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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
124,973 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #18

Aug 012016


  • 200,000 miles


Ford will not recall. Serious danger!!!over the past ten years I have had problems with latches and doors not opening correctly and being stuck for weeks. This time I can not open drivers door which is very dangerous in case of an accident or fire. I am a mechanic and took inside of door apart and can verify that actuator for door lock is working and does unlock. The latch is not springing open. I did a search on the internet and have seen thousands of complaints for this same problem and Ford will not recall the 2001 model for this problem. They recalled 2014 and 2015 for 200,000 plus vehicle because of door latch. The other people that are complaining have gotten no satisfaction from Ford and are asking what will it take for a recall a death or 10. We called Ford and all they said is there is no recall and to bring it in so they can fix it(120 dollars an hour labor). I read some of the Ford experts online communicating with customers on what to do at cost chat and they came down to chiseling post or cutting with dremel tool or destroyin other door to get at it. Basically alot of money that I do not have to fix. I have owned cars 50-60 years older and have never had problems opening doors or even hearing of problems. Where are they getting these engineers from these days. Sos to any one out there that can help.... my wife has to get in through passenger side. This along with the plastic intake manifolds upper and lower and the vacuum leaks they always get to make for a fine idle. Always happens stationary, in motion etc etc...

- Woodstock, IL, USA

problem #17

Jul 222016


  • 150,000 miles
Suspension failed on the right front due to corrosion when pulling into driveway. Ford has refused to repair because I am 30 miles from the area covered by Ford recall 14S02 and your campaign 14V165000. Help

- Marion, VA, USA

problem #16

Jul 152016


  • 153,127 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while reversing out the drive way at approximately 10 mph, the front passenger side lower control arm fractured. The contact inspected the vehicle and discovered that the frame of the vehicle was fractured. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V165000 (structure). The failure mileage was 153,127....updated 09/12/16

- Marion, VA, USA

problem #15

Jun 152016


  • 133,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While inspecting the vehicle, the contact noticed that the subframe was severely rusted and contained holes bigger than a golf ball. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who pointed out the same issue. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 133,000.

- Exeter, NH, USA

problem #14

Sep 112015


  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving at 40 mph, the subframe of the vehicle separated. The contact mentioned that the failure almost caused a crash. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and repaired with a cross brace that was placed on the sub frame. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- West Allice , WI, USA

problem #13

Jun 092015


  • 132,600 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 10 mph and making a left turn, the vehicle veered to the right into oncoming traffic. There was no crash. The failure recurred on one other occasion. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the subframe was fractured and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 132,600.

- Joppa, MD, USA

problem #12

Feb 022015


  • 125,000 miles


The front hood is peeling and bubbling off.

- Trenton, MI, USA

problem #11

Nov 152014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 236,000 miles
While going down the road 60 miles an hour at night time a deer ran in front of the car. My son jammed on the brakes skidding a distance hitting the deer. Because of jamming on the brakes my son hit the steering wheel with his face causing injury to his neck, face and head. His seat belt was on and the airbags never went off. He skidding a distance swerving right to the edge of the road hitting a metal bar at the edge of a driveway. I sent a complaint into the NHTSA and was told the air bags wouldn't of gone off. I also have a picture of a friends Ford truck going off the road at 60 hitting a house and the airbags never went off. So the excuse the airbags wouldn't go off hitting a deer is completely wrong. Figure out the force of jamming on the brakes at 60 miles an hour skidding a distance. Ford has a problem and should stand by their vehicles. You have lost a few customers because of the lack of standing by your product. I am sending complaints to whomever I can because I know the NHTSA would do anything.

- Campbell, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 282013

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 187,207 miles
Vehicle had a recent recall 14S02. Ford installed a bracket to correct the issue. The problem is that the whole car is corroded. I recently had an inspection done and was told that I would not pass inspection as the frame was completely separated from the rear control arms. So, I took it to a frame shop to learn that my car should be condemned. That there is no amount of repair that will fix this. That it is beyond repair at this point and I should not drive it. I was told that per the recent recalls for corrosion this should be reported. It is a definite defect and based on the year of the vehicle this should not be happening. They suggested that something more complex is wrong here. Even the work performed by Ford isn't going to hold up because it's too badly rusted and there's nothing to hold it together.

