Ford Motor Co. announced this week that it is issuing auto defect recalls for fire dangers in some Ford Escape SUVs. According to a report in Detroit News, Ford is recalling nearly 140,000 2103 Ford Escape SUVs with 1.6-liter engines in the United States and 161,333 worldwide. The fires, officials say, are caused by overheating of the engine cylinder head, which can crack and leak oil. Ford said it had received reports of 13 fires including one in Canada as a result of the engine issue. At least 12 other fires were reported in 2012. Those incidents were linked to a November 2012 Escape recall caused by coolant fluid leaks due to overheating.
So far no injuries have been reported as a result of these defects. In total, about 30 vehicles fires have been reported in North America in connection with the recalls. Some of the fires occurred because the cars were delivered to customers. Owners will be notified by late January to take the SUVs to a dealer to have the repairs made to the engine shielding, cooling and control systems. Overall, Ford has issued seven recalls for the 2013 Escape.
Prior Escape Recalls
In July 2012, Ford recalled 11,500 new 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines and told customers to stop driving them immediately because of fire dangers caused by damaged fuel lines. In September 2012, Ford issued another recall for the 2013 Escape, saying that an improperly installed part could lead to a risk of a vehicle fire. In November 2012, Ford issued its third fire recall for the vehicle to address fluid leaks caused by overheating that had caused 13 fires including 12 in Escapes.
The Danger of Vehicle Fires
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), approximately one in seven fires in the country is a vehicle fire. Nearly 86 percent of highway vehicle fires occurred in passenger vehicles. Also 61 percent of highway vehicle fires and 35 percent of fatal highway vehicle fires originated in the engine, running gear and wheel area of the vehicle. The leading cause of highway vehicle fires was mechanical failure (44 percent).
Anyone who has been injured in a vehicle fire caused by a malfunctioning part or a defective vehicle may be able to seek compensation for his or her injuries and losses by filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer. An experienced auto product liability lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.