WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 281,000 model-year 2009-2010 Ford F-150 pickup trucks because of a potential interior door handle problem. In the event of a side-impact crash, the door handle spring might fail, causing the door latch to open, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The problem is that the interior door handle housing embossment that retains the handle spring has the potential to fracture during normal usage, resulting in not enough spring force to return the handle to the fully stowed position. This condition poses a safety risk, NHTSA said. 

Truck owners will be initially notified and instructed to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln/Mercury dealer if any interior door handle is loose or fails to return to the stowed position after activation. Once parts become available, owners will be re-notified and instructed to take their truck to the dealer for inspection of each interior door handle. Depending on the results of the inspection, the dealer will either add a spring embossment reinforcement or replace the interior door handle module free of charge. 

The safety recall is expected to begin around Feb. 14. Owners can reach Ford at (866) 436-7332.