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Ford Issues Two Recalls Due to Rust and Faulty Seats

April 8, 2014

The auto recall season continues, this time with Ford Motor Co. issuing two unrelated recalls.

In the first recall, the affected vehicles are model year 2001 to 2004 Ford Escape compact SUVs. These are recalled due to the possibility of rust separating the lower control arm from the subframe of the vehicle. When the lower control arm becomes separated from the subframe, the vehicle’s steering ability can be compromised. The total number of affected units is 385,750, 349,000 of which are sold in the United States.

In the second recall, the affected units are the model year 2013 to 2014 Ford Fusion, Escape and C-MAX as well as Lincoln MKZ vehicles. These are being recalled because of seatback frames that do not comply with the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Out of the 48,950 affected units, 42,972 are in the U.S. and 4,744 are in Canada.

“Certain front driver and passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with sub-standard welds joining the seatback recliner mechanism to the seatback frame,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker noted in an email. She said that these could increase injury risk in collisions.

Ford claims that there are no injuries or accidents linked to the faulty seatback frames, which will be replaced by dealers.

The Escape SUVs affected by subframe rusting are those sold or registered in areas where corrosion is most likely to occur. These include 20 states as well as 6 Canadian provinces in what is known as the ‘salt belt,’ where salt is used on the roads to melt ice during winter season.

Ford is aware of one Escape crash that could be related to the rust problem, but knows of no injuries. The issue will be addressed with the installation of a crossbrace reinforcement, which will be done by dealers.

This is not the first time Ford issued a recall due to rust-related problems. The automaker has recalled over 2 million vehicles since 2010 for a number of rust issues that affect its older vehicles.

In November, the NHTSA closed its probe on the same issue that affected over 800,000 vehicles. These are the model year 2005 to 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car vehicles. In the aforementioned cars, a rust problem linked to the lower intermediate steering shaft was said to result in the loss of steering.

In August, Ford recalled 355,000 of the same cars due to rust-related issues in units sold in ‘salt-belt’ states.

Sometime last year, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker also announced the recall of model year 2004 to 2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans. The vehicles were recalled to repair third-row seat latches which may rust in the wheel wells and result in the loosening of the seats. The number of affected minivans was about 230,000.

In 2012, Ford recalled 1.2 million vehicles, including model year 1997 to 2003 F-150 trucks, in 21 states and Canada. This recall was prompted by the possibility of the vehicle’s fuel tank falling to the pavement due to corrosion. According to Ford, rust could weaken the straps that hold up the gas tank. If the straps break, the tank will be dragged to the pavement and leak, increasing the vehicle’s fire risk.

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