Ford Recalls 108,000 Midsize Cars Over Seat Belt Failing

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company says it will pull 2015 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs from circulation by the tens of thousands due to a seat belt pretensioner issue. Once the front-passenger seat belt is pulled from its anchor to lock into the clasp, the heat that’s generated over time can reduce the tensile strength of the cable. This could prevent the occupant from being properly strapped in. Riding unbuckled dramatically increases the risk of injury or death during a crash.

This recall will get underway soon, but the specific timeline for when owners will received word has not yet been disclosed.

The Defect

In a press release by Ford, the automaker plans to recall 108,000 midsize cars  – the 2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ – over a manufacturing flaw that affects the seat belt. In the problematic population, the high temperature generated from deploying the belt may cause the pretensioner to not perform its main function, which is to keep the belt taut and restrain occupants. Over time, the heat that emanates and causes wear could render the seat belt assembly useless.

Ford says it believes the automobiles that contain this flaw came from its manufacturing and distribution plants in either Flat Rock, Michigan or Hermosillo in Mexico. Additionally, the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles were developed between Aug. 1, 2014 and Jan. 30 2015 (Flat Rock) or Aug. 1 and Nov. 21 (Hermosillo).

Timeline of Events

This latest Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ seat belt recall appears to be an expansion of the original one, which occurred a few years ago. At that time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford coordinated to recall nearly 603,400 Fusions and MKZs also because of a seat belt pretensioner defect. This may have spurred the automaker to look into other models whose seat belt assemblies were potentially compromised. Typically when recalls are announced, NHTSA provides a timeline of events that led up to the action, but this wasn’t available at the agency’s website as of Aug. 21.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has a separate seat belt recall underway affecting approximately 7,600 2019 Ford Rangers. The flaw involves the truck’s poke yoke fixture, a component that when compromised can prevent the seat belt from locking. This recall is already underway and began July 29.

Seat belts are proven to save lives – when there’s an issue with them, they almost always result in a recall. In 2018, the most recent year in which data is available, 89.6% of Americans used his or her seat belt while on the road, according to NHTSA data. Of the 37,133 individuals who died in car accidents the year prior, close to 50% were not wearing one at the time of the crash. Had they been, an estimated 2,549 lives might have been spared. 

States are serious about ensuring motorists buckle up, as 35 states have primary enforcement laws, meaning motorists can be pulled over and ticketed if they’re not wearing a seat belt. The usage rate is higher in states where these laws are in place, averaging 90% to 86%, NHTSA data shows.

Ford says it’s not aware of any fatalities linked to this seat belt issue but one person was injured, The Associated Press reported.

The Solution

To ensure drivers observe the law and stay safe, the automaker urges those that receive notifications pertaining to the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ seat belt recall to have an area dealer replace the unit with a fully functional one. This will come at no cost for the repair.

For more information, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 108,000 Midsize Cars Over Seat Belt Failing

Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling over 14,100 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles after discovering that some of the models may be missing a piece that goes over the manual park release component. When this cover is missing, it can increase the risk of the lever being unintentionally manipulated, which could cause the SUV to move from its parked position and crash.

Given that most of the affected Explorers are in inventory, the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall action primarily impacts the automaker’s dealerships. When this action will take place has yet to be determined.

The Defect

In a release made available on the company’s website, Ford plans to recall a combined 14,135 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs over the possibility that the manual park release component may be missing its cover. This is in violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Under normal circumstances, these covers should only be removable with a tool.

Additionally, Ford noted that the problematic Explorers and Aviators may have settings that remain in factory mode that could prevent the accurate display of gear positions when manipulated by the operator of the vehicle. These positions are represented by a letter ( “P” for Park, “R” for Reverse, “N” for Neutral, etc.). The display of these gear positions is also required by law under the FMVSS.

Timeline of Events

Automakers typically coordinate with the NHTSA for car safety recalls. However, given the recency of this announcement – Aug. 7 – the associated documentation detailing when Ford first learned of these issues was not available.

It’s been a busy summer for Ford recalls, as the Dearborn, Michigan-based brand has pulled from the marketplace hundreds of thousands of vehicles unrelated to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall. For instance, in late July, approximately 7,579 Ford Rangers were pulled from the marketplace because of seat belt functionality issues that prevented the belt buckle from latching. Additionally, 57,500 Ford Focus and Focus ST sedans were recalled over defective engine software.

A month earlier, Ford announced the recall of 1.1 million Explorers – from model years ranging between 2011 and 2017 – due to a rear suspension system flaw affecting the toe links. In all of these instances, the vehicles were recalled because the problems risked riders’ safety.

