Ford Recalls 874,000 F-150 and Super Duty Pickups Over Fire-Starting Block Heaters

Affecting mostly Canadian trucks, Ford says water and other contaminants may corrode the block heater cable's splice connector.

Ford Motor Company

Ford is issuing a recall on around 874,000 F-150 and Super Duty trucks over block heater cables that are at risk of short-circuiting and catching fire. 

Specifically, this involves 2015 to 2019 model year F-150s made Dearborn's Rouge facility from Mar. 18, 2014 to Nov. 17, 2018 as well as the same vehicles made in Kansas between Aug. 21, 2014 and Nov. 17, 2018. Super Dutys assembled in Ohio from Feb. 5, 2016 and Nov. 17, 2018 or Kentucky between Oct. 8, 2015 and Nov. 17, 2018 for the 2017 to 2019 model years are also being recalled.

Obviously, only trucks equipped with the optional engine block heaters are affected. According to Ford, water and other contaminants may get into the block heater cable's "splice connector" and corrode it. If the corrosion goes unchecked, it can cause a short circuit and "make the engine block heater inoperable and/or trip household breakers or GFCI-equipped outlets while the vehicle is parked and the block heater is plugged in."

The company says fire risks only arise when the trucks are parked and the block heater cable is plugged into an outlet. Thus, out of the three actual fires reported, none have been on-the-road incidents or caused any injuries. One case did apparently cause minor property damage.

Out of the 874,000 recalled Fords, more than half—463,793 to be exact—are located in Canada with the remaining 410,289 being U.S. trucks.

Ford dealerships will inspect affected block heater cables and replace them entirely if they find evidence of damage or corrosion. Otherwise, dielectric grease will be applied to the splice connector.