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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,183 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

problem #15

May 262008

Escape 6-cyl

  • 137,252 miles


Throttle sticks at intermittent times upon acceleration. Intermittently, when foot is removed from gas pedal speed does not result in deceleration. When problem does occur there is no known way of stopping it. I just wait it out until throttle corrects itself. I am unable to tell if gas pedal remains depressed when problem occurs. Have tried pressing throttle to floor quickly and releasing with limited success. Have tried placing transmission into neutral, but that only causes engine to race. Seems to be occurring more over the last few days.

- Warrensburg, NY, USA

problem #14

Jan 042008


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving approximately 35 mph, the accelerator pedal became difficult to depress. The engine would still accelerate once the contact released the pedal. He stated that the failure was a result of the accelerator cable. The vehicle has not been diagnosed or repaired by a mechanic. The failure mileage was 98,000 and current mileage was 101,000.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jun 132005

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
My wife was driving our 8 year old twins to a piano recital in my 2001 Ford Escape, and, while going up a steep hill on a four-lane road, the engine downshifted and the car accelerated out of control. When she realized that she the car was speeding forward when she was not pressing on the accelerator, she applied the brakes hard, but nothing happened. In an attempt to avoid the cars, she took an off-ramp but quickly realized that traffic was stopped there as well. In desperation, my wife pulled the emergency brake. The car then stopped, but then lost she lost everything. My Escape started rolling backwards down the hill, even with the emergency brake on. Again, the foot brake didn't respond. She was headed backwards down the 1/2 mile, steeply graded hill into the cars coming up the hill. She turned the wheel to back up the steep embankment on the side of the road. After bouncing backwards through the steep ditch and traveling about 14 feet up the embankment, the car paused for a moment and then slammed forward back into the ditch. Our children were not hurt. My wife has suffered whiplash which is requiring medication, physical therapy, and gives her constant pain. My local Ford dealer has been honest that a cruise control wire was frayed, and even though she was not using the cruise control, it was moving in parallel to the accelerator cable. The frayed cruise control cable stuck and caused the accelerator to compress and stick. They have no explanation for the loss of brakes and the failure of the emergency brake. However, after the honest assessment, poor treatment ensued. The dealership is fixing the cable, transmission, and brakes under our extended warranty and not taking ownership for the accident. They have had my car for 1 month today, and I still do not have it back. I will have to pay the $1000 deductible for the auto body work.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #12

May 172004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles


When placing foot onto the gas pedal vehicle will not move. Then, once it moves it jumps.

- Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #11

Oct 272004


  • 100,000 miles
When driving any speed, the accelerator pedal would stick intermittently. The consumer would have to depress the brake pedal hard to get the pedal unstuck. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. The cause was not determined.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #10

Jul 232004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Twice in last year (excluding today) I had unintended acceleration while driving my 2001 Ford Escape. Both times I was on the freeway and SUV had a mind of its own. I stepped on brakes - it did nothing. I tried to pull up on gas pedal - nothing happened. Finally stopped with neutral and emergency brake...took SUV to Ford - they replaced the throttle body on 6/18/04. Today (7/23/04) while on the freeway driving to work (in rush hour traffice), I accelerated to get out of the way of a truck that was going to merge onto the freeway. Accelerator stuck; brakes did not work; I put car in neutral; engine made really loud "revving" type noices; I put car back in drive and brades still did not work.. I had to use emergency brake to stop. What saved me from a possibly fatal accident was that there was no one directly in front of me on freeway. I called Ford and am dropping vehicle back off.. they think it might be the cable now. I am afr aid to drive it. I was doing about 62 mph this am and when it accelerated on its own - I went up to about 78 mph.

- Hudson , OH, USA

problem #9

Mar 172004

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


I experienced uncontrolled acceleration of the vehicle as I was about to turn into a parking space at the local library.

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #8

Jan 072004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Accelerator sticks in idle while vehicle stops. Driver must "jab" accelerator to get it out of idle and start vehicle moving in forward or reverse. Problem is constant since purchasing vehicle in Dec 2002.

- Spring Valley, OH, USA

problem #7

Nov 292003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,500 miles
It takes an excessive amount of pressure on the gas pedal to accelerate from a stop.sudden acceleration results from sticking gas pedal.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #6

Jul 012002


  • miles
While traveling at 45 mph, vehicle suddenly started to loose power, consumer was almost rear ended, when engine started to loose power. Consumer states accelerater pedal gets stuck periodically.

- Marlboro, NJ, USA

problem #5

Aug 092002

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While driving only at low speeds, steering column will make a loud noise and it could cause future steering problems. Dealer notified. The cover on the bottom of the steering wheel was broken. The vehicle shimmys when applying the brakes. The brakes were inspected and the front rotor was machined and the front pads cleaned. Consumer states there is a pecking noise in the engine. Consumer states the accelerator pedal is hard to push because the throttle body needed replacing. The air conditioner stops while at idle. Also, when coming to a stop, the heater is not warm.

- Kettle Island, KY, USA

problem #4

Mar 012002


  • miles
While traveling up an incline at 55mph vehicle started to lose power. Consumer pressed gas pedal to floor and vehicle would not go over 5 mph. Consumer was almost hit by a truck. Cause unknown.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #3

Dec 012001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer states that the accelerator pedal sticks intermittently, when it releases vehicle will surge forward. Vehicle was taken to 2 dealerships, both determined this was normal operating procedure for this vehicle.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #2

Jun 192001

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On a 4- lane highway going 20-25mph, consumer let up off accelerator and vehicle took off. Consumer slammed on brakes, and vehicle was back to normal. Consumer has a up comng appointment at dealer to be looked at vehicle.

- Rushville, OH, USA

problem #1

Dec 212000


  • miles
When trying to shift gears it gets stuck. When the gear is in reverse if you put your foot on the gas pedal the engine just revvs. You have to slam the gear shifter up and down to get it into the drive position.

- Bunnlevel, NC, USA

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