While the chronology of events leading up to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator has yet to be determined, what is known is where the potentially flawed models were built and where. The vehicles were put together at one of the automaker’s Chicago-based locations between March 27 and July 24 for the Explorer, and April 10 and July 24 for the Lincoln Aviator.

Ford said it’s unaware of any consumer crashes or injuries stemming from this flaw but also stated there was an incident that led to cosmetic damage, which occurred at some point during the manufacturing process. No workers were hurt.

The Ford Explorer is one of the nameplate’s longest-running model types, introduced back in 1990. Lincoln Aviator is also a veteran model but first hit the showroom floor roughly a decade later in 2002. 

The Solution

Ford Motor Company is in the process of informing dealerships that may have received some of these potentially compromised vehicles. Dealers will examine the manual park release to see if the cover is missing and whether the PRNDL gear positions remain in factory mode. 

For more information on this or any other automotive safety recall, enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers

Ford Rangers Under Recall Due To Seat Belt Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – July 26, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling thousands of 2019 Ford Rangers from the marketplace after discovering that the front seat belt may malfunction when in use. The issue appears to have originated during the assembly process. Given that buckling up is a primary law in most states and the inherent safety risks associated with not using a seat belt, Ford is coordinating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure that these vehicles are fixed.

Owners can expect to receive an official notification pertaining to this recall starting July 29. Motorists are urged to take their trucks back to the dealer so the problem can be assessed and ameliorated.

The Defect

According to NHTSA and Ford, approximately 7,579 2019 Ford Rangers – one of the more popular passenger trucks in the world – may contain seat belts containing flaws that render the restraint system inoperable. The issue concerns the assembly’s poke yoke fixture, which was not installed correctly in the front passenger-side unit, as opposed to the driver’s side. The component manufacturer is based in Mexico, but it’s unclear if the problem originated there with the parts itself or during the actual assembly.

If passengers can’t buckle or the latch fails at some point while traveling, a crash dramatically increases the risk of injury or death. Ford believes that this issue is confined to only those 2019 Ranger models with the SuperCab body style. There’s a good chance that the belts are fine, as safety officials believe 1% of the total recalled include the defect. Nevertheless, Ford is making the move out of an abundance of caution.

Timeline of Events

In late June, the Critical Concern Review Group at Ford was alerted to a warranty claim made by a Ranger SuperCab owner, who noted that the passenger side belt buckle wasn’t latching. The quality control team followed up on this alert and discovered that the glitch may be related to the unit’s anchor and the routing method used.  A more thorough inspection determined that it was an installation problem affecting the poke yoke, which is a seat belt unit fixture. CCRG followed up with the supplier and concluded that all poke yokes installed prior to June 19 may be vulnerable.

Thanks in part to traffic safety campaigns like “Click It or Ticket,” seat belts are worn by the vast majority of Americans today. Motorists are required to use them in 49 of 50 states and in those that have primary laws on the books – totaling 20 in addition to the District of Columbia – motorists can be pulled over and fined if they’re not buckled.

Tragically, thousands have died in recent years due to not wearing a seat belt. Based on the most recent statistics available from NHTSA, 10,428 passengers in the U.S. were killed in 2016 from injuries they sustained in crashes.

Neither Ford nor NHTSA is aware of any accidents stemming from this recall, with none reported as of July 10.

The Solution

Ford knows how to fix this issue and seeks to inform 2019 SuperCab owners starting July 29, via first-class mail. Dealers have already been notified. Motorists can take their vehicle to any Ford dealer, where upon examination, the right front seatbelt assembly will be swapped out for one that works. This repair will come at no charge. All parties are expected to be notified no later than August 3.

For more information on this recall and to see if you or someone you know is affected, visit MotorSafety.org. You’ll need the VIN of the car to know for sure.

Sean ReyesFord Rangers Under Recall Due To Seat Belt Defect

Ford recalls vehicles with defective engine software

Laguna Hills, Calif. — July 23, 2019 — Ford Motor Company has recalled almost 57,500 vehicles potentially equipped with defective engine software, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The action affects 2012 Ford Focus sedans produced between Oct. 7, 2010, and July 23, 2012; 2013-2104 Ford Focus ST sedans produced between May 3, 2012, and Dec. 11, 2014; and 2017 Ford Focus sedans produced between Aug. 24, 2016, and April 13, 2017. Ford suspects that all of the vehicles involved in the recall contain the defective software.

