Ford Motor Company has issued yet another recall on 2020-23 model year Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Escape SUVs following customer reports of fires with injuries as well as under hood fires that occurred after the vehicle was turned off.
The cause: Spilled fuel or leaked vapors on the hot engine or exhaust components caused by a cracked fuel injector.
As many as 521,778 vehicles, with 1.5 litre, three-cylinder engines, are potentially affected in the US, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Specifically, 333,342 Escapes and 188,436 Bronco Sports.
More than 100,000 vehicles in Europe and South America are also affected, Ford spokeswoman Maria Buczkowski told the Free Press Thursday.
The Dearborn automaker has received 20 reports of under hood fires, including three that ignited nearby structures. The company also said it has four claims of fires that were noticed less than five minutes after the engines were turned off. Ford also has four injury claims not involving burns, and 43 legal claims attributed to the problem, the Associated Press reported.
Of four claimed injuries reported to Ford for two separate instances, two were reportedly related to getting out of the vehicle and two were claimed due to stress, Buczkowski told the Free Press.
Ford asked that customers be mindful of warning signs and exit the vehicle as needed, she said.
“A fuel leak may result in fuel odor both outside and inside the vehicle. If the fuel leak initiates a fire that progresses, the customer may notice smoke or flames emanating from the engine compartment or underbody,” Ford wrote in its recall report dated Nov . 18.
As is the case with similar Ford recalls, Ford said it is not recommending that owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outdoors because the company says the likelihood of fire is rare.
“I don’t want to minimize the situation but we are projecting a low failure rate,” Buczkowski said.
Owners of 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles have sued Ford over the fire issue.
This design element causing the problem has been used from November 2018 to October 2022, Ford said.
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Previously, Ford issued recalls on these and other vehicles for an engine oil leak and an engine compartment risk. Vehicles fixed earlier will need to go back to the dealership for new fixes, Ford said in its paperwork.
Ford CEO Jim Farley tapped a new quality czar earlier this year, revamped quality management and has seen recalls and warranties eat into the company’s profits.
This latest action follows a recall of 550,000 F-150 pickup trucks for a broken windshield wiper motor. Ford has had more recalls in 2022 than any automaker.
Repairs aren’t yet available on this latest Bronco Sport, Escape recall, but, once they are, owners should schedule service with a preferred dealer, Jim Azzouz, executive director of customer experience, said in a statement provided to the Free Press.
Since no timeline is available yet, customers are asked to monitor the situation through their dealers. There will be both a software update as well as the tube installation.
“A drain tube will … be installed to allow fuel to drain from the cylinder head drain hole, away from surfaces which may initiate combustion, to the ground below the vehicle,” Ford said in its recall document.
Ford has extended the warranty to cover cracked fuel injectors for up to 15 years, Buczkowski said.
“Taking care of our customers is our top priority. Once repairs are available, customers will be able to take advantage of (vehicle) pickup and delivery or a loaner.”
Ford plans to notify owners by mail between December 19-23, arriving along with Christmas and Hanukkah cards.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid.