"The engine block design, coupled with the particular block heater installed in these vehicles, causes the unit to be susceptible to overheating when the vehicle is parked and the block heater is plugged in, increasing the risk of an under-hood fire," Ford said in a statement.
Ford said it is aware of two reports of under-hood fires in Canada, but it is not aware of any accidents or injuries linked to the recall.
The affected Explorer SUVs were built at the Chicago Assembly Plant from October 20, 2014 through January 28, 2016. The affected MKC SUVs were built at the Louisville Assembly Plant from November 25, 2013 through January 25, 2016.
Ford dealers will remove and replace the engine block heater with an updated design and, if necessary, replace the cord. The recall is expected to begin on May 16. Owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332.
No information about the recall has been posted on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees vehicle safety in the U.S.
Edmunds says: Owners with an immediate concern should contact their Ford dealer now. Others should wait for their official recall notice and then schedule a service appointment.