2010 Ford Escape Starting and Airbag issues

I bought this Escape used in Dec '10 with 29,000 miles. It is now at 36,500 (Sept '11). I have had it in for service 3 times in 3 months.

The passenger airbag seems faulty- if the seat is empty, the light will flip off (meaning airbag is on). If I sit in it, the light will go on and off intermittently. I’m 135 lbs- and the serviceman saw it happen as we drove around- yet when the car was given back to me after a week and a half, they stated they could not duplicate the problem and that no issues were found.

Now, I’m having starting issues. Once over Labor day weekend- I had driven my car, parked it, and went to get in it 5 minutes later- no start. No cranking, no clicking. All lights/radion come on. After sitting for about 20 minutes and attempting to start every couple minutes, it roared to life and was fine. Took in for service, and again- no codes, could not duplicate, so they sent it home.

Car sat for a week (I’m a student- it doesn’t get much action except on weekends). Then yesterday, I drove it about 15 minutes, parked, came back 10 minutes later and it wouldn’t start again. Again, after about 20 minutes of sitting and attempting to start, it started.

I’ll be calling the dealership for service again this afternoon… But they don’t seem to know what is going on. In addition, I’m now 500 miles over my bumper to bumper- but since the problems were adressed while under warranty, are they still obligated to fix it as if under the warranty?

I’d appreciate any help possible!

Generally speaking, if a problem occurred during the warranty period and was not fixed, that particular problem is still under warranty until they fix it. But it needs to be documented in their records.

On the airbag issue, the warranty for that is 60,000 miles, so keep banging on the dealership until they get it right. Note that the “passenger airbag off” light will always come on when you start the car. It will turn off if the seat is empty (airbag is off), or if the seat is occupied by an adult (airbag is on). The only time the light will stay on is if the seat is occupied by someone or something that the computer thinks is unsafe to deploy the airbag. So half of the behavior you describe is normal. As far as the light flickering while you are sitting in the seat and someone else is driving, your owner’s manual has some suggestions on posture. Or, the sensor may need to be adjusted or replaced.

The “no crank/no start” condition could be caused by something as simple as a bad ignition key cylinder or a bad neutral safety switch. Make sure the car is in Park or Neutral, and try shifting it from one to the other if it won’t crank.

Or by something even simpler–you jumped out of the car at your errand, and turned the key off but forget to put the shift lever in Park. The car will only start in Park or Neutral.

You’re not getting electricity to the starter motor, but you are to everywhere else, and you aren’t setting a code, so it’s not the crank angle sensor. Which is why I’m thinking it’s the lock itself or the neutral safety switch.