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The Yankee Express

Fusion Energi Error Message Relates to Hybrid Drivetrain

John Paul

Q.I own a 2019 Fusion Energi with 56,000 miles. Recently, I will get seemingly at random, an error message that appears on my dash that says stop safely now. I had the car towed to my local Ford dealer and they had the car for several days and they said this error message never reappeared and there were no error codes in the computer. When it does appear the car barely accelerates regardless of how much you give it gas. Sometimes just shutting it off and turning it back on corrects the error, but sometimes it just does not go away which is why I had it towed in. Luckily, it only happened while I was driving locally. I am afraid to take it on the parkway or on a long trip until this can be diagnosed and repaired. Can you shed any light on this?

A.         That message is specific to the hybrid drivetrain, and it usually indicates a problem with hybrid battery cooling system. Now, of course it could be wiring or some other component issue but the only times I have seen it is when the hybrid battery temperature gets above the normal rating. As you pointed out, sometimes shutting the car off for a bit restarting it clears the issue. A scan of the car’s computer modules needs to be performed to isolate the issue. In addition, and most importantly there is a recall. In Ford’s words, there is a chance a fire may break out in the trunk area while driving, increasing the risk of injury. We are asking you to please avoid charging your vehicle until a remedy is available. Some Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid models may not start or may display a "Stop Safely Now" message while driving, followed by a loss of power within a few seconds.

Q. A comment about headlight cleaning, I had the same problem on my 1999 Honda CRV, Foggy headlights. There may be “some” dirt on the outside of the headlight cover which you can clean with a cloth. But do not waste your money or time buying those products that tell you to scrub off the fog. They do not work. In my opinion the only thing that works that brings your headlights back to full brightness is to take your car to a body shop and have the headlight cover assembly replaced. The fog is on the inside of the light, and it can’t be cleaned off.  I think it is caused by the sun’s UV light. I replaced mine and now I am back to full bright headlights.
A. I agree to a point, the spray on easy-to-use products don’t work any better than using bug spray. If lens degradation is on the inside the only thing you can do is replace them. Most headlights are made of plastic and exposure to sunlight breaks down the plastic coating, causing discoloration that obscures the amount of light produced. Depending on where and how the vehicle is used, headlights can begin showing signs of deterioration as early as three years to five years. That being said I have used kits that come with 1500, 2000, and 3000 grit sandpaper and then a polishing compound and a UV sealer and have taken headlights from badly glazed to completely transparent. It is a fair amount of work, but the result was quite good and so far on one of our own cars the lenses are clear one year later.  

Q. I own a 2019 Honda CRV that I put new tires on this past November. I do a lot of winter driving in Vermont, and I wanted something better in the snow than my original tires. I went with Firestone Weathergrip tires, and they are a big improvement over what I had. However, I now find that my gas mileage has dropped by about 0.7 MPG. Could it be the tires or is something else going on here? 
A. It certainly is possible the tires do not have the same rolling resistance as the original tires, which results in a little less fuel economy. Also, keep in mind the composition of winter fuel has less energy in it and seeing up to a 3 to 5% drop and fuel economy is not uncommon. The other thing you may find is, although the tires say they’re the same size, they may be a bit larger which will lower the speedometer reading and odometer reading and will result in a false mile per gallon number. 

Q. I know you have reviewed or mentioned a few scan tools and other testers in the past. Have you ever heard of the company Topdon. I see ads all over Facebook and YouTube. 
A. I have seen the ads as well and recently was contacted by the company and in the near future will be testing out a Bluetooth code reader/scanner and a battery tester. Their products seem pretty impressive, time will tell, so stay tuned.

Q. My wife and I purchased a brand-new Subaru Forester back in April of 2019.The vehicle is full of bells and whistles, sun/moon roof all-wheel drive and so forth. My wife likes the vehicle, but I do not. Here is the problem at hand. The preset buttons on the infotainment system never stay set, no matter how many times I reset them. The vehicle’s battery was checked and is good. There were a few recalls on this car (matters taken care of), but nothing related to the radio. I mentioned it to the service technicians at the dealership and I wrote to the corporate office with no results. My wife said, just forget about it and dial the FM stations as needed. I said, if it came as a package with the car and we paid for it then it should be repaired/fixed or replaced. I have searched the web and other owners of the same model have the same problem. Some have been corrected or replaced.
A. Earlier models had this exact problem, and it was solved with a software update. At this point I would want the dealer to check that all software is up to date. There are about a dozen bulletins about the infotainment system on this car, but at least the ones that I have access to do not address memory issues. The other issue that has been plaguing some Subaru infotainment system is the touch screen becomes delaminated and causes odd control issues with the radio. I would start with checking the power and ground to the radio and would like to see the software is up to date. If not, chances are the radio control (head unit/display) will need replacement. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over forty years’ experience and is an ASE-certified master technician. He will answer readers’ questions each week. Email your questions to [email protected]. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook at mrjohnfpaul.