Ford Recalls 319,000 Cars, Mostly Windstar Minivans for Rusting Axles
Ford is recalling 319,302 cars in the U.S. for rusting axles, fuel leaks, transmission defects, and cruise-control problems, the automaker announced.
Owners of 1998-2003 Windstar minivans already know their rear axles can rust and snap in half. Ford recalled more than half a million between 2010 and 2012 to install “reinforcement brackets,” some of which were poorly installed and would not support the axle in the event of a sudden fracture. This time, it’s recalling 283,413 of those Windstars—likely all that are still running since the original recalls—to replace the axles on cars that had bad brackets. If the brackets look good, Ford won’t replace the axle even though it’s prone to breakage; it will only give owners an “incentive to replace their rear axle at a reduced cost.”
Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration permits manufacturers to limit corrosion-related recalls to specific regions, only Windstars that were or are currently registered in 23 states and the District of Columbia are eligible, even though the problem affects all Windstars. At least 891 owners have logged complaints with NHTSA and Ford, which had to oversee several vehicle buybacks. At least one death is attributed to the defect.
Somewhat less serious is a radar sensor problem on 2015 F-150 pickups. On 33,481 trucks equipped with adaptive cruise control, the sensors may decide to slow the vehicle or flash collision warnings when there is nothing in the lane ahead. According to Ford, big shiny trucks—such as the polished metal on large tractor trailers—can trip the sensors. Ford knows of at least one crash and no injuries related to the problem. Dealers will update the software.
Fuel tank leaks affect a small group of five models. On 2016 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, the fuel tank may crack during a crash due to poor manufacturing. Dealers will replace the tanks on all 658 cars in the U.S. On 2015 Taurus, Lincoln MKS and 2016 Explorer models, the attachment bolts for the fuel tank may loosen and cause a leak. Dealers will tighten these bolts on 203 vehicles. No accidents or injuries have been reported for either issue.
Certain remanufactured transmissions installed in 57 previous-gen Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs can cause the vehicles to roll away. Faulty bolts attaching the shift lever to the transmission could cause the vehicle to come out of gear. Dealers will tighten that bolt on these 2001-2008 models. Faulty shift lever brackets can do a similar injustice on 1477 brand-new Ford F-53 and F-59 truck chassis from the 2016 model year. Dealers will replace the bracket and adjust the shift cable so drivers can’t select reverse without pressing the brake.
This article originally appeared on Car and Driver.