2020-23 Bronco Sport, Escape recalled again for fire risk and injuries

Ford Motor Co. has issued yet another recall on 2020-23 model year Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Escape SUVs following customer reports of fires with injuries as well as under-hood fires that occurred after the vehicle was turned off.

The cause: spilled fuel or leaked vapors on the hot engine or exhaust components caused by a cracked fuel injector.

As many as 521,778 vehicles, with 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engines, are potentially affected in the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Specifically, 333,342 Escapes and 188,436 Bronco Sports.

More than 100,000 vehicles in Europe and South America are also affected, Ford spokeswoman Maria Buczkowski told the Free Press on Thursday.

Ford is recalling the 2020-23 Escape for new fire risk issues.
Ford is recalling the 2020-23 Escape for new fire risk issues.

The Dearborn automaker has received 20 reports of under-hood fires, including three that ignited nearby structures. The company also said it has four claims of fires that were noticed less than five minutes after the engines were turned off. Ford also has four injury claims not involving burns, and 43 legal claims attributed to the problem, the Associated Press reported.

Of four claimed injuries reported to Ford for two separate instances, two were reportedly related to getting out of the vehicle and two were claimed because of stress, Buczkowski told the Free Press.

Ford asked that customers be mindful of warning signs and exit the vehicle as needed, she said.

"A fuel leak may result in fuel odor both outside and inside the vehicle. If the fuel leak initiates a fire that progresses, the customer may notice smoke or flames emanating from the engine compartment or underbody," Ford wrote in its recall report dated Nov. 18.

Ford is recalling 2020-23 Bronco Sport SUVs for another fire risk.
Ford is recalling 2020-23 Bronco Sport SUVs for another fire risk.

As is the case with similar Ford recalls, Ford said it is not recommending that owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outdoors because the company says the likelihood of fire is rare.

"I don't want to minimize the situation but we are projecting a low failure rate," Buczkowski said.

Owners of 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles have sued Ford over fire issues.

This design element causing the Bronco Sport and Escape problems was introduced in the 2020 Escape and taken out of production for both vehicles in October 2022, Ford said in its regulatory filing.

Potentially affected Escapes were built between Nov. 19, 2018 and Oct. 17, 2022. Potentially affected Bronco Sports were built between Feb. 5, 2020 and Oct. 17, 2022, Ford said.

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Previously, Ford issued recalls on these and other vehicles for an engine oil leak and an engine compartment risk. Vehicles fixed earlier will need to go back to the dealership for new fixes, Ford said in its paperwork.

Ford CEO Jim Farley tapped a new quality czar early this year, revamped quality management and has seen recalls and warranties eat into the company's profits.

This latest action follows a recall of 550,000 F-150 pickup trucks for a broken windshield wiper motor. Ford has had more recalls in 2022 than any automaker.

Repairs aren’t yet available on this latest Bronco Sport, Escape recall, but, once they are, owners should schedule service with a preferred dealer, Jim Azzouz, executive director of customer experience, said in a statement provided to the Free Press.

Since no timeline is available yet, customers are asked to monitor the situation through their dealers. There will be both a software update as well as the tube installation.

"A drain tube will ... be installed to allow fuel to drain from the cylinder head drain hole, away from surfaces which may initiate combustion, to the ground below the vehicle," Ford said in its recall document.

Ford has extended the warranty to cover cracked fuel injectors for up to 15 years, Buczkowski said.

"Taking care of our customers is our top priority," she said. "Once repairs are available, customers will be able to take advantage of (vehicle) pickup and delivery or a loaner."

Ford plans to notify owners by mail between Dec. 19-23, arriving along with Christmas and Hanukkah cards.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or phoward@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2020-23 Bronco Sport, Escape recalled again for fire risk and injuries