Faulty Ford Cruise Control Switch Sparks Massive Vehicle RecallAug 16, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP, LLP
The Ford Motor Company is recalling 3.6 million more vehicles because a faulty cruise control switch could be a fire hazard. The same problem with the cruise control switch was responsible for a recall of 6 million cars, trucks, SUV and vans in January 2005.
The recall covers more than a dozen different Ford vehicles built between 1992 and 2004. The new recall includes the following vehicles: Ford Rangers, 1998-2002; Lincoln Town Car, 1992-1997; Ford Crown Victoria, 1992-1997; Mercury Grand Marquis, 1992-1997; Lincoln Mark VIII, 1993-1998; Taurus SHO, 1993-1995; Ford Explorer and Mercury Montaineer, 1999-2001; Ford Explorer Sport, 2001-2001; Ford Explorer Sport Trac, 2001-2002; E150-350 Vans, 1992-1993 and 1997- 2002; 1993 Ford F –Series pickups; 1993 Ford Bronco; 1994 Mercury Capris; Ford F-150 Lightning 2003-2004 and Ford F53 Motor Homes, 1995-2002.
The company said that it had received reports of a “few” fires, although it is not saying how many. Ford said that it was responding to customer concerns, and has denied that the cruise control switches pose a hazard. But over the past decade, Ford has recalled 10 million vehicles because of concerns that the cruise control switch can cause fires. The recalls have now covered every single car and truck built with this switch.
Ford recently settled a lawsuit filed by an Iowa man whose wife died in a car fire two years ago. Earl Mohlis claims that in 2005, the switch on his 1996 Ford F-150 truck was responsible for the fire that killed his 74-year-old wife Dolly. The lawsuit said that Dolly woke to the smell of smoke in May 2005. As her husband went outside to investigate, she stayed in their home to call 911. He found the truck on fire in their garage. High winds that night fanned the flames, and Dolly was trapped in the home. Though Ford settled the Mohlis lawsuit, the company will not admit responsibility for the fire.
In 2005, the television network CNN produced several investigative reports into the Ford cruise control switch. The investigations found that a tiny switch in the cruise control system could cause the vehicles to catch fire, even after they had been turned off for several hours.
Ford says that media reports of the cruise control problem have caused concern among people with the vehicles. It was such concern that sparked this round of recalls, and the company denies that Ford vehicles with this switch have a higher than normal chance of fires. But since the cruise control switch was first used by Ford in 1992, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has documented 600 fires.