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Ford’s recall of up to 14 million

16 October 2009 1,612 views No Comment

DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford is expanding its previous recall of vehicles over a cruise-control-switch defect by 4.5 million vehicles. Including previous recalls for the problem, Ford has now recalled more than 14 million vehicles, making this the company’s biggest recall ever. The switch poses a fire hazard, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The affected vehicles are pickup trucks, minivans and commercial vehicles built between 1992 and 2003.

Ford’s recall history with the switch, which started a decade ago, was expanded on Tuesday, notably to include the Ford Windstar. In Canada, 522,900 are being recalled, bringing the total to a million, the largest recall in Ford of Canada’s history, reported the Toronto Star.

The problem affects 1995-2002 Explorers/Mercury Mountaineers, 1995-2003 Windstars, 1995-’97 and 2001-’03 Rangers, 2001-’03 Excursions with the diesel engine, 1992-2003 Econoline vans, 1994 F35 motor homes and 1999-2003 F-Series Super Duty trucks with diesel engine.

The switches are for cruise control deactivation and were made by Texas Instruments. According to NHTSA, the switch can overheat, and it poses a fire hazard even when the engine is shut off. The agency also said vehicle owners can notice warning signs such as malfunctioning cruise control and brakes, unusual activation of brake lights and difficulty shifting the vehicle out of Park.

Ford’s notice to NHTSA says dealers will install a fused wiring harness “to eliminate the potential risk of fire.” On the recalled Windstars, the repair will also include inspection and repair, “if necessary,” of the ASS module connector. Inspections and repairs will be made at no charge.

The recall officially begins on October 26. Meanwhile, owners of affected vehicles can call Ford at 888-222-2751 for more information. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, quoted by the Detroit News, said the vehicles should not be parked inside garages or near homes until the fix is made.

Inside Line says: Luckily, no Fords after 2003 have the problem, but those with the older vehicles should contact their dealers pronto. — Laura Sky Brown, Correspondent

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