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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

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 #34

Jul 042008


  • 83,000 miles
On July 4th, my husband and I were driving on the freeway. Suddenly, the accelerator stuck and my husband was unable to slow the car down with the brakes. He turned off the car and pulled to the side of the road. The vehicle was taken to lithia Ford for repair. The cause of the problem was "cruise control cable failed". the receipt stated that "cruise control cable failed 1.00 verified, cruise control cable sheath broken and cable end flips over cause throttle to be held open". the Ford service advisor stated that he had seen several Escape's with the same problem, but his manager says there is no recall and Ford will not cover the cost of the repair.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #33

Jan 032008


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While the vehicle was in park or idling at a stop light, the engine revved. The contact would have to shut off and restart the vehicle in order to reset the throttle. In addition, the rear hatch door would open intermittently. After several weeks, the rear hatch does not function at all. The dealer stated that her VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id numbers 00V210001 (vehicle speed control) and 04V602000 (latches/locks/linkages:doors:latch). The vehicle is currently at the dealer, but has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 120,000.

- Waverly, OH, USA

problem #32

Aug 012006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,875 miles


: the contact stated that the vehicle experiences sudden acceleration from 0-45 mph after releasing the brake pedal while in the stopped position. The vehicle experiences increased braking and jolts forward when braking is applied. When the vehicle is placed in park, the engine revs on its own. The vehicle must be turned off for the engine to quit revving. This problem was initially sporadic, but is now getting progressively worse and occurs more often. The dealership replaced the accelerator cable but the problem still occurred. An independent repair shop determined that the problem might be the speed control servo. There is an NHTSA recall, #00V210001, regarding the: Vehicle speed control. The VIN was not included in the recall.

- Holt, MI, USA

problem #31

Jan 172006

Escape 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
My VIN# for my 2001 Ford Escape is not listed under the vehicle speed control recall. However, I am and have been experiencing this problem with my vehicle for some time now.

- Silverhill, AL, USA

problem #30

Aug 102005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
In May 2005 the accelerator cable stuck wide open on my 2001 Ford Escape (V-6 engine automatic transmission) this happened in my driveway when I punched down on the pedal very hard. There is a plastic cover on top of the engine that must be removed in order to see where the cables hook up to the throttle body. I removed this to determine if it was the throttle body or the cable that was stuck. As I was taking it off the cable became unstuck on it's own so I was unable to determine the problem. At that point I took it to the dealer and they said they were unable to duplicate the problem so they did nothing. On 8/10/05 my wife pushed down hard on the gas pedal while merging into freeway traffic. The accelerator stuck wide open again and she found herself going about 100 mph down the highway. Finally she put the car in neutral, shut off the engine, coasted to the berm and called a tow truck. Since the dealer couldn't fix the problem the first time I decided to look at it again myself. Again I took the plastic cover off the top of the engine and once again the cable became unstuck. This made me suspect that the plastic cover may have something to do with the problem. Upon further inspection I found that the cruise control cable housing had broken right before the part that connects to the throttle body. This creates a situation that can cause the cruise cable to pivot up and wedge against the plastic engine cover during hard acceleration instead of it moving in its housing like it should thus causing the throttle to stick wide open. I was able to make this happen a few times so I am confident this was actually the problem. I explained the problem to the dealer but they wouldn't be able to work on the car for over a week so I went to the parts dept. Ordered the part (under $30) went home and put it on myself (takes less than 5 minutes). The car is fixed now.

- New London, OH, USA

problem #29

Feb 012005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The throttle on the consumer's 2001 Ford Escape failed.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #28

Jan 222002

Escape 6-cyl

  • 92 miles
There were numerous problems. The egr sensor (dpfe) was replaced along with the sop driver side outer belt molding, fuel pump, sway bar links and iac. There was a loud noise coming from the driver's side window, water leaked around the tailgate window, the vehicle was hard to start, the iac was sticking, the driver's side window squeaked and rattled, the vehicle hesitated upon starting, there was play in the front sway bar links, the coolant light stayed on, there was a crack around the oil pan and the oil drain plug was problematic, and the accelerator pedal was sticking.

- Mound, MN, USA

problem #27

Dec 102004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When I press on my accelerator at a stop sign it sticks. Then when it breaks through I accelerate quickly. I am afraid that I am going to get into an accident and injure myself or others. It happens all the time.

- Walkerville, MI, USA

problem #26

Dec 082004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle experienced sudden acceleration while being driven. Owner had to apply brakes several times in order to slow down. Taken to dealer for cleaning of the throttle body.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #25

Sep 112004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,570 miles


While stopped at a traffic light the vehicle surged forward violently without warning. The consumer stated two weeks later while parked the same thing occurred and the vehicle collided into a store window. The vehicle collided into a store window.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #24

Jul 062004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
Intermittently while driving at 35 mph, the vehicle accelerated on its own. While the consumer shifted from drive to park, the vehicles rpms went up. The vehicle was taken to independent shop and the mechanic cleaned the air idle control. When placing the vehicle in park, the RPM's accelerated between 4000 and 5000.

