Ford Escape hybrid - brake failure?

My 2007 Ford Taurus stationwagon may be on the verge of death. Just in case it dies, I’m researching cars so when it does bite the dust, I’ll be educated. In lieu of this event, I made a list:

Things I Like About My Current Car:

- Big. I can fit a lot of stuff in it.

- The way it rides. Great for road trips, enough leg/arm room (I’m a 5’11" grad student).

Things I Don’t Like About My Current Car:

- Gas mileage. It’s awful when it’s not on the highway, about 20-something miles per gallon on highway.

- It’s an '07. I had to replace brakes, have the fluid flushed, replace the radiator hoses within the last 1.5 years. I need to flush the transmission fluid pretty soon as it’s getting on 100,000 miles. I’ve put a lot of money into this vehicle.

I liked the idea of a hybrid; the tax credit, not having to do emissions tests, supporting a move away from fossile fuels, things like that. Another concern is vehicle safety. My grandma is pushing me to get a car that’s larger than economy so if I’m in a crash, I won’t die at impact. (Also, I want enough room to road trip with ski equipment, for instance.)

This has brought me to the Ford Escape hybrid. On, I was reading about brake failure. Yes, brake failure. Complete brake failure, as some of the posters said. Does anyone know about this? Is this the kind of thing that has happened to 7 out of 100,000 cars, or more like 7 out of 70?

Does anyone own a Ford Escape hybrid? Thoughts, criticisms, suggestions?

Thanks, everyone!

You put 100K miles on your Taurus in one year? Wow! Do you drive 24/7?

Modern vehicles come with dual-circuit brake systems, so that even if one circuit fails you still have brakes. It’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely, to have total brake failure on any modern vehicle. If it happened, it was more like one in a million.

One of my coworkers drives an Escape hybrid, and has had no problems whatsoever with it.

I think the Escape may be a bit smaller than you think. I’ll bet you can get more in your Taurus wagon than will fit in an escape. In fact, I’ll bet you can get as much, maybe more, in a Prius as will fit in an escape, and a Prius will get better mileage.

You’re grandma is old-fashioned. Small cars do not kill their occupants on impact. They pass the same crash tests as larger vehicles. How about a Honda Fit? It gets hybrid-like mileage without the complexity of a hybrid, and you might be able to fit all your gear in it.

Oh dang. I was thinkign 7 yrs old. 2000. It’s a 2000 ford taurus stationwagon.

That makes a lot more sense. I have to ask, “If you like the Taurus, why not keep it a bit longer?” Why do you think it’s on the verge of death? It may last another 100K miles with the correct maintenance.

Have the transmission fluid CHANGED, but not flushed. Flushing automatic transmissions can cause problems that a standard fluid change do not.

Normal maintenance and repair costs seldom add up to enough to justify buying another vehicle at only 100K miles.

Check on that hybrid tax credit. It may have expired.

I don’t know why you’re upset about spending money on those items you mentioned.
Replacing brakes, brake fluid, radiator hoses, and changing the trans fluid (which SHOULD have been done about 60-70k miles ago) are all normal wear and tear, maintenance items and does not reflect on the qualilty of the car.

As to the gas mileage part of this the vehicle should be getting 25 MPG or better on the highway, depending on your foot, tire pressure, and maintenance habits.
So should I ask when the air filter and spark plugs were last replaced?

I’m not familiar enough with the brake complaints on the Escapes to speak with any authority on the subject. The only thing I can say is that a percentage of every car that has ever been made suffers some glitches; some minor and some not so minor. Some safety related and some not.
If it’s safety related, enough complaints are made, etc. then a TSB or Recall will appear on it.

I wouldn’t be terribly upset except I’m a grad student. Being a grad student is little more than slave labor and slightly less than indentured servitude. I make 20k a year pre-taxes and have to live in the DC metro area with artificially inflated prices of everything. Throwing $1200 down in one go when my rent - with a roommate - is over $600 a month is incredibly demoralizing.

I forget when the spark plugs/air filter were replaced; I’m checking that this weekend, as a matter of fact. I change my oil regularly, check my tire pressure, especially when cold weather hits. If I end up sinking another $2000 into this one, it’s going to start to not be worth it. Mostly, I like the car. I don’t think it’ll die anytime soon, but I want to be prepared.

Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever driven in DC traffic, but the gas pedal on cars in this area are an optional accessory, I ride my brakes everywhere. On my average every day commute, the mileage is rotten. And thanks for the input thus far…

If you’re driving in heavy city traffic in DC, the Prius is perfect for you. I agree with the other posters about being able to haul around a lot of stuff in one. We have one for a company vehicle and it’s pretty nice.

However, as a recent college grad myself and a friend of many current grad students, I’m not sure buying a new car would be your smartest decision. $500 or $1000 here or there is a heck of a lot cheaper than $25,000+ over the next few years. Besides, as mcparadise and OK said, you can’t look at normal maintenance as the car dying on you. Dying is more like needing an engine or transmission rebuild while the body is rusting out around you!

What are your plans for after graduation? Unless you’re sure you’ll have an immediate well-paying job, can you guarantee you’ll be able to make those car payments?

If you only make $20k/yr how can you possibly buy a new vehicle. It’ll be far cheaper to keep the Taurus running then buying a new hybrid. Although my sister-in-law had a 00 or 01 Taurus and it was probably the worse car she ever owned…After 40k miles and OVER $8k in repairs she sold it.

JMHO, but as a grad student you should not even think about a new car at this point. It’s far cheaper to maintain and repair what you have. Any perceived fuel savings you may gain by getting something more fuel efficient is going to be eaten up many times over by a lot of newly gained principal and interest on that principal.
(I understand your situation because my 2 sons are grad students; one starting work on a PhD and the other a heartbeat away from a Masters.)

I’ve never been to D.C. (and don’t plan to since it’s the root of all evil IMHO) but have lived in large metro areas and have had to put up with the traffic and the jams they cause.
The mileage you’re getting sounds normal for your type of driving as you describe it and riding brakes will definitely wear them out quicker. The point here is that your fuel mileage, brake wear, etc. is going to be worse than normal no matter what kind of car you drive so why tack monthly car payment (with interest) onto it?
(For what it’s worth, I sold my 420k miles Sable about 2 years ago and it was still running/driving well. Just an example to show you what preventative maintenance and care can do. There’s a lot of potential in these cars.)