Ford Recalls Additional 1.5 Million Vehicles With Defective Door Latches

Image courtesy of Ken Fager

After two years of federal investigations and one rather large recall, the ongoing saga of Ford’s issues with doors that just won’t stay shut entered a new chapter Thursday, as the carmaker said nearly 1.5 million additional vehicles are afflicted with the issue. 

Ford announced Thursday that it would increase the door latch recall to nearly 2.4 million vehicles — about 2 million in the U.S. — at the behest of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall covers additional model year 2013 to 2015 Ford C-MAX and Ford Escape, model year 2012 to 2015 Ford Focus, model year 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC, and model year 2014 to 2016 Ford Transit Connect that contain a side door latch spring that could break, preventing the door from latching.

In certain situations where the door is able to be closed, the door may unlatch while driving, increasing the risk of injury. Ford has identified one reported crash and three reported injuries that may be related to this issue.

Previously, Ford centered the recall on areas of the U.S. with “higher ambient temperatures and solar loading” — places where your car gets really, really hot when it sits out in the sun.

The carmaker, which previously launched a customer satisfaction program related to the issue, will notify affected owners, and dealers will replace side door latches at no cost to the customer.

Ford’s expanded recall comes seven months after NHTSA opened an investigation into nearly 400,000 model year 2012 and 2013 Ford Focus vehicles after receiving consumer complaints alleging the doors don’t remain latched.

According to documents [PDF] from the agency, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation received 73 reports from consumers that doors fail to latch, with several reports indicating that the “door ajar” warning light on the dash appeared.

In some cases, drivers alleged that the door opened while the vehicle was being driven, while others say they have had to physically tie down the door.

“My daughter was driving and the driver door latch failed and the door wouldn’t stay shut,” one Focus owner reports to NHTSA. “The dealership said the defect is in the door latch. Said there is a recall but only for Fusion and Fiesta models.”

The latch issue found on the Focus vehicles is similar to that previously tied to 456,000 model year 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta, model year 2013 Ford Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ vehicles.

NHTSA closed a year-long investigation into those vehicles in December after determining that a recall by Ford to replace all four door latches on affected models fixed the problem.