The company announced two more recalls Tuesday of its 2013 Ford Escape for problems that have caused at least 13 engine fires. The recalls affect 149,386 vehicles.
In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford officials said a "misinstalled fuel line could chafe and eventually leak fuel."
It's the latest in a string of problems for the '13 Escape, which has now been recalled seven times in roughly 17 months on the market. Ford said it knew of no deaths or injuries associated with the latest problem, but among 117 complaints filed on the car, several motorists told NHTSA they were afraid to drive their vehicles.
"The auto stalls randomly on occasion. I feel this is a dangerous situation, however, the dealer can't get a code so Ford will not fix," one vehicle owner wrote.
"We are concerned that we may get rear ended in a serious accident if the car stalls again, and the car/truck behind us doesn't stop in time, e.g. Harry Chapin on the LIE (Long Island Expressway)," wrote another. "We transport our two grandchildren two days a week from school and are extremely concerned."
The latest report of an engine fire arrived on Nov. 18, when a motorist wrote, "my car is still overheating after bringing it into the dealer 6 times." NHTSA does not release the names of vehicle owners who file complaints.
The problems with fuel leaking, overheating and potential fires in the Escape is a vexing one for Ford. The company had issued three previous recalls to deal with the same problems on July 18, 2012, Sept. 4, 2012 and Dec. 3, 2012. It was not immediately clear why the first wave of recalls did not resolve the problem, and Ford did not return messages left seeking comment Tuesday.
The Escape remains a popular small SUV. Through October, Ford has sold 250,543 Escapes so far this year, trailing only the Honda CR-V in the crossover segment.
Among its crossover competitors, however, the Escape is the dubious leader among recalls by a wide margin for vehicles in the 2013 model year. The '13 CR-V has been recalled once. The Chevy Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester have not been recalled.
Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.