A nonprofit consumer safety group formally asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday to investigate its claim that some cruise control cables on about 320,000 Ford Escapes were damaged during a repair for an unrelated recall, making the vehicles susceptible to unintended acceleration.
In its defect petition, the Center for Auto Safety said the problem, which was said to exist among Escapes from the 2002-4 model years, could have “lethal consequences.”
The original recall, which covered about 470,000 Escapes from 2002-4 equipped with the 3-liter V-6 engine, was performed to prevent the accelerator cable from snagging on the accelerator pedal, which could have prevented the engine from returning to idle.
In its petition, however, the safety group argued that in October 2005, Ford sent a technical service bulletin to dealers cautioning mechanics to not damage the adjacent cruise control cable during the course of the recall repair. Any damage could allow the cable to snag on a ridge in the engine cover, causing unintended acceleration, the petition said.