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Ford recalls 570,000 vehicles for engine fire risk, doors opening

Ford Motor Company has announced the recall of some 360,000 vehicles in North America and Europe due to the risk of engine fires and another 210,000 vehicles because the doors may suddenly fly open. The door latch issue has been plaguing Ford for the past three years, with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation resulting in recalls of over 3 million vehicles due to the problem.

According to the Associated Press, Ford has received reports of 29 engine fires in the U.S. in Canada, but no known injuries so far. The problem appears to be poor coolant circulation, which causes the engine to overheat. This burns off coolant, potentially exacerbating the problem. The overheated engine may create cracks in the cylinder head. If that occurs, pressurized oil can seep through the crack, causing fire if it reaches a hot surface.

Ford claims the cars are safe enough for owners to continue to drive and park inside structures as long as the coolant levels are kept normal. Owners will receive instructions in the mail on how to check and refill the coolant, which are also available in the owner's manual. Dealers are also willing to check and refill coolant levels.

However, if parts are available, dealers will also install a sensor and warning light at no cost which would notify the driver when the coolant level is low. A Ford spokesperson could not say whether dealers will pay to repair cracks in the cylinder heads.

In the U.S., the vehicles under recall due to the potential for engine fires include:

  • 2014 Escape SUV
  • 2014 and 2015 compact Fiesta ST
  • 2013 and 2014 Fusion midsize car
  • 2013 through 2015 Transit Connect small van

Ongoing issues with door latches result in 210,000 new recalls beyond prior 3 million

A pair of NHTSA investigations over the past three years resulted in 2.3 million Ford vehicles being recalled last fall due to reports that doors were not latching properly. That recall involved model year 2012-2015 Ford Focuses, and model year 2013-2014 Escapes and C-Maxes. In spring of 2014, Ford recalled nearly 693,000 model year 2013-2014 Escape SUVs for the same issue.

In this recall, part of the door latch can break, which can allow the door to open unexpectedly while the car is being driven, or keep the doors from closing at all. As frightening as it would be to have your car door open while you were on the road, Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries.

The U.S. models affected by Ford's newest door-latch recall include:

  • 2014 Fiesta
  • 2013 and 2014 Fusion
  • 2013 and 2014 Lincoln MKZ

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