Ford issues massive recall
4.5 million vehicles recalled to address fire hazard
For the eighth time in recent years, Ford Motor Co. is recalling millions of vehicles to fix a faulty cruise-control switch that can overheat and start a fire, even when the vehicle is parked and unattended.
The latest in a series of too-little, too-late recalls affects 1.1 million Ford Windstar minivans, model years 1995 through 2003, that could have the problem, as well as 3.4 million additional vehicles that have the switch, including Ford Excursions, Explorers and Rangers of various model years, going back as far as 1992.
The latest recall affects these models:
Ford dealers will install a new fused wiring harness and inspect the ABS control connector when the recall begins on or about Oct. 26. Owners may contact Ford at (888) 222-2751.
Ford and federal regulators have known about the problem for years but have issued narrowly focused recalls that have left thousands of consumers at risk. Ford has already recalled 12 million vehicles because of the fire hazard associated with the speed-control system in the vehicles.
One Ford Windstar owner in Rosewood Heights, Ill., reported to ConsumerAffairs.com that her 1996 minivan caught fire and is a total loss. "It was parked in my driveway beside my house. I was not home at the time of the fire and I had driven the vehicle earlier. When I returned home later in the afternoon all of the windows were black," she said.
Ford said in a statement, "While the data show the majority of the vehicles being recalled do not pose a significant safety risk, we are recalling the vehicles to reassure customers and eliminate any future concerns."
As many as 1.64 million Windstars were produced by Ford between 1995 and 2003. They and other vehicles in the latest recall were not included in earlier massive Ford recalls of vehicles in danger of catching fire because of a faulty cruise-control switch.
In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported receiving 134 consumer complaints of engine compartment fires in the Windstar. The agency also reported that Ford has received 285 complaints of engine compartment fires in Windstars. The automaker has also responded to 137 warranty claims after engine compartment fires in the minivan, according to the NHTSA Web site.
NHTSA reported that two Windstar owners alleged that vehicle fires spread to their homes, causing structural damage.
According to the NHTSA Web site, 36 consumers claimed the Windstar fire occurred while the vehicle was parked. Another 72 consumers said the fire started while their Ford Windstar was running.
Ford plans to notify vehicle owners starting at the end of the month. In the meantime, the automaker suggests owners of all the recalled vehicles park outdoors until they are serviced.
Related reading at ConsumerAffairs.com:
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