Ford Recalls 313K Sedans Because Lights Are Necessary While Driving In The Dark

Six years after federal regulators originally closed an investigation into Ford sedans that contained headlights that could fail and four months after a new probe into the issue was opened, the automaker has issued a recall for 313,000 of the vehicles. 

Ford announced Tuesday that it would recall 313,000 model year 2003 to 2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a second investigation into failing headlights.

The recall centers around the fact that the solder joint on the module could crack and interrupt power to the headlamps, increasing the risk of a crash.

The automaker says it is aware of 11 reports of accidents and one report of a minor injury related to the case.

Ford’s latest recall comes just months after NHTSA determined that a new investigation was warranted. The North Carolina Consumers Council, which submitted a defect petition to the agency, argued there was an important safety problem in the vehicles, noting that the agency had received 605 consumer complaints.

“Most consumer [complaints] indicate that the headlights failed suddenly and without warning leaving the driver with no forward lighting, however some report the headlights flickered or dimmed prior to turning off,” NHTSA said in a filing [PDF] related to the new investigation. “In some cases drivers were able to turn the headlights back on after a period of time while others reported the headlights would not come back on at all.”

In some cases, consumer noted they were able to hold the “flash to pass” lever on the steering column mounted stalk to activate the high beams, however, this is only effective as long as the lever is actually engaged.

In all, NHTSA identified four complaints that alleged minor crashes or loss of control incidents due to the failing headlights.

A spokesperson for Ford tells the New York Times that the company decided to initiate a recall after “reviewing data this year.”

“Our decisions are driven by the available data and we move quickly on behalf of our customers when we determine a safety recall is needed,” the rep said.

In addition to recalling vehicles for failing headlights, Ford also issued three smaller safety campaigns:

• 117 model year 2016 Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks to replace the rear brake chamber after finding the rear axle housing can leak, leading to braking performance.

• 1,300 model year 2015 Ford Transit deal-rear-wheel vehicles to replace rear axle shafts. The rear axle shafts could fracture, either causing a loss of motive power without warning while driving, or unintended vehicle movement when the vehicle is in park without the parking brake engaged – increasing the risk of injury or crash.

• 3,200 model year 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew vehicles to replace the front safety belt retractor and assembly. The safety belt assembly could have improperly secured pretensioner cables, and might not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash.

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