DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford will update software on 2013 Escapes and Fusions to stop their engines from overheating, a problem that has caused a small number of fires.
Reports of nine fires prompted the automaker to recall more than 89,000 of the SUVS and midsize cars in the U.S. and Canada last month. No injuries were reported and only models with 1.6-liter turbocharged engines were recalled.
Ford offered free loaner cars until it figured out what caused the fires.
It was the fourth recall in four months for the new Escape, a top seller in the competitive market for small SUVs. The 2013 version has had problems with coolant leaks, cracked fuel lines and carpet padding since it started selling this spring. The Fusion has been recalled twice.
The overheating problem occurs when coolant doesn't flow through the radiator to be cooled, Ford Motor Co. Product Development Chief Raj Nair said Monday. Engineers found that a valve that controls the flow of coolant to the radiator wasn't opening at the right time.
Coolant could flow into the engine, get trapped and overheat. That could cause a gasket to blow, spilling coolant or oil onto hot exhaust parts and causing fires.
A software change in the computer that controls the valve will solve the problem, Nair said.