The launch of Ford’s all-new 2013 Escape crossover was marred by an urgent recall, which Ford is now blaming on a parts supplier. Last week, Ford told owners of 1.6-liter EcoBoost-equipped Escapes to stop driving their cars because of the possibility of engine compartment fires. Ford says defective fuel lines from supplier TI Automotive are the problem.
The Blue Oval said fuel lines supplied by TI Automotive were “mechanically scored,” which could cause them to come apart and leak fuel onto hot engine components.
Three 2013 Escapes have caught fire, with two of the incidents involving Ford employees. None of the incidents resulted in any injuries, however.
The affected cars are 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder models built up to July 11, 2012; Escapes with the 2.0 and 2.5-liter engines are unaffected. The recall affects a total of 11,500 cars in the U.S. and Canada, only 4,800 of which have been sold. The rest are still on dealer’s lots.
Because of the possibility of ignition, Ford is sending dealer reps with loaner cars to owner’s homes. Instead of driving to the dealer for servicing, the recalled Escapes will be towed. In addition, Ford will not allow anyone to test drive the 1.6-liter Escape until the recall is taken care of.
TI Automotive has corrected the problem and, according to Ford, will continue manufacturing fuel lines for the Escape. Despite its newness, this is not the first recall for the 2013 Escape. Within the same week, Ford recalled 10,000 Escapes because of ill-fitting carpets that could interfere with the brake pedal.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost, which makes 178 hp on premium unleaded is one of three available engines on the 2013 Escape. A 2.5-liter inline-four with 168 hp is standard. A larger, 2.0-liter, EcoBoost engine with 240 hp is also available.