Ford Motor Co. has recalled 390,000 cars believed to be affected by faulty door latches that may prevent doors from closing or allow them to unlatch while the car is in motion. This is the third and largest door latch-related recall so far this year. The automaker said 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas and 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles may be affected by the door latch problem. Ford said the cars may experience a broken pawl spring tab, which may prevent the latch from working or allow the door to unlatch while on the road, increasing the risk of injury.
Two customers have complained of injuries sustained when the door bounced back and hit them after they attempted to close it, Ford said, as well as one incident in which a driver’s door opened during parking and damaged an adjacent vehicle. The recall is the third latch-related recall by the automaker in 2015, following a March recall of 213,000 Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor SUVs and a January recall of 205,000 Ford Taurus sedans. The recall was announced just weeks after NHTSA said it was ratcheting up its investigation of doors popping open or failing to stay latched on certain Ford Fiesta models following hundreds of reports of car doors opening inadvertently, often while the car was in motion.
NHTSA launched its preliminary investigation of door latch problems in 2011 to 2013 Ford Fiesta models in September and upgraded it to an engineering analysis on Feb. 27. The agency’s Office of Defects Investigation has received 207 unique reports of latch problems in the car models, 65 of which claim a door opened while the car was moving. The agency goes through an engineering analysis to determine if it needs to ask an automaker to issue a recall.
The Office of Defects Investigation said the rate of door latch failures in the Ford models is “comparable” to those in other door latch failure investigations. It also questioned the efficacy of warning signals, given the number of claims that a door opened while the car was moving. In response to the agency’s information request, Ford said it had received 451 unique reports about door latches in Ford Fiestas.
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