Ford recalls thousands of SUVs because engines could catch fire

Ford Motor Co. has asked owners of 350,000 vehicles to take them to dealerships for repairs as part of a three-part recall announcement. About 39,000 of those vehicles would need to be parked outside because their engines could catch fire, Ford said.

The Michigan automaker said in U.S. government documents released Thursday that it did not know what was causing fires in some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

Still, the company said fires can occur even when engines are turned off. There have been 16 reports of underhood fires and 14 of them involved rental company vehicles. Ford has not developed a repair for the fires, which appear to start in the rear of the engine bay on the passenger side.

“We are working around the clock to determine the root cause of this issue and the subsequent remedy so customers can continue to enjoy their vehicles,” Jeffrey Marentic, general manager of Ford passenger vehicles, said in a statement.

Of the 16 fires, 12 occurred while the SUV’s engines were turned off, Ford said in a statement. Ford said it is not directing owners to stop driving the SUVs, though those who may not be able to follow out-of-fleet instructions should contact their dealer or the company.

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Ford began investigating the fire reports on March 24. Company officials said the fires appear to be limited to SUVs built from Dec. 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021. The automaker is also recalling about 310,000 heavy-duty trucks because the driver’s airbag may not inflate in an event. accident.

The recall affects certain 2016 F-250, 350, 450 and 550 trucks. Dust can enter the airbag wiring in the steering wheel, disconnecting the electricity. Dealers will replace the steering wheel wiring. Owners will be notified by mail from July 5th.

Engine fire recall comes a month after Ford recalled more than a quarter million Explorer SUVs because they could roll unexpectedly as it was moved in the park. Ford and General Motors also recalled nearly 682,000 compact SUVs in April because windshield wipers may fail.

Ford is also recalling 464 Mustang Mach-E electric SUVs from 2021. A software glitch may cause unintended acceleration, deceleration, or loss of drive power in all-wheel-drive vehicles. The powertrain control computer may not detect a software error, Ford said in documents released Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Kudos to NHTSA and Ford for spreading the word about this, but why did it take 16 vehicles to catch fire to do it?” Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog at the US PIRG Education Fund, an advocacy group, said in a statement. “That’s 15 fires that didn’t have to happen and 39,000 families that were put at unnecessary risk for who knows how long.”

Ford officials recently reported that the company lost $3.1 billion in the last three monthspartly because of a shortage of semiconductor chips that has limited the number of pickup trucks and SUVs available for sale in North America, but also because of its heavy investment in electric vehicle startup Rivian.

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