Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Repeats Caution to Owners of Various Recalled Ford Vehicles on Fire Risk

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Contact: Karen Aldana
Tel: 202-366-9550

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today reminded owners of various makes and models of Ford vehicles previously recalled for faulty cruise control systems to make sure they take their vehicles into Ford dealers for repairs. If not repaired, the vehicles can catch fire, even if they are turned off, parked and unattended.

As more of the affected vehicles enter the used car market, the agency is concerned that most used car buyers don’t know whether the used vehicles they purchased were ever returned to dealers for the needed repairs. NHTSA is urging consumers who may have bought these recalled vehicles on the used-car market to make sure the repairs were actually done.

Owners of the affected vehicles should immediately visit a Ford web and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see if their particular Ford vehicle has been recalled for the problem and if the repair has been made. That web site is The vehicle’s VIN can be found on the dashboard and on the certification label located on the door latch post next to the driver’s seating position.

According to NHTSA, approximately 17.5 million Ford vehicles have been involved in the recalls since 1999 because of a faulty cruise control disconnect switch which can overheat and burn – potentially causing a vehicle fire long after the engine has been turned off. NHTSA noted that Ford Motor Company has been diligent in contacting owners of the affected vehicles, including sending re-notification letters to owners in many cases. Despite notification efforts, NHTSA estimates that there may be several million vehicles still on the road with the dangerous defect.

The agency is also advising owners of the affected Ford vehicles to watch for potential warning signs of an imminent fire. Possible warning symptoms include a cruise control system that can’t be activated or stops working; brake lights that stop working; low brake fluid; ABS and brake warning lights that are illuminated on the dashboard; or the inability to get a vehicle out of park.

Any buyer of a new or used vehicle, regardless of make or model, can check with to see whether any recalls apply to the vehicle they are interested in. All consumers can also go to the same site and sign up for immediate, automatic email notification of any new recalls affecting their vehicles, tires or child safety seats.

Here is a list of Ford vehicles that have been recalled for the defective cruise control system:

  • 1992-2003 E Series (all including Econolines)
  • 1992-1998 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car
  • 1993-2003 F Series (150-550)
  • 2003-2004 Lightning
  • 2002-2003 Blackwood
  • 1993-1997 F Series (>8500GVW Diesel)
  • 1999-2003 F Series (>8500GVW Diesel)
  • 1993-1995 Taurus SHO
  • 1993-1998 Mark VIII
  • 1993-1996 Bronco
  • 1994-2002 F53 Motorhome
  • 1994 Mercury Capri
  • 1995-2003 Ranger
  • 1995-2002 Explorer
  • 2001-2002 Explorer Sport & Sport Trac
  • 1995-2002 Mountaineer
  • 1995-2003 Windstar
  • 1997-2002 Expedition
  • 1998-2002 Navigator
  • 1998-2002 Mazda-B-Series
  • 2000-2003 Excursion