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NHTSA investigates Ford Escape stalling complaints

by Justin King

At least 40 complaints allege stalling caused by engine overheating.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into the 2013 Ford Escape after identifying numerous complaints of engine stalling.

The agency has identified 40 reports alleging sudden stall without warning while driving. All involve vehicles equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.

"Complainants allege stalling was caused by overheating of the engine resulting in delayed or no restart possible," the inquiry notice says.

At least two complaints associate the stalling behavior with engine compartment fires. In one case, an Escape destroyed by fire had been repaired for an earlier recall related to fuel leaks.

"While driving, the message "vehicle overheating" was displayed before the engine suddenly stalled," one complaint says. "Smoke was present coming from under the hood due to oil leaking onto the engine."

The NHTSA has now opened a preliminary evaluation to determine if a deeper investigation is warranted.