The Ford Motor Company has had 6 motor vehicle recalls with cruise-control switches starting in 1999. These recalls covered about 10 million motor vehicles (a record number for a recall regarding a single problem). Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury motor vehicles between the years of 1992-2004. Cruise-control switches on these vehicles had been blamed for about 1,500 fires.
In February 2008, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) issued consumer advisory notices telling owners who had not had their vehicles fixed to disconnect the cruise-control switches immediately or risk an auto accident or fire. As car accident attorneys, we believe it is of utmost importance that owners of these vehicles become aware of the possible dangers of a fire-induced car accident.
The problem with these motor vehicles is that the cruise-control deactivation switch could develop a short circuit. For example, this could cause a car to catch on fire even when the ignition is off and the car is parked. The function of the switch is the cut off cruise-control when the automobile driver taps the brakes.
The NHTSA claims that it could link 65 fires to the switch failures, but the problem could be far greater than it seems. The NHTSA received 1,472 complaints regarding engine compartment fires. These switch failures have not been officially linked to any deaths, but at least 3 wrongful death suits have been filed against Ford.
This is presumably one of the hardest to solve recall problems ever. This is largely due to the fact that when the investigation first started in 1998, there was no clear reason why all these switches were failing. But now, the reason seems evident. Over time, applying the car’s brakes creates a slight vacuum that can cause the seal in the switch to fail. The car’s brake fluid then leaks into the switch and corrodes it.
This switch is then powered on all the time, and therefore, overheats and ignites and electrical fire. This may cause very dangerous car accidents, even gas tank explosions. Thus, as auto accident lawyers, we strongly recommend that you input your car into the National Car Highway and Safety Administration’s database to find out if your car was the subject of a recall. This is especially true if you had a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicle in the years 1992-2004.
Our car accident attorneys believe that safety is the first priority, so get the vehicle checked out before a car accident occurs as a result of the fire.
Please feel free to call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or you can click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney. We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish. No fee if no recovery.