Ford's 2013 Escape model has been troubled ever since its release due to safety issues

Ford recalls SUVs due to fire risk

US car maker Ford has issued two recalls today for its 2013 Escape SUV after 13 cases of fire were reported related to the vehicle’s engine cylinder head.

The fully redesigned 2013 Escape SUV, currently Ford’s second most popular car, has had a bad luck streak with total seven recalls having been issued since the vehicle’s introduction in 2012.

In the latest event, Ford is recalling all 2013 Escape cars equipped with 1.6-liter engines because the engine cylinder head may overheat and cause cracks that could allow oil to leak. According to documents filed with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13 instances of fire have been reported related to the issue, though no one has been injured.

The recall will affect 161,334 Escape SUVs around the world, all built at Ford’s plant in Louisville, Kentucky. The vast majority of the recalled vehicles, some 139,000 have been sold in the US market, with additional 19,000 in Canada and the rest in other markets around the world.

Further 11,821 vehicles have also been recalled because of concerns the engine fuel compartment line might have been installed improperly and could leak.

According to NHTSA documents, Ford will modify the engine shielding, cooling and control systems under the larger recall and instruct dealers to inspect the engine compartment fuel lines and replace it if necessary, as part of the smaller own. Owners will be notified of the recalls by mail by 23 January 2014.

The problems with the 2013 Escape model first occurred in 2012, soon after the vehicle’s introduction, when, in an unusual move, Ford ordered some 11,500 Escape owners not to drive their cars due to the risk of engine fire. Additional 8,266 vehicles were recalled the same month because of a carpeting flaw that could reduce clearance for the brake pedal.

In September 2012, Ford recalled about 7,600 of the 2013 models to address potential fire issues. Two months later, it recalled another 73,300 Escapes as a software glitch in the cooling system raised the risk of a fire.

In March, Ford recalled about 5,600 Escapes as part of a larger recall to check the child lock on the rear left-hand door in several vehicles.

In late July, Ford paid a $17.4 million penalty to U.S. regulators for failing to quickly recall nearly 424,000 Ford Escape SUVs from model years 2001 to 2004 regarding stuck throttles when the gas pedal was fully or almost fully depressed. It was the largest possible penalty NHTSA, a unit of the US Department of Transportation, can collect.

Despite all its troubles, Escape 2013 sales in the United States were up 14 per cent through October this year to 250,543 vehicles, making it the second-best selling Ford product behind the F-Series pickup trucks, and a runner-up to Honda Motor's CR-V in the SUV segment.

Ford is also recalling 7,329 Lincoln MKZ hybrid vehicles globally from model years 2013 and 2014 to re-program the power train control module. They may not conform to US requirements that the brake be depressed before the car can be shifted out of park. No accidents or injuries were reported relating to this issue

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