1st Generation (1979—1990) Escort Problems

This generations ranks 17th out of 102 Ford generations in reliability and is one of the safer bets out there. Owners have the most complaints about the engine (72%), fuel system (18%), and the lights (9%). We've listed some of the most recent complaints below, see them all on CarComplaints.com.

  1. Engine Knocking 1 complaints at an average of 9,999 miles in the 1988 Ford Escort.
  2. Oil Leak 1 complaints at an average of 9,999 miles in the 1988 Ford Escort.
  3. Car Died While Driving, Now Oil Pressure Light Stays On 1 complaints at an average of 34,000 miles in the 1988 Ford Escort.

What Escort Year is Most Reliable?

Generations are a good baseline for prediciting reliability, but there will almost always be year-to-year differences. We've calculated a reliability score for each model year within this generation, but we've based that score on how the model year compares to all Ford model years.

Watch out for the 1988 model year which has the highest PainRank™ score in this generation.

Year Complaints Recalls TSBs PainRank (?)
1990 2 2 30 0.19
1989 1 1 27 0.19
1988 5 2 25 2.76
1987 1 3 24 0.1
1986 1 2 25 0.17
1979 1 0 0 0.21

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