Ford Antifreeze Leak/Inadequate Vehicle Recall – Class Action Investigation
Chimicles & Tikellis LLP (“C&T”) is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) following reports that a recent recall of certain Ford automobiles stemming from antifreeze leaks and resulting engine fires may have been inadequate, or that Ford is not fully consummating the recall. Reports indicate that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be monitoring this recall for adequacy and are questioning whether the recall – as it has been carried out so far – will cause consumers to bear the costs of future engine repairs.
In March of 2017, Ford announced a recall of 230,000 1.6-liter GTDI Ford vehicles that are prone to under-the-hood fires. The recall affected the following Ford vehicles:
• 2014 Ford Escape;
• 2014-2015 Ford Fiesta ST;
• 2013-2014 Ford Fusion; and
• 2013-2015 Ford Transit Connect.
Ford identified that a lack of coolant circulation in these vehicles causes engines to overheat and experience heat-related cracks in the engine cylinder head. Cracked cylinder heads can cause pressurized oil leaks, and when oil leaks onto a hot engine, it can ignite and cause a fire. Fires resulting from these issues occurred on 29 reported occasions in the United States and Canada.
Despite the announced recall, reports indicate that Ford may not be adequately carrying out the recall or utilizing the recall as an opportunity to actually fix the coolant circulation or leakage issues in the affected Ford vehicles. When the recall was first issued, Ford announced that it would eventually install sensors and other parts to monitor vehicle coolant levels, thereby obviating concerns for cracked engine cylinder heads and fires resulting from low coolant levels. To date, however, Ford has reportedly only sent letters to affected vehicle owners and lessees advising as to safety risks and the protocol(s) for checking vehicle coolant levels. Presently, it does not appear that the parts necessary to make repairs or fixes to remove the fire hazard have been received by Ford dealers and service stations, and there has been no indication from Ford as to when exactly these parts will become available.
Ford’s letters to owners and lessees regarding safety risks and monitoring coolant levels, alone, are inadequate to fix problems with leaking antifreeze and to remove the risk of fires. Instead of acting swiftly to carry out the installation of coolant-monitoring sensors or other parts in the affected vehicles, Ford’s letters appear to be an attempt to shift the onus of coolant monitoring and vehicle safety to owners and lessees in an effort to reduce or avoid repairs and repair-related costs under the recall.
C&T is interested in speaking with owners and lessees of Ford vehicles affected by the recall. If you own or lease an affected vehicle and have experienced leaking coolant, engine overheating, an engine fire, have been denied service by Ford relating to these issues, or have any other relevant information about the recall and affected vehicles, please contact the lawyers listed below.