Ford Escape Recalled for the Seventh Time – Fire Alert!

Ford Motor Co. is recalling its Escape crossover-utility vehicle for the seventh time since the popular vehicle was redesigned for the 2013 model year.

The latest problem centers around potential oil and fuel leaks that could result in vehicle fires. The maker says the problems are the result of two separate issues, including faulty work done on the assembly line.

A total of 13 fires connected to oil leaks have so far been reported, though there have been no reports of injuries.

The latest announcement actually combines two separate recalls. One involves more than 161,000 Ford Escapes sold around the world during the 2013 model year. Only vehicles equipped with the maker’s 1.6-liter engine are affected. Ford says the cylinder heads in those engines can overheat and crack, resulting in oil leaks.

The second recall involves 12,000 of those vehicles which, in this case, may have had their fuel lines installed improperly at the factory. Those crossovers were subject to an earlier recall aiming to prevent the lines from chafing and, potentially, tearing up, spilling fuel. That original problem was severe enough that Ford advised motorists to park their vehicles and wait for dealers to pick them up to make repairs.

Unfortunately, the original recall apparently did not fully correct the problem and Ford says it is still possible for the fuel lines on some Escapes to chafe and begin to leak, a problem the latest recall will now address – again.

The Escape has also been targeted by recalls for a variety of other issues including so-called carpet entrapment – where loose mats could jam the accelerator pedal – and coolant leaks that could also lead to an engine fire.

Despite its spotty recall record, the Ford Escape is one of the more popular vehicles in its segment, in part reflecting the shift from a conventional, truck-like sport-utility vehicle platform to a more nimble and fuel-efficient, car-based crossover platform.

The recalls, however, could prove embarrassing for Ford, a company that had, until recently, surged to the top of the quality and reliability charts. But the maker has been hammered by a variety of problems over the last couple years. Many of those involve its MyFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch infotainment systems – the industry, in general, being faulted for problems with such technologies. But Ford has also experienced a variety of other issues, including problems with some of its newer transmissions.

As for the latest Escape recalls, the maker will begin making repairs in January at no charge to consumers.