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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:
2 / 14
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,775 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #49

Oct 112013


  • 120,000 miles


On October 10th, 2013, my wife and I had met for her birthday dinner at a restaurant in our town. My wife drove the 2001 Ford Escape to the restaurant, about 5 miles, from our home and parked the car. We had been at dinner for approximately 25 minuets when the waitress asked us if we drove a red SUV. We were led to the vehicle that was on fire and in the process of being extingused by the fire department. The fire investigator said that it looked as if the fire had started on the driver's side of the engine compartment and that nothing else looked suspicious. He pointed out that the wire insulation on that side of the engine compartment was all melted away to bare copper and that the passenger side wiring was still more intact. The fire destroyed the entire front end of the car, the engine compartment, the driver's side fender, the driver's side tire and rim and melted the driver's side dashboard. The entire inside of the vehicle is smoke damaged since the car was locked up. The vehicle is a total loss. Just grateful that my daughter or wife weren't driving it at the time of the fire.

- Manteca, CA, USA

problem #48

Jun 042013


  • 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 #47

Nov 252010


  • miles
Rear left passenger door will not open. 5th door will not open. Windshield wiper in rear stopped working.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #46

Jan 062012


  • 122,000 miles


The brake master cylinder cap leaks brake fluid and the fluid runs down the wiring and down the firewall of the engine compartment. The brake fluid has corroded the paint off of the firewall, and then the fluid gets hot and smokes. Because the fluid runs down the wiring, the vehicle is also having electrical problems. Ford has a recall 11S24 for vehicles of the same year with the same problem, but they say that our vehicle is not included even though the master cylinder cap clearly leaks. They won't look at the vehicle unless we pay $85 to have it diagnosed. We would like to have this vehicle added to the recall.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #45

Jun 252010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 87,500 miles
The trunk-door (5th door) cannot be opened when exposed to the sun or temperature is warmer. It can only be opened after it is cooler in the evening or at night. The rear-left- passenger-door locked and cannot be opened at all. Now passengers have to enter and exit the vehicle using only one right-passenger-door. This is a safety issue and a very inconvenient one. Please help!!!!!

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #44

Dec 082011


  • miles
We bought our 2001 Ford Escape new. On the 8th of December, 2011 it was parked in our double car attached garage. My son came home around 11:30 P.M. going through the garage and did not see or smell anything. My husband and I, his youngest son were asleep already from the fumes. We had to be pulled out of our beds by my older step-son. He saw smoke coming through the door going to the garage. We he opened the door he saw smoke and flames shooting out of the front of the Escape. He tried to open the garage door but by then it was too late. I had to get my dog out from under the bed and Escape through my bedroom window. As a result the whole home was burned and the insurance company considers it a total loss. What I want to know is what recourse I have. I would like to find similar incidents from other Ford Escape owners. I forgot to say that we received our recall on January 31st of 2012. About a month too late to tell us not to park it in or near a dwelling. This has been the most horrific thing I have ever gone through and believe me, I have gone through a whole lot in my life. I want to file a class action lawsuit as that seems to me that is the only recourse I have. I would like to know how I would go about doing this.

- Silver Lake, OH, USA

problem #43

Feb 232012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 178,978 miles


I went to start the car and noticed smoke coming out from under the hood and a bad smell. I opened the hood and noticed the area under the master cylinder was on fire. Luckily I had a small CO2 fire extinguisher and put it out. The entire wiring harness is burned right off where it plugs into the ans module. After searching the internet it seems there is a problem with this make and model. I always wondered why I had to put brake fluid in twice per year. I hope the dealer doesn't try to rip me off and say it's not covered for some reason. They do not like to fix factory recalls.

