Ford Escape Recall: Fuel Leaks, Engine Problems Could Cause Fires

Government safety officials have announced two recalls involving Ford Escape vehicles, after recognizing potential problems with certain models that may impact the engine cylinders and the fuel lines, posing a risk for engine compartment fires.  

The Ford Escape recalls were announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on November 25, after at least 12 consumer reports were received that involving the engine catching fire under the hood while driving. To date, no injuries have been reported.

The recalls include almost 150,000 Ford Escape vehicles from the 2013 model year, which were manufactured with the 1.6L engines. The recalls address potential problems with the engine cylinder heads cracking under certain heat exposure and a possibly mis-installed fuel line that may chafe and eventually cause a fuel leak. Both issues pose fire hazards when exposed to heat and ignition of the engine.

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The larger of the recalls (PDF) includes roughly 139,917 2013 Ford Escape vehicles with 1.6L engines manufactured between October 5, 2011 and June 2, 2013. Those vehicles may experience localized overheating of the engine cylinder heads, which may cause cracks and lead to a fuel leak. If engine oil comes in contact with an overheating engine surface it may result in and engine compartment fire.

In early November, Ford was able to reproduce an engine cylinder crack after running multiple 2013 Escape vehicles on an engine dynamometer test.

The second recall (PDF) includes 9,469 Ford Escape vehicles with 1.6L engines manufactured between October 5, 2011 and July 11, 2012. The vehicles’ fuel lines may have been installed incorrectly by service technicians, creating a chafe condition that allows the fuel lines to leak over a period of time. In the event the fuel leaks from the fuel lines and comes in contact with the heated engine, it may cause a fire.

Ford plans to notify owners of the affected Escape vehicles by January 23, 2014 and to repair and replace both the fuel lines and the engine cylinder heads free of charge. Customers with questions may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332 and may also contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or visit them online at www.safecar.gov for further information.

These latest recalls come almost exactly one year after Ford announced similar recalls for the Ford Escape and Ford Fusion due to overheating problems and fire risks. The recall, which affected nearly 90,000 model year 2013 vehicles, was blamed on fluids making contact with hot engines. The problem was blamed for at least 12 vehicle fires. No one was injured in the reported incidents and it is unclear whether the problem was related to the latest recall or if some of the same vehicles are affected.

Photo Courtesy of noelweathers via Flickr CC by 2.0

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