Ford Fusion Recall

The Ford Motor Company has announced that it has recalled 2013 – 2016 Fusion vehicles equipped with 2.5 liter engines as a result of a faulty transmission shifter cable.  The vehicle can roll away if the transmission is not in the “park” position when the driver exits the vehicle.  The parking brake should be applied before leaving the vehicle in order to prevent a roll away occurrence.  Approximately 270,000 vehicles in North America are affected.  It has been determined that the bushing that holds the shifter cable to the transmission can degrade over time and allow the cable to separate from the transmission.  When the driver moves the shift lever into “park” position, the transmission might not shift into the “park” position leaving the vehicle in a condition to potentially roll away, unattended.  A moving and unattended vehicle has the potential to cause personal injury to pedestrians as well as property damage.  While the remedy is still under development, Ford expects to begin recalling vehicles on May 28, 2019.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford by calling 1-866-436-7332 and reference recall # 18V471.

Advertisements

Vehicular Fire in Hayfield

The photograph below shows what can happen when a vehicle is driven through a hayfield.  Although the owner of the truck didn’t believe it could happen to him, he is now a firm believer.  The fire grew so quickly that the driver was lucky to get out of the truck as the flames were growing alongside the driver’s side door.  The fire occurred even though the ground was saturated after recent rain made the ground so soft that the truck got stuck in the mud.  While trying to extricate himself, the engine was heating the grass beneath the engine compartment.  Since the grass was already dry, it didn’t take long to ignite.  The only thing that kept the fire from spreading to the rest of the hayfield was the quick response of the fire department.  The heat that ignited the fire could also have come form the transmission and exhaust piping, including the catalytic converter.  If you have to drive through a field with tall, dry grass, don’t stop until you can get off the grass.  Be aware that stopping your vehicle over dry grass and allowing the engine to continue running can be just as bad as shutting down the engine while positioned over a tall patch of dry grass.  If you get stuck, get out of your vehicle, get away and then get help.      

Vehicular Fire in Hayfield

Ford Recalls Trucks Due to Fire Hazard

The Ford Motor Company is recalling its full sized pickups due to a problem with an engine block heater.  The recall involves approximately 874,000 trucks.  More specifically, the recall applies to 2015 to 2019 F150, 2017 to 2019 F250, F350, F450 and F550 “Super Duty” models.  The problem with the heater is actually in the heater connector cable.  Water and other contaminants can get into the connector causing corrosion to occur and subsequently short circuit the cable.  Short circuiting of the cable can lead to a fire.  Dealerships will inspect and repair or replace the cable, at no charge.  The recall was expected to begin on January 7th of this year.  For additional information, consumers can contact Ford by calling 1-800-392-3673 or visiting www.ford.com and clicking on recalls at the bottom of the page.  Ford’s identifying number for this campaign is 18S45. 

         


What Every Property Adjuster Should Know About …

Fire Investigations:

  1. Fire investigations are governed by NFPA 921, published by the National Fire Protection Association.  NFPA 921 is a guide for use by investigators and is not a legal document.
  2. Fire Investigators are certified as Certified Fire Investigators (CFI) or Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators (CFEI).
  3. In the state of Tennessee, fire investigators are also required to be licensed by the state as private investigators.  If necessary, check your state to see if additional licenses are required.
  4. Fire investigation of a structure (or vehicle) is the responsibility of the law enforcement authorities.  Only after the authorities have released “the scene” can a civil investigation proceed.
  5.  Acceptable conclusions for the cause of a fire include intentional, accidental, and undetermined.
  6. There are times when the cause and origin of a fire are not as important as determining if your insured can be implicated in the cause.  Situations do arise where several parties are affected by a massive fire.  Although the cause and origin might not be determinable, it is prudent to determine if the insured can be held culpable.  Sometimes it’s about whether a product is under warranty or who did the work.  These scenarios assume that a fire cannot be attributed to arson or vandalism.
  7. Evidence must be handled carefully.  All parties identified in connection with a fire investigation have to be given notice and allowed to participate in any examination of evidence taken from a fire scene.

The pictures below serve to illustrate some of the investigations that we have been involved with.

