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:
15 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
16 / 1
Average Mileage:
68,778 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 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Sep 112012


  • miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that she was trying to park the vehicle when the vehicle began to accelerate independently. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer for inspection where they stated that there was a recall for the failure under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V353000 (vehicle speed control:cables). The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified but the contact did not receive a response. The failure mileage was unavailable. The VIN was unavailable.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #54

Aug 082012

Escape 6-cyl

  • miles
I have been calling my local dealer to get my recalled car fixed. The customer service reps have told me they are unable to tell me if the dealer has the necessary part in stock. I called the corporate office and was told they couldn't help me at that time and to call back later. Obviously, I don't want to drive my car any more than necessary and the nearest dealer to me isn't that close. I am at my wits end.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #53

Aug 012012

Escape 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph the vehicle accelerated independently and the brakes failed to stop the vehicle. As a result, the vehicle crashed into a tree. A police report was filed and the driver and passenger sustained minor injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The dealer was not contacted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 74,000. Updated 09/19/12 updated 09/19/2012

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #52

Jul 262012


  • 151,000 miles


Vehicle was approaching intersection w/ stop sign. Vehicle would not slow. Driver reported 'no brakes'. brakes, disks, were replaced 5 weeks prior and were apparently in working order. Suspicion that throttle may have stuck open, resulting in inability to slow with brakes. Vehicle was in frontal, T-bone crash, two vehicles total loss with injuries.

- Monrovia, IN, USA

problem #51

Jul 032012


  • 236,995 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact was traveling 65 mph when the accelerator pedal failed to release and the vehicle increased acceleration until a pop noise emitted from the engine and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to the contact's home. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 236,995.

- Eaglebutte, SD, USA

problem #50

Jun 012008


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph and attempting to decelerate, the vehicle did not respond. The contact removed foot from pedal however the vehicle accelerated to 60 mph independently. The contact had the accelerator pedal depressed and removed his foot from the accelerator pedal several times until vehicle was under control. The contact stated that he repaired the vehicle himself. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The current mileage was 115,000. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Beecher , IL, USA

problem #49

Jun 162012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 174,000 miles


Driving the car and the RPM went up very quickly and the car accelerated. Even with foot off the gas pedal it continued to increase speed. Put the car to neutral and pulled to side of road RPM stayed high even in neutral. Had car towed to Ford dealership and they found no problem.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #48

Jul 072012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 125,872 miles
My wife was driving the Escape down residential roads around 24mph and as she let off of the accelerator it still was accelerating. She put on the brakes and the engine still wanted to accelerate but she was able to make a turn. As soon as she let off the brake it started accelerating again without her depressing the gas pedal. She pulled into our parking lot and the engine throttle was still on. She just depressed the brake as much and she could and immediate turned the car off. I looked under the hood and notice the cruise control cable appear out of place. I took the cruise control cable off of the throttle cable and took the car for a test drive around the block and it appeared to be working fine. Then I drove it later that day and the cruise control cable came off the throttle cable so the cruise control wouldn't work. I can see how if the cruise control cable came off the throttle cable it could catch the throttle cable and keep the throttle open.

- Coos Bay, OR, USA

problem #47

Jun 082012

Escape 6-cyl

  • 119,964 miles
To: Ford Motor Company from: Owners date: 6/8/2012 purpose: 2001 Ford Escape accident summary (accelerator pedal malfunction) dear Ford Motor Company, this letter is to formally document and notify the Ford Motor Company of an automobile accident which occurred as a result of an accelerator pedal malfunction on a 2001 Ford Escape XLT. Accident summary: On Friday June 8, 2012 at approximately 1:35 pm the accelerator pedal on our 2001 Ford Escape XLT malfunctioned when it automatically engaged, stuck, and accelerated beyond drivers desired speed. The driver removed her foot from the accelerator and tapped the brake pedal with no response. The driver then fully applied the brake pedal with both feet with no effect. The driver then fully engaged the emergency brake providing some speed reduction, but the engine continued to force the vehicle forward. The driver steered the vehicle onto curbs and objects trying to find a way to slowdown the vehicle. The driver, having to make a quick and timely decision to stop the vehicle and protect herself and passengers from harm, served into a concrete overpass embankment in order to bring the vehicle to a stop and avoid a potentially more severe accident involving multiple parties in a highly populated location. The front of the vehicle was heavily damaged (pushed back into the engine compartment) and both airbags were fully deployed. The driver and passengers, while all wearing seatbelts, sustained injuries from the accident and were evaluated and treated at an emergency room.

