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 / 12
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 1
Average Mileage:
78,590 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Nov 242010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


During my recent travel, my 2001 Ford Escape had a small fire burning the ABS wiring while parked in the garage. The anti-lock control unit/module had a recall back in 2007, 07S51, and in 2008 the module was inspected. I brought the car into the same dealer that did the inspection once I realized what had recently happened to see if the recall would be honored, regardless of the inspection. I was told that the recall had been taken care of by the inspection, and there was nothing the dealer could do, unless they sold me a $2,000 part. I called Ford customer relations to inform them of my situation, and received the same response, "there is nothing that they can do to honor the recall". my main concern is my safety, and I could have been injured or my house could have caught fire. I am disturbed in the response by Ford regarding my safety and lack of assistance at the corporate level. I feel that Ford has a responsibility to its customers to insure safety, but did not receive that assurance. Regardless of the cause of the damage to the ABS wiring, due to a faulty part my safety was at high risk. This is the first time I have had anything major occur with this vehicle, and have been fortunate of the vehicle's superb performance. I feel that the inspection "solution" of the recall did not prevent the wiring to catch fire, and should have been replaced either at the time of the recall or after the fire.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Jan 242010


  • 79,000 miles
The right front brake hose blew out which caused instant loss of braking to all 4 wheels

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #18

Jan 302010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 96,300 miles


Driving 2001 Ford Escape, V-6, 3.0L. At intersection brakes failed and could not stop vehicle. Parked vehicle at nearest possible location and found brake hose leading to passenger side front brake caliper had cracked allowing fluid to leak out and release pressure from the braking system.

- Hermantown, MN, USA

problem #17

Aug 072009


  • 110,000 miles
The ABS warning light came on in my 2001 Ford Escape. I took it to the Ford service department. They ran some tests. They said the ABS module was probably the cause but they did not have one in stock. They would order it and contact me to schedule installation. They did not indicate the vehicle was unsafe to operate. I drove the car back home and to work the next day. On the way home after work a fire started in the engine compartment left front side which is near the brake system components. I put the fire out and contacted my insurance company. The vehicle was no longer drivable. I had it towed to the Ford dealer the next day. Neither Ford or farmers insurance could pinpoint the origin of the fire but their was damage around the ABS and its wiring. Ford has denied responsibility for the damage. I remembered a safety recall was done previously having to do with the ABS. I rechecked and discovered that similar fires were the reason for the recall. Ford said they did perform the recall on my vehicle. I checked further on line and saw that a safety investigation was opened because the remedy by Ford has not eliminated vehicle ABS wiring fires. I believe my Ford Escape is another case of this safety defect and Ford should take responsibility for the damage and related expenses I have incurred.

- Saint Charles, MO, USA

problem #16

Jul 122009


  • 99,000 miles
An electrical short caused the ABS to malfunction. This illuminated the ABS warning light, which caused the ABS control module to overheat resulting in a burning odor, smoke, and engine fire. This condition occurred when the vehicle ignition switch was in the off position, and while the vehicle was being operated. It turns out that there were several recalls on this particular make and model which I have not been notified about. I have contacted Ford Motor Company about the recalls. Two different people told me that if the VIN for my vehicle was not included in the recall, then the manufacturer is not obligated to fix the safety defect. The vehicle does not have anti- lock brakes now because the control module has burned up, and the fuses had to be removed. The price for installation of a new ABS control module is estimated at $1500 to $2500.

- Frisco City, AL, USA

problem #15

Feb 232009


  • 109,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle did not immediately stop when the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle finally stopped a few seconds later. A mechanic inspected the vehicle and stated that the first brake hose failed and the second one was cracked. The vehicle was repaired at the contact's expense. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls for the brakes. The contact stated that the brake hoses were defective. The failure mileage was 109,000 and current mileage was 114,000.

- Romeoville, IL, USA

problem #14

Dec 272008


  • 135,000 miles
My 2001 Ford Escape alarm started going off in my driveway, upon investigation there was smoke billowing out from under the hood. We opened the hood and used the fire extinguisher on the ABS brake module/wiring harness under the master cylinder. The vehicle was towed to Ford Motor Company, allstate insurance states the fire was caused by the hydraulic:antilock:control unit/module. I had completed the recall for this part in February of 2008, 10 months later my vehicle catches on fire. The repairs completed at Ford since the fire have been to replace the wiring harness, the hydraulic antilock control unit/module and other affected burnt parts.

