about flat towing, he changed his mind. But that did nothing to boost my confidence in Ford when I was told by their Customer Relationship Center that “inquiries of a technical nature are best referred to our dealerships because they have factory trained technicians and comprehensive service information that can address your concern.” Yeah, I was real impressed with that guy’s training. Since I and others had been told so many different things from different dealers and service techs, at that point, I knew I was in real trouble! You just cannot convince me at this point that Ford execs did not know better and were just still suckering RVers into buying their products so their bottom line didn’t suffer!