2001-2004 Ford Escape Flat Tow Resource Guide

The 2001-2004 Ford Escapes shared a lot of their data, when it came to flat towing, in fact it was almost exactly the same and is why I decided to make one post that applies to all four model years. 

It is important to note that not all models had this capability and it was only specific models that had a particular engine configuration, matched with a specific transmission set up that were able to be pulled behind your car or RV with all four tires on the ground. I go into what the variables were, what models were able to actually be flat towed and a lot of the other details, so let's dive in!

Read Through Manual

A Quick Overview of the Data:

I wanted to go ahead and include a section where I give a brief overview of the data that I found, so you don't have to read the entire article in order to search for that specific answer that you're looking for. I went ahead and decided to list the two different variations of these vehicles for the 2001-2004 Ford Escapes, based on the two different engine options that were available, which were a 2.3 liter engine and a larger 3.0 liter engine. 

These were the two different variables that made a difference, as far as which models were able to be flat towed, (along with the specific type of transmission) that was paired with that particular model. If we look at the data below, we can see that only the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 Ford Escapes that had the 2.3 liter engine equipped with a manual transmission had the ability to be flat towed.

Flat Tow Capability:

  • 2001-2004 Models with 2.3L Engine: Manual transmission models only
  • 2001-2004 Models with 3.0L Engine: Not Available

Tow Dolly Capability:

  • All Models: FWD models only

How I Organized the Data:

I already mentioned that the data for the 2001-2004 models was pretty much the same when it came to which models could be flat towed and so on, but I specifically chose these four model years because these vehicles also shared the same engine options, which led me to believe that they also probably shared a lot of the same standard equipment, transmission options, etc. and sure enough, they also shared the exact same specifications for this article.

2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 Escape Flat Towing Capabilities:

I was able to find a chart in the guides for the respective years that you see listed below and this basically just indicates a very general answer to which models can be flat towed, because as you can see in the images below they only specify a manual transmission model or an automatic transmission model and don't go into the details about any other information. 

For instance, the two different engine options that we talked about which were the 2.3 liter and 3.0 liter engines did not have manual transmission options for all of their models, and in fact, models that had the larger 3.0 liter engine equipped did not have any models that had a manual transmission. So if your vehicle had one of these engines equipped, then you automatically did not have the ability to pull the vehicle on all four wheels. 

On a side note, the three images that you see listed below are for the 2002, the 2003 and 2004 models, as there was not a chart listed in the guide for the 2001 models, but I went ahead and referenced the owner's manual instead and found the same exact information, which does apply to the 2001 models, like it does for the other three model years.


2002 models


2003 models

2004 Ford Escape Flat Tow Chart

2004 models

I also wanted to point out the image that I have listed below (that I grabbed from the owner's manual) that goes into more specifics on not only what type of transmission your vehicle has, but other factors like 2-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. This will give you a little bit more information and detail on which models should be towed in what manner. 

The information in the image below talks about not only four wheeled down towing, but about tow dollies and even trailers, which some models will have to use because they cannot accommodate either of the other two options.

2006 Ford Escape Flat Tow Notes

Models That Can Not Be Flat Towed - Alternative Options:

There was one model that had the ability to be flat towed and this was manual transmission models, no matter if it was front-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. But that leaves out the automatic transmission models, which had their own specifications depending on whether you had a front-wheel drive configuration or a four-wheel drive configuration.

Trailer: If you had a 2001-2004 Ford Escape that had an automatic transmission and was four-wheel drive, then the only option you had for pulling this vehicle behind another vehicle would be to put it on a car trailer and pull it with all tires off of the ground. This would prevent damage from happening to the automatic transmission and/or possibly even the 4-wheel drive.

Tow Dolly: On the other hand, if you had an automatic transmission model with a front-wheel drive configuration, then you had  the option of using a tow dolly, in which the front wheels would be off the ground, mounted on the dolly.

This would allow the rear wheels to spin freely, but these types of vehicles would be just fine because the axle in the rear is essentially a dead axle. The front wheels are what provides power to the vehicle and is why they are called front-wheel drive vehicles.

2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 Ford Escape Tow Dolly Information:

All of the Ford Escapes made from 2001 to 2004 had these same requirements when it came to using a tow dolly, which was only recommended for models that were equipped with an automatic transmission, along with a front-wheel drive configuration. This was true for all four model years and there was no variation at all, in fact the image below is the exact same for all four model years, in all four owner's manuals!

2006 Ford Escape Tow Dolly Notes

The Resources I Used for This Article...

I used many different resources when doing the research for this article, as you can see from the eight different links that I have listed below, but most of the information was the same, especially the information that came from the owner's manual.

If I think about it, most of the information in the guides was also very similar and if we look at the above charts that I gathered from the guides, we can see that the only real differences were the colors that Ford used in the charts themselves.

Feel free to check out these links, as they are a quick way to find out a lot more about your vehicle.

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