How to permanently disable Auto Start-Stop on Ford Escape

Ford Escape comes with a standard feature that’s designed to help reduce fuel consumption and the amount of emissions, it’s called Auto Start-Stop.

Ford Escape, fourth generation (2020+)

How Auto Start-Stop works

Auto Start Stop automatically turns on at startup unless you decided to turn it off using the on off button located on the center console.

You’ll know it’s activated when you see the start-stop icon illuminated in your instrument cluster. When you put your foot on the brake and come to a full stop, like at a red light, your engine shuts off.

You might not even notice it, but a light on the instrument cluster will let you know the engine is off. Your radio, head lamps and interior lights will function normally, but the climate control performance will be degraded temporarily unless you set it at high mode. And when you take your foot off the brake pedal, your car automatically restarts.

Auto Start-Stop on/off switch on center console of Ford Escape, 4th gen.

Here are a few things you should know: Auto Start Stop will not shut your engine off at every stop if the engine is still warming up. If the outside temperature is too hot or too cold, or if the heat and air conditioning is in high use. So if your AC’s on because it’s hot outside, your engine may keep running. It may also restart while stopped to maintain interior comfort or to recharge the battery. Also, if you’re towing a trailer, the start/stop feature automatically shuts off and will turn on again once you disable those features.

You can also use the five-way switch located on your steering wheel to get to the information on demand screen which tells you if your engine is off or why it’s still running. According to Ford, your vehicle is equipped with a heavy duty starter and battery to compensate for the increased number of starts and stops.

Permanently disabling Auto Start-Stop

The good news is, there is a way to permanently disable this feature, the bad news is, its not free.

To disable Auto Start-Stop on Ford Escape, you will need an eliminator chip that costs about a hundred bucks and install it on the diagnostic connector underneath the driver’s side dashboard.

How to install the eliminator chip

The chip is easy to install, required no tools whatsoever and makes no programming changes to the vehicle. You can order the chip online at 4DTech website.

To install the Start/Stop Eliminator in the Escape, you will simply have to find the diagnostic connector underneath the driver side dashboard, this will be all the way to left hand side, up against the kick panel, and it would also be above the hood release lever.

Once you locate that black diagnostic connector, you will follow that module around the back side and find the large connector. Disconnect the connector by pushing in the clip on the bottom and unplugging the harness.

Location of the plug you will need to disconnect on the diagnostic connector – (photo by 4DTech)

Once you have disconnected the plug, you’ll bring the start-stop eliminator in and connect the connector into the one side of the start/stop eliminator harness – make sure that’s fully clipped in. Then you’ll take the other side of the start/stop eliminator harness and plug it back into that module facing down and make sure it fully clips in.

Once you have it in there, you’ll want to take a couple of the zip ties from the kit and tie the unit up to the harnesses, out of the way so it doesn’t hang down. And that’s all there is to the installation.

Now that the start/stop eliminator is installed in the Ford Escape, start up the vehicle. You’ll see the off switch is lit and the cluster will momentarily say that the system has been deactivated by the switch.

The start/stop eliminator will apply the off setting the first time that you install it. If you ever wanted to turn back on the system, you simply push the start-stop button on the center console and reactivate the system, and it will now memorize that position. If you want to set it back to off, you simply push the start-stop button again and it’ll stay deactivated and reapply that in future, even if you turn off the ignition and turn it back on again.

Author: Nabeel K

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3 years ago

Hi, my auto start stop is not turned off and the indicator on the dash is grey. The car doesn’t turn off as it should with this feature. Could someone suggest what to do?

1 year ago

I have heard you can fool the car into thinking it is towing something by using a trailer plug wired in a particular way, which disables the stop/start.

6 months ago

What about 2017 model. Does this work for that year in same way?