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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Ford Recalls 16 Million Vehicles

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Ford Motor Company has recalled 16 million vehicles because of the risk of car fires from a faulty switch.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this was the eighth recall, involving a total of 16 million Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) vehicles, concerning the cruise control deactivation switch manufactured by Texas Instruments (TXN, Fortune 500).

The faulty switch can leak hydraulic fluid, overheat, smoke and then burn, and risks causing a fire even when the ignition is turned off, parked and unattended, the NHTSA said.

You can determine if your Ford vehicle is subject to this recall by contacting your local dealer or by searching for recalls at the NHTSA web site.

NHTSA said Ford drivers should look for warnings of possible imminent fires, including malfunctioning cruise control systems and brake lights and antilock braking system and brake light warnings on the dashboard. The safety agency also said difficulty in getting the vehicle out of park mode should be treated as a warning.

Vehicle recalls, such as this Ford recall, are especially important because auto recalls involve safety-related defects. A safety-related defect includes “any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” (49 U.S.C. 301) Generally, a safety defect is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that:

  • poses an risk to motor vehicle safety, and
  • may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.

You can find out more about recalls at NHTSA’s web site for Defects and Recalls.

Manufacturers voluntarily initiate many of these recalls, while others are either influenced by NHTSA investigations or ordered by NHTSA via the courts. If a safety defect is discovered, the manufacturer must notify NHTSA, as well as vehicle or equipment owners, dealers, and distributors. The manufacturer is then required to remedy the problem at no charge to the owner. NHTSA is responsible for monitoring the manufacturer’s corrective action to ensure successful completion of the recall campaign.

NHTSA specifically addresses the potential for legal claims arising from injuries from a safety-related defect, even if there has been a recall:

Once a recall is initiated, can I take independent legal action for injuries I may have suffered?

Yes. The law specifically states that the recall remedies are in addition to other available legal remedies. To determine specific State law remedies, you should consult a lawyer, your State attorney general, or your local district attorney’s office.

Make sure to protect yourself and your family from these safety-related defects. If your vehicle is subject to the recall, take it to your dealer for service immediately. Learn more about safety-related defects at our web site.

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