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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
7,643 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #14

Aug 302005

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles


2001 Ford Escape. The consumer found a recall on line, this recall did not pertain to this vehicle due to VIN. When driving, the vehicle died, power steering malfunctioned, and the vehicle was hard to control. The vehicle will not keep a idling.. the vehicle is currently at the dealership, and they have not yet contacted the consumer. The problem started two weeks ago, on August 30, 2005. The consumer stated it happened approximately ten times.

- Collyville, TX, USA

problem #13

Sep 042003


  • miles
Dangerous situation regarding 2001 Ford Escape. The consumers brake fluid system was contaminated. The dealer was notified to have repairs made. The consumer noticed the brake pedal was continuously getting lower to the floor and stopping became increasingly difficult. The vehicle also had a power steering leak.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #12

Oct 212003

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Upon driving downhill car disengaged.lost power steering and brakes.anual brakes and steering also failed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 022003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Vehicle engine revs/searches/hunts, while driving steady and maintaining a constant speed on a level road, going down or up a hill and the accelerator is not being played with. Intermittently vehicle handling seems to lose the power assist - turning all of the sudden requires more muscle effort - and handling gets very stiff. SUV has stalled 5 times already and dealer still unable to correct the problem. Every time - I lost the steering, the brakes, the accelerator and the electrical systems. Escape is a very scary and dangerous SUV - unable to predict when it will stall or when it will suddenly accelerate (I don't dare use the cruise control).

- Port Washington, NY, USA

problem #10

Feb 112002


  • miles
On 02/11/2002 traveling at 35mph going to work made a left turn and truck suddenly started to stall. Accelleration begin to decrease and a loud roaring or grinding sound was coming from under the car. Pulled over due to decrease in acceleration and stopped car. Turned car off and on again and started to accelerate and car would not go above 35mph. Finally made it to dealership. Dealer looked at car and determined it was the steering assembly and replaced. On 03/14/02 went out to start car and drove 35 mph engine light came on and stayed on the remaining of day. Took to dealer the next day due to light still on, dealer replaced part indicating switch chip bad. On 07/25 and 07/ 29 car fails to start after an extended period of driving has done this on several occasion and have called dealer to bring vehicle in to look at on 08/01/02. Vehicle stalls at 35 -40 mph on several occasions. Not happy with vehicle problems and feel these defects can be a danger to me and other drivers on the road. Ford should do there best to replace parts and accomodate their consumers for time and headaches.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #9

May 172002

Escape 4WD

  • miles
While driving at about 40 mph, with both children in the car, my car stalled in a busy intersection. My brakes, steering, accellerator, and electrical(radio and speedometer) went out. I was forced to coast down the street to find somewhere to pull over. I have sent it to the dealership and they acted like it was my fault that it happened and that they hadn't heard of such complaint. I am scared to drive it even after they said it is fixed. I have heard of this happening, after I did some reasearch and people have reported it happening again. I would like some kind of trade or reimbuirsement. My reason being is for the saftey of my children and myself. The car is only 11 months old.

- Middletown, OH, USA

problem #8

Dec 222001


  • miles


I have spoken with a Ford rep. For a new car, too many things have gone wrong. It is currently in the shop have the window and ABS brakes fixed. Every time it's somehting new! nlm

- Avon, OH, USA

problem #7

Mar 142002

Escape 4WD

  • miles
Car electrical, steering and brakes cut off driving at 35-40 mph on curvy road. Just bought the car used 2 days ago. First time this has happened. Now that ive looked at this site, seems many people have this problem. Going to dealer tommorow. We like the car, but we're afraid we have ourselves a lemon. I hope the dealer/Ford will fix this problem and stand behind their product.

- New Market, MD, USA

problem #6

Aug 222001


  • miles
Engine stalled while going downhill, power brakes and steering went out so very hard to control on an incline. Seems to be a common problem with the exact same situations with this vehicle.

- Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #5

Oct 152001

Escape 4WD

  • miles
I lost control of my vehicle while traveling downhill. I lost power to the car which apparently, caused complete system failure. The battery, engine, and oil lights came on. I lost 90% of my brakes and lost all steering ability. I had to pull the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The car restarted afterwards. The company told me it was a problem with the relay. But I still have an issue with the fact that I lost steering capabilities and probably could happen again in the future.

- York, PA, USA

problem #4

Mar 012001

Escape 4WD

  • miles


Driving around 40mph, and car has stalled three times on me now with loss of steering and brakes, most recently on 10/11/2001. Ford says they don't know what is wrong.

- Norristown, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 092001

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Was traveling 40mph on highway went to change lanes and power steering didn't respond. Dealership was aware of problem. Check engine light illuminated and oil light illuminated, dealer cleaned ground connections under the battery. Sub woofer inoperable, dealer replaced.

- Dundee, OR, USA

problem #2

Aug 102001


  • miles
Consume R was traveling about 45mph on a mountain road, and without prior warning, engine check light came on the dashboard. Then, there were no brakes or power steering. Also, speed pedal went all the way to the floor. Consumer was able to control vehicle. Dealership was aware of problems.

- Shermansdale, PA, USA

problem #1

Aug 022001

(reported on)

Escape 4WD

  • miles
Engine has shut off 3 times while driving, since car bought 6 weeks ago. Always on hilly, curvey roads, doing 35-40 mph, coasting and braking lightly. Check engine light comes on. Power steering and brakes go. Have to muscle car to roadside. Turning off key and restarting seems to work. Have also put in neutral, turned key off and restarted, shifting back into drive. Been to dealer once last week for problem. They could not detect or recreate. Dealer contacted Ford hot-line, who made suggestions, to no avail. Dealer says they nor Ford have heard of this problem. Hard to believe this. Have spoken with Ford customer service twice, sympathetic reaction but with no advice or solution. Happened again yesterday. Car back to dealer now for week while on vacation. Very afraid I'm going to kill myself or someone else in accident. Expressed concerns to dealer and Ford. There are 16 like complaints on NHTSA sight. Is anything being done?

- Oakham, MA, USA

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