For the third time in a little more than a week, Ford has issued a recall on the troubled Ford Escape SUV, this time over a faulty cruise control system.
The recall covers more than 485,000 Escape’s with the 3.0 liter V6 engine from the 2001 to 2004 model years with the cruise control system installed. It was discovered that the system has the possibility to malfunction, causing unintended acceleration.
The acceleration is caused by the cruise control cable interfering with the throttle cable when engaged. This problem was a problem facing the Escape when it left the factory; it was only through a previous factory recall that the danger surfaced.
The recall responsible for the problem was issued back in December of 2004 to correct an accelerator cable assembly defect. 10 months into the recall, however, Ford discovered that their repair procedure to fix the issue actually created the issue that today’s recall was designed to fix.
Unfortunately for Ford, by the time the repair procedure was altered in October of 2005, an estimated 320,000 vehicles had already been fixed using the erroneous process.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 99 instances of unintended acceleration in the Ford Escape, along with the Mazda Tribute, which is mechanically identical. Of those incidents reported, 13 lead to accidents, and nine people were injured.
In January of this year, a 17 year old was killed in Arizona while driving a 2002 Ford Escape that had been repaired with the improper procedure.
This recent recall comes a week after the consumer group Center for Auto Safety called for Ford to immediately issue a recall over the issue, rather than wasting any time on an investigation on a component that was known to be a dangerous issue.
Unintended acceleration is a problem that any auto maker would love to avoid, as just three years ago, Toyota suffered through disastrous problems with their Prius hybrid vehicle over accelerator pedals sticking in the engaged position, leading to accidents, lawsuits, and a major blow to their quality reputation.
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