The Defect

The cars involved in the campaign could come equipped with powertrain control modules that lack updated software designed to detect malfunctioning canister purge valves. These components, when damaged, cause fuel vapors to expand and deform the surrounding fuel tank. This can, in turn, decrease drivability, and in some instances lead to loss of motive power. The defective PCMs potentially installed in the recalled vehicles therefore pose a safety hazard to operators and occupants. However, Ford has yet to receive reports of any accidents or injuries connected to the defect.

The automaker advised all affected owners to keep their fuel tanks half full to prevent deformities related to fuel vapor expansion.

Timeline of Events

In November 2017, dealership personnel assessing a Ford Focus with a two-liter, direct-injection engine with Ford Racing software calibrations noticed some regularities. They then contacted Ford. The automaker deployed technicians to review the calibrations, which had been installed during a previous recall involving stuck CPV valves, per Ford. The technicians found that the vehicle in question had PCM components that were not properly updated during the servicing process for this initial campaign.

Ford later discovered that multiple models featured similarly problematic PCMs. With this insight in hand, the Ford Field Review Committee decided to greenlight a recall June 28, 2019.

The Solution

Ford has directed dealers to inspect and, if necessary, recalibrate the PCMs in recalled vehicles, free of charge. Owners should expect to receive notification via first-class mail between July 29, 2019, and Aug. 2, 2019. Those who require mode immediate assistance can connect with Ford customer service representatives by calling (800) 367-3788. Owners can also contact the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesFord recalls vehicles with defective engine software

Nearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – June 20, 2019 – Over 1.1 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorers are under recall notice by the model’s eponymous automaker due to a rear suspension system issue that poses a potential threat to riders’ safety by increasing their crash risk. Ford Motor Company says it will inform registered owners of this hazard by first-class mail no later than June 24 and advise them to take their vehicles back to the dealer so that the problem, if diagnosed, can be fixed at no cost.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling approximately 1.19 million Explorers – with model years ranging from 2011 to 2019 – whose rear suspension systems may be compromised. More specifically, the problem affects the sport utility vehicle’s toe links, which are located in the rear of the vehicle and provide added ballast so the wheels remain in constant contact with the road. However, it’s possible that these toe links could fracture while the vehicle is in operation, depending on the topography and curvature of a given road surface. In such an event, it could lead to an accident by reducing motorists’ steering control.

Timeline of Events

This issue first came to Ford’s attention back in April 2017 when the automaker received feedback from an Explorer user who noted that the toe link on the SUV shattered after mistakenly hitting a curb. The automaker was made aware of other incidents involving the rear suspension issue through December 2018, although none of the incidents led to injury.

But the number of events was enough to prompt an internal investigation, which featured engineers recreating situations that were similar to the ones referenced by motorists whose toe links broke or suspension systems failed. These tests determined that when Explorers were under stress – experiencing “suspension articulation,” in automotive jargon – the toe links could fracture, especially if exposed to the same types of jostling regularly and over time. A break could then lead to a steering failure and potential risk of an injury in the event of a crash.

Ford’s Field Review Committee ultimately determined that a safety recall was warranted and informed NHTSA of this in early June.

The Solution

The recall is rather wide in scope, involving Explorers built between May 2010 and January 2017. Most of the potentially problematic SUVs are 2015 and 2016 models, as Ford says it’s recalling a combined 466,000 vehicles manufactured during this period. Of the 1.19 million warranting a recall, around 12,000 SUVs have the defect and will need to be serviced, according to NHTSA documents. 

Nevertheless, Ford says it will send out fliers to owners starting on June 24 to inform them of the safety issue and instruct drivers to take their SUVs to their nearest authorized dealer so the rear suspension toe links can be repaired or replaced. The recall is expected to cost the automaker approximately $180 million, according to BBC News, but for motorists themselves, the repair is free.

For more information on this, contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your vehicle is affected by this or a separate recall. An estimated 25% of vehicles currently on the road have a recall that has yet to be repaired. 

Sean ReyesNearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Certain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Laguna Hills, CA – June 18, 2019 – Tens of thousands of F-150s – consistently the best-selling vehicle in America – are being recalled by the Ford Motor Company due to flaws within the truck’s powertrain control module, which may cause the vehicle to downshift without warning. The unexpectedness of such a scenario may reduce a driver’s ability to maintain control of the car, thus increasing the risk of a crash and resulting injury. This latest recall is a follow-up to one that occurred in March over a similar issue.

Owners are urged to bring their trucks back to the dealer so a free fix can be scheduled, which will likely involve a reprogramming or full-scale replacement of the PCM. Motorists will be notified officially no later than June 24 by first-class mail.

