Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Ford Fire Danger Recall 4.5 Million Cars

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, October 16, 2009 6:15 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Recall, Fire Danger, Ford, Cruise Control Switch, NHTSA

Ford is issuing yet another recall for 4.5 million cars to correct an ongoing fire danger hazard.


IMAGE SOURCE: CBS News Web site, 2005 / burned Ford 150 pickup truck


Old Problem New Recall

The Ford Motor Company is issuing a recall for 4.5 million vehicles because of a faulty switch that can overheat and catch fire.

The action comes after an 18-month federal investigation that has led Ford to recall more than 14 million vehicles in eight recalls over a decade because of the potential for fires.

The cruise-control deactivation switches, made by Texas Instruments and sold for about $21, were installed in 16 million Ford vehicles. The cruise control switches present a fire hazard when brake fluid leaks onto the cruise control switch that remains hot even when the car is turned off, in park and in your garage.

The Detroit News, reports that Ford stopped using the switches in early 2003, but not before they were linked to at least 1,500 complaints and 550 vehicle fires.

At least one person died when the vehicle caught fire in their garage.

Al Gavegan Jr. 76, died August 14, 2007 when a fire started in his 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis parked in an attached garage in San Antonio, the Detroit News reports. Police reported it as an electrical malfunction in the engine compartment of the car.

You are advised to park your vehicle outside until it can be serviced.

Ford officials say they are recalling these vehicles to "reassure customers and eliminate any future concerns" although their data shows that the recalled vehicles do not pose a significant safety risk.

Consumers who own these vehicles can expect to see recall notices in the mail by the end of the month or contact Ford at 1-888-222-2751. But Joan Claybrook, formerly of Public Citizen, says the problem is that fewer than half of people who get those notices do anything about them.

“The Ford recall letters don’t sound urgent enough. It should have in the title and headline, ‘Safety Recall,’ ‘High Risk,’ or ‘Danger,’ she says to CBS News.

Ford tells CBS that that type of letter might scare consumers.

Beginning October 26th, consumers can bring their vehicles included in the recall to the dealer for an inspection and installation of a new fused wiring harness and ABS control connector.

Windstar vans

The Windstar minivans, produced by Ford between 1995 and 2003, were not included in an earlier recall even though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reportedly received 134 complaints of engine compartment fires in the Windstar, and Ford has reportedly received 285 similar complaints.

Today’s recall involves a total of approximately 4.5 million vehicles, including:

  • 1995-2003 model year Ford Windstars
  • 2000-2003 model year Ford Excursion diesels
  • 1993-1997 and 1999-2003 Ford F-Super Duty diesels
  • 1992-2003 Ford Econolines
  • 1995-2002 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers
  • 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ford Rangers
  • And 1994 Ford F53 motorhomes

Old Problem

This is not a new problem.

Ford has already recalled 12 million vehicles associated with the fire hazard and speed control systems. ConsumerAffairs.com heard from one Ford Windstar owner in Rosewood Heights, Illinois who told them that her 1996 minivan caught fire when it was parked in her driveway next to her house. She had just driven the vehicle.

Her complaints joins 35 other consumers who said the Windstar fired occurred when the vehicle was parked. 72 consumers said the fire started when the Windstar was running. Some homeowners report their homes were damaged in the fires.

CBS News profiles one woman and shows a video used during litigation that shows exactly how easily the cruise control switch can easily come in contact with flammable brake fluid.

In 2005, Laura Voss has just parked her Ford 150 pickup truck in her Texas driveway. It ignited and took with it part of the front frame of the driveway.

She tells CBS, “If had been in the garage I wouldn’t have known until the garage was gone.”

Voss had received a recall letter just one week before her fire. #


Anonymous User
Posted by Willie HILL
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:48 AM EST

I own a 1999 ford windstar that was in a fire which started in the garage were the vehicle was park. this was June 2005.I had heard of Ford automoble starting fire without running. I immediatly research the recall list, at this time they(Ford reall lis) indicate this vehicle wasn't on the recall list ,just a week ago I heard CNN news talking of Ford had recalled some 4.1 million vehecle includind the 1995-2003 Ford Windstar How would I follow up on this now that the veheicle caught fire in 2005. Please repy

Anonymous User
Posted by stephanie Hare
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 12:05 PM EST

On Oct 1,2009, I had a 1999 ford windstar, on a trip to cedar point in sandusky ohio, 4 hrs from home, my van started smoking out the tailpipe, i pulled over on the thruway,got out and a car pulled over behind me and told s to run, the van was on fire while i was driving, i had no idea,we ran a car length back and the van was engolfed in flames.

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:09 PM EST

Question to both of you- how did you recover your losses? Did you sue? Was your attny aware of the recalls?

Anonymous User
Posted by GTK
Monday, November 02, 2009 11:00 PM EST

This is the secret to Ford's success. Use cheap parts, when the customer complains...put them off as long as possible, you already paid Ford. Delay the recall until owners are no longer owners, either they will sell or become corpses.
The recall covers 14 million vehicles from 6-14 years old. Minus accidents, fires, deaths of owners, high mileage...they probably only have 7 million vehicles to repair.
I do remember the 4 speed transmission in my Taurus...reimbursed 5 years later, and only for 1, not all 3 Ford factory rebuilt trannys.
Never again.

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes