In an effort to get more recalled vehicles repaired quickly, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is advising vehicle owners of the Ford Motor Company’s recall of approximately 390,000 Ford Fiesta, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles.
The agency said it wants owners to be aware that defective door latches on these vehicles can prevent the door from properly closing. This can result in the door opening while the vehicle is moving. Ford also announced separate recalls for other issues with some of its vehicles, bringing the estimated number of recalled vehicles to 944,114.
The door latch recall affects model year 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas, all model year 2013 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs and certain model year 2014 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZ. The Automobile Club of Southern California is urging its members and the public who own these vehicles to watch for a recall notification from Ford and to make sure their vehicle gets the needed repairs.
Ford’s recall notices for separate issues on its vehicles included:
--The 2015 Ford Edge Crossovers and 2013-2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedans for bolts on steering gear/motor attachments that can corrode, crack or break. This can cause the vehicle to run in manual steering mode, which is more difficult. About 487,301 vehicles in the U.S. are affected by this recall.
--The 2015 Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedans due to headlamps that when on, the park lamps are brighter than regulations allow. When owners take their vehicle to the dealership, the dealers will update the software. This recall covers 21,435 vehicles in the U.S.
--2014 Ford Focus, Edge, Escape and Transit Connect vehicles and 2014-2015 Ford Fiestas due to a problem with the plating on the fuel pump which could cause it to seize. The vehicle then may not start or could stall. About 45,505 vehicles in the U.S. are affected by this recall.
--2015 Ford F-150 pickups where underbody heat shields may be missing or improperly installed which pose a fire risk. Dealers will inspect the trucks and install any missing parts. Only 73 vehicles in the U.S. are affected.
NHTSA's work led to 803 recalls involving 63.9 million vehicles last year — the highest number of vehicle recalls in more than 30 years. The year also saw two of the 10 largest recalls in history.
Recalls are utilized when a vehicle or item of vehicle equipment doesn’t comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard. A recall also occurs when there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.
“If there’s a safety recall for your vehicle, contact your local dealer and have the repair completed as soon as possible and remember to ask if you you’re entitled to a rental car while the repairs are conducted,” said Steve Mazor, principal automotive engineer of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center. “A copy of the work should be kept for your repair records.”
Owners who move should notify the vehicle manufacturer by using a post card many provide in the warranty booklet or by giving the dealer the new address so notices and other information can be sent to the new home, Mazor added.
How should consumers determine if a safety recall or a technical service bulletin has been issued for their car or truck? The Auto Club’s advises to:
· Watch the mail. Mailed recall notices should be easier to identify. NHTSA requires all manufacturers use a distinctive label on required mailings that notify owners of recalled vehicles or equipment. The new label says “Important Safety Recall Information” in red and black, along with the phrase “Issued in Accordance with Federal Law,” and U.S. Dept. of Transportation and NHTSA logos.
· Download a free app. The SaferCar app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and helps consumers find recall information and up-to-date vehicle safety information, search the agency’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model, and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls, among other features.
· Go online. At safercar.gov, consumers can start at the right-hand side of the home page under “Safety Recalls” and follow the prompts until asked to enter their vehicle information to find out if a recall has been announced for their car or truck.
Safety recall repairs are paid for by the manufacturer, regardless of warranty considerations, Mazor said, and manufacturers may voluntarily issue their own safety recalls after notifying NHTSA.
Another lesser-known type of repair notice is a technical service bulletin. These are recommended repairs to correct specific vehicle problems if consumers complain about them when they visit their dealer. If you learn about these repairs, you can take the car or truck to the dealer and have repairs made while the vehicle is under warranty to cover the repair costs, said Mazor.
As your vehicle is brought in for service, ask the service advisor to check for bulletins covering the problems you may be experiencing. In some cases, repairs listed in the bulletin may be covered by the manufacturer “service campaign” that provides free or discounted repairs, even if the warranty has expired.