Ford recalls over 634,000 SUVs due to fuel leaks and fire risk

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or leak fumes onto a hot engine and start a fire.

The recall affects Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs from model years 2020 through 2023. All have 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines.

The Dearborn, Michigan automaker said Thursday it doesn’t recommend owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outside because fires are rare and generally don’t happen when the engines are turned off.

But Ford said it has received 20 reports of fires, including three that set nearby buildings on fire. The company also said it has four claims of fires noticed less than five minutes after the engines were turned off. Ford also has four non-burn claims and 43 legal claims attributed to the problem.

Repairs are not yet available, but once they are, owners will need to make an appointment with a preferred dealer, Jim Azzouz, executive director of customer experience, said in a statement. Owners will be notified by letter from December 19.

Owners can take their SUVs to the dealer and get a free loaner car, or have them picked up and delivered for free.

Dealers will inspect the injectors and replace them if necessary. Ford also says it is extending the warranty for cracked fuel injectors to 15 years.

Dealers will update the vehicles engine control software so that it detects a cracked injector. Drivers get a dashboard message to get service. Also, if there is a drop in pressure in the injectors, engine power is cut off to minimize risk and allow drivers to go to a safe location to stop and call for service, Ford said.

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

Ford said it is not replacing the injectors because the failure rate causing 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 240,000 kilometers.

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