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 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,804 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 #46

Dec 082014

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 164,000 miles


In 2001 Ford Escapes a misfire occurs and cause the fuel mileage to decrease. It also causes the car to shutter at idle when it is cold. After checking message boards it appears that more than a handful are having the same exact issue and despite changing any parts accept the connectors and PCM the issue still occurs. The number of cars effected by this is more than just a coincidence and should be listed as a factory defect.

- Dover-Foxcroft, ME, USA

problem #45

May 212013


  • 127,069 miles
While driving the vehicle, the left side of the vehicle collapsed after experiencing a loss of steering control. I jacked up the vehicle to inspect the cause and discovered the left side of the engine/suspension cradle was suffered from abnormal corrosion that allowed the lower control arm to become detached from the vehicle. This condition is not present on the right side of the vehicle, therefore it is obvious that this is a quality issue with the component that caused a premature failure and a safety issue. This is a Ford quality issue that is not being addressed that could cause severe injury and death.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #44

Jul 112012


  • 176,450 miles
After driving for appx 19 miles, stopped at my destination and put car in park. Engine started racing to appx 3000-4000 RPM. Tapped gas pedal to see if I could make it stop, which I couldn't (it continued to race for a few moments). At this point I just turned ignition off. Started car back up and everything was normal again.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #43

Jun 012012

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles


Submission from re Ford Escape 2001 safety recall notice 11S24 the consumer received a recall notice in Jan 2012. The notice indicated she would be informed when the parts required to complete the safety recall would become available, which wouldn't be until the second quarter. The vehicle caught on fire while parked, which was prior to the recall, but was quickly extinguished. Shortly after the fire, the vehicle was repaired. Several months later, the consumer was partly compensated by Ford in the form of a check for $1900 accompanied by a document which stated by accepting the compensation, she would also be signing off on any other claims. The consumer also stated the catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, master cylinder, wiring harness, ABS, brake line booster, power steering rack and pinion, tie rods, intake manifold as well as the air bag were all replaced. The steering column would freeze, the rear passenger door handle fell off, rendering the door unstable, the coolant light illuminated, the oil pan needed to be replaced, the air condition stopped working and the rear shock were leaking.

- Waimanalo, HI, 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

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 #39

Nov 292011


  • miles
The contact owns a owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the engine stalled and the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to an independent mechanic, who stated the engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable. Updated 02/15/12

- Roxboro, NC, USA

problem #38

Feb 142011

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
Ignition coils defect- causing engine to stall and gas pedal sometimes gets hard to accelerate causing the vehicle not to move. While driving vehicle accelerates.

- Maple Plain , MN, USA

problem #37

Apr 212010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My 2001 Ford Escape 3.0L V6, has an engine stalling problem, and an really bad emisions system failure. The exhaust fumes have been backing up into the vehicle for a long time now. My hair fell out, and no one seems to care. I contacted a Ford dealership, because I received a letter stating that under the state and federal emissions warranty, some components needed to be changed. However the dealer won't honor it, because the vehicle has over 80,000 miles. I bought the car used at 60,000 miles. I am not sure if the engine stalling has caused the emissions system to fail or the emissions system failure has caused the engine stalling.this has happened to my vehicle 3 times.

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #36

Jan 282010

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape which was purchased in 2001. While the vehicle was parked in his driveway he was notified that it was on fire. Upon further investigation, he saw black smoke under the dashboard. The fire department was able to extinguish the fire; however, they were unable to determine the cause of the fire. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileages were 120,000. Updated 06/02/10. According to the police report, the fire originated in the engine compartment. Updated 09/28/10

- North Ridgefield, OH, USA

problem #35

Aug 312009


  • 110,000 miles
My 2001 Ford Escape spontaneously caught fire in my driveway this evening. It had been driven approximately 1.5 miles, parked and then caught fire. A passerby saw flames coming out from underneath the car and called dispatch. The vehicle is beyond repair. I am aware of some recalls on this vehicle and have taken the car in for repairs/replacements when a recall was issued. I am unsure, at this time, as to the cause of the fire but felt I would be remiss if I did not report the incident. Has there been a recall concerning this vehicle and engine fire?

