DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or fumes onto a hot engine and cause a fire.
The recall affects Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs from the 2020 through 2023 model years. They all have 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said Thursday that it does not recommend that owners immobilize their vehicles or park them outdoors because fires are rare and typically do not occur with the engines off.
But Ford said it had received 20 reports of fires, including three that ignited nearby structures. The company also said it had four reports of fires that were seen less than five minutes after the engines were shut down. Ford also has four non-burn injury claims and 43 lawsuits related to the issue.
The repair isn’t available yet, but once it is, owners should schedule service at their preferred dealer, Jim Azzuz, executive director of customer relations, said in a statement. Starting December 19, owners will be notified by letter.
Owners can take their SUVs to the dealer and get a free rental, or they can get free pickup and delivery.
Dealers will check the injectors and replace them if necessary. Ford also says it’s extending its warranty on cracked fuel injectors by up to 15 years.
Dealers will update the car’s engine management software to detect a cracked injector. Drivers will receive a message on their dashboard to receive the service. Also, if injector pressure drops, 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 divert 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, with an estimated 0.38% for 2020 models and 0.22% for 2021-2022 models. The rate is calculated for 15 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers).