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CarComplaints.com Notes: With questionable safety ratings, a faulty power control module (PCM) and a rear subframe that can rust out, the first model year Escape is known for problems. But the worst one of all? A design flaw that carried through multiple model years and caused dangerous unintended acceleration.

A lack of clearance between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector meant the throttle could get stick open when the accelerator was fully depressed. Following a petition from the Center for Auto Safety, NHTSA opened an investigation and eventually issued a recall to fix the sticky throttles in the 2001–2004 model years.

Even with the throttles fixed, the 2001 model year could still have trouble stopping due to multiple problems with leaking brakes.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
100,255 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Ford Escape brakes problems

brakes problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

May 132005


  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving at various speeds and attempting to engage the brakes, the rear end of the vehicle started to shake violently and became difficult to stop. In addition, the rear latch activator failed to work intermittently. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Stateline, NV, USA

problem #21

Oct 162013


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 20 mph, the brakes hesitated to stop the vehicle and the ABS system was activated in order to stop. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing where the all wheel drive was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- South Soux City, NE, USA

problem #20

Sep 212014

Escape 4WD 4-cyl

  • 148,783 miles
I was in my car which is a stick shift, so I naturally don't have brakes preventing me from rolling on a hill. I drove up my drive way hill at the top I realized I had no brakes because I couldn't stop the car. I checked under the hood I had no brake fluid, no pressure on my brakes, and my brake light was still illuminated on the dash. I bought the car yesterday 9/20/2014 and by the time I woke up on 9/21 I had no brakes and was about to get on the road.

- Athens, OH, USA

problem #19

May 012014

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


Here recently I have had several occurrences of my 2001 Escape stalling while driving. On 2 occasions I was approaching a stop light, slightly uphill and when I pressed the brake the car completely shut off losing all power and steering and I had to "stand" on the brakes to stop. A few other times it happened while I was turning a corner as well as going through a stop light turning right or left, not going fast at all. Pretty scary stuff. I have had no problem starting it back up after the occurrences, however it keeps happening.

- Newport, NC, USA

problem #18

Jun 042013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Fifth time vehicle has been to the dealership for the same problem. Vehicle is stopped at a red light or in traffic, the vehicle lunges forward with the brakes applied. Daughter took it back to the same dealership and they thought they fixed the problem. She was on her way back to college...4 miles from the house at a red light. She called and said the vehicle was still doing what it was doing before. This needs to be investigated and a recall issued.

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #17

Aug 312012

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
On Friday Aug 31.2013 I was coming up a hill on South bound highway 92 when I accelerated and there was a deer so I tried to slow down and my brakes wouldn't work I again hit the brakes went to the floor and the vehicle lost control and accelerated I hit the ditch no brakes all the way to floor and the car was still speeding out of control like it was driving itself. Brakes

- Beverly, WV, USA

problem #16

May 012013

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 153,000 miles


2001 Ford Escape XLT 3.0L V6 AWD - [xxx] daughter sitting at a red light or in traffic with the brake applied, the vehicle tries to move forward. She explained it as jerking forward. This has happen on several occasions with her. Vehicle was taken straight to sheehy Ford of warrenton, va dealership. They were able to find a crack ABS ring that they said was the cause for the jerking while the brake was applied. Replaced the part. Experienced the same thing on the way home. Returned it to Ford dealership. They were not able recreate the problem so they said nothing was wrong with the vehicle. This vehicle has a total of 13 recalls according to automd.com. According to Ford.com website, this vehicle has no recalls listed. They have a couple listed that should be added to my daughters vehicle: 2001 Ford Escape power train recall 04V165000: Campaign number: 04V165000: Date manufactured: Apr 14, 2004, vehicles affected: 321903: Component: Power train status: Not done 2001 for Escape service brake, hydraulic recall 12V005000 - not done please investigate this as it is a big problem when its a teenager driving. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #15

Jun 282013

Escape 6-cyl

  • 147,200 miles
When vehicle is at a stop with the brakes applied at either a red light, stop sign, or traffic, the car jerks to move forward. This does not happen all the time, it has been doing this since the beginning of the year. Ford dealership replaced an ABS ring that was cracked. They said, this is causing the vehicle to move forward because the ABS is trying to engage.

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #14

May 072013


  • 252,901 miles
Dear sirs, as you are aware, this past weekend on the san mateo bridge in hayward ca, a horrific accident/fire occurred with a limousine, where five individuals were trapped and killed due to a vehicle fire. Upon seeing and hearing about this horrific tragedy, my wife insisted that we have all of the recalls performed on our 2001 Ford Escape. Much to my surprise, when I took our Escape into fremont Ford on May 7th, [xxx], the assistant service manager, told me that he was refusing to perform all of the recalls on our truck, because they have expired. As the original owner and primary driver of this vehicle, please explain to me how recalls involving safety issues expire" is this a Ford company policy or a fremont Ford dealership/service policy" when I picked up our Escape on May 8th from the dealership, I documented on the paperwork that they refused to perform these very important recalls. I am not comfortable driving this vehicle in light of the tragedy that occurred this past weekend. Please advise how you would like to move forward concerning this very important matter. Thank you for your assistance. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #13

Jan 012013

Escape 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Brake hydraulic fluid reservoir cap leaking brake fluid. Replaced with new cap from dealer, 100% fixed problem. Retained old cap if inspection needed.

