Fires are among the worst potential dangers that a car can pose. Unlike most other problems, fire risks are typically dangerous whether or not the vehicle is in operation. That’s why Ford has just recalled more than 634,000 vehicles after a series of engine fires that led to four injuries and set fire to three buildings.
This Ford recall is notable for both its size and danger. It’s one of the biggest recalls by any manufacturer in the past decade and has led to significant harm already. Furthermore, it affects cars that are practically brand new, whose owners rightfully expected better safety standards. If you own a Bronco Sport or Escape made in 2021 or later, you could also be at risk of these fires. Here’s what you need to know about whether you’re in danger, what Ford has offered to do about the problem, and what you can do if you experience a fire.
Ford Escapes and Broncos May Have Cracked Fuel Injectors
The recall affects 634,000 vehicles, consisting of 2020-2023 Escapes and 2021-2023 Bronco Sports. The recalled cars are all equipped with 3-cylinder 1.5L engines. The engine is what appears to be causing the problem. According to the manufacturer, the fires were caused by cracked fuel injectors.
Fuel injectors deliver gas into the engine at a consistent speed and volume. They are positioned next to some of the hottest parts of the car. This makes cracks in the injectors particularly dangerous because they can leak highly combustible oil or gasoline directly onto surfaces hot enough to ignite it. In the case of these Ford engine fires, it appears that cracks are forming around the oil separator housings, causing the seals to fail and oil to fall into the engine and ignite.
According to Ford engineers, this can cause a significant amount of fuel to leak into the engine in a short period. As a result, it only takes a tiny spark or particularly hot part of the engine to cause a significant fire. These fires can occur whether the vehicle is in operation or parked.
Overall, there have been at least 20 fires reported that were caused by this issue. However, the actual number may be higher, as the estimate does not include fires in which the engine was completely destroyed.
Ford clarifies that four owners noticed the fire within a few minutes of parking their cars. That leaves sixteen fires that were either identified while on the road or that occurred after drivers had walked away from their vehicles. That’s why the problem has been linked to at least three structure fires. These blazes occurred after the engines ignited while parked next to garages and other buildings. The incidents led to four reported injuries. In short, faulty fuel injectors in Broncos and Escapes harm people who aren’t even in the vehicle.
How Ford Is Fixing Affected Vehicles
Ford has been investigating the issue for months and even issued recalls for the problem before, but still has not identified why the cracks form. As such, it cannot offer any repairs that would resolve the issue permanently. However, the manufacturer has allegedly determined ways to prevent the risk of fires and notify owners if the cracks form and they need to get their cars serviced.
According to Ford’s press release, this is accomplished in two steps. First, the dealership will update the vehicle’s software to detect if pressure drops in the fuel lines feeding into the injectors. If this occurs, the seal has likely failed, and the car needs to be serviced or risk a fire. Second, the dealership will install a drain tube to capture fuel leaking from the injectors and allow it to drain safely from the cylinder head drain hole onto the ground. This is supposed to reduce the risk of fires by keeping fuel out of contact with ignition sources. However, it is yet to be seen whether the Bronco and Escape fire recall fix will actually protect owners.
What If Dealership Fixes Fail?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California warranty laws require Ford to offer repairs for manufacturing flaws to owners of vehicles that are still under warranty. That includes every car covered by the Escape and Bronco fire recall. However, these repairs don’t always work. That’s when a Ford vehicle may creep into lemon territory.
In California, manufacturers are obligated to provide repairs to owners free of charge for warranty problems. They don’t have unlimited attempts, though. They have a “reasonable number” of opportunities to perform repairs, which is defined as four chances for non-fatal problems and just two shots for potentially deadly issues. That means that Ford may only have two chances to repair these faulty fuel injectors before the car could be eligible for lemon claims.
If a deadly problem returns after two repair attempts, California law states that the problem significantly affects the vehicle’s safety and utility. At that point, the state considers car manufacturers liable for refunding or replacing the vehicle. Owners can file lemon claims to pursue the full purchase price of their vehicles so they can purchase a safer and more functional car.
Get Compensation for Your Ford Lemon
Don’t accept the risk that your Ford Escape or Ford Bronco Sport could set your garage on fire. If you have one of these cars manufactured between 2020 and 2022, you should take it to the dealership as soon as the repair is available. However, if the problem returns, then you may be able to file a lemon claim against Ford for a full refund.
To learn more about whether you’re eligible for a lemon claim, reach out to Johnson & Buxton — The Lemon Law Guys. We have years of experience on both sides of the table in lemon law claims, so we know exactly how to build your case for the greatest possible chance of success. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can assist you with your claim.