Ford apparently cannot escape flaws in the Escape, the popular crossover SUV. A Ford Escape sticky throttle recall has been announced for the first-generation model, which seemed all but inevitable after an NHTSA probe was recently announced.
Ford Escape sticky throttle recall seemed inevitable
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an investigation into reports of cruise control cables that would lock the throttle open in early model years of the Ford Escape, especially models with a V-6 from 2001 to 2004.
The issue at the heart of incidents of a Ford Escape sticky throttle is due to bad repairs from an earlier recall, according to AutoGuide. That recall, which occurred in 2004, was for accelerator cables which stuck to the pedal and could jam open. If a technician damaged the cruise control cable, adjacent to the throttle cable, the cruise control cable could loosen and get trapped under the plastic engine cover, sticking the throttle open and causing unintended acceleration.
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The NHTSA was petitioned to investigate the defect by the Center for Automotive Safety, eventually resulting in a probe into the issue, according to USA Today. However, Ford has issued a recall for the Escape models in question, according to CBS.
Recall affects almost 500,000 vehicles
The Ford Escape sticky throttle recall covers 485,000 vehicles, including the Ford Escape and also the Ford Maverick, which the Escape was sold as in some international markets. It isn’t known if that also covers the Mazda Tribute, which was a Ford Escape re-badged as a Mazda. There are 423,000 Escape models affected in the United States, according to The Detroit News, and a further 60,000 located outside the U.S. Other countries affected by the recall include Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia and some other locations, according to the Huffington Post.
To date, the NHTSA has received 68 complaints of unintended acceleration in the Ford Escape and 31 complaints of unintended acceleration from Mazda Tribute owners. There were 13 reports of crashes caused by the issue, resulting in nine injuries and one fatality, that of Saige Bloom, a 17-year-old in Arizona, whose Escape had not been fixed properly in the initial recall.
To fix the defect, owners will have to take their vehicles to the nearest Ford dealership, where their Escapes will be inspected for the defect. The repair, according to the Huffington Post, will be to install new fasteners for the engine cover and raising it, so there is more space between the engine cover and the engine block, which won’t trap the cruise control cable.
It may take a few weeks for Ford dealers to get enough fasteners to make the repair, however.
USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/07/ford-escape-probe-continues-sudden-acceleration-worry/1#.UBGUL6CBW_1