Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner under investigation for backglass risks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of select Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner compact SUVs after receiving reports of the rear liftgate glass shattering suddenly and for seemingly no reason.

This investigation pertains to about 200,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs built on or before October 10, 2010. The NHTSA has reportedly received 18 complaints alleging that the large rear-most window shattered without any impact, while either opening or closing the rear cargo door. According to the NHTSA, the majority of these incidents have occurred in cold temperatures and in one case, the breaking glass injured a woman and her 10 year old son.

Ford acknowledged this problem in November 2010 when they issued a technical service bulletin notifying dealerships of the possible glass-breaking problem with the 2010-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. In the TSB, Ford explained that dealership service technicians should inspect the rear glass for any pre-existing damage and if none is found, the rear glass panel should be replaced.

Ford previously recalled almost a million 2002-2003 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs for an issue where the struts and hinges that hold the rear liftgate were failing and in the worst cases, the door could slam down and cause the glass to shatter. That problem caused around 165 injuries from over 5,000 reports of the rear glass shattering when the mounting fixtures failed.

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There is no mention as to whether or not the hinges or struts are involved in this investigation but with the federal government involved, we can be sure that this won’t be the last we hear of this issue. Ford has pointed out that they plan to work with the NHTSA and should the feds find some sort of defect with the design of the rear liftgate assembly, we can expect to see a recall to address the problem.

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