On Tuesday (August 22nd) Ford SA issued another safety recall, the third in 2017, to address a potential fire risk posed by insulation material fitted near the SUV's front seatbelts, that could catch fire in the event of a crash.
Ford recalled 4556 Kuga 1.6-litre Ecoboost models, produced from December 2012 to February 2014, in January 2017 following several reports of its utility vehicles bursting into flames.
Risk of insulation catching fire
Ford SA said: "In the event of a frontal collision, these vehicles have been identified as having a possible risk for a B-Pillar fire. The activation of the seatbelt pre-tensioner can potentially cause the insulation material around the pre-tensioner to ignite.
The latest recall affects all Kugas‚ regardless of engine type‚ built at the automaker's Valencia factory in Spain from July 2012 - June 2014. Approximately 173 000 (7219 in South Africa) Ford Kuga vehicles, built in Valencia (Spain) and Elebuga (Russia) are affected.
"The solution is to remove the insulation material from the area around the seatbelt retractor pre-tensioner to prevent the risk of fire," said the automaker adding that that there have been no reported incidents in South Africa.
The automaker adds that customers unaffected by the previous Kuga safety recall‚ or those who have already completed "Phase 2" of the recall, should contact their dealer to schedule an appointment.
Ford SA said: "Some of the vehicles affected by this recall are also affected by Phase 2 of the safety recall action for Kuga 1.6 models, which pertained to the coolant level sensor. While this recall is not related, customers that are already bringing their vehicles in for the Phase 2 action will be able to have both recalls conducted at the same time.
"Customers not affected by the previous Kuga recall, or those who may have already had Phase 2 of the recall completed, should contact their dealer to schedule an appointment. The repair work for this recall should not take more than an hour to complete.
Ford SA says that customers should contact Ford Customer Service directly at 0800 204 688 / +2712 843 5824 or CRC3@ford.com.
A tweet by Crimeairnetwork, shows a Kuga ablaze in August:
Global recall fix
The automaker announced that Phase 2 begun in SA on July 26. In Phase 2, the automaker says, new hardware will be installed, comprising a new coolant expansion tank with a sensor that monitors the level of the vehicle’s coolant.
Excessively low coolant levels reduce the ability to keep the engine cool, which in turn, leads to overheating. The system will now warn the driver well in advance if there is a risk of overheating due to insufficient coolant in the system.
In addition, the vehicle’s updated software introduced as part of this Phase 2 action has the ability to reduce engine power, and notifies the driver to safely pull over if coolant levels drop below the minimum required level.
To accommodate this enhanced system, changes have been made to the routing of the coolant pipes, an electrical harness is fitted, and the software configured to monitor this new coolant level sensor. An additional coolant pipe will also be replaced for added robustness and durability of the cooling system.
Here's what affect customers should do
Customers are being asked to schedule an appointment with their dealer; this will ensure the dealer is able to perform the recall action quickly and efficiently, says Ford. Should the customer wish, their dealer will also pre-arrange alternative transport upon scheduling an appointment.
Continuing the customer support measures introduced after the initial Kuga 1.6 safety recall announcement in January 2017, all Kuga models benefit from the Ford Kuga PremiumCare Extended Plan, backed by Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
This plan provides additional cover beyond the new vehicle warranty, and now covers the repairs of more than 1000 vehicle components up to a maximum of six years or 200 000km, whichever comes first.
Ford says the PremiumCare Extended Plan applies to all Kuga models, including the affected 1.6-litre models, as well as the 1.5-litre petrol, 2.0-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol sold between 2012 and 2017. It also applies to the previous-generation Kuga 2.5 models registered as new in 2012.
Additionally, Ford Roadside Assistance is available to all Kuga owners, beyond the standard three-year/unlimited mileage cover. Supported through the AA, this service is available 24/7 on 0861 150 250.