Over the last 10 years, Ford Motor Co. has issued several recalls over
a cruise-control deactivation switch that is considered a potential fire
hazard. There is concern that if hydraulic fluid leaks from the switch,
the car might overheat even when the ignition is off, which may start
a fire. Already, several auto products liability lawsuits have been filed
over the defect. Ford, however, is quick to point out that most of the
complaints have been demands for compensation over property damage that
the fires allegedly caused.
There have, however, been injuries and deaths. One family sued Ford for wrongful death after 74-year-old Darletta Mohlis died when her home burned down after a 1996 Ford truck caught fire in the garage. Another woman sustained second-degree burns and lost her cat and house when their Ford Expedition also caught fire in the garage.
Last week, Ford recalled another 4.5 million vehicles over the same issue, increasing the number of autos affected to more than 14 million. This was also the largest single recall in the automaker’s history.
Vehicles included in this latest recall:
- F53 Motorhomes (1994 model)
- Ford Econoline vans (1992 – 2003 models)
- Ford Rangers (1995-1997, 2001- 2003 models)
- Ford Excursion diesel vehicles (2000-2003 models)
- Ford Windstars (1995 – 2003 models)
- Ford Explorers and Mountaineers (1995 – 2002 models)
- F-Super Duty diesels (1993-1997, 1999-2003 models)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants Ford users to
check for indicators that a vehicle may be a possible fire hazard: malfunctioning
brake lights, a cruise-control system that is not working properly, problems
moving the vehicle out of park gear, or brake warning lights that are
lit up on the vehicle’s dashboard.
The risk of a fire hazard may be especially high for the Ford Windstars. Ford says the 3.4 million other autos that are part of the recall were included because they also were made with the Texas Instruments switch. Texas Instruments, however, says that the switch is just one component in Ford’s system.
Ford Is Recalling More Vehicles Over Fire Problem, New York Times, October 13, 2009
Ford Recalls 4.5 Million Vehicles Because of Fire Hazard, Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2009
Ford Document: Millions of vehicles have fire risk part, CNN, June 27, 2005
Iowa family suing ford over fire, CNN, June 17, 2005
Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Please contact our auto products liability law firm for a free case evaluation.