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 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,231 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #57

Nov 242010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles


Door locks are not unlocking properly. Contacted Ford about problem and they informed moe to put grease on it this did not work. Ford Escape tries to quite while running. Replaced hoses and plugs and problems still going on. Ford Escape does not want to stop properly with new brakes or brakes that are only 10 to 20 percent worn. Also leaks brake fluid have been unable to locate leak on Escape.

- Milan, TN, USA

problem #56

Mar 152009


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving at a speed of 5mph, the contact was coming to a stop when the vehicle stalled. The contact turned the vehicle off and then back on and it operated normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who repaired the air throttle and the PCM. The failure mileage was 105000 and current mileage was 135000.

- Garden City, MI, USA

problem #55

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 #54

Mar 122010


  • 14,000 miles


Have at different times the motor reeves. Sometimes when the cruise is set, and sometimes when it's in park. Never know what makes it happen or when it's going to happen. Do have witnesses at the last time this happened. Happened to be at the scene of an accident, pulled up and stopped, only to have this happen. Which the paramedics happened to hear it and got very concerned. Although it's happened before several times, the emt's strongly urged us to report this.

- Gravois Mills, MO, USA

problem #53

Jan 112010


  • 136,000 miles
2001 Ford Escape - spark plag ejection blowout.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #52

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 #51

Sep 142007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Oil cooler failed, oil was burnt off with no check oil light or engine notice and engine failure occurred. Engine threw a rod and the engine needed replacement.

- Takoma Park, MD, USA

problem #50

Jul 042007

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,250 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact attempted to start the vehicle, but it failed to start. She made one more attempt and the vehicle shut off completely. The contact placed the vehicle in neutral and the vehicle started. When she approached a stop sign at 5 mph, the vehicle began to stall. The current and failure mileages were 48,250.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #49

Sep 072006

Escape 4WD

  • 59,137 miles
2001 Escape has had three repairs in a 6 month time frame do to problems with the ignition coil assemblies. The sparks plug shot out of the cylinder head suddenly three times.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #48

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 #47

Jan 012005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,127 miles


I was driving home and the car started to shake. I pulled over at a gas station and my husband checked to see what was wrong. We could not find what was wrong and drove home. Again the car was shaking then it started to shake violently and then we heard something snap and the car just shut off in the middle of the highway. After having it towed it turned out that we needed to replace the engine. The valve sheered from the valve stem and the valve shattered the piston and ended denting the oil pan and was found in the oil pan. This ended up costing us $5000. We called the dealer where we purchased the car in April of 2004 and he said that he was willing to help us, but decided not to stating it would be "bad business" to replace to car even though we had purchased it 8 months previous to the incident. We then had it towed to a Ford dealership where a new engine was placed in the 2001 Ford Escape. While speaking to a Ford mechanic he stated that he has seen this happen before to the Escape. The dealer that finally ended up working on the Escape called Ford and told them the problem but Ford stated that they had heard about this but there wasn't enough complaints to warrant a recall because of the defect. The car was out of commission for 10 days due to the dealer making promises and then taking them back.

- Northfield, MA, USA

problem #46

Dec 152004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,800 miles
Ford failure to perform recall #04V-165 Ford #04S13 on my 01 Escape. Contacted Ford, provided VIN, Ford claimed no recall on my vehicle. However mt 01 Escape was produced in 10/2000 which was during the recall period. Has never been done. Vehicle now stalls and hard starts (long cranks) sometimes takes 2 or 3 tries.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #45

Dec 062004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving approximately 40-50 mph, the vehicle started to idle. The brakes and accelerator pedal felt sluggish. The consumer pulled over, and turned off the vehicle, waited a few minutes and restarted the vehicle and took the vehicle to the dealership to have the mechanic check out the problem. Recall campaign 04V165000 repairs were performed in may for the engine stalling while driving.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #44

Jul 112002

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
Nar 1/29/2003. The consumer had a hitch added to the vehicle, however, while driving the consumer was unable to steer the vehicle which has stalled 3 times.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #43

May 162004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Recall 04V165000 concerning engine stalling. Consumer stated that vehicle was not experiencing any problem with engine stalling until recall repairs were done on April 24, 2004. Dealer was contacted.

- Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #42

Apr 222004

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving 65 mph vehicle stalled. Consumer restarted vehicle, and drove it to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that engine needed to be replaced.

- Caledonia, NY, USA

problem #41

Mar 312004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
I have been experienceing alot of stalling with my 2001 Ford Escape. It usually happens when on a downgrade or slowing to stop. The idle drops very low and the car stalls. It often stalls when sitting at an idle also. I have had it stall many times when slowing down to make a turn. When the Escape stalls, you lose steering. I am an accident waiting to happen. I first starting stalling in March of 2003 and have had hundreds of stalls. Yesterday(3/31/04) the Escape stalled 5 times in a 2 mile stretch. I am very worried that one day it will stall turning at a busy intersection and I won't be able to restart fast enough to stop from getting hit or hitting someone or something else. Because I am out of warrenty Ford will do nothing. I know there is a tsb on this problem, but I can't afford to have it done, and I feel this is something Ford should do whether you're under warrenty or not.

- Ephrata , PA, USA

problem #40

Feb 122003

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,200 miles
Ford Escape 2001.. vehicle stalled sitting at a traffic light. No warning.. Ford tells me this problem happens with Ford Windstar, Escapes, tribute.. Ford will not cover repairs after 36000 miles, even with the best extended warranty Ford has to offer.

- Montgomery Village, MD, USA

problem #39

Jan 212004

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer had problems with the vehicle stalling four times since purchase. The vehicle would start back up, but was dangerous. Ford replaced a couple parts that should have taken care of the problem but it didn't. the problem occurred again but the vehicle was out of warranty.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #38

Jan 272004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,478 miles
The vehicle stalled six times within the last 45,000 miles. The dealer replaced the pfe sensor, coolant, instrument cluster, the ignition switch, the front crank seal and the dpfe sensor. After all the repairs the vehicle continued to stall.

- Union, KY, USA

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