Ford Recalls 4.5 Million Vehicles For Defective Cruise Control Switch That Could Cause Fire

Ford Motor Co. will add 4.5 million vehicles from older-model to those already recalled for a defective cruise control switch. These 4.5 million vehicles on tow for recall for defective cruise control switch add up to a 14.3 million registered vehicles over 10 years. This is Ford’s largest cumulative recall in history involving a single problem, a faulty cruise control switch.

Ford recalls are for defective cruise control switch that could cause a fire.

Ford Motor Co. has struggled for a decade with the defective cruise control switch problem:

  • Hundreds of complaints and dozens of lawsuits over fires allegedly caused by faulty switches.
  • A small number of injuries have also been linked to the problem, though none were reported in the latest recall

Ford began an investigation of Windstar vehicles in February 2008 after receiving a growing number of reports of fires under the vehicles’ hoods.

National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) began its own probe of the problem in June 2008.

  • Ford’s recall includes 1.1 million Ford Windstar minivans :The vehicle owners reported fires linked to the problem during an internal investigation
  • Ford’s recall also includes 3.4 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models from the 1992 to 2003 model years: Most of them are trucks and sport utility vehicles and use the same cruise control switches with no reports of fires
  • Ford’s recall also includes some vehicles without cruise control: They have the switches with brake fluid routed through them

To repair the problem, dealers will install a harness to help prevent the fluid from flowing where it could be ignited. It is wise to park all the recalled Windstar minivans vehicles outside the garages until they are mailed instructions on how to get repairs.

These vehicle owners will be notified by mail starting at the end of the month with instructions on how to get the repairs done.

NHTSA investigators found that the switches

  • Made by Texas Instruments
  • Could leak internally
  • Overheat
  • Potentially ignite

There were four reports of leaking fluid damaging the antilock brake control module, resulting in a fire. The module was charged with electrical current and could ignite the fluid in some cases.

Ford used the Texas Instruments switch till 2003 but stopped using it thereafter. The latest group of vehicles recalled is the last batch that had the switch installed. This is the seventh Ford recall due to the Texas Instruments speed control switches.

Texas Instruments has a different story to tell:

  • They manufactured a switch that met and exceeded Ford’s specifications
  • It is only one component of Ford’s cruise control deactivation system
  • They quote a 2006 NHTSA investigation that found multiple factors were to blame for fires
  • They no longer own the division that made the switches

Only certain vehicles are affected, and concerned owners of are encouraged to wait to receive a recall notice in the mail before scheduling an appointment with their local dealer.

  • Ford recalls 1995-2003 Ford Windstar
  • Ford recalls 2000-2003 Ford Excursion diesel
  • Ford recalls 1993-1997 and 1999-2003 Ford F-Super Duty diesel
  • Ford recalls 1992-2003 Ford Econoline; 1995-2002 Ford Explorer
  • Ford recalls 1995-2002 Mercury Mountaineer
  • Ford recalls 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ford Ranger
  • Ford recalls 1994 Ford F35 Motorhome

For more information on Ford recalls visit the government-run Web site,

In November 2008, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. initiated a safety recall of the driver’s airbag in approximately 445,000 older vehicles of 2001-2002 Accords, 2001 Civics and 2002-2003 Acura TLs. The safety recall was due to a potential defect in the airbag’s inflation system.

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