A woman whose trailer home caught on fire when her neighbor’s Ford
F-150 pickup caught fire is suing the automaker for Illinois automotive
products liability. Guadalupe Mendez lost her home on September 12, 2006.
At the time, the trailer house, which she had bought four years before,
was nearly paid off. Losing her house left her and her two sounds, then
13 and 9, with a car and the clothes on their back.
In her Illinois auto defect lawsuit, Mendez Is accusing Ford of knowing that there was something wrong with the switch for the truck’s cruise control system but doing nothing to remedy the problem. Mendez’s believes that this auto defect is what started the fire.
Mendez is not the first person to file an auto products liability complaint against Ford over this safety issue. Similar auto defect lawsuits have been filed in Texas, Michigan, and San Francisco. Also a defendant in Mendez’s complaint is Texas Instruments, which manufactured the switch.
Per Mendez’s Illinois auto defect complaint, the fire, which gutted the Ford F-150, likely occurred because of a defect in the cruise control system that allows electrical current to run through the switch even when the vehicle isn’t on. Also, even though only one-half amp of power is required by the system, it is constantly getting 15 amps of power, which can cause it to overheat and a fire to start up in parked pickups.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recalled about 17.5 million Ford autos in the last 12 years for issues linked to the faulty control system. However, the NHTSA believes that there still may be several million vehicles with this auto defect that are currently in use. Many Ford owners may not be aware their vehicle has this safety issue–especially if they bought their autos second-hand.
A car fire can be incredibly dangerous for the occupants in a vehicle and those in the area at the time. A motor vehicle that catches fire is at serious risk of exploding–especially when the gas tank is involved. This can lead to not just the destruction of the vehicle but to serious burn injuries and even deaths.
The Ford F-150 is not the only Ford vehicle that has been linked to faulty cruise control systems. Other Ford autos that have been recalled:
• Excursion (’00 and ’03 models)
• Mazda-B-Series (’98-’02 models)
• Navigator (’98-’02 models)
• Expedition (’97 to ’02 models)
• Windstar (’95-’03 models)
• Mountaineer (’95-02′ models)
• Explorer Sport and Sport Trac (’01-’02 models)
• Explorer (95′-02 models)
• Ranger (”95 – 03 models)
• Mercury Capri (’94 models)
• F53 Motorhome (’94-’02 models)
• Bronco (’93-’96 models)
• Mark VIII (’93-’98 models)
• Taurus SHO (’93-’95 models)
• F Series (>8500GVW Diesel) (’93-’97, ’99-’03 models)
• Blackwood (’02-’03 models)
• Lightning (’03-’04 models)
• F Series (150-550) (’93-’03 models)
• Crown Victory/Grand Marquis/Town Car (’92-’98 models)
• E Series (Econolines) (’92-93 models)
Auto manufacturers can be held liable for auto defects that cause serious personal injuries or wrongful deaths. You want to work with an experienced auto products liability law firm that has the resources, knowledge, and team to help you recover the damages that you are owed.
Lawsuit: Defect in Ford’s cruise control burned down Aurora home, The Beacon-News/Chicago Sun-Times, September 22, 2011
NHTSA Repeats Caution to Owners of Various Recalled Ford Vehicles on Fire Risk, NHTSA, October 21, 2010
Center for Auto Safety
More Blog Posts:
Ford and Chrysler Among Latest Automakers to Recall Vehicles, Product Liability Law Blog, January 3, 2011
Ford Recall and GM Chevrolet Fire Incidents Rekindle Fire Hazard Concerns,
Product Liability Law Blog, February 13, 2011
Auto Defects: California Assembly Approves Bill that Would Bar Rental Car Companies from Selling or Renting Out Recalled Vehicles Until They Are Repaired, Product Liability Law Blog, April 28, 2011