Vehicles Affected: Approximately 139,917 model-year 2013 Escape SUVs, manufactured between Oct. 5, 2011, and June 2, 2013, and equipped with a 1.6-liter engine.
The Problem: The engines may experience under-hood fires due to localized overheating of the engine cylinder head, leading to cracks causing oil leaks; engine oil that comes into contact with a hot engine surface could result in an engine-compartment fire. As of Nov. 18, Ford was aware of a dozen such fires in the U.S. and one in Canada. In addition, in those vehicles built between Oct. 5, 2011, and July 11, 2012, engine-compartment fuel lines may have been installed incorrectly when repaired under a previous recall, and could chafe and eventually leak fuel; this could cause a fire in the presence of an ignition source. According to USA Today, the U.S. action is part of a worldwide recall of more than 161,000 model-year 2013 Escapes. The automaker said it began getting engine-fire reports in late August, according to the newspaper. The SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned and went on sale in spring 2012.
The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners on Jan. 23, and dealers will modify the engine shielding, cooling and control systems; they will also inspect the engine-compartment fuel line, and if necessary, replace it. All related work will be done for free.
What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.