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:
28,598 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #3

Dec 302004

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,900 miles


One week prior to fire, there was a unusual smell that was almost like a "funny woodstove' smell. This smell was only present until the car heated up and the air freshener would cover the odor. It got very strong the afternoon before the fire happened. It was more of a stale tin can is the best way that I can describe it. I came home in the evening and at 5:30 am of the 30th my mother and I heard a loud explosion which we found out was later the rear tire on the driver side of my 2001 Ford Escape bursting due to the intensity of the fire and the origin, the rear left side of the vehicle. The Ford Escape is destroyed and burned at over 1400 degrees and spread so rapidly that by the time the fire department arrived there was nothing they could do but control the fore and put it out. My parents vehicle was in the driveway next to my Escape and was also destroyed. Since the incident I have contacted Ford several times to report the incident and have an investigator come out to determine the cause of the fire as the origin is already determined due to the way the vehicle burned. I have been given the runaround several times, and it has been almost thirty days. There was something very wrong with my car and this fire happened only a couple of hours after the vehicle was parked in my driveway, luckily I was not killed and my family still has a home. The fire marshal has stated that the fire patterns on the outside of the car are consistent with a leaking O ring from the gasoline tank. This matter was going to further be investigated when middlesex mutual and Ford were present to lift the vehicle up off the ground, however Ford has been ignoring this serious issue at hand.

- Canton, CT, USA

problem #2

Aug 282003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,894 miles
Vehicle had small fire and was towed by Ford road side assistance. The service tech at dobbs Ford in memphis was told of the fire. He then tried to start the car and the car caught fire again and is now a total loss. The vehicle involved was a 2001 Ford Escape.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #1

Mar 272003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
2001 Ford Escape has repeatedly stalled during normal driving. Car currently has 33,000 miles; however, I began having problems early on. Car has stranded me several times. Car has been towed in several times and dealership can find nothing wrong it. Dealership has replaced alternator, transmission, fuel hoses, sensor, computer, etc. And car still stalls. This week it had to be towed from my garage to the dealership because it would not start. Dealership again could find nothing wrong with car. I love the car, but am terrified to drive it as when it stalls everything locks up and I have had a couple near miss accidents trying to get off the road. I have an infant and this is unacceptable.

- Tyler, TX, USA

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