Ford said it has developed a fix that stops an engine-overheating and fire problem in some of its newest Escape SUV and Fusion sedan models.
The automaker has recalled about 16,000 Fusions and 73,000 Escape SUVs because of problems that could cause engine fires. The recall involved only 2013 models equipped with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, the automaker said. The issue does not affect Escape or Fusion models with other engines, it said.
To fix the condition, Ford said Monday, it will make software updates to the cooling system of the 1.6-liter engine, available in the SE and SEL models of the vehicles.
The software updates will better manage engine temperatures during a unique overheating condition that could occur under unique operating conditions, the company said. The original cooling system design was not able to address a loss of coolant system pressure under certain operating conditions, which could lead to a vehicle fire while the engine was running.
"We remain absolutely committed to continuously improving and providing the highest-quality vehicles to our customers. When a potential issue is identified, we act promptly on behalf of our customers, as we did this time," said Raj Nair, Ford's vice president for global product development.
Beginning early next week, the automaker said, customers will be able to get the software update at their dealer. The time needed for the repair is expected to be less than half a day, but a dealer may need the vehicle for a longer period of time due to service scheduling requirements, Ford said.
Until the cooling software is updated, customers driving 2013 Escape and Fusion vehicles equipped with the 1.6-liter engine are being advised to contact their dealer to arrange for alternative transportation at no charge.
Last week, Ford also recalled 19,000 2013 model year Fusions that might not have had the low-beam headlamp projector coating properly cured during the manufacturing process.
An improperly cured projector coating will over time become hazy through operation, reducing the brightness of the low-beam lamp. This may decrease driver visibility and increase the risk of a vehicle crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.