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 / 17
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,920 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Feb 232012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 178,978 miles


I went to start the car and noticed smoke coming out from under the hood and a bad smell. I opened the hood and noticed the area under the master cylinder was on fire. Luckily I had a small CO2 fire extinguisher and put it out. The entire wiring harness is burned right off where it plugs into the ans module. After searching the internet it seems there is a problem with this make and model. I always wondered why I had to put brake fluid in twice per year. I hope the dealer doesn't try to rip me off and say it's not covered for some reason. They do not like to fix factory recalls.

- Flanders , NJ, USA

problem #42

Jan 152012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
After stopping to possibly take a left turn, I realized I needed to go one more block so I pressed the gas to continue forward. However right as I did that the light turned yellow so I took my foot off the accelerator and pressed on the brake instead. The car shot forward at full throttle and the car went through the intersection and the red light. The street was clear in front of us and I had a full long block to try to regain control of the vehicle's acceleration. I calmly shifted the car into neutral and was very surprised that the car continued to accelerate. I started worrying as the car continued to speed up. I was able to shift the car in reverse and park (which normally isn't possible). All the while the vehicle sped up. My foot was on the brake for almost the whole block and wasn't slowing the vehicle at all. I decided that since the transmission and brakes were not responding, that I might be able to use my foot to get under the gas pedal and lift it up (because it felt from the full acceleration like it was stuck on the floor). However, the pedal easily came off the floor but would flop back down as soon as I moved my foot out from under it. It was definitely not stuck by a foreign object or floor mat though. Had to avoid a pedestrian that was crossing the street and the road ahead was obscured because it went down a steep hill so I chose to turn right. The car ended up hitting the curb, hitting 2 small trees. And flipping upside down before also hitting a parked car. The engine continued to "rev" at high speeds, even upside down, for a few seconds before it finally cut off. My wife and I were very lucky to survive this incident and to not have injured any others in the area. Possibly part of : NHTSA campaign id number: 00V210001 for stuck throttle problems.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #41

Aug 012011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2001 Ford Escape. Consumer states vehicle caught fire for no apparent reason the consumer stated her daughter owned the vehicle and was driving it the night, it caught on fire. Her daughter burned her hand, as she was exiting the vehicle. The vehicle was destroyed by the fire.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #40

Dec 142011

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


Cannot remove ignition key from ignition without disconnecting battery.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #39

Oct 012011

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
About four months my 2001 Ford Escape has been putting off this strong odor, so bad I am afraid to drive it. My safety brake light will not turn off, even when it is not in use. Over the last 3 months, I have paid to have my car engine looked at -spark plugs, brakes and rotors replaced, hoping for positive results. Smell still remains. I have put money into getting this car fixed, I do realize its an older car, butt it's all I have and need it for transportation to work, due to the ABS recall I just received, I am afraid it's going to just burst into flames at any time.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #38

Nov 302011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Started vehicle approx 7am drove 40miles with no evident problems to vehicle. Stopped vehicle for approx 15mins, upon starting vehicle up again hazard warning on control panal began to flash. ABS, air bags, brake, were flashing on/off.turned car off, then on again, warning lights did come back on. Drove approx 3miles, car then started to emit white smoke from under the hood. Immaditatly pulled over, turned off engine. Smoke cont to billow from under the hood for aleast 15-20 mins.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #37

Jan 222011


  • 115,000 miles


Vehicle will stall while driving at high speeds, causing power steering and breaks to stop working.

- Salem, OH, USA

problem #36

Mar 242008


  • 81,000 miles
On March 2008 our 2001 Ford Escape self ignited in our driveway after being shut off for over 2 hours an independent investigation states" the fire in the vehicle originated at the ABS module and was caused by a malfunction that resulted in an internal electrical overheating condition" the car had gone in for all recalls up to that date. So either the repair failed or there was no recall for this problem. Ford refuses to investigate their cause of this fire.

- Hampton Bays, NY, USA

problem #35

Apr 222010


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The vehicle was parked for several days and when the contact attempted to start it, the vehicle failed to respond. A tow truck driver was able to assist the contact with starting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a certified mechanic who repaired the computer system; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a different mechanic who repaired the computer system again and the failure occurred a third time. The manufacturer stated that they were unable to offer him any assistance and to take the vehicle to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle had not been inspected by the dealer or repaired when the complaint was filed. The current and failure mileages were approximately 104,000.

- Kingston , PA, USA

problem #34

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 #33

Apr 302010

Escape 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


My daughter had a 2001 Ford Escape, approx.98,000 miles, purchased used. Serviced & inspected in March of this year with no problems noted. She parked it in front of her home on April 30th after driving home from a trip to town with her 9 month old daughter. Approx. 10 minutes after entering her home, she heard a popping noise coming from outside and saw her vehicle smoking, then fully engulfed in flames. Total loss of vehicle. Fire marshal attributed to "electrical problem" some damage also to her home.

- Morganton, NC, USA

problem #32

Mar 302010


  • 100,495 miles
While traveling uphill going approx 45 mph the engine on my 2001 Ford Escape shut down. Complete power to my car was lost. The odometer even lost the miles driven and was replaced by dashes momentarily. When the engine shut down I steered the car to the side of the road, I lost power steering and brakes. The check engine light also came on when this happened. There was no previous indication that there was an issue with the engine. After I pulled to the side of the road. I put car in park and turned key off. I waited approx 5 minutes and restarted the car with no problems. The check engine light was off and car started smoothly as usual. After researching this online, I don't seem to be the only person having this issue.

