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:
53,365 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 #7

Sep 012012

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles


2001 Ford Escape. Consumer writes in regards to safety recall notice. Recall # 12V353000. The dealer informed the consumer, the parts were still not available, even though they were supposed to available as of August 5, 2012.

- Fairview, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jun 032010


  • 138,055 miles
Accelerator cable gets stuck under plastic engine cover.

- Churchton, MD, USA

problem #5

May 282008

Escape 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Ford Escape. While driving 30 mph and attempting to use the brakes, the vehicle would accelerate instead of slowing down. The only way to stop the vehicle was to shift into neutral and turn off the ignition. The dealer inspected the vehicle and suggested that the housing for the speed control could be the cause of the failure. The contact was informed that her VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 00V210001 (vehicle speed control). She filed a complaint with the manufacturer and was informed that nothing else could be done. The contact asked the dealer to unhook the speed control because she thought that may be the cause of the failure. The current and failure mileages were approximately 88,000. Updated 07/29/08 the consumer stated her vehicle should have been included in recall # 04V574000 since the build date of the vehicle was 6-11-2001 which was close to 2002. Updated 07/31/08.

- Bay City, MI, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Feb 112005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Accelerator pedal sticking. Had inspected, determined throttle cable needed to be replaced. This is the 2nd time in 2 years this has been replaced. Current recall by Ford for this problem does not include 2001 models.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #2

Jun 142004

Escape 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Recall campaign 00V210001 concerning vehicle speed control cable. While drivingthrottle cable becomes inoperable. Upon depressing the pedal it will stick. Consumer has taken the vehicle to the dealer five times for the very same problem as the recall stated.

- Pleasant Plain, OH, USA

problem #1

Apr 152004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
There is currently a recall on the 2002-2004 Ford Escape SUV's due to accelerator cable problems. We have a 2001 Ford Escape 4X4 SUV and the accelerator cable is also sticking. Why not recall all the model years" why wait till there is an accident or major failure"

- Wichita, KS, USA

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