2013 Ford Fusion, Escape Get Software Update To Fix Fire Flaw

December 12, 2012

New and redesigned models occasionally stumble getting out of the gate. Sometimes, they have trouble finding the right tone for their marketing campaigns (as was initially the case for the Chevrolet Volt). Other times, real-world conditions reveal mechanical, electrical, or design flaws, which can result in massive, headline-grabbing recalls.

But even by those forgiving standards, the 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Ford Escape have had a rough go of it. The redesigned Fusion has already seen two recalls -- one for a problem with its headlamps, another due to overheating of the Fusion's 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, which could result in a fire. (The Fusion is also the subject of an EPA investigation over the accuracy of its fuel economy claims.)

The 2013 Escape's road has been even rougher. The completely redesigned crossover has now been subject to four recalls for problems ranging from fuel line flaws to braking issues. The latest recall involved the same overheating concern plaguing the 2013 Fusion.

What's fixed

Ford says its engineering team has worked overtime to get to the bottom of the overheating problem on both Fusions and Escapes equipped with 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engines. Now, the automaker has issued a fix, which comes in the form of a software update. According to a press release: 

Ford will make updates to the cooling system software to better manage engine temperatures during a unique overheating condition. Original cooling system design was not able to address a loss of coolant system pressure under certain operating conditions. The new software will resolve this issue.

Ford says that the software update will be available at dealerships next week. Installation should take about half a day, but the company cautions that depending a dealers' service volume, some owners may need to leave their vehicles at the shop a bit longer.

If you own a 2013 Escape or 2013 Fusion

If you're one of the 89,000 folks who owns a 2013 Escape or Fusion with a 1.6-liter engine, Ford wants you to contact your dealer immediately. The dealer will arrange for "alternative transportation at no charge" until the problem is resolved.

While you're en route to the dealer, if your gauge cluster displays a message like "Engine Power Reduced to Lower Temps" or "Engine over temp, stop safely", you should safely pull over as soon as possible and exit the vehicle. 

Still not sure if your Ford is affected by the recall? If it is, you should've received notification by mail, but just to be sure:

  • Take a look at your VIN. If the eighth character is an "X" (in Escapes) or an "R" (in Fusions), your vehicle is equipped with a 1.6-liter engine and is subject to this recall.
  • Visit the "notices and recalls" section of Ford.com and enter your VIN there. The site will tell you if your vehicle is affected.
If you still have questions, we recommend that you call your local Ford dealer. Alternately, you can call Ford directly at 866-436-7332 (U.S.) or 888-222-7814 (Canada).
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