- Valdsta, GA, USA

problem #13

Dec 272008


  • 126,000 miles
I have as 2001 Ford Escape XLS that all four brake lines are cracked about 3/4 of the way through, making it almost eminent that they are going to rupture within a few weeks, days even. I understand one brake line going out once in a while, but with only 126,000 I find it unbelievable that all four lines could be like this. It makes me wonder just how many Ford's on the road are just about ready to loose their brake function. Sounds like a serious safety issue to me. I haven't replaced any of the lines yet, because nobody carries the part. Ford told me to go to the local dealer, already did and no part. Something is very wrong here. This is my complaint.

- Taos, NM, USA

problem #12

Sep 192008


  • 123,800 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the rotors were defective and caused the brake line to become faulty. He noticed that there were new brake lines on the defective rotors and would not allow his child to drive the vehicle. He also stated that there was a defective ball joint on the front passenger side of the vehicle. In addition, the engine malfunctioned after three hundred miles. The used car dealer, from where the vehicle was purchased, stated that they would purchase a new motor under the warranty to replace the non-working engine. The dealer and manufacturer have not been notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 123,800.

- Clark Summit, PA, USA

problem #11

Aug 282008


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving at an unknown speed on a local highway, the contact noticed smoke coming from the hood of the vehicle. He pulled the vehicle over, opened the hood, and noticed flames underneath the hood. He attempted to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher; however, the fire department arrived and extinguished it instead. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic shop. Through research, the contact discovered NHTSA campaign id number 07V156000 (service brakes, hydraulic:anti-lock:control unit/module) for the same failure. He went to the local Ford dealer and spoke with the service manager. On September 22, 2007, the dealer inspected the vehicle and stated that the recall repair had previously been repaired. Therefore, the service manager stated that Ford would not be responsible for any repairs that needed to be performed on the vehicle. The current and failure mileages were 104,000.

- Bluffton, SC, USA

problem #10

Mar 242008


  • 81,000 miles
While parked in our driveway after sitting for about 3 hours a passerby started banging on our front door and said we had a fire in our driveway. Sure enough our 2001 Ford Escape was shooting flames from the engine. We had no idea something like this could happen. After going to this site and reading similar accounts of the car just going on fire while parked we can only assume something was defective in the vehicle. The ABS light had been going off and on recently.

- Shirley, NY, USA

problem #9

Jan 202007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The car was parked for about an hour when my sister in law saw the fire coming out of the engine area. I turned the fire off with water. The master cylinder was completely burned. All of the wires coming out of the fuse box as well as the ABS wires. The car will turn on but I cant shift it into drive. The brake fuse also burned out.

- San Benito, TX, USA

problem #8

Jun 012005


  • miles
A hissing noise is coming from my brake pedal. When I press down on the brake it goes away but when I let up on the brake it starts making the hissing noise again.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #7

Apr 242005


  • miles
Hissing noise coming from brakes. Stops when I depress the brakes and returns upon taking my foot off brakes. This cannot be good. Mechanics pretended that they did not hear this. Must be an expensive fix because I have been stone walled.

- Cranford, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jul 102003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The brakes in my car completely failed. There were no injuries, luckily, because I was on rarely used dirt roads. The car was still under wararnty, so I returned it to the dealer, who fixed or replaced a major hydraulic component of the brake system.

- Tempe, AZ, 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

Dec 102004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
A strange air-leaking noise has been coming out of the brake area of my Ford Escape. The noise started out somewhat quiet, but it has gotten louder and louder. When the brakes are applied, the sound gets much quieter, almost silent, but the hissing returns with a vengeance as soon as I press on the accelerator. This started around 46,500 miles, and now I am at 48,000. A reputable mechanic informed me that the brake vacuum booster was leaking. This seems to be a major problem for a car that is a 2001 model with such low mileage. I imagine that I am not the only person who will be complaining about this vacuum booster problem.

- Salina, KS, USA

problem #3

Jul 202004


  • 121,918 miles
While driving. The vehicle stalled. The consumer was able to restart the vehicle after pumping the accelerator pedal. The consumer could not control the vehicle due to loss of power in the steering wheel and no brakes.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #2

Nov 152001


  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,949 miles
I've only had this car for two years and it died twice while driving on the road. One time on October 19, 2002 and another time on September 12, 2003. This car has also have problems with the sensors and PCM module.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

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