Ford EcoSport, Focus recalled for oil pump failure

Ford has recalled certain model years of the EcoSport small crossover and Focus compact car for an oil pump that can fail and cause the engine to stall, the NHTSA disclosed Monday. 

An arm holding the oil pump belt in place can break or separate, or the belt itself can degrade. The result is a loss of engine oil pressure, which can then cause the engine to seize and lose power. If that happens, a pump that helps with braking can also lose power, and the dual whammy of power loss increases the risk of a crash. 

Drivers may notice a low oil pressure warning light in the cluster, and/or a check engine light. The driver may notice a reduction or total loss of power. If the engine fails, expect to hear loud death rattle noises from the engine. 

The recall encompasses 139,730 vehicles, including the 2016-2018 Ford Focus and the 2018-2022 Ford EcoSport. Both economy cars were discontinued in 2018 and 2022, respectively. 

The problem is specific to Ford’s turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine designed for small cars to increase efficiency while not sacrificing too much power. The affected vehicles were only equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission; the Focus with a 6-speed manual or larger 4-cylinder engine are not included in the recall. 

From mid-2016 to Oct. 3, 2023, Ford identified 2,099 warranty claims for the oil pump issue. While Ford said there were no fatalities relating to the issue, it acknowledged “one allegation” of a crash resulting in two injuries. 

Ford and Lincoln dealers will inspect and replace the oil pump tension and drive belt free of charge as early as April 2024. Owners can expect notification by mail of the safety issue by Feb. 13, then a second notice will inform them when the parts will be ready. For more info, contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or visit Ford’s recall site

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