Skip to main content

Ford Recalls 350K Escapes, Broncos To Fix Potential Fire Hazard

About 350,000 Ford Escapes and Bronco Sports have been recalled by the automaker to repair a potential fire hazard as the oil separator on the 1.5-liter engine may crack and there is the potential for oil to be sprayed on a hot engine;

There's an old axiom in the auto business that heat and certain liquids, like oil, don't mix. Okay, there might not be an old axiom – we've probably just invented it – but it's still a true statement.

Problems Spelled Out

Imagine what would happen if brake fluid – an organic and highly flammable liquid – were to spray all over a hot engine. Or, imagine what might happen if oil were to do the same thing because of a problem with an oil separator. The engine would go up like a torch in either case, causing a major underhood conflagration. The problem does increase the risk of severe injury or a significant accident.

The Ford Motor Co. has issued a recall for nearly 350,000 vehicles because of a problem with the oil separator on 2020-2022 Ford Escape Crossovers and 2021-2022 Ford Bronco Sport SUVs. Specifically, the carmaker announced that the vehicles equipped with 1.5-liter four-cylinder engines could face a fire hazard due to the oil separator housing.

The problem is that it is possible for the separator housing to split, allowing oil to leak out and spray all over the hot engine. As we have discussed, the next step is an engine fire. According to the notice given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the automakers built the Escapes between November 19, 2019, and March 1, 2022. The automaker assembled the Bronco Sports between February 5, 2020, and March 4, 2022.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 2 covers this problem. In its description to the NHTSA, Ford noted that "if sufficient engine oil leaks [out], accumulates, and migrates to an ignition source, an underhood fire can occur, increasing the risk of injury."

Cracks Result In Loss of Sealing

The possible cracks in the separator housing result "in a loss of seal support which may lead to an oil leak between the oil separator and engine crankshaft cover." One thing to note is that the vehicle owner with this problem may smell or "see oil smoke emanating from the underhood area." If you smell the smoke or see it, the best idea is to call the local fire department.

Ford plans to notify owners in the middle of the month. Once owners receive their notifications, they can take their vehicle to their local dealer to have the oil separator inspected for damage or oil leaks if either is present. The dealer will replace the oil separator and seals free of charge if there is a problem.

Customer Contact Information

For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. The Ford identification number for this recall is 22S21. Or, owners can contact the NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. They can also contact the safety agency through its website The NHTSA identification number is 22V191.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.