WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Ford Motor Co. is recalling 4.5 million vehicles because a cruise control off switch poses a fire risk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In the past decade, this is Ford's eighth recall involving the same switch, which is commonly known as a speed control deactivation switch (SCDS). Overall, the problem has resulted in the recall of more than 14 million vehicles.
Now Ford is recalling 1.1 million MY 1995-2003 Ford Windstar minivans as well as 3.4 million additional vehicles equipped with the switch, including Ford Excursions, Explorers and Rangers of various model years that date back as far as 1992.
NHTSA has concluded that the switch has the potential to leak internally into the antilock brake system and consequently overheat, smoke or burn.
Ford will notify vehicle owners of the recall, so that dealers can install a fused wiring harness for the switch. Dealers will also inspect the ABS control connector and make additional repairs if necessary. There will be no charge for these repairs.
"While the data show the majority of the vehicles being recalled do not pose a significant safety risk, we are recalling the vehicles to reassure customers and eliminate any future concerns," Ford said in a released statement.
The switch was manufactured by Texas Instruments Inc., which denies that the switch is causing fires. In a statement, Texas Instruments said: "The switch is only one component of Ford's cruise control deactivation switch system and is not the root cause of the fires."
Ford will begin notifying vehicle owners about the recall this month. Until the proper repairs are made, the automaker recommends that owners of all the recalled vehicles park outdoors because of the fire risk.
The recalled vehicles are:
- Ford Econoline MY 1992-2003
- Ford Excursion MY 2000-2003
- Ford Explorer MY 1995-2002
- Ford F Super Duty MY 1993-1997, 1999-2003
- Ford F53 MY 1994
- Ford Ranger MY 1995-1997, 2001-2003
- Ford Windstar MY 1995-2003
- Mercury Mountaineer 1995-2002