At long last…
After weeks of pressure from consumers and from the media, Ford Australia has at last issued a recall notice for 1.6-litre petrol Kuga SUVs over an overheating risk so serious, it could cause a fire. This comes after Ford South Africa issued a similar recall notice over a fire risk in Kugas available there, as a result of several sudden combustions.
The recall notice from Ford Australia comes after mounting pressure from the Australian public, who have not been particularly pleased with the Blue Oval’s inaction on the matter. That said, the Oz recall has been issued simultaneously with a recall in the US that will see as many as 230,000 affected vehicles brought back to address “under-hood fire risks.” In the States, Ford reports 29 incidents thus far, with no injuries.
In our market, 4450 Kugas will be recalled to address the issue, which is said to be due to a lack of coolant circulation. Starved of coolant, the engine could crack its cylinder head, causing oil to leak. When that leaking oil hits a hot engine, it could cause a fire. It’s not just the Kuga that’s affected either, as 400 Fiesta ST hot-hatchbacks fitted with the same engine are also at risk of the same issue.
Ford Australia will be contacting affected owners by mail, detailing instructions on how to check and replenish the coolant to keep their cars running. The Blue Oval will then be implementing recall repairs in two phases, based on the availability of parts. The first phase will see the coolant bottle and cap replaced, as well as a re-routing of the turbo coolant return line. The second phase will see fitment of a coolant level sensor system and wiring harness, as well as a PCM & instrument software reflash.
The first phase of recall repairs is expected to roll out in Q2 2017, while the second phase is expected sometime in Q4 of this year, dependant on parts. This timeline was detailed exclusively for the Kuga SUV, with little information on the repair work that will be needed for affected Fiesta ST models.
It’s not all bad news though, as owners can continue driving their vehicles (provided they keep an eye on their turbo coolant levels). Of course, if their cars are sporting a coolant leak or seem to be overheating frequently, a visit to a local Ford service centre will be in order.