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 062012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 149,000 miles


I own 3 Ford Escapes and all 3 have same safety issue. I learned on google that I am not alone. It is a very common problem. I am talking about ABS tone ring which cracks and causes ABS to malfunction. It becomes a serious issue when it happens while driving. Initial malfunction causes on-board computer to "be confused" and brakes don't perform as they should, causing extended braking distance. Once on-board computer "recognizes" the problem ABS dashboard light will come on and the driver is aware of the issue. Broken ABS tone ring will cause ABS brakes to engage on dry surface even at the lowest speeds. This failure becomes serious issue at the moment of initial malfunction because the driver is caught by surprise. Please view comments by others at the link below. All comments are screen captures with original url visible at the top of each comment. eaglehorizon.com/tone-ring/ it is a very common problem, it is a safety issue and I am surprised this is not a recall yet. I hope you can take appropriate action. It applies to many Ford vehicles dating from 2001- present.

- West Seneca, NY, USA

problem #11

Aug 012011


  • 198,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the contact attempted to brake and the vehicle failed to stop. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the brake lines needed to be replaced. In addition, the contact stated that the rear hatch, rear passenger door and the driver side doors would not open. The contact was able to lock and unlock the doors however. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The current mileage was 227,691 and the failure mileage was 198,000.

- Granville, WV, USA

problem #10

Aug 012012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph the vehicle accelerated independently and the brakes failed to stop the vehicle. As a result, the vehicle crashed into a tree. A police report was filed and the driver and passenger sustained minor injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The dealer was not contacted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 74,000. Updated 09/19/12 updated 09/19/2012

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #9

Jun 212012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 211,142 miles
I have had three or four incidents when I hit my brakes and my vehicle felt as if it was still accelerating. I wonder if the recent recall could affect 4-cylinder vehicles as well.

- Emporia, VA, USA

problem #8

Jul 132011


  • miles
It was happened about a year ago, especially under the hot weather condition. I am not sure that where the massive vibration sound comes from but most likely it feels through the steering wheel(steering shaft rod?) or brake pedal. When I first realized this problem, it was very hot summer day and air conditioner (ac) was on. I drove about for 15-20 minutes and parked the vehicle for a while (about 20 minutes or so). Then I started the engine again and tried to back up the vehicle from the parking spot, it was happened. After that happening, I was having same problem whenever I was driving with ac on(I did not have the problem during cold season at all). Now is summer of 2012 and this problem has been coming back most of time of driving no matter ac is on or off (it seems like getting worst?). past 10 years, I had several recalls with this vehicle so I really want to report the problem I have in case.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 062012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated the vehicle was recently repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic:antilock:control unit/module). After the remedy repair was performed the ABS warning indicator remained illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and they detected there was a faulty ABS pump. The dealer was made aware of the defect, whom informed that the owner would be responsible for the repair expense. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 191,178.

- Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #6

Nov 272011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the ABS warning indicator illuminated without engaging the brake pedal. The indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. In addition, there was an excessive amount of brake fluid leaking onto the ground. The malfunction occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated that the malfunction was related to a faulty ABS pump. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 12V005000 (service brakes, hydraulic:antilock:control unit/module); however the ABS pump was not included in the recall remedy. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 98,000...updated 08-10-12 the consumer stated the ABS light illuminates when the vehicle starts after 1 or 2 minutes. It stays on the duration of the trip. This occures everytime the car is started. Updated 08/15/2012

- Lamont, PA, USA

problem #5

Jun 132012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 98,590 miles
I was in on recall 11S24, and my brake fluid was leaking onto my ABS relay box, but I still have a problem with the ABS because the hydraulic pump motor is also failed. The Ford dealer. Said it would cost $800 to fix this part on the ABS system! they said the recall would not cover this part on the ABS? the leaking brake fluid also damaged my hydraulic pump motor and this should also be repaired.

- Lemont, PA, USA

problem #4

May 232012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
No pressure when depressing brake to make emergency stop. Pedal went to floor. No prior indication of any problem. On inspection, front left brake hose had ruptured causing total loss of all braking capability. Extremely lucky not to be going 70 mph on the freeway! still waiting for part for brake cylinder cap recall issued in January! if NHTSA are going to require companies to issue recalls perhaps you should also follow up to ensure compliance by which I mean the satisfactory completion of the recall not simply the issuing thereof.

- Saline, MI, USA

problem #3

Dec 142011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that they received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 12V005000 (service brakes: Hydraulic: Anti-lock: Control unit module) in January and was told there would be another letter sent when the parts had become available for repairs. The contact stated that they spoke with the manufacturer in March and was told that the parts were not yet available and that they would receive a letter when the parts had become available. The contact stated they have not received any information from the dealer regarding the recall repairs, which had exceeded a reasonable amount of time. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Red Springs , NC, USA

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