Ford Issues Six Recalls Covering 380,000 Vehicles Over Crash, Fire Risks

Ford significantly increased the number of vehicles it’s recalled in 2015 on Wednesday when the car manufacturer announced six new recalls covering nearly 380,000 automobiles — some of which have already been called back, but may continue to have issues. 

The largest of the recalls includes 342,271 model year 1998 to 2003 Ford Windstar minivans that were originally recalled in 2010 for having a rear axle that could crack over time.

Ford said on Wednesday that the previous recall remedy of placing brackets on the axle may not have fixed the problem. The parts many continue to contain cracks, which can lead to complete failure and an increased risk of crashes.

The brackets used to remedy the initial recall may have been incorrectly installed, Ford claims, limiting the effectiveness of the repairs.

According to the 2010 recall notice [PDF] posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, the affected vehicles – located in cold weather states were road salt is used – contain axles that can corrode over time, making it more difficult to maintain control of the vehicle.

Prior to the initial recall, NHTSA opened an investigation into the issue after receiving 891 complaints alleging axle cracking in the subject vehicles. Of the complaints, 334 claim that the cracking progressed to a complete fracture of the rear axle, including eight allegations of crashes resulting in three injuries.

Ford said on Wednesday that it is aware of “a small number of accidents that might be connected to the issue, but no injuries.” Dealers will inspect the vehicles and determine if the brackets are correctly installed.

In addition to re-recalling the Windstar minivans, Ford issued five smaller safety campaigns this week.

Approximately 36,857 model year 2015 Ford F-150s were recalled for a potential cruise control issue that could increase the risk of a crash.

According to the automaker’s announcement, when passing a large, highly reflective truck, the adaptive cruise control radar in some of these vehicles could incorrectly identify the truck as being in the F-150’s lane of travel when it is not.

As a result, the cruise control system might apply the brakes until the truck is no longer perceived to be in the lane of travel. Additionally, the collision warning system red warning light might also flash and a tone may be heard at the same time. If this occurs, the brake lights will illuminate, increasing the potential of a crash.

The recall will be remedied by a software upgrade, Ford says.

The company is also recalling 250 model year 2015 Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS, as well as model year 2016 Ford Explorers because the fuel tank attachment bolts may not be properly tightened.

If the bolts are not properly attached, the fuel tank straps could break over an extended amount of time, causing the fuel tank to separate from the vehicle and ultimately leading to a fuel leak, Ford said. This could lead to a fire.

The company is unaware of any accidents or injuries. The vehicles will be inspected by dealers to ensure bolts are tightened.

Another recall was issued for 1,477 model year 2016 Ford F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis vehicles for a potential issue with a shift control bracket. The bracket may have been improperly manufactured, and could allow the vehicle to be shifted into reverse without the driver applying the brakes.

No accidents or injuries have been reported related to the issue. Dealers will replace the shift control bracket.

Nearly 70 model year 2001 to 2008 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs with re-manufactured transmissions are being recalled because a shift lever bolt may not have been tightened properly. This could lead the gear shift to disengage from the transmission without warning.

Ford said it knows of no injuries or accidents related to the issue. Dealers will inspect the bolt to ensure it is properly tightened.

Finally, the manufacturer announced it would initiate a compliance recall related to 708 model year 2016 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ cars that contain fuel tanks that may not have been properly built. In the event of a crash, Ford believes the fuel tank could crack, increasing the risk of a fire.

So far, the automaker is unaware of any injuries or fires related to the issue. Dealers will replace the fuel tanks in affected cars for free.

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