- Flanders , NJ, USA

problem #42

Jan 152012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
After stopping to possibly take a left turn, I realized I needed to go one more block so I pressed the gas to continue forward. However right as I did that the light turned yellow so I took my foot off the accelerator and pressed on the brake instead. The car shot forward at full throttle and the car went through the intersection and the red light. The street was clear in front of us and I had a full long block to try to regain control of the vehicle's acceleration. I calmly shifted the car into neutral and was very surprised that the car continued to accelerate. I started worrying as the car continued to speed up. I was able to shift the car in reverse and park (which normally isn't possible). All the while the vehicle sped up. My foot was on the brake for almost the whole block and wasn't slowing the vehicle at all. I decided that since the transmission and brakes were not responding, that I might be able to use my foot to get under the gas pedal and lift it up (because it felt from the full acceleration like it was stuck on the floor). However, the pedal easily came off the floor but would flop back down as soon as I moved my foot out from under it. It was definitely not stuck by a foreign object or floor mat though. Had to avoid a pedestrian that was crossing the street and the road ahead was obscured because it went down a steep hill so I chose to turn right. The car ended up hitting the curb, hitting 2 small trees. And flipping upside down before also hitting a parked car. The engine continued to "rev" at high speeds, even upside down, for a few seconds before it finally cut off. My wife and I were very lucky to survive this incident and to not have injured any others in the area. Possibly part of : NHTSA campaign id number: 00V210001 for stuck throttle problems.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #41

Aug 012011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2001 Ford Escape. Consumer states vehicle caught fire for no apparent reason the consumer stated her daughter owned the vehicle and was driving it the night, it caught on fire. Her daughter burned her hand, as she was exiting the vehicle. The vehicle was destroyed by the fire.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #40

Dec 142011

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
Cannot remove ignition key from ignition without disconnecting battery.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #39

Oct 012011

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


About four months my 2001 Ford Escape has been putting off this strong odor, so bad I am afraid to drive it. My safety brake light will not turn off, even when it is not in use. Over the last 3 months, I have paid to have my car engine looked at -spark plugs, brakes and rotors replaced, hoping for positive results. Smell still remains. I have put money into getting this car fixed, I do realize its an older car, butt it's all I have and need it for transportation to work, due to the ABS recall I just received, I am afraid it's going to just burst into flames at any time.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #38

Nov 302011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Started vehicle approx 7am drove 40miles with no evident problems to vehicle. Stopped vehicle for approx 15mins, upon starting vehicle up again hazard warning on control panal began to flash. ABS, air bags, brake, were flashing on/off.turned car off, then on again, warning lights did come back on. Drove approx 3miles, car then started to emit white smoke from under the hood. Immaditatly pulled over, turned off engine. Smoke cont to billow from under the hood for aleast 15-20 mins.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #37

Jan 222011


  • 115,000 miles
Vehicle will stall while driving at high speeds, causing power steering and breaks to stop working.

- Salem, OH, USA

problem #36

Mar 242008


  • 81,000 miles
On March 2008 our 2001 Ford Escape self ignited in our driveway after being shut off for over 2 hours an independent investigation states" the fire in the vehicle originated at the ABS module and was caused by a malfunction that resulted in an internal electrical overheating condition" the car had gone in for all recalls up to that date. So either the repair failed or there was no recall for this problem. Ford refuses to investigate their cause of this fire.

- Hampton Bays, NY, USA

problem #35

Apr 222010


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The vehicle was parked for several days and when the contact attempted to start it, the vehicle failed to respond. A tow truck driver was able to assist the contact with starting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a certified mechanic who repaired the computer system; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a different mechanic who repaired the computer system again and the failure occurred a third time. The manufacturer stated that they were unable to offer him any assistance and to take the vehicle to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle had not been inspected by the dealer or repaired when the complaint was filed. The current and failure mileages were approximately 104,000.