- Col Hts, VA, USA

problem #9

Nov 152014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 210,000 miles
My son was going down the road about 60 miles an hour when a big deer came out in front of him. He jammed on his brakes skidding but still hit the deer totaling the car. Not one of the airbags came out. He went forward hitting his upper body and face on the steering wheel. He had his seat belt on. The police were called to the accident. He was taken to the hospital by friends. He turned black and blue and still is hurting. The car was just inspected the end of October. I feel Ford and the manufacturer should be held liable. That the car should be replaced because of the airbags not working causing injury. I'm without a car...updated 12/04/14 updated 06/2/2015

- Campbell, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 022014


  • 205,430 miles


While driving, mainly on the interstate maintained speed of 70mph I feel the steering go very limp. It's been much like hydroplaning. Like there is air between my tires and the road. It lasts just a few seconds. I notice the steering column is rusted. The truck swerves in the lane and often going over line. The steering wheel is very loose when this happens.

- Col Hts, VA, USA

problem #7

Mar 052013

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2001 Ford Escape from commonwealth motors in richmond, va. After purchase the dealership was to inspect an issue with the reverse lights as they wouldn't go out. After the vehicle was brought back I noticed a piece of rusted metal fell from around the door panel. I looked underneath & discovered massive corrosion & rusted crossbars, frames, gas tank, shocks, etc. Everything under the vehicle was rusted. So, I contacted the dealership and expressed my concerns and was told that the vehicle runs so I should be happy. Well, I felt my safety was in question so I began some research. What I learned was the vehicle was not purchased from "carmax" as the owner stated, but that it was purchased from "carmax auction". so I contacted them and luckily got a copy of the bill of sale. To my disbelief the bill of sale states this vehicle has frame damage. So I equipped with this bill of sale, met with the owner again. He said the car doesn't have a frame, thus this was an error. He would not agree to reason and told me I purchased it "as is". as the days went on more and more began to fall apart. Less than 60 days after purchase, the transmission shifted because the brace was rusted away causing the components within the transmission to crack so I had to get it replaced/rebuilt. Mechanic says the transmission was hanging down & amazed it hadn't fallen out. The corrosion was so bad he had to weld a new brace to hold the new transmission but it is welded to the front bumper bar because nothing else will support its weight. The subframe cradle cracked 2 days before recall 14S02. I don't have another vehicle so I had to get it fixed. Is it possible other parts are built with the same material as the subframe? my car is like a cavity that was left untreated. It was purchased in Ohio where it resided for years. I feel lost. I have before and after pics.

- Colonial Heights, VA, USA

problem #6

Oct 102013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated the hatch failed to lock. The contact also stated that the vehicle suddenly and intermittently stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage and VIN were unavailable.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #5

Oct 192012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while trying to entering the vehicle, the front driver's side door failed. The door could only be opened from the interior of the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic or a dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the issue. The failure and current mileages were not available.

- Placerville, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 132012

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,746 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the power steering assist failed and the contact was unable to maintain driving straightforward. The steering wheel had to be turned approximately 90 degrees to the right in order to keep the vehicle driving straight. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who advised that the sub frame was corroded and caused the lower arm control to fracture. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, did not provide any further assistance. The failure and current mileage was 91,746. Updated 10/16/12 the consumer referenced campaign id number: (11V030000) (Ford Windstar) year 1999-2003. A separation of a front lower control arm rear attaching bracket resulting in a lower control arm separation. This caused loss of steering control. Updated 10/18/2012

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 222012


  • 102,000 miles
Wife says she open the glass hatch to put groceries away and the hinge failed on passenger side, leaving her to wrestle it back into place. I had a look and see the pot metal hinge failed where the glass attaches to the hinge, which is merely a stud or boss from a threaded bolt. The bolt is fine, but it looks as though the tapped hole in the hinge self destructed with thread remnants around the bolt. $70 replacement part. If one of these lets go on the highway, you could drop the glass onto the car behind you, talk about excitement! this apparently is common based on a search of google for "Ford Escape hatch glass hinge".

- Wilson, NC, USA

problem #2

May 122010


  • 87,400 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that he went to open the trunk door and it would not open. The contact stated that when it is hot outside the door failed. When the weather got cooler, the door opened. The contact also stated that the rear driver side door also failed. The door would not open at all. The dealer was notified and informed him that he was responsible for the repair. The manufacturer was notified and informed that those components were not under recall. The failure mileage was 87400.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 022003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
Paint peeling of the hood of wife's 2001 Ford Escape. Body shop manager of wayne acres Ford in wpb fl evaluated and states " the finish is coming off and looks like it may be a factory problem. " he also stated that the dealer will only pay 70 % of the repair cost since the vehicle warranty has expired. Why should I have to pay anything if the damage is not my fault ?

- Sunrise , FL, USA

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