Due to a risk certain Ford Lincoln crossover and sport utility vehicles (SUV) may experience unexpected air bag deployment or fail to deploy in a crash, Ford Motor Company has issued a recall impacting nearly 20,000 vehicles from the 2016 through 2020 model years.
The Lincoln MKX and Nautilus recall was announced by U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on July 21, indicating the wire harness inside of the seat cushion may become pinched and damaged when the seat is reclined, disabling power to the air bag, or causing it to suddenly deploy.
Ford first learned of the potential defect in December 2019, after receiving a warranty claim out of China in which an airbag unexpectedly deployed when the passenger seat was reclined.
The auto manufacturer opened an investigation and determined the impacted vehicles have a seat wiring harness with improper protection from the edge of the seat cushion frame, which may allow them to become pinched when the 16-way power seats are used.
According to the investigation, the seat cushion frame edge may consistently come in contact with the wire harness when the seat occupant uses the tilt function, potentially damaging one or more of the nearly 28 wires within the harness.
Ford warns owners that two scenarios could likely occur if a series of wires are pinched. They include the sudden deployment of the passenger or driver side air bags, or the occupant classification system could stop not communicating with the restraint control module, preventing the air bags from deploying in the event of a crash.
The recall includes approximately 19,299 model year 2016 through 2018 Lincoln MKX manufactured from November 11, 2014 through September 4, 2018 and model year 2019 through 2020 Lincoln Nautilus vehicles manufactured from January 12, 2018 through January 24, 2020.
In a press release, Ford indicated the recalled seat wiring harness and seat cushion frame configuration was introduced into production on in November 2014 and was removed from production in January earlier this year.
Ford will begin notifying customers of the recall with instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer, who will be instructed to inspect the wire harness, repair or replace wiring as needed, and to install protective flocking tape onto the exposed edge of the 16-way seat cushion frames.
Customers with additional questions regarding the recall are encouraged to contact Ford/Lincoln customer service at 1-866-436-7332 and reference the recall number 20S37.
Ford also issued two smaller recalls this week, impacting 2020 Ford Escape and Transit vehicles for improperly inflating air bags during deployment, and a Ford truck recall involving F-650 and F-750 vehicles that were not built with an under-body thermal protection shield which could pose burn risks if bare skin contacts the interior cabin floor.