Well, for once it is Ford and not GM who is in the news for recalls. Ford is recalling more than 1.3 million cars for power steering failures, electrical shorts and floormat problems, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 1.1 million SUVs have power steering that can be disabled while driving. The 2011-2013 Explorer and 2008-2011 Escape and Mercury Mariner models are affected.
With the Explorer, of which 179,000 cars are in the U.S., Ford said the electric power steering system can receive “intermittent” signals due to bad cables and misaligned connectors. If that happens, the system automatically disables the power steering and the driver will be alerted with a chime and a dashboard message — and manual steering. Ford knew about the issue in 2011 and the NHTSA has been investigating the cars since June 2012, but according to the filings did not elevate it to a recall until now. Ford said it was aware of 15 crashes and two injuries.
On the Escape and Mariner models, of which 740,848 cars are in the U.S., a “poor signal to noise ratio” on the steering wheel torque sensor can disable the power steering. In 2010, Ford updated the sensor on production models and waited until 2014 to introduce a repair kit for dealers. It still did not initiate a recall until now, despite at least five related accidents and six injuries.
The 2010-2014 Ford Taurus has license plate lamp terminals that can corrode and cause a short, smoke and a small fire. Ford said it’s been aware of 18 fires and five reports of smoke since 2011 and did not know what to do until May 2013, when it opened a second investigation. The company revised the light assembly earlier this year but fire reports on 2013 and 2014 models continued. The recall affects 183,425 cars in the U.S., and only those in 21 Salt Belt states, including Washington, D.C. Ford owners outside these states can request the repair for free but will not receive a notice. Dealers will replace the lamp assembly starting in late July.
Additionally, Ford is recalling more than 82,000 accessory all-weather floormats originally sold for 2006-2011 Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ models that can trap the accelerator pedal if they are installed incorrectly. This recall, which the NHTSA initiated as an investigation in May 2010, is similar to the Toyota floormat recalls from 2009 and 2010. Ford will replace the mats starting in late July.
The number of vehicles in the U.S. involved in the four recalls is just shy of the total number of vehicles in all of those issued by Ford in 2013. Last year, there were 16 recalls. This year, so far there are 11.
Ford’s announcement follows its recall of 700,000 Escape SUVs and C-Max hybrids for a software problem that could prevent side air bags from inflating in some rollover crashes. It also follows the recall of nearly 2.5 million GM vehicles over ignition-switch problems and Chrysler’s worldwide recall of some 470,000 Jeep SUVs.
People who have been harmed by these defects may have a right to legal damages. These damages can include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering and punitive damages.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident involving a Ford recalled car, contact Edwards & Ragatz for a free and confidential case evaluation.