Few car problems can cause more damage than unexpected engine fires. Most other issues can only cause injuries if you’re actively driving. Meanwhile, engine fires can happen at any time, whether or not the vehicle is running. Parking a car at risk of engine fires in a garage may not only ruin the vehicle but also set your home on fire.
That’s why Ford SUV owners have filed a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer. The lawsuit follows a recent recall of nearly 42,000 2021 Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators. The recall states that the SUVs are at risk of engine fires even when parked and turned off and instructs owners to park the vehicles outside and away from flammable objects.
The plaintiffs argue that the issues with these SUVs are so dangerous that the vehicles are no longer fit to serve their purpose. Furthermore, they state that since Ford does not yet understand the cause of the fires, the manufacturer has no way to repair the vehicles to be safe. As such, their lawsuit is intended to push Ford to compensate owners for the unsafe SUVs under consumer protection laws.
This lawsuit is still brand-new, so it’s unclear how it will proceed. The important thing to note is that 2021 Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions may be a fire risk. Keep reading to learn how to spot if your Ford may be at risk of engine fires and what to do if your car can’t be repaired by the manufacturer.
Signs Your Ford May Be at Risk of Engine Fires
The best way to keep yourself safe from a fire is to identify whether your car is at risk. Ford’s investigations found 16 fires in Navigators and Expeditions before May 12th. It identified a few common trends among these vehicles:
- They were all manufactured between December 2020 and April 2021
- They were all 2021 year models
- Many of the SUVs saw heavy use as rental or company cars
Other than that, Ford has not been able to identify the cause of the problem. There were no conditions specifically connected to the fires. Of the 16 incidents, one occurred while the SUV was idling, three happened while driving, and the rest were while the vehicles were parked and turned off.
If you own one of these SUVs, you need to check for other signs that your car may be a fire risk. Signs of a potential engine fire include:
- High engine temperatures
- Poor engine performance
- Smoke coming out from under the hood
If you notice any of these issues, park your SUV somewhere safe and get out of it immediately, then call 911. Do not open the hood since this may give the fire access to more oxygen. If your car was impacted by the recall, keep it parked outside and away from flammable objects like trees, buildings, and dry grass.
When Do Recalled Cars Become Lemons?
In California, you’re protected by car warranty lemon laws. These laws require car manufacturers to repair, replace, or refund you if the vehicle has a significant manufacturing defect. However, there’s an important difference between a problem that leads to a recall and one that means your car is a lemon.
Currently, 2021 Ford SUVs are being recalled, but that doesn’t mean they’re lemons. Your Ford Expedition or Lincoln Navigator will be considered a lemon if it meets a few additional criteria. Here’s the difference between recalled cars and lemons.
Both recalled cars and lemons have flaws caused by the manufacturer. In general, errors that lead to recalls are widespread issues, while lemons are uncommon and may only affect your vehicle. A car with a problem that wasn’t caused by the manufacturer isn’t going to be recalled, and it’s not considered a lemon.
A manufacturer can issue a recall for a car at any point after it’s sold. Manufacturers may issue recalls for vehicles made more than a decade ago if it’s become clear that there’s a significant issue that needs to be fixed.
Meanwhile, lemons are cars that demonstrated manufacturing issues within 18 months or 18,000 miles of being purchased or leased for the first time. They are often new cars, but they can also be used vehicles if sold by a dealership that offers a warranty.
Manufacturers can issue warranties for various reasons, such as safety, legal compliance, and quality control. However, most recalls occur due to safety issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can only order manufacturers to perform recalls for safety, so most recalls are for problems like the Ford engine fire flaw.
Lemon laws are much broader. A car may be considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer-caused problem that affects its safety, performance, or value. That means that safety issues can make your car a lemon, but so can peeling paint or a fault emissions monitor.
The NHTSA can order manufacturers to issue recalls for any problem that affects a car’s safety. Whether that’s a faulty seatbelt, failing brakes, or engine fire, the manufacturer must repair the issue for you at no cost.
This is where a recalled car can become a lemon. Lemons are defined as vehicles that the manufacturer has failed to successfully repair after four attempts. If you take your recalled car to the dealership to get it fixed and the problem is still happening after four visits, it may officially be a lemon.
Learn Whether Your Recalled Car Is a Lemon
Just because your car has been recalled doesn’t mean the manufacturer knows how to fix it. If your vehicle has a serious manufacturing defect and the dealerships haven’t managed to repair it, it may be a lemon. That means you could get your car replaced or refunded entirely. You can learn more about whether your recalled vehicle is actually a lemon by reaching out to the experts at Johnson & Buxton. Schedule your consultation to discuss your situation and learn what else you can do to get a car that’s safe to drive.