A Ford dealership in Kensington, Conn. is photographed in June of 2016. Photo by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia
Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Ford Motor announced a recall for more than 874,000 of its F-150 and Super Duty pickup trucks Friday so that an engine block heater cable connected to fire concerns can be replaced.
The cable is meant to keep engines warm and starting efficiently on cold weather days, the Detroit Free Press reported. The recall targets North American vehicles.
Ford said it has found that water and contaminants can intrude into the block heater cable's splice connector, causing corrosion and damage to the cable over time.
Car and Driver.com reported that 410,289 late-model pickup trucks are connected with the recall in the United States and another 463,793 in Canada. Models include 2015-2019 F-150, 2017-2019 Super Duty (F-250, F-350, F-450) and Chassis Cab (F-550) trucks.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report said that Ford installed the wiring too close to the ground in areas without underbody shielding and had female connectors "angled upwards at a 45-degree (or greater) angle." That positioning made it more likely for an electrical short.
Rebecca Lindland, an executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said the recall particularly slams truck owners in cold weather states just before Christmas.
"Those kinds of states where these heaters are needed also are the states where pickup trucks are the dominant segment," Lindland said. "Talk about inconvenient. The Friday before Christmas? A lot of people will be shut down on Monday and certainly on Tuesday for Christmas. People are looking at not being able to get this fixed for days, if not weeks, just as the freezing cold weather really settles in. The timing is terrible."
Ford said that is was aware of three fires originating from the engine block heater cable splice connector, and minor property damage was reported in one incident, but no crashes or injuries.