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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,833 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 clutch problems

clutch problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #3

May 012016


  • 163,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving different speeds, the accelerator pedal became stuck. The contact placed the vehicle in neutral and depressed the brake pedal, which caused the vehicle to jerk and continue normal driving. The contact also stated that the passenger side air bag had bubbles and appeared as though it would explode. The failures were not diagnosed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 163,000.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #2

Jul 012005

Escape 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 61,500 miles
2001 Ford Escape, 61,000 miles, clutch failure, clutch pedal went to floor, would not disengage. Was on entrance ramp to interstate highway, in slow moving traffic, otherwise extremely dangerous. Investigated on internet and found that this problem is described in Ford technical service bulletin 1-24-1, so is obviously a known issue. One of relatively few tsbs that could cause a catastrophic accident if it occurred at speed. Most of the tsbs are for things like "whining/buzzing in audio system, " "engine oil recommendations/applications, " "intake manifold gaskets--fuel smell to the interior." While some of these may be significant, few of them would cause a catastrophic problem if they occured at speed. The "general recall" and "safety recalls" categories, which include things like "speed control cable defect" and "rear driveshaft replacement differential leak" seem to me much more appropriate places for this serious problem to be reported. Had vehicle towed to Ford dealer. Conversation with them this morning. Confirmed that problem was with master and slave cylinder which they said needed to be replaced. Denied knowledge of a known problem of this type. Said that this was not covered under warranty. I told them to go ahead and replace the cylinders.

- Claysville, PA, USA

problem #1

Dec 092000

Escape 4WD

  • miles
Cable came off clutch pedal under the dash. Pedal went completely to floor and was unable to shift care. Cable was replaced by vehicle owner, but failed to stay on 2 more times.

- Ellensburg, WA, USA

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