In the UK, Ford has pledged to refund owners of some vehicle models equipped with EcoBoost 1.0 litre engines over issues of overheating and associated fire risk. The issue was brought to light again by an investigative report carried out by the BBC, which found out that hundreds of customers said that their 1.0 litre EcoBoost engines had overheated.

The investigation also revealed that customers of 1.6 litre EcoBoost-equipped models had reported that their engines had burst into flames while being driven. Issues with the engine had previously seen safety recalls being made, and not just in the UK.

In the case of the three-cylinder 1.0 litre EcoBoost unit, the issue concerns a coolant pipe located between the engine and coolant tank – the pipe had the potential to fail at high temperatures, and impacted more than 44,000 vehicle fitted with engines produced between October 2011 and October 2013.

The company said that a field service action issued in March 2015 to replace the hoses had been carried out and that 96% of the affected vehicles were rectified. However, as the report indicated, many owners were told they had to pay for repairs. Ford has now said it will cover the cost of repairs and issue a refund to those who have previously paid.

“Ongoing discussions with customers show that Ford needs to go further to ensure reasonable repair costs are covered. With any future cases, subject to being assessed and linked to potential 1.0 litre engine overheating, we will contribute 100% of the cost of repair at a Ford dealer,” the company said.

As for the 1.6 litre EcoBoost, the problem centres around a lack of coolant circulation, which could cause the engine to overheat and can result in a cracked cylinder head, causing a pressurised oil leak – if the oil comes into contact with a hot engine surface, it increases the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.

Ford said it has been aware of the issue on the 1.6 litre EcoBoost since 2012 after several engine fires in the United States. A safety recall was issued in the US in 2014, and in the UK, a recall was issued in January this year to rectify the issue on more than 15,000 affected vehicles. The BBC report highlighted a case of a B299 Fiesta ST which caught fire and was engulfed in flames within six minutes.

Last year, a recall for the 1.6 litre EcoBoost over the same issue was made for 230,756 units of the 2014 Escape (known as the Kuga here), 2014-2015 Fiesta ST, 2013-2014 Fusion (Mondeo) and 2013-2015 Transit Connect in North America.

In Australia, the company also recalled 4,450 units of the 2013-2014 Kuga as well as 400 units of the Fiesta ST last year over the same issue, with seven cases of fire associated with the issue being reported. South Africa had also recalled 4,500 units of the Kuga, again over a fire risk due to a lack of coolant circulation.