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Despite Recall, Problem SUV's Remain Unrepaired

Cruise Control Problems Could Cause Engines To Catch Fire

Aug 25, 2006 |

One of the biggest automotive recalls in US history came several months ago aimed at stopping unexpected fires from millions of ford trucks and SUV’s. Friday, the CBS4 I-Team revealed that more than half could still be on the road with the original problem.

Ford Motor Company confirms that despite getting its word out on its' massive recall, there could still be millions of vehicles that can potentially burst into flames because consumers simply haven't gotten the cars in for repair.

Miami-Dade fire investigators say a Tuesday afternoon blaze at a Southwest Miami Dade home started under the hood of a Ford SUV, and did about $100 thousand in damage, even threatening the residents' nearby home.

"He parked the car and went to bed and a few hours later he heard an explosion," Eric Baum, a Miami-Dade fire investigator told CBS4 Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine.

“The fire originated in the engine compartment area. From there it spread to include both the entire vehicle, the roof around it, and the exterior of the house.”

The 6 year SUV was so badly burned investigators weren't even sure initially what it was.

The owner said he purchased it used, about 4 months ago.

After local investigators began examining the charred wreckage, this fire started receiving a lot more attention.

Ford motor company confirms the 2000 expedition which caught fire is apparently one of the 4.5 million ford trucks and SUV’s recalled over the past year to correct a problem blamed for some 60 engine fires nationwide.

Ford told CBS4 that approximately 40% of the recalled vehicles, as many as 1.8 million trucks and SUV’s, have been taken to dealers for needed repairs.

That still leaves an estimated 2.7 million others with a known cruise control electrical problem capable of causing fires even when the vehicles are turned off.

In a statement to CBS4 News, Ford spokesperson Kristen Kinley wrote,
"The potential for fire is small, however, the best action for customers is to have their dealer perform the repair as soon as possible."

Ford and federal safety officials warn all current owners to be especially aware of a series of problems, which include:

  • Cruise Control Inoperable
  • Vehicle won't shift out of park
  • Rear Brake lamps inoperative
  • Brake fluid leaks at the switch
  • Unexpected Battery failure
  • Flashing ABS warning light
  • Brake System Fuse failures

Ford said it is trying to track down all of the owners of the vehicles, whether they purchased them new or used. However, when a recall is ordered, it remains the responsibility of the consumer to make the vehicle available for repair.

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