- East Liverpool, OH, USA

problem #31

Mar 272009


  • 75,500 miles
Mar 27 had 2001 Ford Escape in dealership for oil leak and engine hesitation. Leak not fixed on 1st time taken to dealer. #3 coil, intake gaskets replaced & tuneup done for hesitation. Mar 31 vehicle taken back for same problems, #4 coil was replaced and was told no oil leak, also told engine not supposed to be washed and water blew out #4 coil. On the way home, still smelled burning oil & engine hesitation still felt. Called dealership, was told to let the car sit for a day. Car sat for 2 days. Car still drove the same, oil leak & hesitation still there. Took vehicle straight back to the dealership, on the way there vehicle had no power and would not go faster than 15mph. Then the egr valve blew. And I live 2 miles from the dealership. Dealership had the vehicle from Apr 1 to Apr 15. Now I was told the catalytic converters on the manifolds are plugged up and this is causing the hesitation and the oil leak was from the timing chain cover. Dealership had to remove the engine to replace the gasket. Was told they don't know how they missed this leak the other 2 times I took the vehicle in for this leak. Only thing the warranty covered is the oil leak. Federal mandated emission law is 8yrs or 80,000 miles. Vehicle is in the 8 years and @ 75,500 miles. Ford refuses to do anything about the converters. Took Escape to local mechanic Apr 17. Exhaust inspection showed only the rear catalytic converter plugged (replaced now). #4 & #6 coils not firing. Coils work connected in other sparkplug locations. Wiring for coils not working. These coil locations worked prior to going back to dealership. Mechanic said I should sue the dealership for misdiagnosis and breaking additional items when engine was removed. Mechanic also ran diagnostic, no codes coming up, dealership reset PCM to old programming, so vehicle now hesitates & dies. Wife still wants to keep vehicle. Told her no. Already shopping for anything other than Ford.

- Midwest City, OK, USA

problem #30

Jan 142008


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While the vehicle was parked, the vehicle began smoking and then caught fire. The front end of the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames. She attempted to utilize a home fire extinguisher; however, the fire would not go out. The entire front end of the vehicle was destroyed. The contact is awaiting to hear if the insurance company will classify the vehicle as destroyed. A police report was filed. She is also awaiting an investigator from the fire department to determine the origin of the fire. The fire department stated that the smell was similar to that of an electrical fire. The failure and current mileages were less than 150,000.

- Brokenbow, OK, USA

problem #29

Apr 052008

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact's vehicle caught fire while parked. The fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries and a police report was filed. The insurance company stated that the vehicle was destroyed. The current and failure mileages were 130,000.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #28

Mar 232007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,508 miles
- the contact stated that the 2001 Ford Escape XLT wires under the hood burned while sitting in the garage of her home. She drove the vehicle one hour prior to the fire. The alarms in her house warned her of the fire. She called the local fire department, and they found no fire in the house. They then checked the garage and they smelled something burning. The fireman opened and noticed the wires that were burning under the hood of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to town and country, and they informed her that old brake fluid leaked on the ABS, which was the cause of the wires burning. The vehicle was serviced for the ABS light coming on, and off at the local Firestone, they replaced the master cylinder. The wires burned within 24 hours of the repair. The town and country dealership gave the contact a loaner vehicle, and she felt this was odd. The contact stated that the dealership informed her that it would cost $2,416.12 to repair the wires and the ABS. The current and failure mileage were both 67,508. The consumer states that she wants to be reimbursed for all repairs done to her vehicle and has provided all invoices for repair and the report from the fire dept. Update 4/25/07

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #27

Feb 062007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car had been parked for 30 minutes with engine off when a fire ignited in the engine, engulfing and destroying the entire car. Ford Escape XLT 2001.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #26

Mar 092006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving in stop and go traffic, the vehicle had a rough idle and stalled intermittently. The vehicle was taken to dealer for inspection; however the problem could not be duplicated. After a short period of time the vehicle had the same problems again. The vehicle stalled and was towed to the dealer. The dealer replaced the PCM but this did not correct the problem. The dealer stated the wiring under the dash needed replaced. There is a NHTSA recall 04V165000, regarding the power train: Automatic transmission: Control module PCM and a NHTSA tsb item #617976, regarding the electrical system: Wiring under dash. The vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the recall and technical service bulletin; however it is not included in the recall due to the VIN. The consumer was informed the vehicle had an electrical short. Updated 04/11/06.

- Hampton, GA, USA

problem #25

Jan 142006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was parked for 9 hours and it caught on fire. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire. The fire marshal stated the damage was too extensive to determine where the fire started. Most of the fire damage was under the hood on the driver side. The insurance company deemed the vehicle totaled.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #24

Jun 222004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
The SUV sat parked for a 3 day period. Heavy rain storms moved through area for 1 and 1/2 days of that time however the vehicle was not driven. After the 3rd day, the SUV was started at which time the check engine light started to blink and when accelerator was depressed for power, the engine sputtered. Problem was diagnosed as a 'bad coil pack". it was replaced and given back. After 3 days of driving, the same failure happened again, this time they replaced the "coil pack" and the wiring harness. Just over 6 months later, the same situation occured with the vehicle. It sat for 4 days in which time a severe rain storm came through however vehicle was not driven nor standing in water. Started the vehicle on the 4th day with the exact same result. Vehicle is in Ford garage and was notified that the coil pack was damaged due to moisture. These failures are not covered under any warranty and should be happening.

- Sterling, VA, USA

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