Ford Motor Co. issued three recalls for 2013 models, including calling back 465,000 vehicles for fire risks after 600 complaints of fuel leaks. It also announced small recalls of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ because insulation on the engine block heater cord could catch fire and of 2013 Ford Fusions that could have improperly assembled steering gears, which could cause loss of steering ability.
The first recall, for potentially leaky fuel tanks, affects 465,000 vehicles — 390,000 of them in the U.S. — including 2013 Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion and Police Interceptor utilities and sedans, and Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ vehicles. Ford said it received 600 fuel leak complaints as of March 31.
“The condition could result in customers detecting a fuel odor, or in some cases, observe evidence of a fuel leak on the ground,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in an email. “While a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire, there have been no reports of fires. We are not aware of any accidents or injuries attributed to this condition.”
Ford is also recalling 500 of its new 2013 Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans — 100 in the U.S. and the rest in Canada — equipped with engine block heaters. The automaker says the insulation on the engine block heater electrical cord has the potential to crack in temperatures of minus-4 degrees or colder. A cracked cord could potentially expose wiring, increasing the risk of electrical shock and corrosion.
The Dearborn automaker is also recalling 23 of its new 2013 Fusion midsize sedans — 20 in the U.S. — for steering gears that may have been built without an internal retaining clip. That flaw could result in impaired steering or loss of steering control.
The new Fusion, which debuted last fall, was recalled last year for problems stemming from its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. Engine leaks and related fire risks prompted the recalls. Engine overheating can lead to fluid leaks, which could come in contact with a hot exhaust, resulting in a fire. A software fix was supposed to fix the problem — and it did, for most owners.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally said earlier this year the number of recalls for 2013 models wasn’t a problem, but instead a sign that the automaker was focused on quality. “We learned from every one of them,” he said.
Last year Ford recalled more than 1.4 million vehicles. So far this year it has recalled more than 700,000.