- Sperryville, VA, USA

problem #23

Jan 162004


  • 67,690 miles
The gas pedal became stuck, which effected the speed control cable. There was a recall for this year, make and model, however the vehicle's VIN was not included. The dealer replaced the throttle body.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #22

Sep 252001


  • miles
Engine stalling, intermittent, unpredictable. During various times, days and circumstances. Since 09/25/01 till last time was 12/01/03.

- Creswell, OR, USA

problem #21

Oct 282003


  • miles
Consumer stated while driving and trying to accelerate vehicle hesitated/or paused before it responded. Took vehicle to the repair shop twice for the same problem, and was told that the problem was the throttle body.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #20

May 232003


  • miles
While driving the vehicle jumped forward and accelerated.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #19

Jan 152002


  • miles
The vehicle experienced sudden acceleration.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #18

Nov 012002

Escape 4WD

  • miles
I purchased this Ford Escape in March 2001 and have had nothing but problems with it since. On March 26 2001, two days after I received my new vehicle, it wouldn't start. The same problem occurred three more times in a period of two weeks before I brought the vehicle back to the dealer on April 9 2001. The dealership replaced the battery which was obviously defective. Since then I have had numerous other problems with my Ford Escape. I reported that the throttle was sticking (5/17/02) and it was replaced, but it continues to happen. I also reported that there was a vibration and hesitation when shifting gears around 45 mph (5/17/02). Nothing was done at that time to remedy the problem. I later (8/29/02) reported the same problem to the dealer, brought the vehicle back for service on 9/27/02 at which time the torque converter was replaced. There is still a hesitation and loss of power as I drive the vehicle. Also on 5/11/02, the "service engine soon" light came on. The fuel emissions valve was replaced on 5/17/02. On 10/28/02, I reported to the dealer that my vehicle almost stalled at an intersection on 10/26/02 and later that day it would not start. I also told the service representative that there continued to be a "loss of power" as I drive the vehicle at highway speeds. I brought the Escape back to the dealer on 10/30/02 and the technician found "nothing wrong" with the vehicle from the tests he performed. I am not satisfied with these results there is something obviously wrong with this vehicle!

- Ellenburg Depot, NY, USA

problem #17

Jul 082002


  • miles
Vehicle has on 2 occasions shut off while driving. Without warning, the engine, battery, and oil lights come on at the same time and vehicle immediatelty shuts itself off. Vehicle has been to the dealership after both occurrences. The iac, dpfe, and fuel pump relay were all replaced and my vehicle's PCM was reprogrammed. None of these "fixes" have solved the problem. Although the technician working on the vehicle and the shop foreman have made every effort to assist me with the problem, the cause of the problem has yet to be determined. The manufacturer is aware of this problem with this particular vehicle, but cannot explain what is wrong or how to repair it. I do not feel safe driving my Escape knowing that it could shut itself off at any time without warning in the middle of a busy road.

- Germantown, MD, USA

problem #16

Jun 102002

Escape 4WD

  • miles
6/10/02 engine stalled while off throttle at approx 30mph while slowing down to turn into a place of business. Lost all power to steering and brakes and narrowly missed hitting another car. Happened 4 times on the way to the dealer on the same to restart after putting in had car for the rest of the week and repaced PCM. On 6/22 engine stalled while going 40mph and exiting hwy 1 S on a very curvy exit ramp. Lost all power steering and brakes and had to manhandle it off to the side.restarted by putting in park but had to wait till Monday to talk to service dept at dealer. On Monday 6/24 dealer would not take vehicle-too busy, and had to wait till 6/25 to deliver to dealer. Service person said it was ok to drive but I did not due to dangerous nature of the problem. Dealer received car on 6/25, had it for 4 days and replaced iac. The very next day after picking it up it stalled 2 times at 30mph off throttle. Rendered unusable for the weekend. Returned car to dealer for third time on 7/1 and they have had it ever since. Today is 7/16 and they say they have a temporart fix that should work till Ford issues a permanent fix. I am not risking my life and the lives of others who are unfortunate enough to be driving near me when it stalls so I am refusing vehicle and seeking a new identical replacement. Currently the dealer is communicating this to Ford. Dealer stalff has been polite, helpful, concerned, appologetic and willing to back me up against Ford. They have supplied me with an acceptable loaner vehicle the entire time my car has been down. This is a dangerous problem that Ford has to fess up to before more people get injured or even killed. It's intollerable and a corporate lack of responsibility to their customers. Please recommend a recall.

- Watsonville, CA, USA

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