Charles Feduke said... This same exact thing happened to a co-worker of mine who drives up a couple times a week from Richmond to McLean in 2009. I am pretty sure he even said the cost to fix was $4500+ in parts alone - he opted to scrap the Escape and bought a Prius.
January 23, 2010 11:49 PM
Steve said... I'm driving a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid too, purchased in late 2004, and today my ABS & BRAKE lights came on along with the "Service Brake System" message and the dreaded "manual mode" braking. The service department at my local Ford dealer says, "needs a new master cylinder", and they were aware it's a revised part. I'll find out later this week if the new master cylinder solves the problem -- so far there's no indication it's an HCU issue.
Like you, I'm disappointed Ford hasn't addressed the brake problems proactively. Early adopters of Ford hybrid technology took a substantial risk and now that problems have cropped up as a result of faulty design Ford is ignoring their customers. Although I've been happy overall with my Escape Hybrid, I won't buy another Ford vehicle until they fix the problems with the one I have.
February 1, 2010 11:38 PM
Steve said... Follow-up: My local Ford dealer installed a new master cyclinder in my 2005 Escape Hybrid and so far that has resolved the problem without needing HCU replacement. They also gave me a substantial discount on the ridiculously overpriced $1200 master cylinder, which indicates that dealers have some discretion in how much to charge for the part.
February 12, 2010 4:42 PM
Anonymous said... I just had the same problem described above -- yesterday. When my dealer called to tell me the repair bill would be over $4,000 I nearly screamed and fell over. I'm trying to decide what to do now -- get rid of the car, or bite the bullet. Is there any place to buy a replacement HCU?
February 20, 2010 10:01 PM
Melissa Coe said... We are also dealing with this right now. Had the on and off again brake light and then they went out completely this week. We are also looking at a 4k+ repair bill for the HCU and deciding what to do about this is very hard. This is really upsetting to me and Ford needs to take some responsibility for this!
February 25, 2010 8:38 PM
Anonymous said... I had the exact same problem with my 2005 Escape Hybrid back in 2007. I took info I had collected from the internet about the problem and was told there was nothing wrong and that they had reset the computer. Several weeks later the exact same thing happened. Having a wife and two kids, I cannot have a vehicle where the brakes don't work intermittently. Needless to say, went straight to the Honda dealer, bought a Pilot and am able to stop when I apply the brakes. I files every complaint that I could find on the internet. Someone from NTSB sent me an email in January inquiring about the problem. I sent an email back but haven't heard anything since.
March 16, 2010 8:49 AM
Cool Classic Cars said... I think there is some exaggeration with this whole ford hybrid brake issue. At no point does the driver lose the brakes. Its a software issue meaning the light is coming on, its not a mechanical issue. that is why they are wanting owners (like my self) to come in so they can turn off the light. its nothing at all. media just loves to blow s*** up and make it bigger than it really is.
April 8, 2010 5:13 AM
Ken Yagelski said... "Cool Classic Cars" - Trust me, it is not an exaggeration. The regenerative brakes on my EHV resorted to fail safe mode at highway speed in traffic, which can only be described as pedal to the floor panic for the driver. When the HCU failed, my only reliable way to brake was to use the mechanical emergency brake. My mechanic and Ford confirmed that the problem was the master cylinder and HCU. There was no software issue. It is a significant matter that could have resulted in a severe injury to me or the occupants of another vehicle.
April 10, 2010 12:39 AM
Anonymous said... I have a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and have 24,870 miles on it. It's our family car and we drive everywhere. I'm glad I found this blog because my brakes went out on me on Friday (April, 9). I was driving into a parking garage and as I pulled in, I drove over a puddle. My 'check break system' light came on as well as my emergency break light. So I thought oh it's a sensor...drove over the water it'll be fine. Well, I'm driving up the parking garage and I'm tapping my breaks to make sure my breaks are still working and they are. As I pull into the parking space, I tapped my breaks to stop and my car keeps going. My breaks went out b/c has I tapped the break, it went to the floor. So I hit the concrete wall of the parking garage. I had my 18 month old son in the car with me. It scared me. So I didn't drive my car again for fear my breaks go out again when I'm driving and I have my son in my car. Called Ford Road Side Assistance, towing covered under my warranty. It was quite interesting how the tow company was going to try and get my car out the parking garage when the tow truck was too high to drive into the parking garage. The car is at the dealership now. Won't know anything until Monday when their "Hybrid Specialist" is there. The front bumper is scratched. No dents on the bumper...thank goodness and the air bags didn't deploy (was going less than 15 mph
April 10, 2010 12:59 PM
Krista Johnson/Chuck Leslie said... Thank you for posting this information. I, too, have a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid and am experiencing the same problems (began 3/31/10 reoccurred 4/9/10). Spent $1000 yesterday as my dealership decided to claim it was the rear A/C evaporator core failing. My husband drove the car home and had the same thing happen to him (ABS/Brake lights/alarm) except instead of total brake failure which I had, the brakes are now thumping and shuddering. I filed an NHTSA complaint - thanks for the link. And will deal with Ford on Monday with the HCU information that everyone has provided. I take offense to Cool Classic Car's write off of this - my husband & I are commercial fisherman with plenty of driving/hauling/towing experience so we know when it's a real problem. The frightening thing is we live down a 1500 foot curving mountain road in Hawaii. "Fortunately" the failures have happened towards the bottom where we have some flatter areas to coast to the side. Higher up the hill, neither of us would still be here!
