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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,788 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 #8

Sep 032009


  • miles


My 2001 Ford Escape caught fire on the interstate after being on cruise control for approximately 1 hour. As I was driving, the car began to slow down, then I got out to realize the vehicle was on fire. The car was totaled as well as all of the things inside.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #7

Apr 272006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was parked in the garage for two days when it suddenly erupted in flames during the middle of the night. The fire department was contacted and concluded the fire originated in the engine compartment. The dealer was alerted, but did not inspect the vehicle. There was extensive smoke damage to the home and no one sustained injuries. The only problem present with the vehicle prior to the incident was the cruise control button was broken and the cruise control would not engage. The cruise stopped working two years ago.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #6

Nov 132005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
Cruise control does not work at all, there are so many problems in this vehicle.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #5

Sep 092005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,500 miles


Approaching hiway construction with flagman and about 10 cars stopped, when I hit the brake, cruise control failed to disengage, throttle stuck wide-open. I tried to turn it off with on/off button on steering wheel but no result, approaching stopped line of cars at full throttle, towing camping trailer. Finally, I shifted into neutral and was able to stop the car/trailer, engine racing max revs and making strange noise, faltering as it might when the fuel mixture was too rich. I then turned the engine off, and upon inspection under the hood and locating what we thought was the cruise control, we jiggled a cable going into it and heard a clunk within. I then started the car and it ran normally. Continued trip, just didn't use cruise control !! upon returning from trip, I called my Ford dealer in durango, co and was told to call customer relations. I did so twice, and was told there was no recall on my car. I then searched the NHTSA website, and found there was a recall on 2001 Escape for this very problem (safety recall 00S18, NHTSA campaign id# 00V210001), but my car's VIN was not included! I submit that this incident illustrates that this VIN (and maybe many others) should have been included. The problem has not been fixed (I just don't use the cruise), so I still have the old part, pending resolution of this issue. Thank you.

- Pagosa Springs, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 072001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Nar 02/13/2003. The automatic transmission would shift to drive from over drive, the vents automatically switched to frost. The vehicle completely stalled on a separate occasion, the relay assembly was replaced. The cruise control was inoperative from the time of purchase. The windshield wipers stopped working, the consumer continued to experience problems with the transmission and the gas mileage was poor.

- Mars Hill, NC, USA

problem #3

Mar 132003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,800 miles
I was driving on the highway today. Went to use the cruise control, and the light came on. Cruise control was not engaged. I was almost rear-ended. Was set at 65 mph, speedometer showed rapid deceleration even though cruise was supposed to be engaged. Had to disengage and manually control speed. Found 5 other posts on yahoo internet site for Escape owners. Same problem. Light on, no cruise.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #2

Oct 092001


  • miles
When driving or idling, my 2001 Ford Escape has stalled 7 times in the past three weeks. The auto has only 8600 miles. I first took it to the Ford service shop, who replaced the air flow valve and the idle regulator, but this did not solve the problem. The car stalled again two days later. I returned the car to the shop without any help from the dealer because the shop could not duplicate the problem. I explained to the shop manager that I had read on the internet that a PCM relay could be the culprit. The frod delaer shop very hesitantly replaced the part today. I feel this is a very serious problem because I have almost been hit twice when the engine has stalled. I lose power steering and power brakes, thus losing control of the car.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #1

Jan 272001

Escape 4WD

  • miles
Raw fuel smell in cabin with heater on and at stop light/ideling. Intake gaskets, fuel rail and injectors repleaced. Parts returned to factory.

- Bensalem, PA, USA

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