'I had to rip the car seat out and just got him out in time' – Auckland woman reveals terrifying close call after her car bursts into flames

An investigation is underway into what caused an Auckland woman's Ford Kuga to burst into flames.

Eden O'Connor was driving her Ford Kuga Titanium 2013 on December 2016 with her nana and three young relatives, including her one-year-old nephew.

"We're just doing the daily route and I noticed that my engine light had come up," she said.

An investigation is underway into what caused an Auckland woman's Ford Kuga to burst into flames. Source: 1 NEWS

"So I started to slow down and as soon as I turned my hazard lights on a notification came up on my dashboard and it said emergency pull over immediately."

It was the final and only warning that her car was about to be reduced to a shell, having been serviced just days earlier.

"As soon as I opened my door, I saw flames coming from the bonnet," she said.

"I went to unstrap my nephew's car seat and his clicker on his car seat jammed. So I had to rip the car seat out and just got him out in time actually, because the flames were going really fast and they were at the driver's door."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The close call echoes at least forty similar incidents in South Africa, which were found to have been caused by engine overheating issues.

In January, Ford South Africa issued a safety recall of 4,556 Kugas built between 2012 and 2014 and fitted with a 1.6L Ecoboost engine.

There are around 1300 of the same model here in New Zealand, but Ford stresses there are differences between the two markets.

The company told 1 NEWS, "There can be differences that cause the engines to perform differently, including engine installation, transmission systems, cooling systems, under-hood airflow, calibrations, and emissions among others."

An investigation's underway into what caused an Auckland woman's Ford Kuga to burst into flames. Source: Breakfast

It's still not known what caused Mrs O'Connor's car to catch alight - her insurance company's findings were inconclusive.

Ford is now seeking access to the car so its engineers can investigate further, "Safety is our number one priority at Ford," it said.

They advise any concerned Kuga owners to maintain regular servicing of their vehicle, ensure coolant levels are at the right level and pay attention to any warning signals.

If you've experienced similar issues with a Ford Kuga, you can email 1NEWS reporter Kaitlin Ruddock at: Kaitlin.ruddock@tvnz.co.nz