Ford recalls 634K SUVs due to fuel leak and fire risk

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spew fuel on a hot engine or leak vapors and cause a fire.

The recall covers the Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs from the 2020 to 2023 model years. All are powered by 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engines. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said Thursday it is not recommending that owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outside because fires are rare and usually don’t happen with the engine off.

But Ford said it has received 20 reports of fires, three of which ignited nearby structures. The company also said it had four claims of fires that were observed in less than five minutes after the engine was shut down. Ford also has four injury claims not involving burns, and 43 legal claims attributed to the problem.

The repairs are not yet available, but once they are available, owners should schedule service with a preferred dealer, Jim Azzouz, executive director of customer experience, said in a statement. Owners will be notified by letter from 19 December.

Owners can take their SUV to the dealer and get a free loan, or they can get free pickup and delivery.

The dealer will inspect the injectors and replace them if necessary. Ford also says it’s extending the warranty to cover cracked fuel injectors for up to 15 years.

Dealers will update the vehicles’ engine-control software so that it can detect broken injectors. Drivers will get a dashboard message to avail the service. In addition, if injectors lose pressure, engine power will be cut to reduce the risk and allow drivers to stop and go to a safe location to call for service, Ford said.

They’ll also install a tube to drain fuel away from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces.

Ford said it is not replacing the injectors because the failure rate that causes leaks is low, estimated at 0.38% for 2020 models and 0.22% for 2021 to 2022 models. The rate is for 15 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 km).

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