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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,673 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 #7

Oct 112014


  • 86,222 miles


Going approx. 25 mph, slowing to a stop sign. Applied brakes and passenger tire made noise and U joint busted. Rim//tire was positioned incorrectly. Rust is visible. I need to know if this is related to Ford recall of Escape SUVS due to rust that could cause the separation of the lower control arm from the subframe of the vehicle.the recall covers vehicles sold in states where high corrosion is likely to occur. My vehicle was purchased in bradley, il. What do I do??

- Greeley, CO, USA

problem #6

Feb 052008

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,400 miles
In Nov. Of 2006, I took my 2001 Ford Escape to the dealership because my right rear passenger seatbelt was twisting and was not retracting. My child's booster seat was held with this belt and was not working. The dealership told me that due to a flaw, condensation was able to get inside and that it had caused an internal spring to rust and break. They told me that in 2002 + models, it was redesigned and that coil or spring is now protected with a protective covering. I called Ford Motor Corp and they covered the repair and I had to pay a $75 deductible. Now 13 months later, the same problem had re- occurred. This time Ford Motor Corp. Says they will not cover it because my vehicle is out of warranty. I again reminded them that this faulty seatbelt is being used to secure my seven year old daughter's booster seat and it terrifies me to think of what could have happened to her if I was in a serious collision. Ford did have a safety seatbelt recall on a front seatbelt latch and I complied and I think that was in 2004. I believe that this problem has the propensity to lead to a serious injury if it is not resolved.

- Placentia, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 012005


  • miles
Ford Escape 2001, windshield wipers haven't kept windows clear enough to see during rain or snow. The consumer was only getting 10-12 miles per gallon on the highway. The vehicle was hard to drive when it was windy outside. When the consumer attempted to stop the vehicle, the brake went down to the floor and did not come back up for several seconds. The anti-lock brakes did not engage. The consumer spoke to the dealer and he said the brakes must have frozen up. The battery low light was on.

- Newfolden, MN, USA

problem #4

Jan 222002

Escape 6-cyl

  • 92 miles


There were numerous problems. The egr sensor (dpfe) was replaced along with the sop driver side outer belt molding, fuel pump, sway bar links and iac. There was a loud noise coming from the driver's side window, water leaked around the tailgate window, the vehicle was hard to start, the iac was sticking, the driver's side window squeaked and rattled, the vehicle hesitated upon starting, there was play in the front sway bar links, the coolant light stayed on, there was a crack around the oil pan and the oil drain plug was problematic, and the accelerator pedal was sticking.

- Mound, MN, USA

problem #3

Aug 172002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle was parked inside of carport and without prior warning heard a loud bang. Vehicle caught on fire/exploded and melted to the ground. Dealership was aware of problem.*akbrakes have been squeaking when hot or cold. The front brake rotors and pads are glazed. There is a clunk noise heard in the front end when making a left or right turn. The noise was coming from a loose metal clip. The engine light stayed illuminated while in motion.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 012001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While traveling 15-20mph on a neighborhood side street consumer ran into a parked car, causing vehicle to rollover 360 degrees. Dealer was contacted. Consumer suffered a fractured rib in the accident, consumer thinks that this vehicle should not have rolled over as easily as it did.

- La, CA, USA

problem #1

May 012001

Escape 4WD

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Tires make a humming noise. Consumer feels that they may be leaving ground like hydroplaning, and at 65 mph vehicle wobbles, vehicle is not stable at high speeds with window down. The vehicle hesitates when A/C unit is in operation and A/C make a loud cyclic clicking sound. Transmission makes sound. The vehicle was unstable at 65 mph with a slight wind and front end makes tumbling sounds on rough roads. The alternator light comes on intermittently. The cruise control turns off automaticaly by itself. The front brake has excessive dust. The vehicle had numerous interior system failures and malfunctioning.

- Lebanon, OH, USA

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