The Defect

As corroborated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling 107,857 2013 F-150 trucks due to malfunctions with the powertrain control module, which were first brought to the attention of the automaker in 2016 and have since resulted in a number of follow-up investigations. In fact, certain 2011-2013 F-150s were recalled over PCM issues back in February, only that one involved over 1.2 million vehicles. The concern at the time was the potential for these trucks to suddenly downshift to a lower gear, even though motorists may be traveling at a high speed – which would, under normal circumstances, prevent that from happening.

The difference between this latest fault and the one discovered in February is the software used to reprogram the PCM wasn’t the latest version, so the initial configuration may not have worked. In essence, this latest recall is to correct the original.

If motorists are operating an adversely affected F-150, they may experience a reduction in speed out of nowhere. This could raise the risk of an accident, particularly on the highway where other motorists are driving at 65 miles per hour and over. Speed is consistently the leading factor in car crashes, according to NHTSA.

Timeline of Events

On May 16, a technician alerted Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group that certain 2013 F-150s whose powertrains were reprogrammed may not have been fixed with the appropriate software updates in place. To determine those involved, Ford launched an investigation and concluded that the corrections weren’t applied to trucks with 5.0 and 6.2 liter engines. Thus, those that were recalled initially would need to be recalled again, which Ford’s Field Review Committee authorized on June 3. The company believes potentially as many as 100% of the 107,857 F-150s may still have PCMs that weren’t appropriately calibrated, assuming motorists brought them to their dealer when they were first informed of the glitch.

The Ford F-Series commands quite the presence in the automotive world. In 2017, more than 896,000 trucks were sold nationwide, according to Business Insider, its best-selling year on record, which dates back to 1977. It’s consistently the top-seller of all models in the U.S. – a feat reached for 36 years running. This may explain why this and the original recall affected so many.

The Solution

Ford says that the recall will get underway officially on June 24, when owners will be notified of the issue by mail. Motorists are urged to bring their truck back to an authorized Ford dealer for a fresh PCM reprogramming. Like the original – and virtually all safety recalls – the service is complimentary.

For more information on this recall, owners have several options. They can contact by phone, dialing 1-866-436-7332, which is Ford’s toll-free hotline. Alternatively, check MotorSafety.org by entering the truck’s VIN in the designated field.

Sean ReyesCertain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Foldaway Seat Recall Expands

Laguna Hills, CA – June 6, 2019 – As part of an ever-expanding recall that centers on rear seat defect in multi-passenger vehicles, New England Wheels is reaching out to owners of certain Ford Transit and Ram Promaster vehicles, due to a foldaway seat that won’t lock in place. Under normal circumstances, the units allow for greater functionality and freedom of movement for passengers. The problem is that when the flawed ones are under pressure, they seemingly refuse to remain upright. This movement could greatly increase the risk of an injury for the person seated. New England Wheels and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urge Ford Transit and Ram Promaster to reach out to the foldaways’ manufacturer, Freedman Seating, so the repairs can be completed for free.

The Defect

Per documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Billerica, Massachusetts-based New England Wheels, a vehicle retrofitting company, seeks to recall a combined 544 Ford Transits (model years 2014-2018) and Ram Promasters (2014-2019), which the company installed with Freedman Go-ES Foldaway Seats. New England Wheels was able to determine the precise total by matching the identification numbers of the affected seats with the same digits found on the units of the vehicles they were installed in.

The flaw in question is a back frame weldment, which New England Wheels says may be too narrow and subject to malfunction because it can’t withstand the weight of a person seated or leading on the foldaway seats. The rotating action of the back cushion may exacerbate the deformation of the weldment and fail to fully engage the mechanism that locks when the seat back is repositioned. Evidence of a flawed component is if the locking mechanism doesn’t make a “click” sound when moving the back cushion from folded to upright.

This is only the latest recall notice involving Freedman Go-ES Foldaway Seats. In May, Waldoch Crafts, Inc. informed NHTSA that it was recalling 15 Ford Transit shuttle vans for the same reason. At the time, though, a remedy had not yet been finalized.

Timeline of Events

Although the two recalls involving the problematic folding passenger seats were both in 2019, the issue traces back to at least 2018, when NHTSA first issued an awareness notice at its website. Vehicle customization firms may have been unaware of the recall prior to installing them or purchased the models before the announcement.

