Ford is owning up to issues involving faulty head gaskets in the 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder engines found in 2016 and 2017 Focus RS models and is offering to replace them free of charge.

Complaints about the issue have raged for almost a year on a Focus RS online forum and for months on Reddit. In letters that the automaker plans to send to owners this week, Ford is offering to pressure-test Focus RS cooling systems and inspect the combustion chamber for coolant at dealers free of charge. They'll replace the cylinder head gasket and, if necessary, the cylinder head assembly.

The customer satisfaction program affects 2016 and 2017 model-year Focus RS hatchbacks built from Aug. 3, 2015, through July 6, 2017, and includes title branded and salvaged vehicles. Affected vehicles may show noticeable white smoke from the exhaust or low coolant levels without signs of external leaks.

"Ford Motor Company can deny coverage for any vehicle damage that may result from the failure to have this service action performed on a timely basis. Therefore, please have this service action performed as soon as possible," Ford wrote in the bulletin to owners.

The offer, which is free of charge to vehicle owners, runs through Jan. 31, 2019, regardless of the vehicle's mileage. Ford is also offering to pay the cost of up to four days for rental vehicles for owners who need them while their car is in the shop. Ford estimates it will take less than two days to make the repairs on each vehicle.

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