April 10, 2010 1:45 PM
Anonymous said... I sympathize with your situation - although I believe that Ford makes the best American-made cars, I have found their dealers' service departments to be poorly informed and not at all proactive. But I have to join in with some posters who question how you handled the problem and can see Ford's side in not jumping in to help. You say you first experienced the brake problem shortly after 36,000 miles. Then you let it go as you drove almost 50,000 more miles without seeking a second mechanic's opinion or doing additional research - how serious could the problem have been? Then, after getting your answer, you drove ANOTHER 20,000 miles before acting on the information you had found. The car was obviously serving its purpose, and honostly all SUVs (hybrid or not) start to hit major repair tags after 100,000 miles. I would expect a manufacturer to stand by its product and pay for a costly repair in the first years/miles after a car is purchased, but after 100,000 miles I'd also be tempted to tell a driver that he'd gotten his money's worth and needed to expect a car that old to require an investment to keep running. You got way too many miles out of that car to justify calling it a lemon.
April 11, 2010 2:01 PM
Scotto said... It happened to me last Wednesday. Fortunately I was going slow and uphill in my 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The killer is the 36,145 reading on my odometer. $1400 for the master cylinder and so I've left a voicemail for one of the dealership owners. This just isn't right. Wish me luck!
April 12, 2010 7:39 PM
Anonymous said... I own a 2006 MMH and had a similar issue last year. Fortunately my vehicle was still under warranty so the money did not come out of my pocket. It was an inconvenience to be sidelined without a car for some days but I guess I can live with that given some of the other posts here.
April 13, 2010 9:50 PM
Ken Yagelski said... [In response to Anonymous, April 13, 2010]
I apologize if my post was not clear, so please let me clarify.
I communicated my problem to Ford on a number of occasions, well before I had more than 100,000 miles on the vehicle. Three different dealerships serviced my vehicle before I had surpassed 50,000 miles, and many months after Ford had already issued the TSB about the brake problem. None of the Service Managers from the three different dealerships brought the matter to my attention, and all of them refused to believe that I was experiencing the brake problem that I described to them. It is my opinion that seeking the advice from service departments from three Ford dealerships, who apparently failed to even search for a related TSB, qualifies as proactive and timely on my part.
There is no doubt that this vehicle, absent the severe problem with the brakes, is a good vehicle that has served me well. As I stated in my original post, the Escape has required very little work outside of normal maintenance; and besides the very poor seating quality, it has been a very good vehicle for me. I have never suggested that the Escape Hybrid is a lemon.
What I have stated is that the Escape Hybrid has a serious defect with the regenerative braking system. A malfunction that is design related (not caused by wear and tear), and was known about by Ford mere months after the vehicle was manufactured (Reference TSB 05-8-5).
I stand by my position that this defect is very dangerous, and that Ford should have taken proactive action to address the matter.
April 26, 2010 11:57 AM
Ken Yagelski said... Apologies, my last comment was in response to Anonymous, April 11, 2010... not Anonymous, April 13, 2010. Sorry for any confusion.
April 26, 2010 11:59 AM
Anonymous said... This happened to me yesterday - completely lost brakes on my 2008 Escape Hybrid.
Any idea if it is covered on the 36,000 or the 50,000 mile warranty? I know different parts are under different mileages. I'm just under 3 years, but at 48,000 miles.
May 28, 2010 5:34 PM
Cassy said... Thanks for this info- intersting to find out that this is happening to others as well- I have a 2007 Escape Hybrid that started with these major issues last week- they are currently recomending replacing the master cylinder. If you are able- where can I find the tsb info?
June 1, 2010 11:47 AM
Ken Yagelski said... For those who have asked about obtaining the Technical Service Bulletins ("TSB"), please note that these documents are normally not made public by Ford. They are available to Ford dealer service departments.
You may be able to find a way to purchase the TSB document from an on line source. The summaries that I have presented in this blog are the most complete details that I could find available. For example, Ford-Trucks.com has a TSB feature with the summary for this issue located at...
June 3, 2010 11:19 AM
siva said... Hello, I recently bought a 2005 hybrid with the same issues but it is still covered by a warranty from the bmw dealership from which I bought the vehicle. The vehicle has only 27000 miles nd I don't know if it is still covered by ford warranty. Can you please advise me on what to do?
July 7, 2010 5:26 PM
Ken Yagelski said... Siva - We cannot provide vehicle repair advice. However, if you are experiencing these same brake problems with your Ford Escape Hybrid, we suggest that you return to the dealership where you purchased the vehicle as soon as possible. Provide them with the information about the Technical Service Bulletin and see if the warranty covers the very expensive repair. This situation is much too dangerous to not be addressed.
July 8, 2010 10:24 AM
Anonymous said... This is siva again. What dealership did you go to get it fixed. I am from the dc area as well.
July 8, 2010 11:17 AM
Ken Yagelski said... Siva - After three different Ford dealerships failed to address my issue, I had a qualified, independent local mechanic repair the problem.
I have been told "off the record" by mechanics who worked at Ford dealerships that the Service Managers would purposely not inform customers of TSBs that affect their vehicles in order to avoid the time and expense of performing warranty work. Based on this information and my own experience, I refuse to have any non-warranty work done by Ford. They obviously don't care that much about their customers.
Your 2005 would no longer be covered by the original warranty, so there is no need to return to a Ford dealership unless you just want to see if they will address the problem in an honest and forthright manner like they should.
July 9, 2010 10:04 AM
Howard said... Another FEH owner (2005) with the same problem here. Beep, ABS goes out and I'm in failsafe mode. Occasionally, while I'm turning, the ABS will go nuts clattering on and off before ABS goes out, but then I'm on the traditional breaking system. Since I'm aware of it, I'm fairly comfortable driving the vehicle. Won't let my wife or neice drive it though. Still, it stops fine in failsafe mode. I don't have the $$ to fix the problem so hopefully Ford pulls their head out and provides some relief. Thanks for starting this blog!
July 14, 2010 11:17 AM