Ford Recalls 441,000 Vehicles Over Fire Risk, Door Latch Issues

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14247065353">Mike Mozart

Driving a car that is on fire or that has doors popping open is impressive, but not recommended. For that reason, you should be aware of Ford’s latest recalls.

Ford on Wednesday issued two recalls covering more than 441,000 vehicles that could catch fire under the hood or that contain door latch springs that can break.

In the first recall, Ford says an internal investigation found that approximately 230,756 vehicles have a risk of under-hood fires.

The recall covers the following vehicles:
• model year 2014 Ford Escape
• model year 2014 to 2015 Ford Fiesta ST
• model year 2013 to 2014 Ford Fusion
• model year 2013 to 2015 Ford Transit Connect

In the affected vehicles, a lack of coolant circulation could cause an engine to overheat, resulting in a crack in the cylinder head. If this occurs, the cracked cylinder head can result in a pressurized oil leak, and oil that comes into contact with a hot engine surface increases the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.

Ford says it is aware of 29 reports of fire associated with the issue in both the US and Canada, but no injuries.

The owner of a 2014 Ford Focus reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the vehicle caught fire in Nov. 2016.

“The car was parked in the parking lot, turned off and an hour and a half later I was notified it was on fire,” the owner writes. “The fire started under the hood.”

The owner of a 2013 Ford Fiesta reports having issues with shuddering, lunging, jerking, and the engine failing to engage gear shifts before it eventually experienced overheating and fire under the hood.

Ford says that it will mail owners of the affected vehicles information on how to check and refill coolant. Customers can continue to drive their vehicles, but should see their dealer if their vehicle exhibits a coolant leak, overheating, or frequently needs coolant added.

When service kits are available, dealers will install a coolant level sensor with supporting hardware and software at no charge to the customer.

In its second recall, Ford says it is adding 210,619 model year 2014 Fiesta, model year 2013 to 2014 Fusion, and model year 2013 to 2014 Lincoln MKZ vehicles to a campaign to replace door latches that can break.

According to the carmaker, the pawl spring tab in the side door latch could break. A door latch with a fractured pawl spring tab typically results in a “door will not close” condition.

If this occurs, Ford says it can increase the risk of injury to drivers or passengers.

Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with the issue.

Door latch issues have plagued Ford vehicles for the better part of two years, including a lengthy investigation by federal safety regulators. In Aug. 2015, the carmaker recalled 828,053 vehicles, and then increased that recall by nearly 1.5 million cars in Sept. 2016.

The carmaker says that it will notify owners and dealer will replace all four side door latches with a more robust service door latch at no cost to the customer.