Ford Recalls More than 1.3 Million Cars for Power Steering, Fires, and Floor Mats

Ford Recalls More than 1.3 Million Cars for Power Steering, Fires and Floor Mats

With General Motors resting up for its (inevitable) next recall, Ford picked up the slack in recall-related news this week by flagging down more than 1.3 million sedans and SUVs for power steering failures, electrical fires and trapped accelerators.According to Ford, power steering can cut out on the 2011-2013 Ford Explorer and 2008-2011 Escape and Mercury Mariner. Explorer models have electric motor position sensors that can intermittently shut off due to poor cable connections and disable the power assist. In Escape and Mariner models, torque sensors may produce a low-fidelity signal in which the computer cannot tell the driver’s steering movements and will also disable the assist.

In a filing to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford said it knew about the failures in Escape and Mariner models since 2009 and in the Explorer since 2011. Like GM, Ford did not intend to recall the cars since the manual steering was “safe and controlled” despite at least 20 related crashes and eight injuries. After subsequent investigations by the NHTSA and Canadian government, Ford relented. About 919,875 of the 1.1 million SUVs are in the U.S. Dealers will update the power steering software to continue delivering power assist even if a fault is detected in the system. This January, Ford shipped repair kits for the torque sensors, but the recalls do not call for any part replacements.

Ford Recalls More than 1.3 Million Cars for Power Steering, Fires and Floor Mats

On the sedan side of things, the 2010-2014 Ford Taurus has license plate lamps that can corrode, short, and catch fire. Ford first found the problem in 2011, and after initially drawing a blank to the cause, it opened a second investigation in May 2013 and redesigned the lamp in February. The fires continued on these new models, however, and thus dealers will now install new lamp assemblies on 196,639 cars, of which 183,425 are in the U.S. Ford said it knew of at least five owner reports of smoking or melting lamps and another 20 reporting fires. Only vehicles sold or registered in 20 “salt belt” states (plus Washington, D.C.) are included, although Ford said it would also notify other Taurus owners of the condition.

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In a flashback to Toyota’s floor mat debacle, Ford is also recalling more than 82,000 all-weather floor mats that were sold as accessories for the 2006-2011 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ. Shortly after the Toyota recalls began in late 2009, the NHTSA opened a similar investigation into Ford in May 2010. Like Toyota, Ford began to install brake-override systems to kill the throttle as soon as the brake is applied on these models built after October 2010. Despite drivers either stacking the thicker rubber floor mats on their existing mats or leaving them unsecured–which would leave the throttle partially stuck, but not in a wide-open position–Ford said it decided to redesign the mats between September 2011 and March 2012. It’s now redesigning them a second time as part of this official recall.

Dealers will start repairs on all the Ford recalls starting in late July. Now we return you to our regularly scheduled coverage of GM’s recall mess.

About Clifford Atiyeh