Ford Motor Co. has expanded the recent safety recall for vehicles potentially affected by faulty door latches that can block doors from closing or cause them to unlatch while the car is in motion, upping the number of affected cars to nearly 550,000 in North America. The automaker said in a statement that 156,000 additional vehicles were being added to its April 24 recall of 390,000 model year 2012 to 2014 Ford Fiestas and 2013 to 2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested the expansion of the recall.
The safety 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 automaker said that the affected vehicles may have door latches that have a broken pawl spring tab, which can result in a condition that prevents the door from latching. “If a customer is then able to latch the door, there is a potential the door may unlatch while driving, increasing the risk of injury,” Ford said.
The agency 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. NHTSA’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 that 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.
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