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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,000 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

problem #1

Jun 132005

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles


My wife was driving our 8 year old twins to a piano recital in my 2001 Ford Escape, and, while going up a steep hill on a four-lane road, the engine downshifted and the car accelerated out of control. When she realized that she the car was speeding forward when she was not pressing on the accelerator, she applied the brakes hard, but nothing happened. In an attempt to avoid the cars, she took an off-ramp but quickly realized that traffic was stopped there as well. In desperation, my wife pulled the emergency brake. The car then stopped, but then lost she lost everything. My Escape started rolling backwards down the hill, even with the emergency brake on. Again, the foot brake didn't respond. She was headed backwards down the 1/2 mile, steeply graded hill into the cars coming up the hill. She turned the wheel to back up the steep embankment on the side of the road. After bouncing backwards through the steep ditch and traveling about 14 feet up the embankment, the car paused for a moment and then slammed forward back into the ditch. Our children were not hurt. My wife has suffered whiplash which is requiring medication, physical therapy, and gives her constant pain. My local Ford dealer has been honest that a cruise control wire was frayed, and even though she was not using the cruise control, it was moving in parallel to the accelerator cable. The frayed cruise control cable stuck and caused the accelerator to compress and stick. They have no explanation for the loss of brakes and the failure of the emergency brake. However, after the honest assessment, poor treatment ensued. The dealership is fixing the cable, transmission, and brakes under our extended warranty and not taking ownership for the accident. They have had my car for 1 month today, and I still do not have it back. I will have to pay the $1000 deductible for the auto body work.

- Kent, WA, USA

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