Ford recalls nearly half million cars for fuel leak

Ford is recalling 465,000 cars from the current model year due to concerns that cracks could form in the fuel tank, leading to the risk of fuel leaks and fires. The recalled models include the Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion as well as the Police Interceptor Sedan and Police Interceptor Utility. In addition, the recall also affects the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ.

The recall is a voluntary one and similar to last July's recall of 11,500 Ford Escapes, where the company took the rather unusual precaution of telling owners not to drive their vehicles before bringing them into a service center for repairs. While the new recall is the result of a similar issue - cracks leading to a fuel leak - Ford has not advised drivers to forego using their vehicles in the meantime.

"Engineering was informed of two vehicles that exhibited a leak at the Fuel Delivery Module (FDM) in August 2012 and requested the parts for analysis. Engineering subsequently identified 15 vehicles which exhibited leaks from Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex vehicles and from the Lincoln MKS and MKT vehicles. Initial analysis of returned FDMs showed the fuel outlet port had cracked. Engineering analysis of the field parts indicated that the cracks may have been caused by fatigue loading," the company wrote in a letter to the NHTSA.

From August 2012 though April of 2013, Ford worked to identify the cause of the cracks that were forming in certain fuel tanks and on May 20, the company's Field Review Committee approved a "field action."

"Engineering updated the warranty data analysis and advised that pressurized fuel soak testing had shown small surface cracks on 5 of the 6 test samples for Fusion I MKZ FDMs, after 300 hours of testing. Engineering advised that even though there were no related warranty reports on the Fusion and MKZ vehicles, their testing and analysis indicated that over time, these FDMs, and the FDMs on the Explorer, Taurus, Flex, MKS and MKT vehicles, could be susceptible to the development of small surface cracks, which in some cases, could propagate into leaks," the company said.

Ford states that no fires or accidents have occurred as a result of the fuel tank issue, but that customers might be able to smell gas or see it leaking. Some 390,000 of the affected vehicles are located in the US.

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