Ford South Africa is issuing a safety recall for Kuga models equipped with the 1.6-litre engine to address an engine overheating condition that could cause a fire.
A total of 4,556 vehicles are affected by this safety recall in South Africa, and were built between December, 2012 and February, 2014. Ford Kuga models with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines are not affected.
We have investigated the incidents as they have been reported to us, removing many parts for detailed examination in our engineering facilities in Europe and North America. The data collected from the recent incidents and the maintenance checks we are conducting through our dealers have helped us to determine the root cause of the fires.
While we continue to investigate the Kuga 1.6 engine compartment fires, based on the current data we have determined that the fires are due to engine overheating. This is caused by a lack of coolant circulation which can lead to a cracking in the cylinder head and, therefore, an oil leak. If the leaking oil reaches a hot engine surface, it can potentially catch fire. We are not aware of any injuries resulting from the engine compartment fires.
With this safety recall, all affected vehicles, including those that have already been checked, must be taken to a Ford dealership as soon as possible. This safety recall comprises two stages.
The first stage involves replacing affected components on the cooling system, verifying and updating the software and conducting an oil leak check on the cylinder head.
If any Kuga 1.6 owner sees any indication that the engine may be overheating or experiences warnings on the instrument cluster, they should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, switch off the engine and ensure all occupants are safely out of the vehicle. For safety reasons, the bonnet must not be opened.
The emergency services should be called first, if required, then Ford's Roadside Assistance on 0861 150 250. Supported through the AA, this service is available 24/7.
The 1.6 Kuga is safe to drive, provided the integrity of the cooling system is maintained, and this safety recall has been actioned.
The next stage will make the cooling system even more robust, and is likely to involve further changes to parts and warning systems. We are currently ensuring that the changes we make are complete and thoroughly tested - and will communicate with our customers as soon as this stage commences.
Every effort is being made to minimize inconvenience, and reassure customers that their safety is our top priority.
We are committed to keeping our customers mobile. Should a customer experience any engine overheating problem with their 1.6 Kuga, or delays in the repair due to a shortage of parts, arrangements will be made through the nearest Ford dealer and Ford Customer Service to provide a courtesy car while the vehicle is repaired.
Any customer concerns or queries can be directed to Ford Customer Service at 0860 011 022.