- Kingston , PA, USA

problem #34

May 122010


  • 141,000 miles
I have a 2001 Ford Escape. While staying at a hotel on vacation in marfa, tx, I was awakened by my car alarm going of at approximately 5:30 am on May 12, 2010. When I went outside to turn it off, I found smoke pouring out from under the hood. Our neighbor called 911, and the car continued to smoke until the fire department arrived. As the fire dept. Was inspecting the car, flames did appear from the ABS wiring harness and module. The fire was extinguished quickly and damage was confined to the ABS harness and module. I had received a recall notice for the ABS harness a couple of years ago, and took my car to a dealership in austin to have the necessary work performed. That work was performed on August 6, 2008. When I contacted Ford to let them know that my car had caught fire even though the recall was performed, they informed me that their records showed that the ABS harness on my car was inspected and it was determined that it did not need to be replaced. As of May 16, 2010, my car is still at a Ford dealership in fort stockton, tx and I am at home in austin waiting to hear from Ford's office of general council.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #33

Apr 302010

Escape 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
My daughter had a 2001 Ford Escape, approx.98,000 miles, purchased used. Serviced & inspected in March of this year with no problems noted. She parked it in front of her home on April 30th after driving home from a trip to town with her 9 month old daughter. Approx. 10 minutes after entering her home, she heard a popping noise coming from outside and saw her vehicle smoking, then fully engulfed in flames. Total loss of vehicle. Fire marshal attributed to "electrical problem" some damage also to her home.

- Morganton, NC, USA

problem #32

Mar 302010


  • 100,495 miles
While traveling uphill going approx 45 mph the engine on my 2001 Ford Escape shut down. Complete power to my car was lost. The odometer even lost the miles driven and was replaced by dashes momentarily. When the engine shut down I steered the car to the side of the road, I lost power steering and brakes. The check engine light also came on when this happened. There was no previous indication that there was an issue with the engine. After I pulled to the side of the road. I put car in park and turned key off. I waited approx 5 minutes and restarted the car with no problems. The check engine light was off and car started smoothly as usual. After researching this online, I don't seem to be the only person having this issue.

- East Liverpool, OH, USA

problem #31

Mar 272009


  • 75,500 miles
Mar 27 had 2001 Ford Escape in dealership for oil leak and engine hesitation. Leak not fixed on 1st time taken to dealer. #3 coil, intake gaskets replaced & tuneup done for hesitation. Mar 31 vehicle taken back for same problems, #4 coil was replaced and was told no oil leak, also told engine not supposed to be washed and water blew out #4 coil. On the way home, still smelled burning oil & engine hesitation still felt. Called dealership, was told to let the car sit for a day. Car sat for 2 days. Car still drove the same, oil leak & hesitation still there. Took vehicle straight back to the dealership, on the way there vehicle had no power and would not go faster than 15mph. Then the egr valve blew. And I live 2 miles from the dealership. Dealership had the vehicle from Apr 1 to Apr 15. Now I was told the catalytic converters on the manifolds are plugged up and this is causing the hesitation and the oil leak was from the timing chain cover. Dealership had to remove the engine to replace the gasket. Was told they don't know how they missed this leak the other 2 times I took the vehicle in for this leak. Only thing the warranty covered is the oil leak. Federal mandated emission law is 8yrs or 80,000 miles. Vehicle is in the 8 years and @ 75,500 miles. Ford refuses to do anything about the converters. Took Escape to local mechanic Apr 17. Exhaust inspection showed only the rear catalytic converter plugged (replaced now). #4 & #6 coils not firing. Coils work connected in other sparkplug locations. Wiring for coils not working. These coil locations worked prior to going back to dealership. Mechanic said I should sue the dealership for misdiagnosis and breaking additional items when engine was removed. Mechanic also ran diagnostic, no codes coming up, dealership reset PCM to old programming, so vehicle now hesitates & dies. Wife still wants to keep vehicle. Told her no. Already shopping for anything other than Ford.

- Midwest City, OK, USA

problem #30

Jan 142008


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While the vehicle was parked, the vehicle began smoking and then caught fire. The front end of the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames. She attempted to utilize a home fire extinguisher; however, the fire would not go out. The entire front end of the vehicle was destroyed. The contact is awaiting to hear if the insurance company will classify the vehicle as destroyed. A police report was filed. She is also awaiting an investigator from the fire department to determine the origin of the fire. The fire department stated that the smell was similar to that of an electrical fire. The failure and current mileages were less than 150,000.

- Brokenbow, OK, USA

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