2018 Ford EcoSport Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

The 2018 Ford EcoSport is a popular compact SUV known for its five-passenger seating and decent fuel economy. The newest models are hailed at being “Built to Outsmart the Competition,” but we can’t agree with that assessment. It seems that this Ford SUV is riddled with problems, including with the auto-shutoff component and electrical systems. The only way this SUV outsmarts its competition is by failing to perform when needed.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

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Problems with the Engine

On modern engines, there is a stop-start system designed to save fuel. It automatically shuts the engine down when the vehicle is at rest. This reduces fuel use and eliminates emissions during idling. Then, when the time comes to start back up again, the system starts the engine back up. This typically occurs as soon as the driver lifts their foot off the brake or puts a manual into 1st gear. The trouble with the Ford EcoSport is that this component regularly malfunctions, putting drivers and others at risk.

One user on the NHTSA website complained about this exact thing. They wrote, “I have a 2018 Ford EcoSport and the auto-shutoff/restart was not working right. When I stopped at a light, it shut off and didn’t start again. It had stalled. This happened about three times. Then, as I was driving it stalled again as I was driving off the highway on a ramp and I couldn’t stop and hit the car in front of me which was about four car lengths ahead. My airbags deployed and my car has severe damage. Have there been any other incidents of this kind? I was lucky no one was hurt but someone else might not be so lucky.”

It’s a good thing that no one got injured in this incident, although there are plenty of reports that aren’t so fortunate. Sadly, the automaker hasn’t addressed this issue with their recalls or service bulletins. We do see several other engine communications that aren’t good. The first one is Service Bulletin #SSM 47587. The symptoms with this engine problem include excessive coolant consumption, rough running and white smoke. It turns out that the manifold port area might be cracked.

The only stalling issue discussed occurs in Service Bulletin #SSM 47434, but it only happens on startup. This problem appears to occur on EcoSport models with the perimeter plus security and intelligent access with push-button start. In this setup, a false security trigger occurs when opening the rear tailgate anytime the system is armed. There’s no resolution given on how to fix it. It appears owners are simply expected not to access the rear tailgate at certain times. Hopefully, no one needs to get to their groceries at a particular time.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford EcoSport Engine Problems:

Check engine light illuminated after a short drive, vehicle was turned off and parked a short time later in a parking lot. A few minutes after that, the vehicle engine compartment caught fire. Vehicle was at the dealer a few days prior to the incident for repair work (coil, spark plug)

The engine will randomly shut off when in park mode due the auto-stop start feature not disengaging correctly. Ford has not been able to reproduce the problem and doesn’t have a solution.

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system of a car starts with the battery and alternator. This provides the backbone of everything running on electric in the car but also helps the vehicle start. Beyond this, the entire car is wired to run on electricity. From the door locks to the radio, power is needed in appropriate amounts to operate anything. When one aspect doesn’t work right, it creates frustration and disappointment, especially with a newer vehicle.

One user on the NHTSA website experienced some of these annoyances. Here’s what they wrote, “Doors will not lock from door outside handle in or after rain. Car has passive entry/push button start. Have to use inside switch or lock fob. Unlock feature works. Have seen others with same complaint. Found this out after car was left unlocked for others to enter uninvited. On going problem. Car belongs to my daughter.”

We found multiple occurrences of electrical related service bulletins from the company, but not one that addresses this specific complaint. The first, Service Bulletin #SSM 47601 talks about cars with keyless entry not starting. It also displays a Key Not Detected message. The company suggests that its due to an improperly configured key fob. But it appears that people have trouble getting into the car without the key fob. In Service Bulletin #SSM 47821, Ford discusses how people with the Ford Pass mobile app might not be able to authenticate the identity and gain access. To repair this, the TCU fuse must be removed for five minutes. Then, all the previous session files must be deleted for the vehicle. It then requires a reprogramming.

