Ford Recall Alert: Faulty Switch Can Spark Fires Causing Injuries

Date: November 4, 2009

A McMinnville, Oregon man whose SUV exploded into flames on October 27, 2009, told KPTV.com that he was never notified about a Ford Motor Company recall on the vehicle. Robert Howard said he found the information online, after his vehicle spontaneously caught fire in his driveway. He was shocked to discover that Ford knew the 2000 Expedition had a faulty cruise control switch that could overheat and burst into flames.

In the Oregon fire, Howard was awakened October 27 by a loud explosion in his driveway, where his SUV had been parked for eight hours. He ran outside and was stunned to see his truck engulfed in flames. The fire was so hot it melted the hood, and completely destroyed the vehicle.

A McMinnville firefighter told KPTV.com that the fire was not due to arson, foul play, or any type of human involvement. According to KPTV.com, Howard is grateful that none of his family was in the vehicle. He is also thankful his house didn’t catch fire. But he wonders why he was never told of a recall.

Howard’s parents, who sold him the vehicle, also said they had no idea there was a recall.

Representatives from Ford said they typically go beyond notification requirements, and said owners can find recall information on their website. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Ford was adding 4.5 million older-model vehicles to a series of recalls related to faulty cruise control deactivation switches, affecting 16 million Ford vehicles in all.

According to the NHTSA, the switch can leak hydraulic fluid, overheat, and catch fire. Fixing the switch takes only a few minutes and costs about $20.

“I urge consumers to pay attention to this warning and bring the affected models in to have them repaired as soon as possible,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

The new recall affects Ford vehicles from model years 1992-2003, including:

  • 1995-2003 model year Ford Windstar
  • 2000-2003 Ford Excursion diesels
  • 1993-1997 and 1999-2003 Ford F-Super Duty diesel
  • 1992-2003 Ford Econoline
  • 1995-2002 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
  • 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ford Ranger
  • 1994 Ford F53 Motor home vehicles equipped with the Texas Instruments speed control deactivation.

To check for recalls, go to Ford’s Recall Information website or search the Office of Defects Investigation’s database.

Shulman DuBois, LLC, is located in Portland, Oregon, and serves clients in all Oregon cities and counties, including: Portland, Beaverton, Multnomah County, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin, Troutdale, Sellwood, Milwaukie, Corvallis, Salem, Eugene, and Albany.