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Another Ford Recall – This Time 421,000 Escapes

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The New York Times Wheels’ Christopher Jensen says Ford has announced the recall of 421,000 Escapes, model years 2001 through 2004. The news of an unintended acceleration problem following dealer repairs to Ford Escape’s cruise control cables is certainly dismaying—to Ford, its dealers and to Ford Escape owners. This is not the first time Ford has had sudden unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles before. E.g., Crown Victorias, Lincolns, and Explorers.

This larger recall comes on the heels of an earlier recall to fix cruise control cables following repairs for an “unrelated” problem.[1][1] How the problem becomes related is when dealer mechanics repaired cruise control cables, Ford has acknowledged, the cables easily could (and have) become damaged, causing the Ford Escape gas pedals to stick and unintended acceleration to occur.

Ford initially said it was recalling Escapes with the 3-liter V-6 engines “to increase clearance beneath the engine cover.”[2][2] Apparently, lack of clearance by the engine cover to the cables made them “vulnerable” during the aforementioned repairs.

Ford indicated in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the company had made its decision to voluntarily recall the vehicles “in part” after having examined the 2002 Ford Escape in which 17-year old Saige Bloom of Arizona died.[3][3] Ford came short of acknowledging any fault in the young woman’s death, however. The NHTSA is investigating the issue following a petition by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) whose director Clarence Ditlow believes that, “Rather than replace the defective cruise control cable, Ford uses a cheap fastener to raise the engine cover to try to provide enough clearance so the cable doesn’t jam. CAS has urged NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to reject this inadequate fix for a deadly defect and require Ford to replace the cruise control cable…”[4][4]

Ford suggests owners take their Escapes to their Ford dealers and have the cruise control disabled until parts are available for this recall repair. It also suggested how one might stop the car safely in case unintended acceleration should occur.


[1][1] “Ford Recalls 421,000 Escapes Over Unintended Acceleration”, Jensen, Christopher, The New York Times, Wheels, July 26, 2012, New York, NY. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/ford-recalls-421000-escapes-over-unintended-acceleration-concern/

[2][2] Op. Cit.

[3][3] Ibid.

[4][4] Center for Auto Safety News, July 26, 2012, Ditlow, Clarence, Washington, D.C., http://www.autosafety.org/statement-cas-executive-director-clarence-ditlow-ford-escape-sudden-acceleration-recall-72612