435,000 Escape SUVs have a subframe that can rust and cause the lower control arm to break off. If your control arm is dragging on the ground, steering suddenly gets a lot more difficult – go figure.
The problem affects 2001-2004 Escape SUVs that are sold or registered in the “salt belt” states, where large quantities of road salt are used during the winter. The states include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C.
This recall also affects vehicles in the Canada because in case you didn’t know, it snows up there sometimes and they’re pretty familiar with road salt as well. The following provinces are affected: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.
Ford is aware of at least one crash related to this issue, but thankfully no injuries occurred. Dealers will install a cross-brace reinforcement to make sure the lower control arm stays in place. No word yet on when that will start.