The following things happened within a period of 7 months:
Front end alignment got messed up - steering wheel had to be turned 30 degrees left for the car to drive straight. Had to replace the inner tie rod end/tie rod shoe and do a front end alignment.
A/C stopped working - the repair estimates I got from different mechanics ranged from $400 to $500 Canadian. Well, I guess I don't have A/C anymore...
Driver side door lock jammed. The lock assembly can be only purchased from a Ford dealer, and it costs $200 plus labour. That's OK, I can live without it...
And then it got really bad - the water pump has developed a leak that I didn't notice in time. As a result, the timing belt got soaked and snapped when I was on the highway in the middle of nowhere. $500+ in repairs and towing.
After that I started to get the transmission problems - sometimes it was really hard to shift into first, second and reverse gears.
Paint had started to peel off everywhere, but that's a typical Ford problem.
Ford factory CD player wouldn't eject the CD - I had to pry it out.
The car was really hard to start, especially in cold/hot weather.
And did I mention the small stuff? Like engine slowly leaking oil and coolant, passenger side door not closing properly (I had to slam it really hard. And I mean REALLY), allow wheels oxidizing to hell and clutch pedal not always going in all the way.
Finally, I found out that my rear struts were leaking and the springs were broken, strut mounts were no good, plus the flex pipe in the exhaust system had to be replaced. And the rear brakes were worn. A total of $1400+ to fix.
This car is just a maintenance disaster! Mechanics use Ford instead of the word crap because it breaks down so easily and is so damn expensive to fix.
It turns out that Ford parts are _super_ expensive! Escort's probably more expensive to fix than a 80's BMW. My mother has spent less money in repairs on her 1991 Acura Integra in 3 years than I did on my Ford in 7 months.
I ended up selling the car after seven months with a lot of new parts for less that half the price I paid for it, and I was darn happy to get rid of it.
Apart from having poor mechanical quality, this car has abysmal performance and handling is by far worse than average. Makes Civic EX feel like a sports car. Insurance costs are pretty high, too.
So, if you're looking for a cheap, high-quality used car, do yourself a favour and buy a Civic or a Corolla. They will end up being much cheaper than Ford Escort crap.
Now I have a brand anti-loyalty of sorts - I will NEVER EVER buy another Ford.