Ford has issued a recall for approximately 1.5 million examples of the 2012-2018 Ford Focus. Roughly 1.3 million are located in the US and its territories, with the remainder in Mexico and Canada. The affected vehicles pack naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engines, and all were built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant.
The problem comes from the fuel system. The canister purge valve, which helps circulate fuel vapor, might become stuck open. On top of that, the powertrain control module in charge of detecting a stuck-open purge valve might also malfunction. If both of these things occur, the fuel tank might become deformed due to excessive vacuum. When that happens, a check-engine light may come on, the fuel gauge might start acting weird or the vehicle may stall completely, the latter of which is a pretty big safety concern.
The recall came about because NHTSA received a few consumer complaints about loss of motive power in 2012-2014 Focus models. Ford and NHTSA shared data and eventually decided that a recall was the best course of action. The automaker thankfully has no reports of accidents or injuries related to this problem.
In order to remedy the issues, Ford and Lincoln dealers will take in the recalled vehicles and reprogram the powertrain control module to better detect malfunctioning canister purge valves. Technicians will also inspect and replace the purge valve and charcoal canister as necessary. Cars may also need their fuel tanks replaced, depending. In the interim, Ford recommends that owners of affected vehicles keep their fuel tanks at least 50 percent full. Owners will start receiving recall notifications in the mail in December.