Ford Issues Recall for Faulty Cruise Control Switch — Again

The <"">Ford cruise control switch recall just won’t end.  Ford Motor Company has announced that it is recalling 225,000 vehicles due to faulty wiring in the cruise control mechanism.  All of the cars included in this recall have been subject to previous Ford cruise control switch recalls, but now, Ford is saying that the wiring used to fix the defective cruise control switches is itself faulty.

Since 1999, Ford has recalled more than 10 million vehicles because of a faulty cruise control switch that could cause a vehicle to erupt in flames even when it was turned off and parked. The Ford cruise control switch recalls have now covered every single car and truck built with this type of cruise control switch.  Since Ford first started using this particular type of cruise control switch in 1992, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has documented at least 600 fires attributed to the defective component.

Ford vehicles covered by the new recall include the gasoline-powered 1992 to 2003 Econoline, 1992 to 1998 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, 1993 Bronco, 1995 to 1997 F series pick up, 1993 F series pick up, the 1993 to 1995 Taurus SHO and the 1992 to 1995 Town Car.  According to Consumer, Ford initially repaired the defect in the vehicles by installing a wiring harness around the switch.  But now it appears the fix is not working, as  the wiring harnesses contain an improperly placed fuse which does not offer sufficient protection if there is an electrical short circuit.

This new recall is only the latest disaster involving the Ford cruise control recall.  According to Consumer Affairs, Ford has been unable to buy or manufacture enough parts to repair all of the vehicles involved in the enormous recall process. Ford initially promised parts would be available to repair all of the vehicles by October 2007, but that has yet to happen.  As a result, many Ford car and truck owners are still waiting for their dealer to find the parts needed to repair the fire hazard.   While they await the cruise control repairs, Ford has recommended that car and truck owners have their Ford dealer disconnect the faulty switch.  But even with this precaution, Consumer Affairs estimated that more than 1.8 million Ford cars and trucks remain at risk of erupting into flames since the company issued the last cruise control recall in August 2007.

This is disturbing, because a fire from a faulty Ford cruise control switch can have devastating consequences.  Shortly before the August 2007 recall, Ford settled a lawsuit filed by an Iowa man whose wife died in a car fire in 2005. Earl Mohlis claimed that the switch on his 1996 Ford F-150 truck was responsible for the fire that killed his 74-year-old wife Dolly. The lawsuit said that Dolly woke to the smell of smoke in May 2005. As her husband went outside to investigate, she stayed in their home to call 911. He found the truck on fire in their garage. High winds that night fanned the flames, and Dolly was trapped in the home. Though Ford settled the Mohlis lawsuit, the company will not admit responsibility for the fire.  Other Ford owners have lost their homes from cruise control fires that started as their Ford cars or trucks were parked in garages.

Because of these horrendous disasters, some Ford dealers now require customers who decline to disconnect the cruise control system to sign a waiver of liability.

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