Ford Focus models powered by the automaker's inline-3 engine and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission are subject to a new recall.
In documents filed with the NHTSA in late November and published this week, Ford said the models could experience a clutch fracture, which can cause a transmission fluid leak. The presence of transmission fluid near a hot engine and ignition increases the risk of a fire in the affected models.
Just 2,828 models are part of the recall, which provides a sliver of insight into how few 3-cylinder powered Focus models Ford has sold in the U.S. Affected models come from the 2016-2018 model years. Ford said the cars could experience clutch slip, which may elevate the operating temperature and cause the clutch plate itself to fracture. If the clutch plate does crack, transmission fluid could leak. The automaker added that it's not aware of any fires or injuries related to the recall in the U.S. However, two fires have occurred in Europe in models with similar transmissions.
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Drivers may notice an odor or smoke coming from the clutch and reduced vehicle performance if their Focus suffers from the transmission defect.
Owners will need to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer where the cars will be updated with new software to detect prolonged clutch slip. Dealers will also check the clutch itself for wear and replace the part as needed. For owners who have already replaced the clutch due to this recall ahead of notification, Ford has issued a reimbursement plan. The final date to be eligible for reimbursement is Jan. 28, 2019.
The recall is expected to begin on Jan. 7, 2019, and owners should receive notice of the recall no later than Jan. 11.