Still, the electrical problems go beyond entering the vehicle. In Service Bulletin #SSM 47677, Ford talks about how some power windows stop working if too many switches were touched. The cause is the power window thermal protection feature, which disables operation. Ford doesn’t recommend a fix and claims it’s a normal functionality. The remedy is to allow the window motors to cool down before trying again. Maybe it’s a secret plan to “Outsmart the Competition.” If the car doesn’t let owners in, won’t start the engine or allow someone to put the windows down, it would definitely be different from other SUVs on the road.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford EcoSport Electrical Problems:

The touch sensitive door locks don’t work in the rain. The key fob must be used when the door handle is wet. This obviously a malfunction and should be looked into by Ford

I have 2018 Ford EcoSport and the auto shutoff/restart was not working right. When I stopped at a light it shut off and didn’t start again it had stalled this happened about three times. Then as I was driving it stalled again as I was driving off the highway on a ramp and I couldn’t stop and hit the car in front of me which was about four car lengths ahead my airbags deployed and my car has severe damage. Have there been any other incidents of this kind. I was lucky no one was hurt but someone else might not be so lucky

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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15 COMMENTS
  • Jason p

    I too have a 2018 ecosport that dropped the oil pump as well. It is in the shop getting a new engine replacement. I did purchase the premium extended warranty but this oil pump problem is a serious issue that ford is aware of.

  • JohnIL

    My 2020 Ecosport uses a little oil between changes. It has the 2.0 liter non turbo engine. What concerns me is this Start-Stop technology which shuts off the engine while stopped. Seems from a perspective of engine wear this would not be very good for an engine as it loses oil pressure when engine is off. The trade off for a small fuel conservation seems poorly thought out. At least I can override which I have taught myself to remember to disengage. I have read other complaints about this technology not working correctly and causing stalls, and other issues.

  • Candi D

    In April of 2021 I purchased a 2018 Ford eco sport with 53,700 miles on it. In August my low oil pressure warning came on and I lost most of the power. I had to have it towed. It now has 60,300 miles on it and the Ford mechanic diagnosed it needing a new engine AND the turbo replaced. I am very upset due to this happening right after my warranty has went out.

  • Kelly

    With the problems being known, can i sue or demand a different vehicle? I never knew the problems this vehicle had wheni piurchased it.

  • Sherry

    I have a 2018 ecosport. 46,000 miles. It’s been ok but then the oil pressure light went on and it lost power. I coasted off the road and got it towed to the dealership. They told me that Ford knows there is an engine problem 2016-july of 2019 models. Said they will put a new engine in it but won’t give me a loaner. Going to take 1-2 months. Not sure why I have to pay for their mistake. Not sure why I didn’t get a recall notice. Am very sure I will never buy another ford

  • Jan

    I purchased a Certified Preowned Ford Ecosport 2018 with 37,500 miles on it on 5/7/21. On 5/14/21, my warning light came on that I had low oil pressure and the motor started to knock and lose power. I let off the accelerator and coasted as far as I could until I had to give it a bit more gas. The knocking and warning started again. I called Roadside Assistance and had them tow me to the nearest dealership where the car currently sits awaiting diagnosis. My car sits 75 miles from my home and I have no loaner car. I asked the dealership where the car was left as well as the dealership that I bought the car from.

    I am writing about this as documentation of what is going on. I haven’t even made my first car payment yet and here I sit without any vehicle to drive. I did purchase a bumper-to-bumper warranty on the car that is supposed to include the loaner car should something happen.

    If anyone has had this same type of issue with their Ecosport, I would like to hear about it.

  • Isaac

    I bought a 2nd hand 2015 Ford Escape with 60.000 miles on it after a year and half the transmission gave up I was on a freeway and I lost engine power. good thing I was in fast lane then Swerve to the left right away. I have no idea that escape had problems like that. The next day I brought it to Ford and they run diagnostics and told me it’s the transmission their asking for rebuilt for 3 weeks 5k. It’s has 160k miles now they have told me to. Trade it in. I trade the 2018 eco sport almost brand new it was a manager service car. So I still owe Ford 10k on my escape they added it in to eco sport now I’m feeling that this car will not hold my travel every day 62 miles back and forth to my work. I was thinking they were robbing me even though both cars are casa maintained the escape has new battery and tires on it when it had the transmission problem. Anyone who can help me with this maybe it’s their cars fault that it’s not holding to manufacturers Quality. Substandard parts or workmanship

  • Victor

    I bought my other half a 2018 Ford ecosport titanium and it has had Hill assist failures four-wheel drive failures and battery failures and I have a newborn son that I am afraid to have in the vehicle! I had spoken to Ford and they tell me the car is fixed then suddenly I get another warning through Ford pass but Ford does not seem to know how to fix their own vehicles! The car has been back three times and only has 7,500 mi on it and it is already starting to have electronical component issues. It has stalled out quite a few times when I was stopped at a red light in the auto start stop does not work properly but Ford has done nothing and they keep telling me they can’t find a problem with the car! The check engine light has come on a few times and they had problems clearing the code in the computer so they tell me the car is fixed again now because they had to change the battery out so what is my next step?