The Solution

The Freedman Seating Company, in conjunction with NHTSA, has agreed to facilitate the inspection and completion of the repairs on flawed GO-ES Foldaway units. If owners decide to take their vehicles elsewhere, the company says it will reimburse them the cost of repairs and labor ($50 value). However, the best move is to go through Freedman directly, as the company says it knows what replacement parts to install to fix the flawed mechanism. The recall began in earnest on May 27. For more information, contact Freedman at 1-800-443-4540, New England Wheels at 1-800-886-9247 or visit MotorSafety.org, using the campaign number 19V-333.

Sean ReyesFoldaway Seat Recall Expands

Ford Recalls 2019 Ranger Vehicles For Transmission Defects

Laguna Hills, CA – May 28, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2019 Ranger pickup trucks because the transmission may unexpectedly switch to a different gear from what the shift lever indicates, and if the parking brake is not applied before exiting the truck, the vehicle may roll. As many as 2,534 vehicles may be affected by these issues.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this matter, the fasteners attaching the transmission shifter cable bracket to the transmission may come loose, resulting in the vehicle being in a gear different from that which is indicated by the gearshift lever’s position. When the transmission gear does not match what is shown by the lever, the vehicle could move in an unexpected direction, including rolling away while in the Park position unless the parking brake is engaged before leaving the vehicle. These problems may increase the risk of injury or crashes affecting vehicle occupants, passersby and any autos in the vicinity. 

Timeline of Events

Ford learned of the problem April 25, 2019 when two warranty reports indicated issues with vehicles not starting as well as rolling away while in Park. One report involved a vehicle in which the gear shifter was in the Park position while the instrument panel displayed Drive, resulting in the inability to start. In the other report, the vehicle did not start, did not register as being in Park and rolled when the shifter indicated Park. In both situations, the issue was attributed to loose or missing transmission shift cable bracket fasteners. Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group began an investigation upon learning of these reports.

Following a review of assembly plant records, it was discovered that a manual torque verification process had been temporarily substituted for the automated installation and torque verification for the shift cable bracket fasteners. This happened in vehicles produced between March 5 and March 13. The automaker conducted an audit of the 277 vehicles manufactured during this time frame and found four vehicles with improperly torqued transmission shift cable bracket fasteners.

Ford’s Field Review Committee approved a field action May 6. As of that date, the automaker was not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to these issues.    

The Solution

A recall is expected to begin July 1, 2019. Ford will inform owners, instructing them to bring affected vehicles back to the dealership for repair. Dealers will inspect and tighten the transmission shift cable bracket fasteners as needed. They will also verify the proper transmission shift operation, at no cost to owners.

Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S15. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the NHTSA’s www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V366000.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 2019 Ranger Vehicles For Transmission Defects

Ford Recalls 2013-2016 Fusion Vehicles Because Of Transmission Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – May 18, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2013-2016 Ford Fusion vehicles equipped with 2.5 liter engines because a transmission defect could allow the driver to shift into Park and remove the ignition key while the vehicle may still be in gear. If this happens, the vehicle may unexpectedly roll away from its parked position, increasing the chance of an accident. As many as 259,182 vehicles may be affected. 

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, the transmission shifter cable bushing may deteriorate over time, causing it to disconnect from the transmission. When this happens, if the driver shifts into Park, the vehicle could still be in gear even after the key is removed. This could lead to the vehicle unexpectedly moving or rolling away, potentially resulting in a crash. 

Timeline of Events

Ford first addressed the “roll and park” issue July 2018 in a field action involving certain 2013-16 Fusion and 2013-14 Escape vehicles that had missing or damaged shift cable bushings. In one part of the vehicle population affected by the defect, the cause was traced to a transmission grease that was not compatible with the bushing material; in the other trucks, the automaker could not find any root cause.

Following the first field-service action, Ford continued to investigate the origin of the defect, monitoring field data on vehicles not included in the original field action. From Aug. 2018 to April 2019, the automaker held periodic reviews of the matter, sharing results of its tests and internal investigations on an ongoing basis.

From April to May, Ford’s continuing investigation embraced powertrain package studies, part return engineering analysis, material robustness testing to under-hood fluids and analysis of updated field data. As a result, the automaker determined that the shifter cable bushing in the affected vehicles was performing differently than in other Ford powertrains. Consequently, Ford’s Field Review Committee decided May 13 to approve a field action.

The Solution

The recall is expected to begin May 28, 2019. A solution for the problem is still under development. Until repairs can be made, vehicle owners are advised to use the parking brake after shifting into Park to prevent roll-away. When a remedy is finalized, the automaker will contact vehicle owners.

Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S16. This recall is an expansion of 18V471. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V362000.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 2013-2016 Fusion Vehicles Because Of Transmission Defect