Ford has initiated a recall of nearly 43,000 small SUVs, including specific models of the Bronco Sport and Escape from the 2022 and 2023 model years, due to a significant safety concern. The recall stems from a risk that gasoline may leak from the fuel injectors onto hot engine surfaces, potentially leading to fires. This move highlights the automaker’s commitment to consumer safety, albeit with a unique approach to the recall remedy that does not involve repairing the fuel leaks directly.

According to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators, the concern is that the fuel injectors in these vehicles could crack, allowing gasoline or vapor to accumulate near ignition sources within the engine compartment. Such a scenario greatly increases the likelihood of a fire, posing a serious risk to drivers and passengers. In response, Ford dealers will install a tube designed to route any leaked gasoline away from hot surfaces to the ground beneath the vehicle. Additionally, an update to the engine control software will enable the system to detect a drop in pressure within the fuel injection system.

Ford’s Approach to Mitigating the Risk

Rather than replacing the fuel injectors, Ford’s recall strategy includes several preventive measures. Dealers are tasked with installing a protective tube and updating the engine control software. This software update is particularly noteworthy, as it is designed to disable the high-pressure fuel pump and reduce engine power in the event of a detected pressure drop, thereby lowering temperatures in the engine compartment. Ford’s initiative, starting with letters to owners from April 1, is based on the confidence that these measures will effectively prevent the underlying issue from causing harm.

This recall strategy, however, has sparked some debate. Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, has critiqued Ford’s solution as a “Band-aid type recall,” suggesting that it may be an attempt to circumvent the costs associated with a more comprehensive repair of the fuel injectors. Despite Ford’s assurances and the extension of warranty coverage for the fuel injectors, there remains concern that the remedy may not fully address the root cause of the problem. Brooks has called for more robust regulatory oversight to ensure that recalls adequately rectify the identified safety issues, reflecting ongoing discussions about the balance between corporate responsibility and consumer protection in the automotive industry.