Ford Escape Flat Towing Problems: Are Escapes Flat Towable?

There are many benefits to flat towing. You do not have to invest money in a trailer or towing dolly. Plus, it saves time to simply hook up your vehicle and go. But not every vehicle can be flat towed. You need to make sure it can be done before you do your hook ups.

The biggest problem you will have is finding a model that can be flat towed. Not every Escape can be flat towed. Then you have to watch the transmission to make sure it does not overheat as you go down the road. If you do it wrong, you can ruin your transmission.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you have the information you need to make the right towing decision. Flat towing may not be the ideal way to get your vehicle to where you are going.

Can a 2018 Ford Escape Be Flat Towed?


This is up to debate as in general, this model year of Escape cannot be flat towed. However, there may be exceptions to the rule and it may depend on the type of transmission you have in your car and other factors.

We have read that as long as it has an automatic transmission and is a Hybrid or plug-in Hybrid, you should be able to flat tow. But not if you own any other trim model. You should check your owner’s manual or call a trusted mechanic to see if it is possible or not.

Everything we have seen has not included those exceptions except one source. If you want to use a tow dolly, Hybrids are okay and those trims that come with front-wheel drive.

Some people have had problems with flat towing so you really should be careful when you make this attempt. Some people do not flat tow as they do not want to take any risks. They will pay a few extra dollars and rent or buy a tow dolly.

It is a good move to make as repairs can get expensive if something does go wrong. But it is up to you to make the right choice.

Can a 2013 Ford Escape Be Flat Towed?


There was a re-design done by Ford in 2012 or 2013 and that latter year was the beginning of the ‘no flat two for Escapes’ era. This era has been in effect between the years 2013 and 2020. That means that the 2021 & 2022 models have a possibility of being flat towed.

Ford must have made another change in 2020 for the 2021 and 2022 years as it is said that some of those models, not all, can be flat towed. Only the Hybrid and plug-in Hybrids with Automatic transmissions can be flat towed. The escape CUV & SUVs could not no matter the transmission

If you own an Escape that was made prior to 2013, then you should be able to flat tow it without too much trouble. But again, check your manual for towing instructions. Ford has put restrictions on this action and you need to see if they apply to your particular vehicle.

Or you can call Ford or one of their dealers to get the information and instructions if you do not have a manual.

Can The New Ford Escape Be Flat Towed?


Yes, but not all models. Why did Ford limit flat towing to just the Hybrid models only Ford has the answer to that. Your problem is that you need to follow Ford’s instructions to make sure you do it safely and without damage to your drive train or transmission.

Generally, you are only allowed to flat tow different models if it is an emergency, you do not have access to a flatbed truck or other towing options. There is an override to the transmission that once engaged it will allow flat towing.

The instructions to use that override is supposed to be in the owner's manual. Make sure to put your key into the ignition and turn it to accessory when you do this.

There are speed regulations as well. You cannot tow faster than 35 miles per hour and you should stop after 50 miles. Don’t forget to put the car in neutral first. The override is to be used only if you cannot move the transmission to neutral.

Not to mention that you cannot tow in reverse. You are to only tow in the forward direction. But double-check your manual to make sure you are following the right instructions., Repairs are not cheap.

What Year Ford Escape Can Be Flat Towed?


Technically, you could say that all years of Escape can be flat towed. The reason for saying that is because there are exceptions to the rules. Those exceptions are emergencies and no other way to tow the vehicle.

However, that is technically and not reality. The models of Escape that can be flat towed are between 2001 and 2012. It was the 2013 year that Ford no longer rated the Escape for flat towing.

We understand that flat towing is preferred. The benefits that come with this mode of towing are numerous:

- you do not need a lot of equipment to flat tow

- it is easier to attach and detach the Escape when flat towing

- It saves you time

- flat towing is very convenient as you can easily unhook the Escape and get it out of the way before backing your RV into your parking spot.

- you save space. Tow dollies and other towing methods, use a lot of equipment that takes up a lot of space when unhooked from your RV. The tow bar does not. You have extra storage space available when you flat tow.

Ford Escape Flat Towing Problems


We only found one big problem that comes with flat towing. The transmission can overheat and be ruined. When Ford rated the Escape they stated that you cannot go over 65 mph and there was supposed to be lube pump modification.

But that seems to be folklore as many owners have said that Ford did not offer the lube pump modification. And if you bought an aftermarket one, you could void your warranty.

Some owners, even when following the rules, have burnt up 2 transmissions. The moral of this story is that you should err on the side of caution. This problem was evident in the post-2013 years.

It was probably the reason why Ford changed from rating to not rating the Escape for flat towing. Too many owners were not happy with the result even after Ford okayed that it was safe to flat tow those 2001 to 2012 Escapes.

Part of the confusion comes in when Ford okays some trim models to be okay for towing and others are not. People will make mistakes and as one owner said, he bought the Escape because it could be flat towed. He may have picked up the wrong model as he had troubles when he towed his.

Can You Tow a Ford Escape Behind an RV?

Yes, you can but it is the method that you choose that may or may not get you into trouble. You have to follow all the instructions carefully if you are owning an Escape that can be flat towed.

Other methods to tow your Escape behind an RV will be to use a trailer or tow dolly. Those keep the wheels elevated and off the road. These two methods should be completely safe.

The rules for flat towing are strict and of course one of them is to shift to neutral. Another one is to make sure the transmission oil is at the right levels. Those levels may vary but it is often lower than the amount you need when you drive the vehicle regularly.

Also, put the air conditioning or climate control into re-circulation. This keeps the fumes from your RV from entering your Escape. Then you need to stay to 65 mph or lower with an automatic transmission. You are allowed to go 70 mph when towing a manual transmission Escape.

However, the ratings we saw for manuals were all N/A. Play it safe so you do not have extra repairs when you get to your destination.

Some Final Words

Do some research first before you buy. Not just to see if you can flat tow or not but look at all the information. There are restrictions you need to know about before you buy an Escape.

While Ford may have made modifications in 2021 and 2022 those modifications may not save you from flat towing problems. It may not be ideal or convenient or cheap but using a tow dolly or trailer is often the best option. They are the safest ones for your Escape.

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