US probes Ford recall of 42,000 Bronco, Escape SUVs for fuel leaks

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Friday it was opening an investigation into Ford Motor’s recall of more than 42,000 SUVs over concerns of a fuel leak that could lead to an engine fire.

The auto safety regulator said it is reviewing the adequacy and safety consequences of Ford’s proposed recall remedy for 2022-2023 model year Bronco Sport and 2022 Ford Escape SUVs with 1.5L engines.

Ford said in issuing its new recall for a fuel injector that may crack and leak fuel, which could cause an underhood fire. Ford has proposed an engine control software update and installation of a drain. Ford is not proposing to replace the cracked fuel injector.

Ford said Friday it is working with NHTSA to support the agency’s investigation.

Ford said earlier this week it is aware of five underhood fires on 1.5L Escape and Bronco Sport vehicles in the new recall population, but it said it had no reports of accidents or injuries tied to the issue.

The software update will detect a pressure drop in the fuel rail providing a “seek service” message to the driver and disable the high-pressure fuel pump, reduce engine power output and lower temperatures of possible ignition sources.

In 2022, Ford recalled nearly 522,000 2020-2023 Ford Escape and 2021-2023 Ford Bronco Sport for the same issue with the same remedy, NHTSA said.

Ford told NHTSA in late 2022 it had 54 reports alleging underhood fires in 2020-2022 Bronco Sport and Escape vehicles, equipped with the 1.5L engine in North America, along reports of four injuries in two incidents.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Aurora Ellis)