Laguna Hills, CA – March 27, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2017-2019 Lincoln Continental vehicles. The affected vehicles may have an intermittently functioning door latch motor due to the buildup of silicon contamination, resulting in the door latch not fully engaging. As many as 27,609 vehicles may be affected by this issue.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this problem, the door-latch motors may not operate correctly, potentially resulting in a door not closing completely. A latch that is not fully engaged may allow the door to open suddenly while driving, increasing the risk of injury.
Timeline of Events
The first report of this issue occurred in June 2018 when the Ford data analysis group informed the North American Critical Concerns Review Group of a small number of incidents involving doors that would not close and doors that opened while driving. None of these reports alleged any accidents, injuries or loss of vehicle contents as a result. Engineering then began an initiative to recover the electronic door latch system components from complaint vehicles for suppliers to analyze.
From July through August, an examination of returned parts from the field showed a diagnostic trouble code indicating out of position parts. The customer concern could not be duplicated, however, when the same parts were later tested on a bench or in a vehicle. As part of this investigation, quality control personnel attempted to duplicate the latch performance concerns under various system and electrical conditions, as well as looking at other causes such as component assembly, vehicle level assembly, cable interaction and door alignment. Additional component testing was also done to reproduce the customer allegations and trouble codes, including high and low temperature soaking and cycling.
From September through November, lab analysis revealed small amounts of silicon dioxide on the latch motor commutator, as well as the presence of silicon within the potting material on the printed circuit board of a door latch. As a result, Ford continued its assessment of silicon dioxide contamination on system function.
Based on theoretical engineering analysis from December 2018 to January 2019, Ford felt that it could be possible for a door latch motor contaminated with silicon dioxide to stop its rotation in a way that the latch striker would only be partially engaged. Field data also showed an increase in door latch repairs from September through December 2018.
Ford subsequently contacted dealers and customers to better understand the nature of these repairs and customer experiences. Based on a detailed engineering review of the latch assembly design and performance, Ford felt that if any key component of the latch system were out of position, the driver would receive door ajar warnings and notifications, including a door perceived to be closed that was actually unlatched or in a partially latched condition.
Ford’s Field Review Committee addressed the matter Feb. 4, 2019 and approved a field action. The automaker is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this condition.
The recall began March 2019. Ford is notifying Lincoln Continental owners, and dealers will replace the latch assemblies on all four doors, free of charge.
Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S03. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V077000.