Ford Fires Lead to Recall of 4.5M Vehicles Due to Faulty Cruise Control

Ford Motor Co. has recalled 4.5 million vehicles due to a faulty cruise control deactivation switch, which may cause the vehicles to catch fire even when turned off.

The Ford recall, announced earlier this week, is the largest recall in the company’s history, and the eighth recall connected to the cruise control deactivation switch. To date, 16 million vehicles have been affected by a Ford cruise control recall, making it the overall largest automotive recall in history.

The switches, manufactured by Texas Instruments, can leak hydraulic fluid, which can get into the antilock brake system, heat up, and ignite, setting the vehicle on fire even when it is not running. The problem was identified in 1.1 million Windstar minivans. Ford said it was recalling all remaining vehicles that also have the switch as a precaution.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received reports of 285 fires. There is one possible fatality related to the defect, but no positive link between the death and the defective switch has been established. Ford stopped using the Texas Instruments switches in vehicles made after 2003.

The Ford cruise control recall includes 1995-2003 Windstar minivans, 1992-2003 Econoline vans, 2000-2003 Excursion SUVs, 1995-2002 Explorer SUVs, 1993-1997 and 19999-2003 F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks, 1994 F53 motor-home, 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ranger pickup trucks, and 1995-2002 Mercury Mountaineer SUVs.

Ford will begin notifying affected owners on October 26. The vehicles can be repaired at a Ford dealership free of charge.

NHTSA warned that owners of affected vehicles should watch for cruise control malfunctions, brake light warnings on the dashboard, and problems getting the vehicle out of park. Ford recommended that the vehicles be parked outdoors until they can be repaired at a Ford dealership.

The recall is the second major recall in less than a month. In late September, a Toyota floor mat recall impacted 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles, as a result of problems where the driver’s side floor mat was causing the accelerator pedals to get stuck and accelerate the vehicle out of control.

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4 Comments

  • JulioSeptember 7, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Its 2021 so i know I'm a bit late to it. When my 01 explorer started showing the symptoms i started looking for repairs and while doing so i learned about this whole potential problem. Long story short i simply just eliminated the cruise control i don't need it my explorer doesn't need it she actually responds much better if I'm being honest and its been 3 yrs since and she's still going strong.[Show More]Its 2021 so i know I'm a bit late to it. When my 01 explorer started showing the symptoms i started looking for repairs and while doing so i learned about this whole potential problem. Long story short i simply just eliminated the cruise control i don't need it my explorer doesn't need it she actually responds much better if I'm being honest and its been 3 yrs since and she's still going strong. Eliminate the cruise control if anyone still drives one its not worth getting hurt when your vehicle randomly speeds up even while being at a full stop.

  • Ronald BAugust 10, 2014 at 7:45 am

    We had a fire also-Ford 1995 RV sitting in driveway-spread to house & lost cargo trailer fully loaded with brand new furniture, household items, etc, part of pool, etc - lost over $100,000 total including the 2 vehicles. Ins paid nothing-denied claim, was never investigated, fined by the boro we live in, harassed by neighbors, received a letter 2 weeks ago about this recall when the fire occurred [Show More]We had a fire also-Ford 1995 RV sitting in driveway-spread to house & lost cargo trailer fully loaded with brand new furniture, household items, etc, part of pool, etc - lost over $100,000 total including the 2 vehicles. Ins paid nothing-denied claim, was never investigated, fined by the boro we live in, harassed by neighbors, received a letter 2 weeks ago about this recall when the fire occurred Nov 2012. Like that? Called Ford & they basically said too bad - we have to hire an investigator & pay for everything. No one has helped & we have went through a nightmare!!

  • Emily RJanuary 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    My 2002 Ford F-150 caught fire after sitting in the driveway for 2 days. It spread to back of my GMC Envoy and destroyed it before the fire dept could put it out. We called Ford and they are responding to us in writing within 15 days. So I know were screwed. I have a little one and one on the way and we've lost both vehicles, thank God it didn't get to the house. Only had liability on the tr[Show More]My 2002 Ford F-150 caught fire after sitting in the driveway for 2 days. It spread to back of my GMC Envoy and destroyed it before the fire dept could put it out. We called Ford and they are responding to us in writing within 15 days. So I know were screwed. I have a little one and one on the way and we've lost both vehicles, thank God it didn't get to the house. Only had liability on the truck. The envoy is covered.

  • dOctober 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Ok so I called the local Ford dealership and gave them the VIN of my 2003 Windstar. Apparently there is no recall on it. The girl said she's not sure if it's because maybe Ford hasn't updated it's database with the new recall, or if my particular vehicle doesn't have the switch in question. So my question is, are ALL vehicles in the given models being recalled, or only some of the vehicles that[Show More]Ok so I called the local Ford dealership and gave them the VIN of my 2003 Windstar. Apparently there is no recall on it. The girl said she's not sure if it's because maybe Ford hasn't updated it's database with the new recall, or if my particular vehicle doesn't have the switch in question. So my question is, are ALL vehicles in the given models being recalled, or only some of the vehicles that were perhaps produced in certain timeframes or plants being recalled and others not?

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