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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 172001

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Intermittently gear shifter does not lock into gear. Dealer has inspected vehicle, but could not correct the problem.

- Nesconset, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 012000


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The shift lever when placed in the "D" drive position does not lock in place. Additionally the shift level extends 3-4" into the radio and control panel for other instruments like rear defogger and parking light swithch. If shifter is bumped while trying to change radio or to play a cd or cassette, the shifter easily gets knocked out of position. I have repoted this to my dealer, they checked other Escapes on the lot. They all have the same problem. I emailed Ford directly about this problem, and they have not as yet responded. I belive that this problem can cause a serious problem if not fixed.

- N. Falmouth, MA, USA

problem #2

Jan 162001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer is unable to use radio because transmission pawl is in the way and is too far, causing consumer to shift gear while driving.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #1

Nov 152000

Escape 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Gear shifter will not go down all the way. When moving hand, gears will change while driving. The gear shifter handle gets stuck half-way down when changing gears due to design flaw.

- Hantramck, MI, USA

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