Ford Motor Company holds the unfortunate title of having the most vehicle recalls in the United States, and now, there are another 125,322 vehicles to add to the list. Shared today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford is recalling hybrid versions of the 2020-2023 Escape, 2021-2023 Lincoln Corsair, and 2022-2023 Maverick for an elevated fire risk should the engine have a catastrophic failure.
By catastrophic, we mean a full-on hole in the engine block resulting from worn crankshaft bearings. Documents included with the recall announcement chronicle Ford's investigation into failures of the 2.5-liter engine built on or before July 7, 2022. The automaker received 23 reports of underhood fires globally, with the suspected cause being a hole in either the engine block or oil pan tossing flammable materials around hot components.
Gallery: 2022 Ford Maverick: First Drive
The automaker took corrective actions to make the crankshaft bearings more robust for newer engines, and fixes were implemented to help direct flammable fluids away from ignition sources should a failure occur. While no engine failures have been found on vehicles built after September 2022, some fires have occurred on older vehicles that underwent earlier remedies to reduce such risk. In other words, Ford is still working on a fix to help prevent fires should the engine ventilate itself.
It's important to note that the fire risk is specific to hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. This is because the electrified powertrain can keep the vehicle going even after the engine fails. There is no stop-drive or park-outside warning with this recall, but continuing to drive with an engine spewing gasoline and oil can certainly increase the risk of fire. As such, Ford strongly recommends pulling over, stopping, and shutting off the vehicle if drivers experience anything out of the ordinary.
Gallery: 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid: First Drive
As for specific vehicles in the recall, 86,656 Escapes constitute a majority of the recall. 35,501 Mavericks and 3,165 Lincoln Corsairs make up the rest. Owner notification will begin on June 12, though a final remedy isn't expected until the third quarter of 2023.
This recall comes less than a week after another Ford fire-risk recall was issued for the Lincoln MKC, involving battery monitor sensors that could overheat on 142,000 SUVs. The automaker halted production of the F-150 Lightning due to a fire at the assembly plant that led to a recall. Jumping back to November 2022, Ford recalled a half-million SUVs (including the Escape) for fire danger, this time due to a cracked fuel injector. And in September 2022, over 200,000 full-size Ford SUVs were recalled for a fire risk from a module in the glove box.
And these are just fire-related recalls. The NHTSA issued a report in January stating Ford was by far the most-recalled brand in 2022 with 65 campaigns totaling more than 8.6 million vehicles. The Detroit-based company was well ahead of second-place Volkswagen, which had 45 recalls covering approximately 1 million vehicles.