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Ford recalls 11,500 new Escapes, tells owners not to drive them

July 19, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Ford is recalling some of its new Escape crossovers because a fuel line problem might start an engine compartment fire.
Ford is recalling some of its new Escape crossovers because a fuel line problem… (Ford Motor Co. )

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it will recall 11,500 of its newly redesigned and just introduced Escape sport utility vehicles to replace a fuel line, which could split, leak gasoline and set the vehicle on fire.

The automaker took the unusual precaution of warning owners not to drive the vehicle and to contact their Ford dealer immediately.

The recall affects only 2013 model year Escapes with the 1.6-liter engine that were built through July 11.  Other Escape models are not at risk, the automaker said.  The car went on sale in June.

No injuries have been reported from the problem, but there have been at least three fires. One was experienced by a customer driving an Escape and the other two were at the factory in Louisville, Ky.  Ford said there is no danger of fire as long as the engine in the vehicle is not running.

Ford said dealers will take a loaner vehicle to the owners of the recalled Escapes and transport the SUVs back to their maintenance centers for repairs, which only take about an hour to complete.

Still, customers could experience delays in getting their vehicles back because Ford has to get replacement parts to the dealers. Ford said it is working to make parts available as quickly as possible. Customers will keep the loaner vehicle at no charge until the repairs on their Escaped are completed. 

“We are moving as quickly as possible to repair vehicles for our customers,” said Ray Nevi, assistant director, Ford Automotive Safety Office. “In the meantime, it is extremely important that affected customers not ignore this recall and immediately contact their dealer."

Getting owners to have their recalled vehicles repaired is a concern for the auto industry.

An analysis of two General Motors Co. recalls by auto information company Edmunds.com showed a "completion rate" of just 52.5%. GM says its recalls generally reach a completion rate of about 70%. Other automakers, including Ford, declined to provide Edmunds.com with completion rates for their recalls when it asked earlier this year.

Edmunds.com noted that unrepaired vehicles are sold to unsuspecting buyers who have no clue they are purchasing a flawed vehicle. There are no laws that require a car's owner to notify a potential buyer that the car being sold is the subject of a recall.

Used-car buyers should register their vehicles with the automakers to make sure they’re in the loop on any existing or future recalls. They should also check out the U.S. Department of Transportation’s www.safercar.gov, a database where a car buyer can look to see if the model they are looking at was part of a recall.

The Thursday recall was the second for the new Escape, which is one of the best-selling SUVs in America.

Last week Ford recalled more than 10,000 2013 Escapes to fix a carpet issue that could give drivers a problem reaching the brake pedal.

The recalled vehicles, manufactured from March 8 through June 7, feature mispositioned carpet padding in the center console trim panel. The padding can cause the driver to hit the side of the brake pedal when moving the foot from the accelerator pedal, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That could increase stopping distances and the risk of a crash, the agency said.

Also Thursday, Honda said it will recall 166,000 model-year 2012 CR-V sport-utility vehicles and approximately 6,200 model-year 2013 Acura ILX sedans  to replace both front-door latches and, in some CR-Vs,   the interior front door handles.

This will prevent an odd sequence of events that could cause a door to open suddenly.

Honda said in an instance when both the driver's or passenger's inner door handle and either the manual or power door lock are operated at the same time, the inner door handle release cable can become partially disengaged.  If this happens, the door might not latch when closed. It also might latch and close, but then open when the door locks are operated.  Either way, the door might open unexpectedly.

No accidents or injuries have been reported related to this issue.

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