- Wilburton, OK, USA

problem #34

Feb 272009


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 40 mph on normal road conditions, the vehicle drastically accelerated when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The brake pedal required greater force to stop the vehicle and the stopping distance increased. There were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they stated that the throttle was the cause of the failure. The vehicle was unable to be repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 00V210001 (vehicle speed control) due to modifications. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 100,000 and current mileage was 114,000.

- Warr Acres, OK, USA

problem #33

Feb 012008


  • miles
Vehicle's # - 2001 Ford Escape.every morning I start the car it hesitates to stay started, (idealing) sometimes the car does shut off and I have to restart the car. I start out and when I go to brake the car hesitates and want to shut off at the same time I lose my brakes (they lock up and will not stop...) the car also sometimes smell hot after driving. Once the car has been driven for a while the brakes seem to work fine but there is still a hot smell when we shut the car off. I have had this in for service more then once and they had me do certain services on the car and this still has not fixed the problem, I took back in after spending enough money and doing the service they suggested the mechanics kept it for a few days and thought they fixed the problem, but here we are again(1 yr later) and I'm back to where we started. I have all the paperwork to what was done with the car for this problem.. service was performed as follows a. replace intake gaskets, spark plugs, dpfe sensor. B. fuel filter. C. perform bg professional fuel injection cleaning service. The second time in for service- a. 100 diag mass air flow meter=rec. Tune up = filters advise on pendg. Codes 0171-0174=poss. Intake leek =replace maf sensor=clear codes. This was everything they suggested we do and now as its cold I'm having the same problem as I did last February. ($2000 later) I would really like to have the situation fixed before I can't stop the next time. Thank you for your time... Mrs. Leslie a. weary

- Myerstown, PA, USA

problem #32

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 #31

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 #30

Jan 102001

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
I have had brake liquid leaking from the engine container since I purchased the car around 2001. I notified the dealership and the first time they said the cap malfunctioned and they replaced the cap, the second time they said I overfilled the container but it never stopped and to this day the container leaks. I also have had the car stall on several occasions. I thought this to be just a freak accident until I read these postings and it appears the problem is wide spread. One time it stalled while driving on interstate 81 at a high rate of speed, I thought I was going to wreck but managed to pull over with out an accident. Now my car has a hard time starting for no reason. At first I had the battery replaced, but the problem just got worse. Now I sometimes spend 20 min trying to start the car, when it finally starts, it stalls and when its finished stalling, it accelerates on its own and stays that way for several min. Until now I just thought these were rare occurrences but now I don't think they are. I believe they are all safety problems and not once was I notified of any recall to fix. My coolant light came on over 8 months ago and is still on despite having it checked and no problem was found.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #29

Jan 252007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
2001 Ford Escape getting an knocking noise in front of the car. Sounds like a propeller noise that increase the faster I travel.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

problem #28

Jan 062007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,600 miles
(2007) while driving my vehicle, the engine-cooling system-low coolant warning indicator lamp illuminates and after checking the coolant resevoir which was at proper levels. Delaer notified me that the coolant sensor as bad and needed to be replaced costing $300. (2007) while driving or parked, after turning the steering wheel left or right, there would be a loud squeak or screehing sound coming from the tire area. Dealer notified me that the axle rod needed to be replaced costing over $300. (2006) last year there was a check engine light on which was caused by a malfunctioning engine coil #5 which burned out my spark plug. That cost was over $700. There were several other problems with theis vehicle but too many to name.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #27

Aug 302005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
2001 Ford Escape. The consumer found a recall on line, this recall did not pertain to this vehicle due to VIN. When driving, the vehicle died, power steering malfunctioned, and the vehicle was hard to control. The vehicle will not keep a idling.. the vehicle is currently at the dealership, and they have not yet contacted the consumer. The problem started two weeks ago, on August 30, 2005. The consumer stated it happened approximately ten times.

- Collyville, TX, USA

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