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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 1
Average Mileage:
29,380 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 162006


  • miles


I was writing this for my sister who is no longer here. She drove a 2001 Ford Escape going 60 mph down the highway. The people in front of her stopped and she rear ended them. Her car flipped several times and she was ejected. Although the state troopers said she wasn't wearing her seat belt she clearly had a 2" by 4" abrasion on her left shoulder exactly the size and location that her seat belt would have been. The SUV was completely destroyed, not a panel on it wasn't smashed - and yet the airbags didn't go off. It was so bad that I went by the accident and didn't even recognize the car until a police officer called our house and told us about the accident and location. My sister was 22 years old with a husband and a daughter and now she is no longer here. I realize there has been a recall on the seat belt, we got a letter 2 months after the accident even though the recall was 2 years before. Something needs to be done about the airbags though. R.I.P. amanda whitmore.

- Welaka, FL, USA

problem #5

Feb 072007

Escape 4WD 6-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
- the contact called regarding the 2001 Ford Escape. The contact was traveling at 35 mph. The road conditions were clear. The sun blinded the contact, and she rear ended the other vehicle, causing minor damage. The contact's vehicle was badly damaged. The frame was bent. The airbags did not deploy on impact. The airbag deployed after the contact's head hit the windshield. The driver was belted. The seat belt pretensioner did not deploy. The driver's head hit the windshield and the windshield cracked. The contact sustained injuries. The failure mileage was 84000. A police report was taken.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #4

May 242006

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,282 miles
: the contact stated the airbag light illuminated and the vehicle was taken to the dealership. The dealership determined the pretensioner in the driver side seat belt needed to be replaced. The consumer had to pay for the repairs. Updated 07/03/06.

- Sumner, WA, USA

problem #3

Sep 202004


  • 59,000 miles


The front seat belts will not restrain the consumer when the brakes are depressed. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- York, PA, USA

problem #2

May 102001


  • miles
Nar 05/28/2003 the consumer made several attempts to fix inoperable air bag assembly. Seat belt restraint system replaced. Dealer notified.

- Uknown, DC, USA

problem #1

Jul 302003


  • miles
Consumer states that the vehicle was in a collision and the drivers side seat belt did not lock. Dealer notified.

- Hillview, KY, USA

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