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She won't go

I have a 2009 Escape Hybrid. Often in the morning when I first put it into drive, the rear axel feels like it’s stuck. The engine’s running and the car pulls like it’s trying to move forward, but the back end won’t go. Sometimes if you put it in reverse first it’ll go backwards, then be fine going forward. Sometimes you just need to give it a little gas a couple of times and it’ll “pop” loose (leaving little skid marks on the road). Of note: we have to drive through a little creek to get to and from home (about 5 miles from home).

This first started happening in the winter and we thought it was water getting up underneath somewhere and freezing. Indeed, in the winter there were days when we couldn’t get it to move at all and ended up driving another car. But it’s 95 degrees out now and still happening, though less severely. All our vehicles have to drive through the same creek and none of them has ever had this issue.


it’s 2 years old at most. Why aren’t you taking it to the dealership to have it fixed under warranty?

I don’t think the creek is doing it in the summer, unless the ice formed by the moisture opened something up that’s now exposed and rusting. I suspect it’s brakes. A stuck caliper, or possibly a frozen Ebrake. When you finally get moving, it becomes unstuck due to the torque.

If you’re using the parking brake I’m going to suggest the shoes are rusting to the drums overnight, and the “pop” you experience is the light rust bond breaking loose.

I’ve had Ford Rangers in the past that did this almost every time it rained.

Nope, don’t use the parking brake, so I can’t blame it on that.

I guess I figured that the problem was related to the creek crossing and therefore not likely to be covered under the warranty. However, since none of our other vehicles “stick,” perhaps it is a warranty-legitimate issue.
If I do take it to the dealer, do I mention the waer crossing?

Driving through a little creek is kinda like driving through an intersection in a heavy rain as far as water goes. Cars are built to withstand water as long as it’s not over the door sills. After all, every time it rains, you’re splashing water up on the underside of the car anyway.

That said, I would not mention the creek crossing - not because it would void the warranty (it wouldn’t) but because some idiots at dealerships might claim it voids the warranty, and you’d have to get into an unnecessary fight about it.

This is one of the very reare cases where I’ll suggest taking the vehicle to a dealer for diagnosis. There are two reasons.
First, it shoudl still be under warranty.
Second, it’s a unique braking system (see the below link).

My feeling is that unless one has recieved the factory training or is otherwise versed on this setup, diagnosing the cause of the problem could be challanging.

Sorry I cannot provide something more helpful. But this unusual system is something I’m not versed in.