Fire Damaged marina, several boats involved, cause and origin undetermined, insured boat owner eliminated as potentially culpable party

Paper Shredder thought to have been the cause and origin of a residential fire due to poor maintenance

Dryer Fire due to accumulation of lint

Fire in senior living center due to electrical short in room A/C unit

Residential structure explosion due to broken gas line

Residential structure fire due to misuse of stove

Defective Products

  1. A defective product is one which is unreasonably dangerous and cannot be used for its intended purpose.
  2. The test for a defective product is that it had to have had the defect at the time it left the possession of the manufacturer.
  3. Not only can be manufacturer be held liable for manufacturing a defective product but, anyone in the distribution/handling chain can also be held liable.
  4. Many times, a recall search can identify a recalled product. The Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a website and database that lists products that have been identified as hazardous to consumers and recalled. The CPSC website address is http://www.cpsc.gov.
  5. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also maintains a website and database that has identified defective cars and trucks. Their website is located at http://www.nhtsa.gov. The NHTSA is searchable by vehicle make and year model as well as vehicle identification number.
  6. When products have been recalled, investigation of defective products cases becomes a much simpler matter because most of the work has already been done. However, when a product has not been recalled, then the investigator must determine if the product meets the criteria given in #1 and 2 above.

Hyundai Recalls Vehicles Due to Fire Risk

Hyundai Motor America has recalled approximately one half million vehicles as a result of engine problems that pose a fire risk.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that approximately 380,000 Kia Soul and Sportage vehicles will be recalled by Hyundai.  The Kia Soul vehicles are equipped with 1.6 liter engines and can operate at higher than normal exhaust gas temperatures due to abnormal combustion.  The elevated exhaust temperatures can damage the catalytic converter as well as ignite combustible material such as oil, fuel and plastic.  The affected year models are 2012 through 2016.  NHTSA has also announced that Hyundai is recalling approximately 120,000 Tucson vehicles for a potential oil pan leak.  The Kia Sportage is also being recalled for this same problem.  Oil leakage in the presence of an ignition source, such as a hot engine, can pose a fire hazard risk.  The affected year models are 2011 through 2012 for the Sportage and 2011 through 2013 for Tucson vehicles.

For additional information, owners can contact Hyundai Motor America at 855-671-3059 or visiting https://hyundaiengineinfo.com.

Wet Weather and Engine Damage

The recent rain storms in the southeast have been causing drivers a lot of trouble.  In addition to the flooding, the rain has been causing vehicle engines to stall.  It’s easy to see how water might be getting into engines and causing damage to pistons, rods, crankshafts, and bearings.  When such a claim is encountered, one of the first things to be done is to obtain an oil sample.  When water mixes with oil, the tendency is for the water to separate from the oil.  Water is naturally heavier.  Its density is 62.4 pounds per cubic foot.  Motor oil, on the other hand, has a density of approximately 55 pounds per cubic foot (depending on the weight of the oil).  After the sample has been obtained, if the oil appears to fill the entire occupied space, then no water most likely entered the engine.  However, if the oil appears to be “floating”, then water has most likely entered the engine.  Examples of oil in both states are shown below.

Uncontaminated motor oil sample

 

Motor oil suspended in water

WARNING:  if you know that your engine is about to fail and you are going to have to pay for a new engine, don’t try pouring water into the engine and claiming to your insurance carrier that it was flooded.  First, a wear metals analysis will indicate the condition of your engine.  Second, the vehicle better have been in a flood and even then, the entry point of the water into the engine will have to be established.  Third, the damage to the engine has to be consistent with that caused by water.

Haier Recalls Freezer Refrigerators

Haier Appliances in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Comission, has recalled 137,000 combination freezer/refrigerators due to a fire Hazard.  The units contain an electric component that can short circuit resulting in a fire.  The company has not identified the component but, recommends that consumers unplug and stop using the affected units.  The units involved in this recall are 10.1 cubic feet models, sold at Lowe’s and independent retailers.  The units were sold between September 2014 and September 2018.  Three models have been identified: HA10TG31SB, HA10TG31SS, and HA10TG31SW.  Consumers will also have to check their unit’s serial number in order to make sure it is part of the recall.  Both Haier and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have set up web pages with the applicable model and serial number information.  For Haier: go to www.haierappliances.com click on recalls at the bottom of the page.  The next page that appears will prompt the user to enter model and serial number information.   The page will then tell the user whether the recall is applicable to their appliance.  For the CPSC: go to www.cpsc.gov, enter Haier recalls in the search box at the top of the page.  The next page will show the recall for this unit.  It is currently the first recall listed.  Click on the title of the recall and the specifics will then appear.  Scroll down until the page shows the applicable model and serial numbers.

Currently, Haier is providing free repairs or offering a $150 rebate toward the purchase of a new Haier refrigerator.  To schedule a repair, owners can call 1-888-364-2989.  A photograph of one affected model is shown below.

%d bloggers like this: