Owners of Ford vehicles fitted with the 1.0 litre and 1.6 litre EcoBoost engines have had to pay out thousands of pounds for repair work on their engines, due to a known fault that had a safety recall notice in America in 2014.

The problem dates back to 2012 and relates to an overheating issue which could lead to the car catching fire, or a catastrophic engine failure. It took until January 2018 for Ford UK to issue a recall notice, and until that point, owners were faced with settling the repair bill themselves – up to £8,000.

Separate problems

Despite both problems resulting in an overheated engine, Ford says that they aren’t related; the smaller of the engines suffering from a coolant hose problem, the 1.6 litre affected by localised heat and cracking cylinder heads.

With that said, some owners of the 1.0 litre EcoBoost have reported issues with their cylinder head, but that could entirely be a result of the overheating – many owners claiming that they’ve driven the car until it wouldn’t drive further.

The problem has been highlighted by an investigation by the BBC’s Inside Out programme; it found that hundreds of owners have paid to have their cars repaired, or traded-in at a loss due to Ford’s lack of acknowledgement of the problem. Even when that acknowledgement came, Ford was offering some customers a goodwill gesture of just 55% of the repair bill. It has since stated that all repairs will be covered by them, providing that they fit within the scope of the problem. This will be retrospectively applied.

Legal action #1

Law firm Roscoe Reid is talking to the members of the Facebook group ‘Ford EcoBoost Nightmare’ and others to investigate whether there are grounds for a Group Legal Action (GLA) against Ford, it says that this could potentially cost the U.S. car giant around £1 billion in legal fees and compensation, as this isn’t just about a failed product.

Ford has known about the inherent danger particularly associated with the cylinder head cracking, as this leads to hot oil spraying on to engine components and catching fire, in some cases, owners have reported their car being engulfed in flames within minutes of the first sign of trouble.

Ford did issue a recall notice for the 1.0 litre engine in March of 2015, and it says that 96% of the 44,682 affected cars have been fixed, but that it wasn’t classified as a safety issue due to the fact that a driver would be warned if the car were overheating, therefore they’d have time to take action. The question must be asked regarding the cracking cylinder heads on the 1.6 EcoBoost though?

With Ford issuing a recall notice in the U.S. back in 2014, you’d have to wonder how successful they’d be in fighting any GLA from the UK consumers – the EcoBoost Facebook group has over 3,300 members currently, and they estimate that nearly half have suffered a problem directly relating to the issues stated.

Affected cars

As has already been pointed out, Ford says that a great many of the affected 1.0-litre cars have already been fixed under their warranty or recall notice, but they’re contacting the 15,600 owners of the 1.6 EcoBoost engined cars to arrange a fix.

The cars affected are:

The 1.0 Litre 3-Cylinder Turbocharged EcoBoost engined cars such as the Fiesta and Focus manufactured between October 2011 through to October 2013, and the 1.6 Litre EcoBoost fitted to the Focus (from 2010) along with the C-Max and Kuga, and from 2012 onwards, the Fiesta ST.

If you’re unsure as to whether your car is affected, or has been recalled, your local Ford dealer will be able to give you the information you need or book your recall slot. In all honesty, there is very little you can do personally, aside from perhaps avoiding getting the car too hot. Equally, if you’ve already been faced with a bill for repairing your car because of this issue, you should talk to your dealer about reparation.

If you carry a fire extinguisher for just such an emergency, the safest advice is to ignore the fire and get yourself to a safe distance – do not open the bonnet; more often than not, the very act of opening the bonnet to fight the fire allows oxygen in to the engine bay, which feeds the fire. Leave it to the professionals.

If your car does start to overheat, don’t press on regardless – find a safe place to stop and let the engine cool naturally. Do not be tempted to aid the process with a liquid, and do not open the expansion cap – the water is beyond boiling temperature, and the system is pressurised.

Have you suffered any of these issues? Did you have to pay for them personally? What are your experiences of the Ford customer service? Let us know in the comments.

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