- Baytown, TX, USA

problem #46

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 #45

Dec 012009


  • 99,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the accelerator pedal remained stuck to the floorboard after her foot was removed. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified of the failure, nor was the vehicle diagnosed or repaired. The current mileage was 130,000 and the failure mileage was 99,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #44

Nov 022011


  • 137,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact was driving approximately 15 mph approaching a stop signal and when driving from the complete stop the vehicle unexpectedly accelerated up to 58 mph and crashed into a nearby utility pole. The contact sustained severe injuries. A police report was filed of the incident. In addition, the air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was towed to a savage facility and declared as destroyed. The contact planned to notify the manufacturer of the unintended acceleration. There was a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 00V210001 (vehicle speed control); however the contact did receive a recall notification. The approximate failure was 137,000.

- Horn Lake , MS, USA

problem #43

Jun 082011


  • 139,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked when he looked underneath the hood and noticed the throttle body was cracked. The manufacturer was notified and the contact was informed the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 00V210001 (vehicle speed control). The contact was also informed he would not be able to obtain the replacement parts unless the vehicle was included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 139,000.

- Parkersburg, WV, USA

problem #42

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 #41

Apr 132010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While turning into a residential driveway at 5mph, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact immediately shut off the engine. On a later date while driving at 30 mph, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact then noticed that the cruise control had independently activated. The cruise control light was illuminated yet the contact did not engage the cruise control. The manufacturer advised that there were no similar complaints and that the vehicle should be diagnosed by the dealer. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection or diagnosis. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current was unknown.

- Hartselle, AL, USA

problem #40

Nov 272009


  • 99,405 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph up a hill the cruise control system was activated and the vehicle continued to accelerate beyond the set speed on the cruise control. The contact was not able to deactivate the cruise control. The contact was able to slow the vehicle down when the brakes were applied but the rpms continued to increase excessively. The contact was able to bring the vehicle to a complete stop without incident. The contact removed the cruise control fuse in an attempt to prevent the failure from recurring. When the vehicle was restarted, the RPM's continued to increase; therefore, the vehicle was towed to a dealer. The dealer stated that the throttle control cable caused the sudden acceleration and it was replaced. The contact was concerned that sudden acceleration could have resulted in a crash while driving. The failure mileage was 99,405.

- Dagsboro, DE, USA

problem #39

Feb 152010

Escape 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. He stated that the vehicle independently accelerated in reverse. The vehicle was taken to a dealer; however the failure could not be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure recurred and the contact shut off the engine to stop the acceleration. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility yet the manufacturer advised taking the vehicle to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The failure mileage was 25,000 and the current mileage is 30,422. The consumer stated he no longer owns the vehicle. Updated 10/26/10

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #38

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 #37

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 #36

Jan 282010


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. The contact's daughter was driving and the vehicle suddenly accelerated to 85 mph. She put both of her feet on the brake pedal but there was no response. She tried the emergency brake which also did not response. After a long while, she was able to get the vehicle to decelerate to 40 mph. She then put the vehicle in neutral and was then able to pull over and turn the ignition off. She had the vehicle towed to a repair shop. The vehicle had not been inspected at the time of the complaint. The contact called the manufacturer who told her that they could not assist with repairs. The current and failure mileages were approximately 135,000.

- Farmingville, NY, USA

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