Ford has reportedly recalled nearly 500,000 sport-utility vehicles in response to reported issues with the vehicles' cruise control system. Although the recall was voluntary, traffic safety advocates are claiming that Ford's proposed fix will prove to be an insufficient, ineffective solution to the problem, and that federal authorities should therefore require Ford to implement a better repair.
The recall was the product a federal investigation into more than 65 complaints about the vehicles' cruise control systems. It was found that, in the affected models, the cruise control cables can snag on the plastic cover on the top of the engine, causing the throttle to stick wide open. This defect is being blamed for 13 car accidents, nine injuries and one fatality. In sum, 385,000 Ford Escapes from the 2001 to 2004 model years are covered by the recall.
Ford says that it is remedying the problem by utilizing a fastener to create more space for the cruise control cables. According to one traffic safety advocate, however, that fix is not enough. "Rather than replace the defective cruise control cable," said Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety, "Ford uses a cheap fastener to raise the engine cover to provide enough clearance so the cable doesn't jam."
Ditlow also claims that Ford has been aware of the malfunction since 2005, but that it has been covering it up in an effort to avoid a costly recall. As such, he says, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should not only reject Ford's proposed fix but fine the company for failing to address the issue in a timely fashion.
Source: USA Today, "Ford recalls 485,000 Escape SUVs for sticky throttles," Chris Woodyard, July 26, 2012