  • Maude

    I am leasing a 2018 Ecosport SE. 2nd time in two weeks it’s unable to start. Had to have it towed twice to St Petersburg Autonation where they are trying to tell me it’s the battery. Both tow truck drivers said it’s not the battery, even when we called to get an update, the dealer said they had no idea and it could be the connection. Then told us to take the car and if it happens again, they will deal with it. It happened again, now what?

  • Maui

    Not real happy with my 2018 EcoSport either. Little things go wrong-the techs. @ the dealer kept saying- “Oh you don’t need that”! Vehicle is STILL registered to Ford even though I have requested via person/email to please put it in my name UNLESS Ford would like to take over my payments. Owner of the dealerships here in PA. has not responded. I miss my Grand Marquis.

  • Stecia S

    I purchased a 2018 Ford Ecosport on September 31, 2019 after my Ford Fusion was totaled by someone else. I loved the car. On Dec 14, 2019, I was driving on the highway about 60 mph when the car stalled and lights started flashing. My check engine light came up saying see manual. At that time, the car started decelerating speed on its own like it was dying out. I immediately pulled over and had to have the car towed. Ford in Anderson, SC finally called me after a few days went by and stated that my motor was blown and that’s why it said low oil pressure. They kept my car for 2 months. When I finally went to pick it up, they stated that they had gotten a new motor in and put it in the car and tested it and they could tell that it was also, a bad motor. So, they ordered a 2nd motor. That one seemed to be working fine. So, I picked my car up on Feb 14, 2020. The next night, Feb 15, 2020 I was driving my car on the highway again when the lights once again started flashing and it decelerated in speed again. This time the car completely cut off by itself in the middle of the highway. I managed to get the car started and get up the exit ramp to a red light. At the light it cut off again. I got it to crank back up, luckily I was only a few blocks from home so, I made it home and immediately called Ford the next morning and had them tow it back. They called a few days later and stated that it was my turbo. They replaced that and I got my car back about a 2-3 weeks later. Three weeks ago, I was taking my baby to daycare and on the way at a red light the car completely cut off again. I got it to start and made it to my baby’s daycare and had to call my dad to help me get home. I just got my car back this past Sat after 3 weeks. They claimed that it was a valve and this was the issue all along with the car. I don’t trust anything they are telling me. Each time these issues have happened, my baby has been in the car. This is completely unsafe. Someone could easily hit me in the back and it severely injure myself or my daughter. I have attempted to get them to buy my car back and that stated that the issues didn’t fall under lemon law because it was not the same issue 3 times and/or it didn’t happened within the 1st 12,000 miles. This is ridiculous. I pray that nothing else happens. I really want to get out of this car. I feel like they should either buy my car back or let me trade and eat most if not all of my negative equity since I had such a terrible experience with this car. If anyone has had this issue or can help me, please let me know! Thanks!

  • Darcy L

    My mother-in-law purchase this vehicle and my concern is is that she puts very few miles on it. We have had no problems yet but after reading the article, the warranty is going to be long gone. Will we still have records? Or should we trade it in now.

  • Latasha B

    I purchased a 2018 Ford Ecosport. This car has been a headache since purchase. Transmission fault/Loss of pressure, Hill assist failure and today the engine light came on saying service engine. Ford keeps giving me the run around and has been since before Thanksgiving. Horrible

  • Walter R

    I recently bought a new 2018 Ford EcoSport. The SUV was bought off the showroom floor and instantly had a strange grinding noise. I took it back and was ensure that this was normal because it sat. It did not go away, it came back. I took it to the dealership and the techs “fixed” it. Not even a week after picking it back up, it again it came back. This time worse than ever and included a pulling to one side. I had my son in the car and thought I was going to die trying to get back home safe. I brought it back for the 3rd time and started to yell.

    This last time I was promised it was fixed again. Now the grinding noise is starting to come back. This will be my 4th time taking the car back for repairs on the same thing. I have owned the car for 45 days and it has 918 miles on it. Most not driven by myself but the dealership.

  • Shannon B

    I bought a brand new 2018 ford ecosport with 9 miles on it. After my first oil change at the dealership my service engine light came on. I took it to the dealership to correct the problem because my brand new car wont pass marta. They got the service engine light off for one day it came back on. I took it back a 2nd time the dealership had it for a week they said it was fixed. The light still came back on so I still cant pass marta. Im taking it back for a 3rd time much to my frustration as it is so hard to afford my bills when im constantly paying to uber back and forth to work. I really want a replacement vehicle from ford. Can you help?

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