The 2013 Ford Escape is being recalled for the third time in just two months, because of coolant leaks that could cause engines to overheat and catch fire.
Ford announced the recall of 7,600 new Escapes, all 2013 models with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines, reports Fox News. Engine plugs may not have been properly installed in the new SUVs, potentially causing them to fall out while the motor is running. The problem can cause coolant leaks, making the engines overheat.
Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel, a Ford spokeswoman, announced that the company will fix the problem for free, and that dealers have repair parts available. She advised that owners should make service appointments as soon as possible to get the issue fixed.
Clarence Ditlow, executive director for consumer group the Center for Auto Safety, has said that the three recalls in two months show quality problems with the newly redesigned SUV, which has already recalled 21,500 vehicles for fuel line and carpet padding issues.
11,500 Escapes were recalled in July to fix fuel lines that had potential to crack, leak, and cause fires. 10,000 more were recalled the same month to resolve a carpet padding issue, which was interfering with braking.
Detroit News notes that, while Ford has had no reports of fires from customers, one fire in a 2013 Escape was reported in Tennessee. An employee at the dealership was test driving the SUV before it was delivered to a customer. The employee noticed steam and returned to the dealership lot, where the car caught fire. The fire was extinguished quickly and Ford launched an investigation when they learned about the fire.
The vehicles were recalled after a 19-day investigation; dealers will install an additional plug sealant to the one already there, and a secondary cap will also be placed over the original engine plug. Michelle Krebs, auto analyst at Edmunds.com, stated of the latest recall that:
“It’s not good. It’s a critically important vehicle to Ford because it’s a significant amount of volume.”
So far, Ford Escape sales have not been hampered by the recalls, but a third recall in two months could have more implications on Ford’s launch of other redesigned vehicles, like the highly anticipated new Fusion.