Ford F150, Escape investigations closed without additional recalls
The NHTSA had been investigating the 1997 through 2004 Ford F150 pickups over a rash of complaints about the fuel tank straps corroding and breaking – which vastly increases the risks of fire as the fuel tank is left to drag along the ground. In early August, Ford issued a voluntary recall of 1.1 million F150 pickups to address the fuel tank strap issue ahead of any official ruling from the federal safety regulators. There have been instances in the past with other automakers where they issued a recall before the NHTSA made their ruling and once the feds spoke up, the companies were required to amend and expand their recall. However, in light of the Ford fuel tank strap recall issued in August, the NHTSA found no reason to issue any amendment or expansion to that original recall. Click here for more information on the 1997 to 2004 Ford F150 fuel tank strap recall.
The NHTSA has also closed the investigation into 2010-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner compact SUVs that were alleged to have a defect in the area of the rear lift gate window that could cause the glass to shatter. The NHTSA opened the Escape/Mariner investigation in May after receiving 18 complaints that the rear glass shattered, resulting in four injuries from flying glass. The initial reports of this investigation earlier this year did not indicate what exactly was happening that caused the hatches to break but it did indicate that these occurrences of breakage were in cold climates. Regardless of the circumstances around this Escape and Mariner rear hatch issue, the NHTSA has found no defect and the investigation has been closed. However, Ford Motor Company issued a TSB relating to this, explaining to the dealerships to inspect the rear glass for any sign of impact to the frame on vehicles built before 10/15/2010, after which they can replace the glass. Based on this, Ford acknowledges that there may be an issue but with the NHTSA finding nothing on which to base a recall, owners of these vehicles who live in cold climates should probably be a little more careful when closing their rear lift gate when it’s very cold outside.