DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co . is recalling more than 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or release steam onto a hot engine and cause a fire.
The recall covers the Bronco Sport and Escape SUV models from the 2020 to 2023 model years. All have 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said Thursday that owners are not advised to stop driving the vehicles or park them outdoors because fires are rare and typically do not occur when the engines are off.
But Ford said it received 20 reports of fires, including three that ignited nearby structures. The company also said there were four claims of fires that were noticed less than five minutes after the engines were shut down. Ford also has four claims for injuries that don’t involve burns and 43 lawsuits related to the problem.
The repairs are not yet available, but once they are, owners should schedule service at a preferred dealer, Jim Azuz, executive director of customer service, said in a statement. Owners will be notified by letter dated December 19.
Owners can take their SUVs to the dealer and get a free loan, or they can get free pickup and delivery.
Dealers will check the injectors and replace them if necessary. Ford also says it’s extending warranties to cover cracked fuel injectors to 15 years.
Dealers will update vehicles’ engine management software to detect a blown injector. Drivers will receive a message on the dashboard to receive service. Also, if there is a drop in injector pressure, engine power will be reduced to minimize risk and allow drivers to get to a safe place to stop and call for service, Ford said.
They will also install a pipe to drain the fuel away from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces.
Ford said it is not replacing the injectors because the rate of failures that cause leaks is low, about 0.38 percent for 2020 models and 0.22 percent for 2021 to 2022 models. The rate is for 15 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers).
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