Ford Motor Co. will recall more than 484,000 Escape sport utility vehicles internationally including 421,000 in the U.S. because of a problem that can cause the gas pedal to stick.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe of the problem this month after it noted 68 complaints, including 13 accidents, nine injuries and one fatality.
The issues affect Escapes from the 2001 through 2004 model years that are left-hand drive and with the 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
Ford said the problem occurs because of inadequate clearance between the engine cover and the cruise control cable. This can allow the throttle to stick when the accelerator pedal is fully or almost fully depressed.
The automaker plans to fix the problem by having dealers raise the engine cover by replacing a fastener. This will provide adequate clearance for the cable, Ford said.
It will be several weeks before Ford has the parts for the repair at dealerships. Customers worried about a sticking gas pedal can take their Escape to a dealership and have the cruise control cable disconnected and secured in place until the permanent fix can be made.
Ford said the problem occurs only when a driver presses the pedal all the way or almost all the way to the floor.
The automaker is dealing with a number of problems for the Escape, which has been one of America’s best selling sport-utility vehicles.
Already this month it made the unusual move of telling owners of one version of the newly redesigned Escape to stop driving it because it might catch on fire. Dealers will go to the homes of owners, provide a loaner and retrieve the Escape for repairs.
Ford needs to replace a fuel line in the vehicles. The automaker said the line could split and leak gasoline, which could ignite. The recall applies to 2013 model year Escapes with the 1.6-liter engine and built through July 11.
Also this month, Ford said it would recall about 10,000 new Escapes because of mispositioned carpet padding in the center console trim panel. The padding can cause the driver to hit the side of the brake pedal when moving his or her foot from the accelerator, according to the NHTSA. That could increase stopping distances and the risk of a crash, the agency said.